Earlier this week at a press conference for UFC Japan, the match-up between Miesha Tate and Rin Nakai was made official. This will mark the debut for the undefeated Rin Nakai and will be a high profile fight for Miesha. As Rin may be unknown to a lot of fans, I have decided to write about the upcoming fight.
Let's start by analyzing their records. Without a doubt, Miesha has the more impressive record. Miesha has fought several ranked opponents and took Ronda farther than Ronda has ever been before. The impression going into the fight will probably be that Miesha is a proven top tier fighter, whereas Rin has faced a bunch of nobodies. There is a hint of truth to this, but it isn't as drastic as it may seem. Of Rin's 17 opponents, 7 have losing records. Of Miesha's 19 opponents 6 have losing records. Rin has 8 wins against opponents with winning records and while Miesha has faced 13 opponents with winning records she only won in 9 of those fights. So while Miesha has the more impressive record, Rin's accomplishments should not be diminished to the level of saying she has only fought cans. Especially considering her last 3 victories.
Having once bore the nickname "Takedown", it is pretty obvious what Miesha's background and game plan is going into most fights. Having been a solid wrestler since high school, Miesha has developed an aggressive grappling style that allows her to work for submissions and ground and pound. A look at fight metric reveals that Miesha has landed 37% of her takedowns during her career and that she lands 2.95 takedowns per 15 minutes on average. Landing a little less than half of her takedowns, Miesha aggressively goes for the takedown and usually eventually gets it. Recently, she has tended to utilize her striking more then go for the takedown. Her striking isn't terrible and going into this fight she will enjoy not only a reach/height advantage but a skill advantage in that department.
Like Miesha, Rin has been involved in martial arts since a young age. Rin was 5th in the All-Japan Judo tournament in Middle School, was ranked 3rd in High School and went to college with the hope of going to the Olympics until an injury sidelined her for awhile. Using her Judo, Rin likes to take her opponents down and either TKO them or submit them with armlocks. Rin is also a short and powerful fighter. A benefit of this is her low center of gravity which makes it harder to take her down. In addition to having a low center of gravity, Rin has worked with Seiko Yamamoto, 4x's World Wrestling Champion, in the past so her takedown defense should be pretty good. An interesting side note going into this fight is that Miesha has faced an Olympic Judoka twice before, so we will get to see if that experience will help her. Her aggressive striking played right into Ronda's Judo in their last fight so it should be interesting to see if she repeats that. As far as Rin's striking goes, she tends to circle her opponents, throw some kicks, maybe throw a one of shot punch or knee. Her height works against her in this department. In her toughest fights to date, she was stunned by her opponents but recovered well. She strikes in order to get into clinching range so she can take people down.
A video of Rin Nakai showing some Judo Throws
Strikeforce Women's Bantamweight Champion
Strikeforce Women's Bantamweight Tournament Winner
FCF Bantamweight Champion
2008 FILA No-Gi Silver Medalist
2008 FILA World Team Trials Women's Gi Winner
2009 FILA Women's Team Trials Runner-Up
2005 WIAA State Champion
2005 WIAA All-State
First Queen of Pancrase
All Japan Middle School Judo 5th
Ranked #3 in HighSchool