Modafferi-Akano, ‘V.V Mei’ Join Jewels ‘15th Ring’ Lineup

By Chris Nelson Jun 6, 2011
Roxanne Modafferi and Hitomi Akano will get their chance to square off, albeit six months later than originally planned.

Japanese all-female promotion Jewels Monday announced the addition of a 135-pound bout between Modafferi and Akano (Pictured; file photo) to its July 9 “15th Ring” show at Shinjuku Face in Tokyo. The two Strikeforce veterans were slated to meet at Sengoku “Soul of Fight” on Dec. 30 before a stomach illness sidelined Modafferi on the day of the event.

Also made official for the July 9 bill was a 115-pound “Jewels vs. Valkyrie” matchup between surging South Korean Seo Hee Ham and Valkyrie ace “V.V” Mei Yamaguchi, as well as a 143-pound tilt pitting once-beaten Hiroko Yamanaka against Mongolian pro-wrestling convert Bolormaa “Esui” Erdenebileg. The bouts join a previously announced 115-pound contest between former Valkyrie champ Yuka Tsuji and Jewels standout Saori Ishioka.

Modafferi, 28, will look to rebound from her first back-to-back losses in five years. After being slammed unconscious in July 2010 by then-Strikeforce 135-pound champ Sarah Kaufman, the “Happy Warrior” returned on Feb. 26 to drop a hard-fought unanimous decision to Rosi Sexton at Cage Warriors Fighting Championship 40 in London. Modafferi’s most recent win came in May 2010, when she avenged a 2006 loss to Tara LaRosa with a razor-thin split verdict.

A judo stylist and former Smackgirl titlist, Akano has alternated wins and losses in her last six outings. The 36-year-old “Girlfight Monster” reached the finals of Strikeforce’s one-night, 135-pound women’s tournament in August by upsetting Carina Damm, but was later decisioned by current No. 1 contender Miesha Tate. Akano was last seen in February, when she notched a 40-second armbar win over Chisa Yonezawa her Pancrase debut.
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