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Rizin Fighting World GP 2017: Main event preview and prediction

For the first time ever, the main event at Rizin will be headlined by women, both of which are world class and know how to put on a show


Rizin Fighting Federation

Rizin is action, Rizin is excitement, Rizin is pandemonium.

Rizin’s goal: to become the championship of fighting. Wanting to bring top fighters from all promotions across the world to compete in a mega tournament to determine the world’s best fighter. Rizin is a unique event, and their goal is to revolutionize fighting and combat sports. Event coordinators want the sport to be loved and accepted by all cultures and eventually become an Olympic sport. They believe what they’re doing is the future of fighting, and it could be. Rizin’s goal isn’t to take fighters from other promotions, but to allow them to compete and share their diversity and fighting styles while maintaining their status with said promotion.

15 October, 2017 is the date and Marine Messe Fukuoka, Japan is the location where the autumn tournament will begin. Rizin 2017 is the first in its short history to have women headline the event. Fighters will compete in MMA, kickboxing, and grappling, but the main event will be a mixed martial arts contest. Rizin is truly a unique event, and something fight fans shouldn’t miss. Five women’s fights are on the card, and these comprise diverse fighting styles that will make for some interesting matchups. All the women’s contests will be MMA rules, but don’t miss out on all the kickboxing and grappling action.

The main event features one of the best young guns in fighting right now in Rena Kubota, a fighter whose future is bright. She is a rock star and loves her fans. She fits in perfectly in Rizin; it is the rock show of fighting. Her opponent is Andy Nguyen. The “CrAsian” is just that; she’s crazy in the ring. She’s several years older than Rena, but that shouldn’t hinder her too much, her experience speaks for itself. Before diving into the main event fighters and matchup, check out this Rizin 2016 highlight video:

Rena Kubota

Consistent, tough, balanced, the 26-year-old Rena, representing Caesar Gym, will put on a show for fight fans. Rena has a great style, and she is loose and smooth. Rena stalks her opponent and dominates the ring. Her opponent goes where she wants them to go, her awareness and fight IQ is off the charts. 

Shoot boxing, created in 1985 by Caesar Takeshi in Tokyo, Japan is how she began her career and won 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2014 Shoot Boxing girls S-cup championships. Shoot boxing allows kicks, elbows, knees, throws, punches and standing submissions. 

Rena will compete in her fifth Rizin tournament. Her record shows her consistency, skills, and speaks volumes:

Event and opponentResult
Rizin FF - Iza no Mai - 31 December 2015 vs Jleana ValentinoWin - Submission by flying armbar in round 2
Rizin 2 - Rizin fighting world GP 2016: opening round - 25 September 2016 vs Miyuu YamamotoWin - Submission by guillotine choke in round 1
Rizin 4 - Rizin fighting world GP 2016: final round - 31 December 2016 vs Hanna GujwanWin - KO by body kick in round 3
Rizin 5 - Rizin 2017 in Yokohama: Sakura - 16 April 2017 vs Dora PerjesWin - KO by punches to the body in round 1

Rena is a vicious strawweight who would be successful in any fight promotion. One thing she brings is hard takedowns, strong throws, mixed with a terrific stand-up game. She can and will trade, but she doesn't trade as much as she gives. She baits and sets up her opponent. Rena will also fight on the ground, often taking the opponent there viciously.

Stating a fighter is well rounded is overused, but it's impossible not to use that term when discussing Rena. She will switch her stance from orthodox to southpaw, and she stands with a more open and squared stance allowing her to bait her opponents. Her hand movements, and not just punching, are fast, and she's always busy. Rena moves like a boxer, thanks to her shoot boxing background, her head movements are deceptive, and she gets her opponents frustrated. 

An MMA fighter with the power, speed, and movements of a world class boxer is devastating. She can throw head kicks with zero effort, and with her constant stance changes, it's hard to tell where her next strike will come from. There's a reason she's undefeated, and there's a reason winning is part of what makes her who she is.

Rena vs Jleana Valentino

Andy Nguyen

35-year-old Andy "The CrAsian" Nguyen has been around for a long time and this will be her second Rizin. Her career has been up and down with a current professional record of 5-4, she may not look impressive on paper but she's not an easy out by any means. 

