Lisa Ward, Cindy Hales, and Edge were the three additional names announced for the World ReMix Lightweight tournament scheduled to begin on February 14th at Korakuen Hall. In addition to undefeated Megumi "Mega Megu" Fujii and Michelle Tavarez from Brazil, these three girls are confirmed so there are only three spots left in this eight-woman tournament that would continue onto the semi-finals in April and end with the final in July. Other entries for this tournament will be announced soon.
What’s interesting about this tournament is that the current Smack Girl champion at this weight division, Yuka Tsuji is not going be entered. She is just going to sit and watch which means basically she is the queen so she gets to enjoy watching who would win the right to challenge her title. Yes, Yuka has been the only regular of the Smack Girl shows, and she is the biggest star of Smack Girl. When the other fighters are going around fighting in different organizations, Yuka keeps her place only in Smack Girl. Therefore it make every sense that Smack is treating Yuka as the best and the story here is that everyone has to fight to claim the right to challenge her including 13-0 Mega Megu. Now is this because Smack Girl rules will not allow fighter to strike to the head on the ground and fighters like Megumi, Lisa Ward, Cindy Hales and Michelle Tavarez are more used to fights under regular MMA rules, the same as men’s MMA? It’s a different game so all these girls are considered less experienced than Tsuji? Does this sound right? Megumi, Lisa, Cindy and Michelle often fight at 125 lbs while Smack Girl’s lightweight division is at under the 52 kg (114.64 lbs) But this tournament will be held under Smack Girl rules so its a different game?
Megumi, at the press conference held last week at Tokyo Fitness Shop in Suidoubashi, told the reporters, "When I heard Smack Girl is gathering strong fighters form all over the world, I decided to enter this tournament. I would like to be able to say ‘It was a breeze’ with a smile after the tournament, so I am going to keep training hard with my team mate (Hitomi) Akano." Both Lisa and Cindy released statements via Smack Girl and they were all about Megumi. Lisa is hoping to "Take the revenge in the tournament final" and Cindy said, "I like her fight style and I respect her so I would love to fight her. In the professional grappling tournament I took an ippon from Felicia Oh, who has defeated Fujii in the ADCC." Megumi talked about two fighters she has faced in the past, "Michelle’s punch was so hard that you just want to look away and she is physically strong. Lisa’s strength is different from Michelle’s. She has got this explosive instantaneous force. She fights with a little too much reliance on her power, but she has got every element necessary for MMA."
On the same day, Smack Girl announced two more additional entries for the open-weight tournament and they are Hitomi Akano from AACC and Atsuko Emoto from team Togyu / Sora. This is going to be a six-woman tournament and the two first round bouts with Akano and Emoto would take place in this February show and then two more non-Japanese fighters will be added in the semi-final bouts in the April 25th show. Akano attended the press conference; "Last year I got a few losses in a row so I want to stick up good wins and make this year a good year. I would like to fight fighters who defeated me overseas in Japan. I can condition myself better here than overseas."
SMACKGIRL WORLD ReMix TOURNAMENT 2008 Opening Round
Thursday February 14th, 2008
At Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
For lightweight tournament – Megumi Fujii (Japan / AACC), Michelle Tavarez (Brazil / Nova Uniao), Edge (Japan / Angura), Lisa Ward (U.S.A. / United Fight Team), Cindy Hales (U.S.A. / Gracie Barra Seattle), Kyoko Takabayashi (Japan / ALIVE), Saori Ishioka (Japan / Karate Zendo-kai)
For Open-weight tournament – Hitomi Akano (Japan / AACC), Atsuko Enomoto (Japan / Freelance)
PIC: (from left to right) Hitomi Akano, Megumi Fujii, and Atsuko Emoto.