Gabi Garcia’s foray into combat sports other than competitive grappling has been an unorthodox one. While there were some controversies in her BJJ career, she was known for being a wrecking ball there before moving on to MMA in December of 2015.
But 2017 has been her strangest year yet. After a disqualification loss due to an illegal kick against an opponent almost half her size in a shootboxing match in early June, she went on to participate in an MMA fight later that month against Oksana Gagloeva which was ruled a no-contest due to an eye poke. So for her next outing in RIZIN’S string of events to close the year out, Garcia will be facing 53-year-old Shinobu Kandori.
Kandori was originally scheduled to be Garcia’s opponent at RIZIN’s New Year’s Eve event last year, but pulled out due to injury. That lead to Kandori’s friend and training partner Yumiko Hotta taking Kandori’s place instead.
Hotta was then 49 years of age. How did she perform? Well...
Now, it’s clear that facing an opponent with a size and athleticism advantage like Garcia is a challenge for anyone. The larger question at this point is what Kandori has to offer at this point. She’s known for her time as a professional wrestler, which was preceded by her time as a world-class Judoka, winning bronze at the 1984 World Championships. Impressive as that may be, I should remind you that a significant portion of our readers were not alive when that happened.
It should be noted that Kandori will not be coming with only her pro-wrestling under her belt as she has some MMA experience, holding a 4-1 record. She was one of the participants in the LLPW Ultimate L-1 Tournament, reaching the finals of the one-night tournament before losing to Russian Judoka Svetlana Goundarenko via neck crank. Kandori would avenge that loss in 1998, a full month prior to the release of the Sega Dreamcast.
Her final MMA fight was in November of 2000, in which she defeated her now-friend Yumiko Hotta. From there, she became a member of the House of Councillors, part of the legislative branch of the Japanese government. Seventeen years since her last fight, she’s set to face one of the most menacing physical specimens in MMA, who also is one of the most credentialed women in grappling.
It all goes down December 29th, and will be streaming live for viewing outside of Japan via Fite.tv.