In three weeks time, RIZIN Fighting Federation returns with a loaded RIZIN 18 fight card. The card is now complete with the addition of Ai Shimizu (4-1) in what will be the shows thirteenth bout.
Fighting out of the world-famous KRAZY BEE gym, Ai Shimizu will return to the ring to take on Tabatha Watkins (3-2) of the United States.
The 29-year-old Shimizu is a 5’1 sparkplug who is finally beginning to come into her own as an MMA fighter, having won three-straight. Upon losing in the semi-finals of the Fighting Agent War 50kg tournament in early December of last year, Shimizu was prepared for a quick turnaround as she took a bout in RIZIN later that month on December 30.
At RIZIN’s Yarennoka! show late last year, Ai Shimizu made her promotional debut against a Japanese music star in Nanaka Kawamura, who had recently become a star in Japan’s DEEP JEWELS organization. Despite being tagged with an undeniably clean shot early, Shimizu got the takedown early, transitioned to mount, and pummelled Kawamura from the mount position for the merciful stoppage about three-minutes into the opening round.
In the next six-months, the KRAZY BEE rep competed twice at back-to-back DEEP JEWELS shows. Taking out Sae Kokuho with punches in 68-seconds before submitting Sayuri Yamaguchi in June. The Tokyo, Japan native is fast becoming a bit of a star on the Japanese scene, and she;s ready for her second RIZIN appearance in August.
Ai Shimizu had this to say following the RIZIN 18 bout announcement;
“I am very excited to be able to test my skills against someone who has fought in Bellator. I know this will be my toughest challenge yet. This will be my first international opponent, so I’ve been able to train with great motivation. I will work hard to be able to finish my fight, and I appreciate all support!”
Opposite the well-rounded Japanese fighter will be Tabatha Watkins (3-2), fighting out of Michigan. “Batgirl” has lost two-straight bouts. This includes a Bellator MMA bout against Lindsey VanZandt back in February. Watkins went on to lose by knockout before losing by knockout yet again at a regional show in April.
Tabitha “Batgirl” Watkins had this to say regarding her upcoming RIZIN debut;
“The opportunity to fight for RIZIN is a dream come true for me. I said that this year would be the year that everyone starts to know my name, and being on one of the biggest stages in the world in from of arguably the greatest fans in the world will be amazing. One of the biggest reasons I do this is to travel the world making lasting memories and inspiring others to chase their dream. My fight persona is ‘Batgirl’, and I feel that I will bring some extra interest to the fans in Japan.”
RIZIN 18 is scheduled to take over the Dolphins Arena in Nagoya, Japan on August 18. In the main event, RIZIN and Bellator champion Kyoji Horiguchi takes on rising star Kai Asakura. The card will also feature RIZIN champion Ayaka Hamasaki, Takeya Mizugaki as he makes his promotional debut against Manel Kape, DEEP champion Haruo Ochi taking on a debuting UFC veteran in Jarred Brooks, the 100th career fight for John Wayne Parr, and so much more.
Check out the full, complete card below. Be sure to order the show on FITE TV for lifetime replay access to RIZIN 18!
Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Kai Asakura
Kanna Asakura vs. Alesha Zappitella
Manel Kape vs. Takeya Mizugaki
John Wayne Parr vs. Danilo Zanolini – KB
Hirota Uesako vs. Yves Landu
Takaki Soya vs. Yutaro Muramoto
Ayaka Hamasaki vs. Suwanan Boonsorn
Haruo Ochi vs. Jarred Brooks
Victor Henry vs. Trent Girdham
Kazuma Sone vs. Justin Scoggins
Ruji Horio vs. Uchu Sakurai – KB
Ai Shimizu vs. Tabitha Watkins
Takiya Shota vs. Kazuki Osaki – KB