Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Gabi Garcia Has New Opponent For Rizin New Year’s Show

Gabrielle Garcia’s fight against 52 year old Shinobu Kandori, a Japanese politician and former pro-wrestler, is off. That hasn’t, however, changed the controversial nature of the bout. The hulking Garcia will now face 49 year old Yumiko Hotta at the New Year’s Eve show hosted at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

Hotta, herself a former pro wrestler with an MMA record of 5-4, has not won a fight since 1998. She last competed against Amanda Lucas, daughter of Star Wars creator George Lucas, in 2012 under the Deep banner. Hotta will give up a massive amount of size to Garcia, who has fought between 215 and and 245 pounds. Japan’s Hotta, on the other hand, clocks in at about 160lbs. She has remained active in pro wrestling, and has a background in Karate.

Interestingly, Garcia will not be the largest woman Hotta has faced during her MMA career. In a July 1995 tournament she took on Russia’s Svetlana Goundarenko, a judoka who competed at 330lbs.

Garcia, 3-0 as a pro thus far in her MMA career, picked up gold medals on multiple occasions between 2008 and 2014 at the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Championship. She has fought exclusively in Rizin FF to date. Her last win came by submission (Americana) against Destanie Yarbrough this past September.

The booking of the 31 year old jiu-jitsu champion Garcia against a 52 year old opponent raised eyebrows when it was announced earlier this year. Recent matches involving the likes of Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock, and Tsuyoshi Kosaka have seen older fighters return to action. However in those cases, fighters were paired up with opponents closer to their own age. The opponent switch here will also nothing to alleviate the concern for fighter safety, as Hotta is just weeks shy of her fiftieth birthday.

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