With six fights down, that leaves only four Invicta FC 2 bouts left to analyze before the organization rocks down the Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas on July 28. Shannon Knapp is pulling out all of the stops to bring in the best female talent in the sport and you can look no further to the addition of Jewels lightweight champion Ayaka Hamasaki on the card as proof.
Hamasaki was originally signed to face Jasminka Cive but an unfortunate injury has taken Cive out and placed the talented Lacey Schuckman into the fight.
Can Hamasaki continue her dominance from Japan into the North American circuit or will Schuckman halt her in her tracks?
Ayaka Hamasaki (MMA Record: 7-0, Invicta FC Record: 0-0)
Who she is: One of Japan’s premier female fighters, Hamasaki is ranked third overall in her division and considered by many to be one of the top female fighters in the world pound-for-pound. Trained under the great Megumi Fujii, Hamasaki is the current reining Jewels lightweight champion in Japan. This will be her first fight ever outside of her native Japan and it is going to be interesting to see if she can continue her dominance on American soil.
Her strengths: Kickboxing and Judo
Her weaknesses: No visible weaknesses but I can’t help but think she will have a little bit of difficulty against a North American wrestler-type fighter
Keys to victory: Hamasaki will just have to stick with the tools that earned her the Jewels lightweight title in her homeland. If she can be as effective with her striking and her Judo in the United States as she has been in Japan then few in the division will be able to stop her.
Lacey Schuckman (MMA Record: 7-4, Invicta FC Record: 0-0)
Who she is: Nicknamed “The Ladie”, Schuckman is a well-rounded competitor that prefers to finish her opponents on the ground. The 24 year old blonde bruiser has competed in three different weight classes over the course or her career (atomweight, flyweight and super flyweight) and is looking to catapult herself into the top tier of women’s MMA with a short notice win over Hamasaki.
Her strengths: Slick submissions, solid striking, durable chin
Her weaknesses: Capable in all areas but her skill set is not quite at the elite level yet and she will get outmatched by those who are
Keys to victory: Schuckman has to take Hamasaki out of her comfort zone and give her a rude stateside welcoming. To do this she must fight a smart but aggressive style fight and keep the Japanese star off balance the entire time. While it may sound absurd to take Hamasaki down to the mat where she is arguably strongest, if Schuckman can maintain control from a top position she can make it a very uncomfortable night for Hamasaki.
The Final Verdict:
I’m a firm believer that previous records mean very little when two athletes are competing front and center. Hamasaki is undefeated in MMA and has all of this hype surrounding her which means she has the most to lose in this fight. Schuckman is taking this bout on extremely short notice and is by all accounts supposed to lose but that doesn’t guarantee that she will.
My heart tells me that Schuckman will pull off the upset and actually send Hamasaki back to Japan with her tail between her legs but my brain does not agree. Hamasaki is just a better overall fighter and should be able to defeat Schuckman at least eight out of ten times.
Ayaka Hamasaki def Lacey Schuckman via Submission Round 2