Invicta FC will crown its first champion on Saturday night in Kansas City, Kan., when Jessica Penne and Naho “Sugi Rock” Sugiyama clash for the promotion’s atomweight title.
For Sugiyama, coming to America after a highly successful career in Japan – capturing a title in Jewels – is an unexpected opportunity that was too good to pass up.
“I’ve never even thought of fighting in America before, so I feel very honored,” said Sugiyama. “And this is my first visit to America too, so I am really looking forward to this.”
Excitement seems to be more the theme for Sugiyama’s Invicta debut, because, as she told MMAWeekly.com, the fact that her bout is a title fight isn’t adding any additional weight to her shoulders.
“I am not too conscious about this title fight thing, so (I’m) not feeling too much pressure,” she said.
When Sugiyama was asked if she had altered her training to prepare for American MMA rules such as allowing elbow strikes, she said, “A little bit.
“I was conscious about those differences in rules, but basically I’ve been doing the same training as usual.”
Sugiyama knows that if she’s going to take the title, doing so against Penne is not going to be an easy task.
“I think she is stronger than anyone I ever faced in the past,” said Sugiyama of Penne. “In terms of which part of my game is better than hers… well, I will not know that till I fight her.”
Regardless of whether or not she wins or loses, Sugiyama hopes to continue to fight for Invicta, as well as continue to expand her career.
“I am still in search of ‘my ultimate goal’ as a pro MMA fighter,” said Sugiyama. “And of course, I want to continue fighting for Invicta FC, and I also would like to fight in the other countries as well.
“I wanna leave a mark. I am going to fight hard so the fans would remember my name.”
Stay tuned to MMAWeekly.com for more Invicta FC news and updates.