Rena Kubota will be back in action at Rizin Landmark 5. She has been matched with Claire Lopez in Yoyogi on April 29th in a catchweight contest.
Rena normally competes in Rizin’s super atomweight division which is set at 108lbs. But she will be moving up to 112.5lbs for this contest which will be her first since suffering a fractured orbital.
Rena was last seen beating Anastasiya Svetkivska by decision in the quarter finals of the super atomweight Grand Prix. But she had to withdraw from the tournament after suffering a serious facial injury in that fight.
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Lopez (7-4) is French but has spent the majority of her career competing in the US. She has spent her entire career competing as a strawweight but is slightly shorted than Rena.
Rena (13-4) has participated in both Rizin’s super atomweight tournament. She reached the final of the first one, getting submitted in the opening round by Kanna Asakura.
She was in the semi finals of the most recent tournament before having to withdraw due to injury. But between the two tournaments she has taken a lot of fights at between 112 and 117lbs and might be more comfortable at this weight.
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Ahead of Rizin 14 in 2018 she was hospitalized after a botched weight cut. Rena admitted at the time that she had been struggling to make the 108lbs limit.
It seems that she is more comfortable competing at a higher weight. Seika Izawa would go on to win the super atomweight Grand Prix last year, beating Si Woo Park at Rizin 40 in a decision that caused some controversy.
Rizin has been expanding its current weight classes. Flyweight was recently introduced with the 125lbs division having been more or less overlooked by the promotion before the return of Kyoji Horiguchi.