At the tender age of 20, Mizuki Inoue is already being courted by the UFC and is ranked as one of the top women’s 115-pound fighters in the world, but, despite the abundant positives, 2014 has turned out to be a frustrating year.
She has lost two out of her three fights, but Inoue was hindered firstly by misfortune, when dropping a split decision to Karolina Kowalkiewicz in her recent Invicta outing, and secondly, some promotional madness with Deep ruling that her submission win over Emi Tomimatsu should be ruled a loss because she missed weight.
However, Inoue is not complaining about either outcome and says she does not feel she did enough to justify getting the nod from the judges at Invicta FC 9.
“I was able to stick with my fight style, but I am not satisfied with my performance. I think the decision was right all the way to the smallest details and I have accepted it.”
The “loss” to Tomimatsu was a fight that Inoue actually finished with an armbar in the third round, but she had come in 0.5 kilograms over weight, so Deep somehow ruled that the win should be awarded to the fighter who tapped out.
Undeterred, Inoue accepted an immediate rematch, made weight, and then finished Tomimatsu with exactly the same submission in exactly the same round. The circumstances might be somewhat different, but she is confident she will bounce back from her Invicta loss in a similar style.
“In the past, I remember when I lost a fight I looked back, studied what I did wrong, and came back strong; so at this point of my career, I am not too worried about a loss on the record.”
It is an open secret that the UFC has been courting Inoue for quite some time, but for her coach, Chairman Sadanori Yamaguchi, patience is the watchword and he explains why he doesn’t want his protégée competing inside the Octagon just yet.
“I think, if Mizuki goes to UFC now, she would do okay, but UFC is the place where you need to produce a result because it’s where world’s best fighters are competing. So I need to make sure Mizuki can win in the Octagon because I heard that UFC do release fighters when you lose two or three in a row and once you are released usually it’s very had to get back in there.”
His logic is that the split-decision loss to Kowalkiewicz would have been much more damaging to Inoue’s career prospects if it had occurred on a UFC show, and Yamaguchi wants to see her get more fights under her belt before signing with the big show.
“Mizuki just turned 20 and I don’t want her to rush into UFC and get released while she is young. I want to get her more experience and I believe the experience Mizuki can gain from fighting is more important than keeping a clean record.”
Despite dropping to 8-3, Inoue remains a blue-chip prospect and it seems to be a matter of when, not if, she decides to sign with the UFC, but her main ambition right now is to avenge this latest defeat.
“I would love to get a rematch with Karolina, even immediately, because I can learn so much from fighting such a strong fighter.”
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