Gabi Garcia, Miyuu Yamamoto return at RIZIN 14
The news around RIZIN 14 continues! Last month, the announcements started rolling out. From Floyd Mayweather vs. Tenshin Nasukawa to Ayaka Hamasaki vs. Kanna Asakura, and Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Darrion Caldwell. The card seriously began to take shape, and we aren’t done yet.
A week after announcing a surprise Yarennoka! card that will act as a precursor to RIZIN 14 – then announcing the first bouts for that show – the promotion has gone back to making fights official for the already loaded RIZIN 14 fight card. This time it’s a pair of women’s bouts.
Gabi Garcia will return to the ring against newly signed ROAD FC kickboxer Barbara Nepomuceno as Miyuu Yamamoto faces the veteran Mika Nagano.
Gabi Garcia vs. Barbara Nepomuceno
The 6’2 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace is back as Gabi Garcia (5-0, 1NC) will return to Japan on NYE for the first time in two years. The rare female heavyweight has encountered plenty of criticism throughout her MMA run, but that doesn’t take away from the fact she is a truly world-class grappler with an undefeated record in the sport of MMA.
In 2015, as part of RIZIN’s inaugural double-header, Garcia made her MMA debut and knocked out Lei’D Tapa with a backfist, no spin needed. This set her up for a tremendous 2016 as she went 3-0 the next year, easily submitting undefeated fighters Anna Maliukova and Destanie Yarbrough before a bizarre contest against Yumiko Hotta. Her 2017 was less than stellar, however. Competing twice, once in MMA and the other in Shoot Boxing, both bouts ended in a No Contest. Earlier this year, in her first non-RIZIN mixed martial arts outing, Gabi Garcia made her ROAD FC debut and dominated Veronika Futina for a first-round submission win.
Opposite Gabi will be 5’8 kickboxer, Barbara Nepomuceno (0-0) of Brazil. In what will be her MMA debut, Nepomuceno has been eyeing this bout with Garcia for a while now, and she got her wish.
Barbara Nepomuceno, often referred to as “Babi,” is known for her punching power that she has utilized on numerous occasions to stop her opposition in kickboxing. In what is probably not the best news as she heads into a fight with a grappler of Gabi Garcia’s caliber; Nepomuceno has had some recurring leg injuries as of late. In early November she was stopped in a WGP kickboxing contest because of this. She also recently signed a contract with ROAD FC, much like Gabi Garcia. Presumably to fight MMA.
Mika Nagano vs. Miyuu Yamamoto
A solid addition to RIZIN’s growing atomweight roster, “Future Princess” Mika Nagano (16-10-1) will make her promotional debut on NYE after nearly a decade of being a big-time mainstay for DEEP JEWELS. Nagano has seen her stellar wrestling background go up against the likes of Megumi Fujii, Saori Ishoka, Seo Hee Ham, and Mei Yamaguchi, among others. Exchanging wins and losses in her last four outings, Mika Nagano looks to back on track in a huge way at RIZIN 14.
After winning four straight in a nine-month span in 2012 – 2013, Nagano lost to Emi Tomimatsu after defeating her previously. Following this loss, she took a three-year break from fighting. Since returning in 2016, she holds a record of 2-1. This includes having no fights in 2017 but competing in grappling matches against the likes of Yuko Saito and Kanna Asakura. Back in September, “Future Princess” easily submitted Izumi Noguchi before fighting to a draw vs. Tanja Hoffman earlier this month.
Nagano’s debut will be anything but easy, as across from her will be the 44-year-old Miyuu Yamamoto (3-3) of KRAZY BEE. Following a rough year one as a pro, amassing a record of 1-3, Yamamoto went on to win two-straight thus far in 2018. Both of these victories over quite high-caliber opposition.
Ten months after being forced to exit the RIZIN 2017 Atomweight Grand-Prix thanks to Irene Cabello, the “Fighting Queen” returned at RIZIN 11 and defeated MMA veteran Saori Ishioka in a highly-competitive grappling contest that saw the elite wrestler come out on top. Back in September, just weeks after the devastating loss of her legendary brother, Miyuu returned and dominated Andy Nguyen to avenge a previous loss to her in 2016. Despite being up there in age, Yamamoto appears to be in prime form right now.
RIZIN 14 goes down on December 31, live from the world-famous Saitama Super Arena in Japan. The main event sees Floyd Mayweather take on prodigy Tenshin Nasukawa.
RIZIN will also crown it’s first champions as Kyoji Horiguchi faces Bellator title-holder Darrion Caldwell for the inaugural RIZIN Bantamweight Championship.
Kanna Asakura and Ayaka Hamasaki compete to prove who is #1 at atomweight in a bout that will also crown an inaugural RIZIN title-holder.