An attack-minded fighter inside the cage and an intelligent, charismatic personality outside it, the Texas-born Jinh Yu Frey is poised to become a breakout star in Invicta FC tonight – if she can rip the world atomweight title away from Ayaka Hamasaki.
Yu Frey take on Hamasaki in the main event of Invicta FC 19, which streams live and on-demand exclusive on UFC FIGHT PASS from Kansas City tonight, Friday Sept. 23.
Hamasaki is considered by some the best female atomweight in the world and is also universally ranked in the top ten women’s pound-for-pound lists by MMA media.
She said: “One or two clean shots from me and it could all be over. I think my power makes me dangerous. I could go in there and be down every single round, but all it would take is me landing one or two clean shots and it could all be over.”
Yu Frey become an underground meme when she scored a chilling knockout of Darla Harris three years ago and, she says, her striking has only improved since.
She said: “My power and explosiveness is something we work a lot because we feel it is not something a lot of women possess.”
The challenger holds a Master’s Degree in radiology but has put her lab-based career on hold to pursue her dreams of MMA glory.
“Eight years of hard work come down to this,” she said. “I would like it to be a quick, one-sided match in my favor of course! But I'll give credit where it's due. Ayaka is the champ for a reason, but I'll keep my composure and work out of any difficult situation.
“I'm competing for the world title which is a huge challenge, but at the end of the day I'm just going in there and doing what I have been training to do for the last eight years. I've given it everything I have. At the end of this camp there isn't a single ounce of effort left.
“I'm fully adaptable and she won't have anything for me that I haven't experienced yet. My coaches put me through hell this summer. I'm ready.”
Invicta FC 19 streams live and on-demand on UFC FIGHT PASS tonight at 8pm ET/5pm PT.
TIME-BOMB AIMS TO BLOW UP INVICTA TONIGHT
Two-time Muay Thai world champion Tiffany Van Soest says she is “ready for anything” as she prepares to make her Invicta FC debut tonight.
“Timebomb” is considered one of the great female Muay Thai fighters of all time but is now attempting to blow up both the kickboxing and MMA ranks at the same time. She has already made in impact in kickboxing – having scored a big win in the opening round of the GLORY Women's Super-Bantamweight Grand Prix.
She promises there will be an equally impressive first salvo tonight at Invicta FC19 in Kansas City, Missouri, vs fellow strawweight debutant Kalyn Schwartz, a Marine Corps veteran and undefeated amateur.
Obviously, the eminently marketable Van Soest can punch. And kick. And knee. And elbow. But striking is only one aspect of MMA.
But the former WBC and Lion Thai champion said: “I'm hoping to showcase my skills whichever direction the fight goes. If it goes quickly, it goes quickly. If I get tested, I'm okay with that too. I'm ready for anything. My style is not only unique, but my technique and ability are top level. I've spent years honing my craft.”
Van Soest is originally from California but much of her training is done in Bali, Indonesia, where she now resides. A two-month stay on the island several years back caused her to “fall in love” with it and she decided to move there permanently, a decision aided by convenient access to high-level training.
“My team at Bali MMA is world class, she said. “We have top level BJJ black belts, champion wrestlers and a handful of training partners who compete in major MMA organization. It's right up there and just as well rounded as any top MMA team in the world. Whether I'm in Bali or the US, I'm getting world class training.”
Van Soest is already back in the US, though. She explained: “When I have a fight booked, I fly back to the US weeks in advance to allow myself plenty of time to adjust. The long trip is tiresome but I'm used to it by now so it doesn't bother me too much.”
Van Soest is excited about making her Invicta debut and also admits to some nerves as she sets out to make a name for herself in a new sport. Her opponent has a more extensive amateur MMA record but Van Soest sees herself having the advantage because of her experience in fighting on other big platforms.
“I feel like a newcomer all over again. I'm a beginner, but a world-class beginner!” she laughs. “I definitely think my experience of fighting on shows like GLORY and Lion fights is an advantage. I'm used to the pressure of competing on a big stage and I've always dealt with it very well. Pressure makes diamonds!”
FIGHTOGRAPHY RETURNS – BUT DAN SEVERN IS FURIOUS
FIGHT PASS’s flagship Original Series – Fightography - returns with a new look this Tuesday with the first of a three-episode series focusing on legendary MMA tournament winners.
UFC Senior Vice-President and FIGHT PASS General Manager Eric Winter said: “We’re excited that FIGHT PASS’s flagship Original Series – Fightography – is back and better than ever. No-one knows the history of MMA and the athletes like the UFC does, and this special three part Fightography series represents storytelling at its finest.
“This series boasts a brand-new look for Fightography and focuses on three legendary MMA tournament winners in the Predator, the Beast and Shogun. All three champions gave us an incredible insight into the lost art of winning multiple fights in a single night, and I can’t wait for our FIGHT PASS customers to see these new episodes.”
The first episode of Fightography: The Tournaments focuses on Dan “The Beast” Severn and his history making campaigns in the UFC 4, UFC 5 and Ultimate Ultimate 1995 tournaments in the mid-1990s. It drops at 9am ET/6pm PT on Tuesday and you can see the preview – featuring a very angry Severn – here:
The following week’s episode will focus on two-time UFC tournament winner Don Frye while the third and final episode digs into Shogun Rua’s incredible victory in the talent-laded PRIDE FC Middleweight Grand Prix of 2005.
John Joe O’Regan and Ant Evans contributed to this blog.