It’s one thing to win a championship, but it’s another to defend it.
Japanese prospect Mizuki Inoue learned this important lesson this past Saturday when she successfully defended her DEEP-Jewels strawweight championship against Emi Fujino.
Inoue spent most of the fight countering “The Kamikazee Angel’s” offense with her own combinations. In the second round, Inoue prevented a guillotine choke attempt from Fujino when the two went to the canvas. The champion’s dominance continued into the third stanza when she landed several jab-cross combinations. All three judges awarded the fight to Inoue.
This is good for the 21-year-old prospect, who came into the fight with back-to-back decision losses in the Invicta cage – in bouts where she earned “Fight of the Night” performance bonuses. One of those bouts was against Alexa Grasso, who is set to challenge Livia Renata Souza for the Invicta 115-pound championship.
Before Grasso came into the scene, some fans looked at Inoue as a possible contender for the Invicta belt. In 2013, she impressed audiences with her performance against Bec Rawlings. Inoue spent the rest of 2013 and part of 2014 in her native homeland, competing for the DEEP-Jewels strawweight title. She defeated Fujino in the semifinals of the DEEP-Jewels Strawweight Grand Prix. In the finals, she submitted Emi Tomimatsu and would have been declared champion had she not failed to make weight before the fight. She would fight Tomimatsu in February, once again submitting her to win the championship.
With her first successful title defense under her belt, Inoue is primed for a return to the Invicta cage. If Grasso defeats Souza for the title, we could see a rematch between her and the DEEP-Jewels champion for the Invicta strap.