Miyuu Yamamoto takes on Rena Kubota in the main event of Rizin 32 on November 20th. This sequel bout transpires at Okinawa Arena in Okinawa, Japan.
I spoke with Yamamoto ahead of this super atomweight rematch. Excerpts from our chat are below.
The camp leading into this consequential rematch
“My training partner, she is almost my weight. She’s like a perfect size and she’s a striker. She is fighting for Deep Jewels which is a very big MMA organization in Japan and she’s pretty cool. She’s really training hard and is a very good striker. And also, her ground is very good too. So I’m happy to get a very good training partner right now.”
When the offer for this sequel bout with Rena initially got on Miyuu’s radar
“I think it was a month ago. (Nobuyuki) Sakakibara told me. The first thing he told me was that it’s in Okinawa. I lived in Okinawa. It’s like my second home. So I really wanted to fight in Okinawa. So I asked him if I could fight in Okinawa. Then he gave me Rena (Kubota) and I said perfect. It’s gonna be big. I always wanted to fight her again. So it was perfect. Perfect timing. Perfect place. Everything was coming together perfectly.”
The biggest difference between both combatants since their first fight
“That fight I started MMA training like a month and a half before that fight. So I almost didn’t know anything about striking. I didn’t have any MMA skills. I was just a wrestler in the ring. And but now in the five years since, I’ve trained for everything. Like grappling, kickboxing, jiu-jitsu. So try to be an all-around MMA fighter. Rena (Kubota) too. Rena was a striker but she’s training wrestling and grappling. We both are becoming MMA fighters, all-rounders. So it’s going to be good. I’m so excited. We both have learned so much over the five years.”
The continuity with both Rena Kubota contests taking place in Okinawa
“Because right after I lost to Rena, me and my brother Kid (Yamamoto) we moved to Okinawa. Started training striking at the Boxing gym. That’s my second home for sure.”
Being a multi-time world champion in wrestling who was fresh to MMA and the learning curve with other skills
“Everything is new, it was very exciting. I learned so much every day. It feels like a long time ago. Just like when I started wrestling. Every day it’s just like that. So it feels fresh. I’m happy there’s so much fun every day. Even now, every day is awesome to me. I’m very lucky. Everyone talks about my age. But I don’t really feel anything about age. I don’t feel like I’m getting older. I just feel like I’m lucky that I’m still getting to train. Still doing what I love.”
The longevity she has had across multiple combative disciplines
“I don’t know how I maintained. But I trained a lot. Some people say when you get older, you have to be smart about it right? You can’t just push too hard. But I guess I’m born different. Being aggressive like a wrestler, I’m always training hard every day. So that’s my habit. So if I train hard, it builds my confidence. I have to train hard. So that’s what keeps me being healthy and staying sharp.”
Rizin Fighting Federation
That last fight against Ayaka Hamasaki for the Rizin super atomweight championship
“I didn’t even sweat. I couldn’t do anything that I wanted to do. So feels like I didn’t do anything in the fight. She didn’t give me any chance to attack her. Basically, she just blocked everything. She’s that high-level of a fighter. So yeah, that was a really good experience. But also, what did I do? I haven’t done anything. Yeah, I’m not gonna say that I may fight her again. But sometimes I think if I were to fight her my way, did I have any chance to beat her? But it happened already. I know it’s a good experience. But also it feels like I didn’t do anything. She’s that good.”
The experiences Miyuu Yamamoto had as a Canadian citizen and being the York University Lions wrestling coach
“I was the head coach for the woman’s team. Also, I competed too. So I was like a coach and a wrestler. I miss Toronto, I love there. I really love Toronto. Coaching is a very good experience for me. I always have been a wrestler. Competition, I love being a wrestler. I coached kids, but I never had a chance to coach adults. University or older kids. So you have to know all the small details to teach them. So it was a very, very good experience for me. I learned a lot about myself too, but also like wrestling. Others techniques I have to review and it was a really good experience. I miss my students, my wrestlers.”
Parting thoughts for Miyuu Yamamoto
“Well, thank you. Thank you for having me.”
I’ve been enamored with combat sports for as long as I can remember. I’ve hosted MMA talk shows Lights Out and Pure Fight Radio with featured guests like Jens Pulver, Roy Nelson, Miesha Tate, Mark Coleman, and more. I’ve been an MMA broadcaster for XFFC as well as BTC and have done play by play commentary on live pay per view on GFL as well as FITE TV. I’ve provided written, audio, and video content covering some of the biggest MMA promotions like Rumble in the Cage, Unified MMA, and King of the Cage. I’ve worked as a sports entertainment personality for over five years and given play-by-play or featured promotions of KSW, ONE Championship, TKO, and Invicta FC. My work can be found in the USA Today Sports affiliate MMA Torch, Cageside Press, MMA Sucka, and Liberty Multimedia.