WOMEN’S ATOMWEIGHT MAIN EVENT:
ANA PALACIOS (MEXICO) VS. CHIHIRO SAWADA (JAPAN)
FEATURED WELTERWEIGHT BOUT:
VICTOR VALENZUELA (CHILE) VS. SHINSHO ANZAI (JAPAN)
PRELIMINARY CARD, 160-POUND CATCHWEIGHT BOUT:
GERALBERT CASTILLO (CUBA) VS. YUJI YANNICK (JAPAN)
MIAMI – May 3, 2023 – Combate Global today announced that, for the first time in its 10-year history, a group of professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) competitors on its talent roster will take on a group of star fighters from Japan, with a featured Mexico vs. Japan main event bout in “Combate Global: Mexico vs. Japan” on Saturday, May 13, streaming live on Paramount+ (12 a.m. ET/9 p.m. PT) from Miami.
The Paramount+ live stream on May 13 will begin with a 30-minute Combate Global pre-show at 11:30 p.m. ET/10:30 p.m. CT, and will continue with the live fight action.
The trio of fights pitting Combate Global talent against fighters from Japan will come on the heels of Combate Global star Claire Lopez’s (8-4) heroic, third round (4:21) submission (knee bar) victory over Japanese sensation Rena Kubota (13-5) at a RIZIN FF promoted event in Tokyo on April 29.
In a women’s atomweight (105 pounds) main event, Combate Global star Ana “La Guerrera” Palacios (7-1-1) of Mexico will set foot in La Jaula for the first time in 2023 and collide with former collegiate wrestling champion and unbeaten MMA upstart Chihiro Sawada (4-0-1) of Japan.
The 24-year-old Palacios of Mexico City has positioned herself as the number one atomweight in the world, with five consecutive victories, including her incredible performance in her last start against South Korea’s Bo Hyun Park when Palacios nearly suffered a knockout before trapping Park’s arm and securing an armbar that forced Park to tap out at the 3:15 mark of the opening round.
To date, Palacios, a member of the famed Bonebreakers team, has never been defeated as an atomweight. Her only loss came at the hands of Yajaira Romo in a fight contested at a higher weight.
Sawada, a 25-year-old native of Tokyo, boasts a phenomenal amateur wrestling resume that includes a first place finish in the 2018 All-Japan championship tournament as well as a stint with the team at the Tokyo-based collegiate wrestling powerhouse Aoyama Gakuin University.
Sawada’s start will come just three months after she turned in a spectacular, second round (:52) submission (Americana) of Sanaz Fayazmanesh in Bangkok, Thailand.
In a featured welterweight contest, Victor “Psicosis” Valenzuela (9-3) will go to war with battle-tested veteran Shinsho “Animal” Anzai (9-4).
Valenzuela, a 29-year-old native of Santiago, Chile and a blackbelt in kickboxing, will look for his fourth consecutive wins following a trio of victories in 2022.
Valenzuela also holds brown belts in both Karate and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Well-known among avid fight fans, the 37-year-old Anzai of Tokyo is a 14-year veteran of the sport who has competed time and time again on a big stage for some of the world’s best known fight promotions.
Like Sawada, Anzai is a former amateur wrestler with collegiate accolades garnered while he competed for Meiji University. Anzai was also the 2008 All-Japan Combat Wrestling Champion in the 176 pound/80 kilogram division.
In a preliminary card bout that will be contested at a catchweight of 160 pounds, Combate Global’s Geralbert “Wolverine” Castillo (5-3) will take on unbeaten Japanese standout Yuji Yannick (3-0).
Castillo is a 33-year-old resident of Miami and native of Old Havana, Cuba, as well as a protégé of retired, five-time world kickboxing champion, Eric “El Tigre” Castaños.
Castillo made his Combate Global debut last August 26, defeating Richie Palomino via unanimous decision.
Since his four-fight stint as an amateur six years ago, Castillo has never been stopped in a fight.
At 23 years of age, Yannick is regarded as one of the best new lightweights to emerge from the Japanese fight scene.
A student of retired, famed Japanese MMA pioneer, Ryo Chonan, Yannick ventured to Deerfield Beach, Fla.’s KillCliff MMA training center to complete his fight camp for the matchup with Castillo.
Yannick’s first three professional starts include two first round (T)KO victories, including the one he produced against Rin Tanaka on January 15.
Additional bouts for the card, including another featured, main card bout, will be announced next week.
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