While she may not be as familiar a name to American MMA fans as fellow Japanese stars Hitomi Akano or Megumi Fujii, Ayaka Hamasaki will get her opportunity to shine on the US stage as part of Saturday’s Invicta FC 2 in Kansas City, Kan.
“I am looking forward to this, and I am so happy I am able to fight in America,” Hamasaki told MMAWeekly.com.
“It’s going to be a long trip so I am going to make sure I won’t get exhausted from the flight and will be in a best condition on the day of the fight.”
Hamasaki was originally going to fight Jasminka Cive, but she was forced off the card due to visa issues. Stepping in for Cive will be Ring of Fire veteran Lacy Schuckman.
While individual strategy may have changed, Hamasaki’s overall game plan remains the same in that she doesn’t “want to get into (Schuckman’s) rhythm, instead I want to control the fight in my way.”
Having never fought under the American unified MMA rules before, Hamasaki was asked how she feels she’ll be able to adjust Saturday night.
“(This may be the first time) I have to go to three rounds and also this is the first time I am fighting under the rules where elbow to the head is allowed, so I am bit concerned, but more than anything I am looking forward to enjoy this new environment,” replied Hamasaki.
“I have been training under the unified rules so it’s not going to be any problem.”
It wouldn’t be surprising if Hamasaki’s goal was to establish a 115-pound title in Invicta to go along with her belt in the Jewels promotion, but of right now, her focus is firmly affixed on Saturday night.
“For me, (an Invicta) title is not such an important issue right now, I just want to win first,” she said.
“I am so happy to be able to fight in front to fans in America. I am going to show my best, so please come and see my fight!”