by Benoit Barberousse, MMAWeekly.com
The final tournament bouts in Smackgirl’s annual Next Cinderella tournament have been announced. In the Flyweight (48KG/106LB) finals, Madoka Ebihara will meet Maho Muranami, while in the Lightweight tournament final, V Hajime will face Emi Tomimatsu.
Muranami’s final round appearance may exonerate a career of losing to the stars, having lost to the likes of Yasuko Tamada, Masako Yoshida, and Misaki Takimoto. Ebihara will do her best to erase the memories of the brutal TKO lost to Wakako Sunayama which inaugurated her fight life, as uneventful decisions on Mamiko Mizoguchi and Sachi weren’t strong enough solvents.
The real star in this year’s tournament has been pro-wrestling convert V Hajime. Hajime has impressed in her tournament victories over Tomoe-Gumi’s Anna Saito, catching her in a rear naked choke in the first round after outstriking the Yabushita student, and Saori Ishioka, whom she secured a kneebar over. Hajime’s aggressive style has caught the attention of Smackgirl fans and enters the final round a favorite over Emi Tomimatsu.
In the Middleweight division of the tournament, Benkei will be awarded the title of Next Cinderella tournament champion as fellow finalist Miyuki Ariga would not be able to compete due to injury.
The final round bouts join an already swollen card featuring big match-ups in the Women’s MMA world: One of the best of her time thus far, Lightweight Champion Yuka Tsuji will finally get a chance to revenge her sole career loss against Brazil’s top female fighter, Anna Michelli Tavares; Middleweight Champion Hitomi Akano will face arch-rival Takayo Hashi in a highly anticipated bout; Openweight Champion Yoko Takahashi will face the enigmatic SUPER GIRLS Tournament winner HIROKO in a defense of her title; and Mai combats Ayumi Saito n the final round of the KILLER QUEEN tourney to determine the number one contender to Satoko Shinashi’s Flyweight strap.
Smackgirl: Queens’ Hottest Summer
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
-Yuka Tsuji vs. Anna Michelli Tavares
-Hitomi Akano vs. Takayo Hashi
-Yoko Takahashi vs. HIROKO
-Maho Muranami vs. Madoka Ebihara
-V Hajime vs Emi Tomimatsu
-Mai vs. Ayumi Saito
Also Scheduled to Fight: