Saturday, November 26, 2016

Gabi Garcia vs Shinobu Kandori added to RIZIN New Year's Eve

Gabi Garcia, Shinobu Kandori
So there I was sitting watching the Raptors game last night and keeping an eye on Twitter when pics from a RIZIN press conference start coming up. What the hell is Shinobu Kandori doing there? Now, I don't expect most younger fans to know about Kandori. There was a time when she was a big star and she was also important in the development of women's MMA. I guess she's still a big deal in Japan or RIZIN owner Sakikabara wouldn't have Kandori fight Gabi Garcia. It's just sad that his gimmickry has come to this. Last night I was asked if Kandori was in the Olympics. No, but she did compete at the 1984 World Women's Judo Championships. She turned to pro wrestling in the 90s. Her gimmick was that she was a real fighter and that led to one of the biggest feuds of the joshi boom of the 90s against Akira Hokuto. The matches were outstanding helped by Hokuto's unmatched ability to convey emotion in the ring. When the joshi boom died down, Kandori became owner of Ladies Legend Pro Wrestling (LLPW). And LLPW promoted the very first women's MMA show in 1995. Kandori's MMA record was 4-1. In Japan, they have never had weight classes for larger women. It's always been Open Weight. Kandori was 1-1 against Russian Svetlana Goudarenko who outweighed Kandori by 100lb. Kandori lost the first match and then won the rematch with a rear naked choke. And that's the selling point of her match vs Gabi Garcia. She's done it before. She can do it again. But that was in 1998. Not to mention that Kandori is 52 years old and she has been a member of the Japanese House of Councillors since 2006. Kandori hasn't been relevant as an athlete since the 90s. So I don't expect much from this match. But it certainly created a buzz in Tokyo today which no doubt pleased Kandori and Sakikabara.

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