Olympic Wrestler McMann Meets Veteran Akano at ProElite 3


Unbeaten prospect Sara McMann will lock horns with seasoned veteran Hitomi Akano at ProElite “Grove vs. Minowa,” promotion officials announced on Wednesday.

The Jan. 21 event will be headlined by the titular middleweight confrontation pitting Japanese showman Ikuhisa Minowa against UFC veteran Kendall Grove. Going down at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu, the event will also feature a bout pitting Brent Schermerhorn against Kaleo Gambill.

ProElite’s heavyweight grand prix semifinals will also take place at the event, which airs live on HDNet, as Ryan Martinez meets Cody Griffin and Jake Heun faces Richard Odoms.

A silver medalist in freestyle wrestling at the 2004 Athens Games, McMann has fought four times in 2011 after several opponent issues delayed her professional debut. The 31-year-old has yet to stumble as a mixed martial artist, finishing three of her four conquered foes by knockout or submission. Most recently, McMann submitted Raquel Pa’aluhi via third-round keylock at ProElite 1 in August.

Formerly the Smackgirl middleweight champion, Akano, 37, has fought for Bodog, Jewels and Strikeforce over the course of her seven-year career. The Japanese standout has won three of her last four fights, earning victories over Chisa Yonezawa and Roxanne Modafferi in March and July, respectively. Known for her skill on the mat, “Girlfight Monster” holds 14 of her 18 career wins by submission.

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