Rena Kubota on Miyuu Yamamoto rematch in Rizin 32 main event

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Rena Kubota and Miyuu Yamamoto will test their skills again in a rematch. The sequel bout transpires in the main event of Rizin 32 on November 20th. This prizefight goes down at Okinawa Arena in Okinawa, Japan.

I spoke with Rena ahead of this super atomweight rematch. Excerpts from our chat are below.

Rena Kubota

The hiatus from competition and the excitement with returning to the ring:

“This will be a fight for me after about over a year. So I’m kind of nervous because it’s been such a long time since I last fought. But I’m also very motivated. And I’m enjoying this feeling right now. So I feel great.”

The reasoning behind the competitive dormancy:

“Yes, I think COVID is the major factor here. I was getting ready to fight. I could have fought any time but my opponents, the conditions, the terms. It’s just the timings that didn’t come about to be right. So that’s why it took so long.”

When the Miyuu Yamamoto rematch popped up on Rena’s radar:

“So I got the idea of this offer about two or three months ago. So I’ve known about it for quite some time. And we’ve always fought in the same division. I think it was inevitable for us to fight again. It was just natural for this rematch to happen. And I figured that this was the right time and this was the time to take the fight. So here we are.”

If Rena or Rizin overall are looking at this Rizin 32 bout as a title eliminator at super atomweight:

“Obviously the current champion (Ayaka) Hamasaki is my teammate. So I haven’t really thought about fighting her. I haven’t really thought about details in fighting her. But for me, my biggest motivation is that I want to challenge fighting in the US again. And so I put more weight on that aspect rather than fighting my teammate.”

If a return to Bellator MMA is in the cards for Rena Kubota in the future:

“So obviously, my priority is Rizin. And with that being said, Bellator has the best relationship with Rizin. They were kind enough to have me fight once. And I wasn’t able to win on that challenge. So for me, yeah, I would think that Bellator would be the platform if I ever would get a chance. But in terms of revenge, I would like to fight on that platform and get a win.”

Rizin

Rena-Yamamoto in September 2016 being at such an early point in their respective development and the key differences between each leading into the second showdown:

“Back then we were both still very green in the sport. And it was more of a striker versus grappler dynamic. I was able to sneak in a surprise submission. And that’s what got me the win. But after all these years, I think that both of us have evolved as MMA fighters. And I think this fight will be more of an MMA fighter versus an MMA fighter. And I think what’s going to be most important for this fight is going to be the game plan heading into this fight. What kind of game plan are we both going to have?”

“And for me, I do believe that I’ve kind of developed my MMA style as an MMA fighter, but my bread and butter is striking. So I would really like to utilize that. But depending on the game plan, I might go for another surprise submission. So with all that said, I’m very excited to see how this fight is gonna turn out. How long it’s gonna be, I don’t know.”

Rena’s competitive plans being amended after a previous article stated that she had two or three more fights left:

“I’ve been training hard, and I’ve been training a lot of new things lately. I’ve been having fun doing it and I can still feel myself growing and progressing. So maybe I exaggerated a little bit when I said two or three more fights. Right now, I know that I feel that I’m still growing and progressing. I’m having fun doing it. So as long as there are people who are out there who want to see me fight, I think I can continue a little bit longer than I thought.”

Rizin 32

Seo Hee Ham leaving for ONE Championship and possibly running back their Shoot Boxing series in an MMA context:

“I personally love Ham as a fighter. I’ve always wanted to fight her if the opportunity was given. Obviously right now, because she’s in a different organization. It might be hard. But if the opportunity is presented I would take that fight in a heartbeat. I would love to do that.”

Rena’s desire for a third Kanna Asakura bout and wanting her first win in an 0-2 series:

“So obviously, a lot is going to depend on how this fight goes. So I think that this revenge, this rematch with Kanna Asakura would make more sense if it wasn’t Rizin asking me for the fight. But if I earned myself to go for the revenge for the third time against Kanna Asakura. That would be the perfect scenario.”

Rizin FF

Andy Souwer being a huge influence on her combat career and her thoughts on Souwer’s recent retirement:

“I grew up watching Andy fight. I loved his walkouts and I’ve always been wanting to be a fighter who can get the crowd excited just by walking out. And that’s kind of what I’ve aimed for ever since I’ve turned pro. My go-to move, the left body shot, is also one of the moves that Andy Souwer would go to and utilize in the fight. I’ve always wanted to finish fights with that left body shot. Everything that I am right now as a fighter, my basics are based off of Andy. He’s funny, he’s very considerate. I look at him as an older brother and as family. So that’s the kind of figure who Andy is.”

Parting thoughts for Rena Kubota:

“Thank you so much for your time, Dylan. I know this fight is in Japan, but I plan to put on an impact that would cross the sea and make everybody in the United States excited. So please root for me. Thank you.”

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