Later tonight, on NBC Sports, #1 ranked Strawweight and WSOF Champion Jessica Aguilar (17-4) will be defending her title against the 10 year veteran of the sport Emi Fujino (13-7). This is a Championship match so it will be 5x5 minute rounds.
Jessica Aguilar announced her presence to the MMA world during her run in the Bellator 115lb tournament. Despite losing a contentious decision to Zoila Frausto, she went on to beat a who's who in the promotion including Carla Esparza, Lisa Ellis and Megumi Fujii. Following this initial success, Jag eventually became a victim to Bellator simply not utilizing their female fighters and was eventually released after Bellator released all of their female fighters. This has definitely worked in Jag's favor as she got the opportunity to fight in Megumi Fujii's retirement fight and is now the WSOF Champion. To say that she looked dominant in her title-winning effort would be an understatement, as she submitted the previously undefeated Alida Gray in under 3 minutes. With the UFC adding the Strawweight division, Jag is in an interesting position. However as long as she continues to look impressive against good opponents, she should retain her ranking. With 8 wins by submission and 2 by TKO, it is safe to say that Aguilar is a good boxer who prefers to finish it on the ground. 5 of those 8 submissions are chokes and 3 of those are arm-triangle chokes. Defensively, especially in her first fight with Fujii, we saw that Aguilar has no problem counter-punching and is very hard to takedown. If you get her down, it is hard to keep her there.
|Photo Courtesy of LadyGo!|
Emi Fujino has been a staple of the Japanese Martial Arts scene since her debut back in 2004. I say Martial Arts because she has also competed in Kickboxing and Shoot Boxing. When one looks at her record several things stick out. First would be a 2 year gap in her record where she did not fight. Fujino was in a bad car accident that forced her out of the sport for more than 2 years. Also, Fujino opened her career going 8-0 then all of a sudden lost 4 in a row. During an interview I asked her about it and she said it was because of her training. Since she wasn't losing she didn't change anything in her training and as a result she suffered for it. Since the 4 fight losing streak Fujino has gone 5-3. However this is in some ways deceptive. Her 3 losses were to Megumi Fujii, Ayaka Hamasaki and Mizuki Inoue, 3 of the best fighters in the world. Fujino admits to not being a technical fighter. She is a strong fighter who knows what she does well and forces her opponents to play her game. She likes to rush her opponents with strikes and then force them to the ground. She holds 6 victories by submission, most of which were either rear-naked chokes or neck-cranks. The questions that arise in relation to this fight with Fujino are that she has never fought a 5 round fight before. Her stamina normally looks good but a 5 round fight is a big step up for her.
I would give the technical edge to Aguilar. Aguilar has show a good jab and is an effective counter puncher which may work well against an aggressive Fujino. Fujino will try to turn it into a brawl and if she can, she will take the edge.
I would give the edge to Aguilar. Aguilar has impressive takedown defense and will be hard to take down. That being said Fujino has very good submission defense.
I give the edge to Fujino. Fujino is a very strong fighter. She is one of the few Japanese fighters that cut weight and it shows.
I would say it is equal. Neither fighter has noticeably gassed in a fight. This will be Fujino's first 5 round fight but I do not expect it to be an issue.
Both fighters have fought elite fighters throughout their career. This will be Fujino's first fight in the states so that may affect her but I don't think it will.
Fujino is a very tough fighter who is a grinder. If she can tire Aguilar out she will take over. Aguilar is the Champion for a reason and is a tough fighter as well.