PFL 4’s Sumiko Inaba Wants to “Gain As Much As I Can” in 2024

Uncasville, CT — Former Bellator MMA flyweight Sumiko Inaba finally makes her PFL debut this Thursday, after a cancelled date with Kaytlin Neil resulted in the Hawaiian missing out on the first half of the regular season.

The PFL’s league format works great in terms of positioning MMA as more sport, less spectacle, with the tournament format calling back to the early days of the UFC. On the down side, a missed fight can mean the loss of a shot at the million dollars in prize money. No fight, no points after all. Still, Inaba (6-1) is happy to finally be getting her season underway.

“Unfortunately I wasn’t able to do the last part of the tournament, but it’s okay. I’m here. I’m just happy to be fighting again, under PFL,” Inaba told Cageside Press in an exclusive interview on Tuesday. “It’s a little bit different, but it’s the same process. Just excited that it’s almost time.”

Originally, it was Neil once again who Sumiko Inaba was paired up with at PFL 4. Following Neil’s withdrawal, she gets Mexican “Killer Queen” Saray Orozco instead, a Combate and RIZIN veteran who will also be making her PFL debut.

Inaba knows the field ahead of her is deep, with names like Dakota Ditcheva, Liz Carmouche, and Taila Santos in the mix. “It’s stacked from the top to the bottom. I have Saray in front of me now, but there’s a lot of girls at the top there that I respect, and I’m excited to challenge myself with.”

As for the match-up, “I’m just excited that they found somebody, and she’s tough. She has a great record, she has all that experience, and I’m ready to put myself to the test for her,” Inaba added.

Whether or not she makes the playoffs — having missed that first fight, it’s admittedly a long shot — Inaba is hoping to stay busy in 2024. “Yes, definitely. I’m right there, I’m ready. Anything happens, I’m ready.”

“I’m very open. I’m not looking past this one, but definitely want to keep active and gain as much as I can this year.”

Watch our full interview with PFL 4’s Sumiko Inaba above.