Mizuki Inoue marched into enemy territory at UFC Shenzhen against Wu Yanan, but came out victorious in a close fight that played out entirely on the feet.
Japanese standout and Invicta alum Mizuki Inoue made her debut at UFC Shenzhen on Saturday. Taking on China’s own Wu Yanan, Mizuki (who often goes by just her given name) was looking to build off a win over former UFC fighter Viviane Pereira under the Invicta FC banner. Wu, meanwhile, had missed weight for the bout, but came in off a win over Lauren Murphy. She was 1-1 in the UFC to date, and fighting at home.
Mizuki closed the distance early, punching her way in, but was unable to make anything happen. Wu then looked to load up on a kick, while Mizuki shot for a single leg, nearly eating a knee as a result. Wu would stay on the outside, circling, while Mizuki tried to close distance again. A body shot landed for Wu, who was beginning to connect upstairs as well. Mizuki feigned a takedown, then came over the top, later clinching, as time wore down, but the taller, rangier Wu seemed to have a slight edge.
A right hand by Mizuki caught Wu napping early in the second round. A follow-up right seemed to wake her up, as she fired back quickly. Wu then grabbed onto a standing guillotine as Mizuki tried to take the fight down. Wu broke free, and later added a standing elbow. Wu was back on the outside, on her heels; Mizuki pressed, clinching when possible, adding elbows. The downside, she had through the midway point of the fight failed to take Wu down. Wu would try her own takedown attempt, giving up on it quick, while Mizuki would chase her opponent down as the round wore on. Mizuki’s head movement was proving key, as she was able to slip Wu’s punches and connect with her jab.
Some big swings from both ladies came early in the third, and Wu dropped for a takedown that looked strong — but that Mizuki was able to fight off. With the third being a critical round, a successful takedown, were it to happen for either woman, could steal the fight. Mizuki, again, was finding success slipping and feinting, then ripping off a few right hands. Wu answered back, and they opened up in the final twenty seconds, standing, trading, with both women landing! A takedown never did come, and on the scorecards, two judges saw it for Inoue, who pressed the action and controlled the cage more than her opponent.
Mizuki Inoue def. Wu Yanan by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)