Asian MMA

RIZIN Atomweight Grand-Prix Semi-Finals Announced

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After some very impressive showings in the quarter-finals, two more rounds remain in RIZIN’s Women’s Atomweight Grand-Prix.

All fighters who earned their spot in the semis did so in highly impressive fashion prior to their return on December 31.

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RIZIN Atomweight Grand-Prix Semi-Finals Announced

In the quarter-finals, fighters like Rena Kubota and Kanna Asakura showcased their already established dominance. But some newcomers like Maria Oliveira and Irene Cabello made their mark as well.

It’s now time for the semi-finals! Check out the match-ups below!

Kanna Asakura (9-2) vs. Maria Oliveira (10-2)

After a loss to Josh Barnett prodigy Alyssa Garcia last December, Asakura has since competed five times in 2017. Four of those are MMA fights under the RIZIN and DEEP JEWELS banners, with the other being a grappling match.

She picked up a dominant win over Aleksandra Toncheva at RIZIN 2017 in Yokohama this past April. And, of course, picked up the big win over Saori Ishioka to earn her placement in the tournament in August. Asakura faced Polish striker Sylwia Juśkiewicz in the quarter-finals, and she dominated. At only 20-years-old, the sky is the limit for Kanna Asakura. However, this December she meets another 20-year-old prospect.

Though relatively unknown, Oliveira has been absolutely red-hot as of late. She has won nine-straight since January of 2016, with all but three of those victories coming by way of finish. Along the way, she won the A&FC Strawweight Title.

She made her RIZIN debut in October and dominated Josh Barnett prodigy, Alyssa Garcia. Her striking was very Anderson Silva-esque in execution, and she looked spectacular. Late in the fight, Garcia had her in a couple dangerous submission attempts but failed to get the job done.

When Asakura and Oliveira meet in the RIZIN ring, it’s a classic striker vs. grappler in a very intriguing semi-final match-up.

Rena Kubota (5-0) vs. Irene Cabello (7-4)

Young Japanese star RENA has fought the entirety of her MMA career in RIZIN and has gone undefeated since making her debut in December of 2015. Her last MMA win came in April when she defeated XFCi strawweight tournament semi-finalist Dóra Perjés. Since then, she has fought shoot-boxing. Most notably taking out Jleana Valentino last month. Funnily enough, the Italian was also her first fight in RIZIN.

In the tournament quarter-final, she finished former KOTC title-holder Andy Nguyen via signature bodyshot KO in the first round.

Spanish submission artist “La Niña” Irene Cabello enters the contest having lost three in-a-row if you include her TUF 23 loss to Kate Jackson. In May of last year, she lost to Celine Haga by first round submission. She followed that up with another loss at the hands of Danella Eliasov at EFC 56 in December.

Cabello ended the losing streak in October, however. Submitting fan-favorite Miyuu Yamamoto with an armbar in the quarter-finals of RIZIN’s atomweight tournament.

These semi-finals will take place on December 31. The two winners will meet in the finals that same night.


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