One of Japan’s rising stars is coming home.
According to a report from MMA Rising, DEEP Jewels lightweight (115-pound) champion Mizuki Inoue will make her first title defense against Emi “Kamikaze Angel” Fujino, Aug. 29. Deep Jewels confirmed the bout on their website.
Inoue is looking to rebound from back-to-back losses against Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Alexa Grasso. In both bouts, which won “Fight of the Night” honors, the Japanese prospect dropped close decisions to her opponent. She last appeared in August 2014 where she submitted Emi Tomimatsu to win the DEEP Jewels title. Like many young fighters, Inoue is going through a slump. She’s already proven that she can stand in the cage with the best 115-pound competitors in the sport, especially when fans see many Japanese fighters struggle to adapt to fighting in the United States. She just came off the bad end of two decisions.
If Inoue is looking for a solid victory to get back on the winning track, Fujino might be the perfect opponent as she’s already 2-0 against the Angel.
The two first squared off in 2010 when a 15-year-old Inoue picked up a decision win overFujino, who already had some MMA mileage but only one kickboxing match on her fight resume. The two met again in 2013 where Inoue defeated Fujino in the DEEP Jewels Grand Prix semifinals. Inoue would go on to face Tomimatsu in the finals where she failed to make weight for that fight, which resulted in a no contest.
Fujino has looked impressive as of late, winning her last three fights. She’s coming off a majority decision over the debuting Jeong Eun Park at Road FC in May. Her last two losses were against Inoue and World Series of Fighting champion and new UFC signee Jessica Aguilar. While Inoue is still considered new in the eyes of fans, this fight carries a lot of weight for Fujino. The Angel is already 0-3 in title fights and winning the DEEP Jewels crown would be a symbol of a successful second win, especially since it was against an opponent who she’s lost to twice.
Inoue is only 20 years old and she’s already won gold in kickboxing and MMA. A win over Fujino would be a nice feather in her cap and elevate her in the eyes of Japanese and hardcore MMA fans. I don’t think it would result in the UFC knocking on her door, but Invicta would certainly take an interest in bringing her back to the states and put her up against one of their top strawweights.