The last time mainland American fight fans got to see veteran Japanese fighter Hitomi “Girlfight Monster” Akano was two years ago as part of Strikeforce’s 135-pound women’s grand prix. To Akano, it doesn’t seem like that long ago, though she admits, much has changed since then.
“It’s been two years,” inquired Akano. “I didn’t even realize that tournament was such a long time ago.
“During that time I believe the 135-pound ranking has changed a lot, so in today’s MMA, everything moves very fast.”
While it’s been so long since she’s been on the mainland, Akano fought in Hawaii in a losing effort to Sarah McMann in January.
“Against Sarah I believe I lacked in the offensive department,” said Akano. “After all, I have to attack, and then create a situation where I feel comfortable, and I believe that would lead me to the victory.”
Coincidentally, Akano will be fighting on the undercard of McMann’s next fight at the second installment of Invicta FC on Saturday night in Kansas City, Kan. To Akano, having such a veteran fighter in the company is a situation that can be both beneficial to her and the promotion.
“I have to make sure I will be fully prepared, then I have to give everything I got to defeat the opponent, and that is what fighter must do for the promotion,” Akano told MMAWeekly.com.
Akano’s opponent on July 28 will be fellow Strikeforce veteran Alexis Davis. Akano feels she’s analyzed Davis well prior to the bout, but truly won’t know where the two stand skill-wise until afterwards.
“From watching her fights I feel she is very good at positioning herself to an advantage,” said Akano of Davis. “Also, she looks like she has a strong heart.
“In terms of what areas of my game is superior to hers that is something I can analyze after I win this fight.”
At 37 years old, with nearly a decade in the sport, Akano knows she’s in the twilight of her career, but should things go her way on Saturday night, one last run at gold could very well be in her future.
“Considering my age, I feel I cannot continue for a long time, but if I can get an opportunity to fight for the title of course I will go for that,” she said.
“Davis is without a doubt an excellent fighter; therefore I am looking forward to this fight. And I believe this fight will be something fans can feel the heat so please support this fight and Invicta.”