A former Valkyrie champion signed with Pancrase and soon after this Bantamweight Queen of Pancrase Tournament was announced.
And apparently, Nakai formed her own team and it is called "Pancrase Venus."
Therefore, most sane fans and media in the land of rising sun must know that this is a full-on effort by a 19-year old MMA promotion to push Japan's female top fighter at 135 lbs.
And finally, Nakai's opponent for the tournament first round is set for Mayumi "Cho Benkei" Aoki.
These two met back in September 2010 and Nakai won via armbar in just two minutes forty seconds, however, "The last fight doesn't mean anything" is what former judo-ka from Shikoku Island is feeling. According to the Nakai's statement released by Pancrase, "Since then Cho Benkei won kickboxing interim championship, and I also heard she likes to lift weights, does some power lifting, so not only just a strong striker but also I believe she is a very powerful grappler. She is a worthy opponent."
This is a four-woman tourney and the other first round bout is scheduled for either October or November. The final is going to be either December or January next year depends on when the other first round bout can be confirmed.
Its a fluid situation.
It's a tourney but Pancrase still hasn't been able to confirm all participants.
The new owner of Pancrase Masakazu Sakai kept telling the meida, "Possibly a foreign fighter" but nothing more.
Maybe Sakai is being cautious because any one of two fighters he eventually choose, is going to face Nakai in the final.
Well, that is, if Nakai beats Aoki.
But face it. The chances of a 32-year old veteran with a pro MMA record of 6-8-0 beating a 25-year old fighter who is undefeated in twelve pro MMA fight is, very very slim.
Therefore it is now about who Pancrase would choose for the other tournament first round bout.
PANCRASE 2012 PROGRESS TOUR
At Differ Ariake, Tokyo, Japan
Saturday, September 1st, 2012
Doors Open - 14:15 / Fight Starts - 15:30
Confirmed Cards (Subject to Change):
Welterweight King of Pancrase 5 min / 3R
Takenori Sato (Japan / Laughter7) vs. KEI Yamamiya (Japan / GRABAKA)
Lightweight Bout 5 min / 2R
ISAO (Japan / Sakaguchi Dojo) vs. Tatsunori Tanaka (Japan / Wajiutsu Keishukai Hyogo Branch)
Welterweight Bout 5 min / 3R
Eiji Ishikawa (Japan / GRABAKA) vs. Shingo Suzuki (Japan / ALLIANCE)
Lightweight Bout 5 min / 3R
Seiki Ryo (Japan / STAND) vs. "Let's" Gota (Japan / MMA Dojo Cobra-kai)
Bantamweight Queen of Pancrases Tournament Athena Rules Bout 5 min / 3R
Rin Nakai (Japan / Pancrase) vs Mayumi "Cho Benkei" Aoki (Japan / Gamurannac)
Bantamweight Bout 5 min / 2R
Yuta Numakura (Japan / TRIAL) vs. Shunichi Shimizu (Japan / Uruno Dojo)
Feathermweight Bout 5 min / 2R
"Randleman" Ichikawa (Japan / FREEDOM@OZ) vs. Daiki Shimizu (Japan / Academia Az Suidobashi)
Bantamweight Bout 5 min / 2R
CORO (Japan / Wajiutsu Keishu-kai TLIVE) vs. Nobuki Fujii (Japan / ALLIANCE)
Neo Blood Tournament Final for All Six Weight Classes
VIP (including Pamphlet) - 12,000 yen / SS - 10,000 yen / A - 8,000 yen / B - 6,000 yen
*500 yen more at the door.
Report by Shu Hirata
Photo courtesy of GBR (gbring.com)