Rizin Fighting Federation returns this weekend with a 13-fight event that features the opening round of their openweight grand prix and some interesting superfights. In Japan, the name of the game is broadcast television, and Rizin secured their timeslot on Fuji TV by acquiring the services of Miyu Yamamoto.
The former multiple-time world champion freestyle wrestler is part of a famous wrestling family. In addition to herself, her sister Seiko is also a world champion, her father Ikuei represented Japan at the 1972 Olympics, and her son Asen and brother Norifumi “Kid” are also MMA fighters.
Yamamoto recently turned 42 years old, which is certainly not the ideal age to begin an MMA career. Her three world championships came in 1991, 1994 and 1995. However, she has been competing at a high level in wrestling throughout 2016. Yamamoto hoped to make the 2016 Canadian Olympic team at 53 kg, but failed to make the team.
At the 2016 Senior Canadian Championships, Yamamoto went 4-2 and ended up finishing in fifth place. Her two losses came against eventual champion Samantha Stewart and third place finisher Brianne Barry. In those two matches, Yamamoto scored only one takedown on 16 committed attempts. However, all of her other matches were won by either technical superiority or pin fall. She finished the tournament with a 88.43 Wrestler’s Pythagorean Expectation.
Yamamoto’s wrestling background should serve her well against Rena Kubota. With a background in Shootboxing, instead of regular kickboxing, Kubota does have experience dealing with takedowns. However, in her fight against Jessica Penne, she was taken down 16 times in a 15-minute fight. In three UFC fights, Penne has only landed four takedowns.
The following are videos of Yamamoto at the 2016 Senior Canadian Championships via 49 North Wrestling.
Miyu Yamamoto vs. Kaitlin Kucharski
In the opening round of the tournament, Yamamoto quickly scores a takedown and works for the fall. She needed only 1:40 to move onto the next round