One of the best strawweight prospects in the world is headed back to the sideline.
Japan’s Mizuki Inoue has been forced out of her Invicta 26 bout with once-beaten prospect Janaisa Morandin. Invicta Fighting Championships announced Inoue’s withdrawal from the bout on Monday via its website. Reasons behind her subtraction were not disclosed.
Morandin will now face fellow Brazilian Kinberly Tanaka Novaes on the card instead. Invicta 26 is scheduled for Dec. 8 at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Mo., headlined by a flyweight title bout between champion Jennifer Maia and undefeated challenger Aga Niedzwiedz. The event airs live on UFC Fight Pass.
With the change in booking, undefeated grappling ace Mackenzie Dern’s promotional debut against former Invicta 115-pound title challenger Kaline Medeiros has promoted to co-main event status.
Inoue, 23, made her professional debut seven years ago as a 16-year-old teenager. She came to prominent attention in her 2014 and 2015 bouts with current Ultimate Fighting Championship standouts Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Alexa Grasso, losing close and exciting decisions at Invicta 9 and 11 respectively. The karate exponent is 4-0 since the February 2015 Grasso loss, but suffered a torn ACL in September 2016 that has kept her from the cage this year. Inoue has not fought since a second-round armbar of Lynn Alvarez 16 months ago.
Morandin, also 23, racked up a 9-0 record to earn her promotional contract, but failed to make the 105-pound atomweight limit for her scheduled bout with Jinh Yu Frey for Invicta 22. “The Evil Princess” made her Invicta debut proper at 115 pounds, losing a unanimous decision to former champion and recent UFC signee Livia Renata Souza.
Novaes last fought on May 28 under the Pancrase banner, losing a five-round unanimous decision to strawweight Queen of Pancrase Syuri Kondo, another recent UFC acquisition. The 26-year-old understudy of Cristiano Marcello also owns a May 2015 win over former UFC title challenger Jessica Andrade.