Japanese all-female promotion Jewels Monday announced the addition of a 135-pound bout between Modafferi and Akano (Pictured; file photo) to its July 9 “15th Ring” show at Shinjuku Face in Tokyo. The two Strikeforce veterans were slated to meet at Sengoku “Soul of Fight” on Dec. 30 before a stomach illness sidelined Modafferi on the day of the event.
Also made official for the July 9 bill was a 115-pound “Jewels vs. Valkyrie” matchup between surging South Korean Seo Hee Ham and Valkyrie ace “V.V” Mei Yamaguchi, as well as a 143-pound tilt pitting once-beaten Hiroko Yamanaka against Mongolian pro-wrestling convert Bolormaa “Esui” Erdenebileg. The bouts join a previously announced 115-pound contest between former Valkyrie champ Yuka Tsuji and Jewels standout Saori Ishioka.
Modafferi, 28, will look to rebound from her first back-to-back losses in five years. After being slammed unconscious in July 2010 by then-Strikeforce 135-pound champ Sarah Kaufman, the “Happy Warrior” returned on Feb. 26 to drop a hard-fought unanimous decision to Rosi Sexton at Cage Warriors Fighting Championship 40 in London. Modafferi’s most recent win came in May 2010, when she avenged a 2006 loss to Tara LaRosa with a razor-thin split verdict.
A judo stylist and former Smackgirl titlist, Akano has alternated wins and losses in her last six outings. The 36-year-old “Girlfight Monster” reached the finals of Strikeforce’s one-night, 135-pound women’s tournament in August by upsetting Carina Damm, but was later decisioned by current No. 1 contender Miesha Tate. Akano was last seen in February, when she notched a 40-second armbar win over Chisa Yonezawa her Pancrase debut.