Maui’s Sumiko Inaba will make her highly anticipated Bellator and professional debut on November 5 at Bellator 251.
The 29-year-old flyweight who signed with the organization at the start of the year will face Jessica Ruiz (0-1) as part of the preliminary card of the event held in Uncasville, Connecticut.
“I’m super excited. I didn’t know if it was going to happen in 2020 because of all the COVID stuff and I just kept my fingers crossed and just kept training and just hoping that it was going to happen and everything finally got put into place and it’s now a week out, so it’s kind of surreal almost, but yeah, very excited,” Inaba told KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello on Wednesday night.
Inaba, who goes by the nickname “Lady Samurai” went 6-1 as an amateur winning her final five fights. Her most recent bout came in June of 2019 when she captured the vacant flyweight title in Donald Cerrone’s Cowboy Fight Series, beating Kelsey Gilmore by third-round stoppage.
“Just coming into my pro debut I just want to do as best as I can. I want to put out for Hawaii and show that Hawaii is on the map and through all this craziness and everything that’s happening and affecting everyone, just stick to the grind and train really hard and it al pays off,” said Inaba. “Definitely want to come out with a bang but show that I’m a pro now. Come out and use all my skills as an MMA fighter.”
The King Kekaulike graduate won’t be the only Hawaii fighter on the Bellator 251 card as KHON2 confirmed with a Bellator official that Makaha’s Nainoa Dung will return to the cage in hopes of snapping a two-fight losing streak, facing lightweight Piankhi Zimmerman (5-4-1).
“I’m so excited. Hawaii, just there’s any energy that comes from everybody. You say you’re a Hawai’i fighter and there’s something behind that and I just want to be able to put that out there and especially on Bellator’s platform. It’s huge,” Inaba said with a big smile. “This is for me, doing my pro debut on such a big platform is amazing. The champ is Ilima-Lei Macrarlane and she’s from O’ahu, she represents Hawaii too, so there’s that behind it too, so a lot of pride.”
Both Dung and Inaba will have their bouts featured on the Bellator 251 preliminary card which will be streamed on the Bellator YouTube page.