Highly touted Japanese star Rin Nakai has signed with the UFC and will debut in her native land when she takes on former Strikeforce champion and UFC title challenger Miesha Tate.
The fight announcement was first made on UFC Tonight on Fox Sports 1, but MMA Junkie followed up and confirmed the fight with its sources.
Nakai's addition to the UFC has immediately deepened a women's bantamweight division that was in need of some extra high-level bodies. Nakai was considered one of the three best 135-pounders outside the UFC and is ranked 13th in the B/R WMMA rankings.
She is undefeated at 16-0-1, as the Queen of Pancrase has mowed down the competition in Japan. She owns notable recent victories over Brenda Gonzales, WMMA pioneer Tara LaRosa and Invicta vet Sarah D'Alelio.
Her wrestling is top-notch and her submission game is fierce. She is known for her wicked armlocks, especially keylocks and kimuras. She is very physically strong in her upper body, which allows her to add great torque to those holds.
As for Tate, the UFC veteran is, similarly, a wrestler who has been fighting at the highest level for years now. The former Strikeforce champion is 1-2 since entering the UFC, falling to Ronda Rousey in a title fight and Cat Zingano in a highly entertaining affair. She finally got her first win in her latest outing, when she won a close decision over fellow wrestler and UFC title contender Liz Carmouche.
In looking at this fight, Nakai and Tate match up interestingly in terms of style. Both women are wrestlers and have top-notch grappling in the world of MMA.
Where Nakai is more of an armlock specialist on the ground, Tate likes more ground-and-pound and the use of chokes. Tate does have three wins via armbar, but it's her ability to soften opponents up with her ground strikes that makes her effective, especially when searching for chokes.
Don't be surprised if this fight is on the main card.
For more on UFC Fight Night 52, stay with Bleacher Report as more news becomes available.
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