Her amateur career was rocky with a 1-5 record, but she stayed focused, turned pro in 2015 and has shown she belongs. Her professional record is:

Event and opponent Result
Vengeance fighting alliance - round 6 - 15 August 2015 vs Corrie WardWin - TKO by punches in round 3
CUFF 9 Canadian invasion - 21 November 2015 vs Melissa Sophia KaragianisLoss - split decision
Legacy fighting championship 49 - 4 December 2015 vs Stephanie AlbaLoss - unanimous decision
KOTC new era - 9 April 2016 vs Elane SantiagoWin - TKO by punches in round 3
Legacy fighting championship 57 - 1 July 2016 vs Bi NguyenLoss - unanimous decision
KOTC social disorder - 8 October 2016 vs Cassie RobbWin - TKO by punches in round 4
Rizin 4 - Rizin fighting world GP 2016: final round - 31 December 2016 vs Miyuu YamamotoWin - submission by armbar in round 1
KOTC groundbreaking - 6 May 2017 vs Bi NguyenWin - unanimous decision
KOTC counterstrike - 12 August 2017 vs Melissa Sophia Karagianis Loss - unanimous decision

Her record is the epitome of up and down, but a record shouldn't be the only tool used to measure a fighters ability. She is battle tested and prefers to strike. She has strong ground defense though, but she will try to break and get back to her feet before continuing to roll on the mat. Nguyen is a focused fighter, and she's smart. She isn't as flashy as others, such as Rena, she keeps her body tighter, keeps her hands close to her body, and it works for her. She stands conservatively, but when she connects, she will open and throw combos.

Nguyen uses a very under-appreciated punch and that's the jab. She throws the jab constantly and will throw it to the head and body. She won't switch her stances often, but her footwork is light, and she can engage, and back out quickly. She is a defensive fighter. She doesn't take control of the ring necessarily but she shows no signs of discomfort either.

Nguyen will push the tempo by using her movements and throwing the jab. She's a busy fighter and will fight all the way to the end. 

Andy Nguyen vs Miyuu Yamamoto

Rena Kubota vs Andy Nguyen

This matchup is stellar and will end an explosive event with one more bang. The styles couldn't be any more different. Usually, when two strikers go at it, their styles don't clash this much, it's usually when a striker vs a grappler you see such a clash in style.

Every strike Rena throws comes hard and fast, Nguyen will need to avoid these strikes as often as possible and not tie up with Rena. Rena's throws are devastating and can end a clinch in a hurry. Nguyen will need to slow this fight down to get a hold of it. She will need to get Rena frustrated, which hasn't happened yet. Rena will do what she does, a lot of movements, a lot of weaving in and out, and strikes from every angle possible.

If Nguyen is planning on getting this fight on the ground, she will need to shoot fast and follow through as quickly as possible. Rena's throws can come from anywhere and can make any preparation useless.

Rena vs Andy Nguyen is like night and day. They are both strikers, but outside of that, they don't have a lot in common. Nguyen had an impressive three-fight winning streak before taking a disappointing loss. She knows she has a tough job ahead of her, but she won't back down. Fighting Rena isn't the best matchup for her, but she isn't completely out of it. Being patient is Nguyen's ultimate key to victory, and her ability to disengage will have to come into play.

Rena will just need to fight her fight. She will push the tempo, she will bring the heat with her strikes that will come at a high volume. Rena has more Rizin experience, she's been fighting for a long time, she is her own x-factor. 

It's hard to prepare for a fighter with the skill set that Rena has, but top it off with fight IQ, and an endless toolset, and it's hard to see Nguyen winning this fight. An outcome other than Rena by knockout is hard to imagine. This one could go a few rounds before it happens though, Nguyen is battle tested, she won't go down without a fight.

  1. Who do you think will win this fight?

    1. Rena
    2. Andy "The CrAsian" Nguyen
    3 votes
    Share Your Result

Rizin is an exciting event, and is unique. If you haven't seen one, please do yourself a favor and check it out. What events are you looking most forward to? How do you feel about the match up for the main event? Let us know in the comments!

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Kyle Combs

MMA is my favorite sport. I have been a part of the sport for years, spectating and competing. Women's MMA is where my hearts at and I am excited to write about it and share my insight. Reach out on social media, I look forward to meeting and talking with new people!

Rizin Fighting World GP 2017: Main event preview and prediction

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