Long Beach, CA — While Sumiko Inaba’s fight against Nadine Mandiau at Bellator 286 was a rematch from their 2018 amateur meeting, the Hawaiian felt like it was a whole new ballgame.
And it was far from an easy night at the office.
“I knew she was going to come with the fight. I don’t complain; more experience in the ring, just getting me more comfortable with higher-ranked opponents,” said Inaba (5-0) following the fight, speaking to Cageside Press and other media outlets at the Long Beach Arena in Long Beach, CA. “It was great.”
As much as it was a rematch, it was a “completely new” fight, with a “different ring, bigger crowd, more to the Fight Week and all the emotions that come with it,” Inaba explained. “I took it as a completely new fight. She was a great new opponent as well. She came with a lot more skill and a lot more fight, and she gave it to me.”
At the end of the second round, Mandiau had Sumiko Inaba trapped in a triangle, but the round came to an end, saving the Hawaiian.
“I knew I was in a very compromised position, but we’ve trained that,” Inaba said of the sequence. “My coaches put it in me to be calm and composed in situations like that, listen to them, and it got me out of that and I got the win.”
Going all three rounds and overcoming that sort of adversity is “huge for my experience,” she added. “For my mind set, to work out of positions like that— All that can do is just add more confidence that I can get out of those positions and come out with the win.”
Now, the goal is to break into the flyweight rankings. “This camp just put fire underneath my butt to train harder. Hopefully get into the rankings and work my way up.”
Watch the full Bellator 286 post-fight press conference with Sumiko Inaba above.