Sunday, March 20, 2016

Big Bad Blog Video Theater-Leslie Smith vs Rin Nakai

Here's the match video of Leslie Smith vs Rin Nakai from last night's UFC show in Brisbane, Australia. The last time we saw Leslie, Jessica Eye split her ear open. Then she had knee surgery. She trains with Gilbert Melendez in California. She is mainly a striker with no ground game. Of course Rin is from Shikoku Island in Northern Japan. It's amazing that an elite fighter can come from a remote location like that. Most Japanese MMA fighters live in either Tokyo or Osaka because the facilities are more modern and there are sparring partners available. Rin doesn't have any of that. Rin is a judoka. Because of her height disadvantage, she needed to get this fight to the ground. And her big problem for the last few years has been lack of aggression early in fights. And that was Rin's problem in round one of this fight. She lacks the range to strike with Leslie and Rin didn't attempt a takedown until late in the round. Leslie didn't dominate but she won round one 10-9. Between rounds, Rin's trainer Wild Usami read her the riot act. Rin was much more aggressive in round two. She took Leslie down and came very close to a submission with a side choke. I would have liked to have seen her transition to an armbar which is a better finishing move. But Rin won the second round 10-9. But she was tired and it showed in round three. I thought Leslie won easily and I scored round three 10-9 for Leslie. Two of the judges scored it 29-28 for Leslie and the third scored it 30-27 for Leslie. Leslie Smith won by unanimous decision and that was the correct decision. Rin's UFC contract is up and I don't expect it to be renewed. Her manager husband is a pain in the ass to deal with. When Dana White said in December that the UFC has plans for women's Flyweight division, Rin posted on her blog that she plans to drop to 125lb. I don't expect the UFC to start that division until late this year. The most logical landing place for Rin would be a joint Bellator RIZIN deal. Bellator is starting a women's Flyweight division and I think RIZIN would be interested in her anyway. Her mental block at the start of fights is her biggest problem and until she conquers that, I doubt she will be successful outside Japan. High level fighters know she has this problem. Enjoy the video.

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