It’s a trend that has peaked and faded a bit, but Japan has a tradition of big fight events (mixed martial arts, kickboxing, pro-wrestling, mixes of the three) on New Year’s Eve. This year, former Pride (the Japanese answer to UFC for a while) president Nobuyuki Sakakibara’s new (founded last fall) Rizin Fighting Federation has one of these events planned for December 31st. This raised eyebrows for matching top heavyweight fighter Gabi Garcia against 52 year-old retired pro-wrestler/MMA fighter and politician Shinobu Kandori.
That’s off (credited to Kandori suffering a rib injury in training), but the replacement isn’t necessarily an improvement.
6’2″ 245.2lb undefeated Gabrielle “Gabi” Garcia will now being taking on 5’6″, 158lb weeks-short-of-50 year old ex-pro-wrestler Yumiko Hotta. Hotta has a record of 5 wins, 4 losses. Her last night was a 2012 loss to Amanda Lucas, daughter of Star Wars creator George.
The Rizin FF event takes place on December 31st.
Garcia and Kandori
Amanda Lucas vs Yumiko Hotta