Kana Watanabe relishes hometown advantage at Bellator Japan
With the roar of a passionate home crowd behind her Kana Watanabe wants to put on a show when she faces Ilara Joanne at Bellator Japan on Sunday.
The 31-year-old has carved a name for herself with local organizations like Rizin and Deep-Jewels. Fighting in her native Tokyo, Watanabe wants to make a big impression at Bellator Japan,
“I want to go out and win by either knockout or submission, and leave a lasting impression on a global scale,” Watanabe said through her translator.
Watanabe was born and raised in Japan’s capital. She thinks this will give her an advantage against a Brazilian opponent,
“I do not feel pressure. I actually think all the support and cheering can make you perform better. All of my fights were held in Japan. The feeling of having the crowd behind me is priceless. I love representing my country,” she said.
Watanabe has been busy this year, winning three fights out of three. 2019 has gone well so far and she is hoping it will end on a high,
“I am taking on my busy year with a joyful heart. This Sunday, it’s special because I am part of one of the biggest events in MMA this year. I am only constantly thinking about how to win my fight because I want to finish my year with another big win,” she shared.
Aside from Shizuka Sugiyama, who she beat for the second time at Heisei’s Last Yarennoka a year ago, Watanabe’s previous opponents do not have good records. Keeping that undefeated record intact against Joanne will be a tougher task.
But Watanabe is not short on confidence,
“It all depends on the momentum on how I am going to win this fight. I will definitely rain down my strikes first, and if she’s able to counter, I’ll shift to the ground game,” she disclosed.
Watanabe respects what Joanne brings to the table, but she is confident that she will be able to overcome whatever her opponent throws at her inside the Bellator cage.
“I will, and have to be ready because a fighter should always answer any challenges in any kind of situation. I am hoping to put on a show and to secure a victory to entertain my supporters and all fans on Sunday.”