Records are meant to be broken.
Longstanding Japan-based mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion, DEEP, announced a handful of match ups today (Tues., Dec. 20, 2022) for its upcoming 2023 kickoff event, DEEP 112 Impact, on Feb. 11, 2023. In the mix was a surprise Atomweight fight, featuring legendary MMA pioneer, Satoko Shinashi (38-4-2), who returns from a four-year layoff to face Rena Kobayashi (2-2).
This won’t be the first time “Princess” has returned to action from a lengthy layoff. In 2008, Shinashi, 45, left the MMA scene for six years before collecting nine wins in eleven fights. This time, she’ll be returning for the first time since Dec. 2019 when she fell short against Mizuki “Nisse” Oshiro via a first round technical knockout.
With 44 career bouts under her belt, Shinashi is currently tied for second with Masako Yoshida (18-21-5) for the most professional fights fought by a woman in MMA history. The pair was passed up in early 2022 by the now-retired one-time Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweight title challenger, Roxanne Modafferi (25-20).
Having never formally retired, Shinashi’s comeback will be a welcome one for the promotion as a former champion. She most notably held the DEEP and SmackGirl titles in her prime, establishing herself as one of the best fighters of all time and standing out because of her stature. Standing at a mere 4-foot-10, Shinashi often fought lighter than 105 pounds where her superior grappling skills bested the majority of her larger opponents.
Shinashi started her career in Dec. 2001 and will aim to improve her ever-impressive 84 percent finish rate against Kobayashi. A submission finish for the legend would add to 27 of her 38 victories by way of that variation (five by knockout or technical knockout).