Welcome to Frank Pozen's Big Bad Blog. A lot of folks have been asking me to update them about my recovery. So I thought I would start a blog primarily to do that but also to talk about other topics of interest including the wrestling business and whatever else I can think of. I plan to update this on a regular basis so check back and leave a comment if you wish.
Friday, March 03, 2017
RIZIN announces plans for Women's Grand Prix
RIZIN held a press conference today to announce matches for the Apr. 16 show at Yokohama Arena. This includes four women's matches. But they also announced plans for the Women's Grand Prix. They are beginning it in September and the finals will be on the NYE show. As I expected, the tournament will be at 48kg. It looks like there will be eight fighters in the tournament. And to emphasize this, they brought out RENA to announce that she will be participating. She is also scheduled for a match on the Apr. 16 show with her opponent to be announced. So I expect this tournament to be booked so she wins just like all of her Shoot Boxing tournament wins. She's probably the biggest star in RIZIN already. And winning this tournament will cement that and it will transcend the fight business and make her a mainstream star in Japan. Don't believe me? Take a look at the poster for this show. Who has the biggest head shot? RENA has always had star potential. The ratings go through the roof when she appears on TV. But Shoot Boxing is too much of a niche product and no one can figure out the rules anyway. The only thing is she hasn't beaten anyone decent yet in MMA so I want to see who RIZIN brings in to face RENA for the April show. She trains with Ayaka Hamasaki so you can be sure RENA will be well prepared. Let's get to the other three matches. King Reina will face Jazzy Gabert. Of course Reina recently won over Shayna Baszler at last week's DEEP JEWELS show. At that fight she weighed in at 150lb. Jazzy is better known as German pro wrestler Alpha Female. You may recall she was brought in at the NYE show to tease a match against Gabi Garcia. That may still happen if Jazzy wins this fight. She weighs 190lb and 90kg is the contracted weight for this fight. She won her only MMA fight in Nov. but there just isn't much competition at that weight. Japanese fans will know Jazzy as she was the top heel in STARDOM a couple of years ago. Saori Ishioka will face Bestare Kicaj. This fight will be at 48kg. A few years ago, Ishioka was thought to have star potential mostly because of her looks. It's the same thing as Shizuka Sugiyama. They train together. But like Sugiyama, Ishioka isn't that good. Her record is 14-10 but she is 1-2 since returning from pregnancy. Bestare is from Zurich, Switzerland. Her record is 2-0. Obviously Ishioka has an edge in experience so I would expect her to win to get her ready for the Grand Prix. However, stranger things have happened. And finally Kanna Asakura will face Aleksandra Toncheva. The Japanese media make a big deal out of Kanna because she's 19 years old and just graduated from high school. But I wonder if any of these guys have seen her fight. Her record is 6-2 but it's padded with old ladies and tomato cans. When she has had the opportunity to face someone decent, she has come up short as she did against Alyssa Garcia at the last RIZIN show. So I'm not sold on her. Aleksandra is from Bulgaria. This will be her pro MMA debut. But she is the 2016 IMAAF World Champion at 115lb and a two time IMAAF European Champ. We'll see how she does. This fight is contracted for 48kg though Aleksandra has fought at 115lb. At what point does Kanna Asakura go from being a prospect to a suspect. We may find out if she loses this fight. I guess I'll have more on this show once RENA's opponent is announced.