Yesterday we had the opportunity to attend the Deep Jewels 17 MMA event in Tokyo. Recently Deep has been stepping up their game and having greater events that have more appeal to the international MMA community. Deep Jewels 17 was no exception to this fact.
THere were some really entertaining fights on the card that eveneing. The interesting part about Deep Jewels is that they give us fights that you would not see in other Promotions. FOr example the much discussed and very controversial fight in Deep Jewels 16 were Momo, a young lady of 12 years of age, made her MMA debut by fighting a more experienced, 24 year old Momoko Yamazaki Am 3-4-0 (Win-Loss-Draw).
There were lots of unfounded comments from many critics around the net. Many held the contention that a young lady of only 12 years of age should not be allowed, by her parents or by the promotion to take part in an MMA Event. However the attitude here in Japan was that kids all over the world take part in contact sports from ages even younger than 12. Ask yourself how many kids do you know that do Tae Kwon Do lessons, play soccor, or play American football? Those sports are all contact sports as well and they are a part of all of our lives either as participants or parents of the participants.
Back in Deep Jewels 16 Momo was paired with an older fighter with only a beginners record in MMA. Their weight was nearly the same as well as hight, and reach. In the Martial Arts world this is ideal. In fact this fight was heavily favored on Momo’s side. Why you ask? Momo lives with her parents and has the opportunity to train in MMA (striking and grappling), multiple hours a day. Her opponent Yamazaki not as much given the fact she has a full time job and responsibilities that life brings us all. At the end of the day Momo’s training showed and ended up giving her the win over Yamazaki with a Rear Naked Choke submission that rendered Yamazaki unconcious.
This time in Deep Jewels 17 Momo once again stepped into the ring to show her metal. This time her opponent was Tomomi Soda Am 0-1-0 (Win-Loss-Draw), 39 Years Old. Soda came into the fight ready for the strong ground game that Momo brings. It was clear that she wanted to stand and strike rather than go to the ground.
Momo had other ideas. Agter taking some significant strikes from Soda Momo takes the fight to the ground. She is definately stronger as a ground fighter. Her control on the ground was very impressive. She was tring to finish the fight just as she had her last one by moving to the back and getting a choke. She had some difficulty, but kept on fighting for position.
In the end Momo could not get the finish, and the fight went to the judges. The judges told us that they were convienced that Momo had contolled both the rounds in the fight and gave her the unanimous decision win over Soda. Momo takes the Gold medal and this moves her into 2 fight winning streak. We will be keeping an eye on her career going forward!
The next fight on the cards was Momoko Yamazaki VS Rion. This fight was also observing the Amature rules. You will recognize Yamazaki Am 3-4-0 (Win-Loss-Draw) from the photo above. She faced Momo on her debut fight. This time Yamazaki is taking on 14 year old Rion Am 0-1-0 (Win-Loss-Draw). Rion fights out of the Tri-Force Jiu-Jitsu Academy .
It seems that Yamazaki took her last loss to heart and doubled down on her training. This time she came in looking very strong. This fight was a stand up and striking fight. Yamazaki mostly controlled the fight and took very little damage. Interestingly enough she fought completely differently from her last fight. In her last fight she seemed to be timid and holding back, but in this fight a 180 degree change. She came at Rion with a vengence. At around 1M15 Seconds into round 1 she had Rion on the ropes and was peppering her with headshots. That was all the ref needed and called the fight at 1M30S of round 1.
The next fight was Yuko Saito vs Mizuki Furuse 1-2-0 (Win-Loss-Draw). Furuse is a rising star in JMMA. At the age of 16 she already has shown that she has what it takes to be a force in the ring. In her last fight she won with a devistating head kick to her opponent.
Her opponent Yuko Saito was her opponent and she knew about these kicks. This was Saito’s debut fight and she came out looking fantastic. He first mission in the ring was to shut down those deadly kicks. That is exactly what she did. She got in the cage and took the fight immediatly to the canvas. After that Furuse could not deal with Saito’s ground game. At 3M38 Seconds of round 1 the ref had seen enough and called the fight TKO by ground and pound.
Following this, one of the best fights of the night happened. It was Shizuka Sugiyama VS. Karate Komachi. Before the fight started Karate Komachi came out and performed and Karate Kata and a single board break wearing her traditional Karate Gi. It was a good kata and it demostrated her ability to control her movement and power. This was later what we would see in the fight. In addtion to excellent Karate she has an intense ground game.
Her oppoentent was Shizuka Sugiyama 15-4-1 (Win-Loss-Draw). She has a big following in Japan and they were there to support her. Her base style of fighting is also Karate so from all indications this was going to be a standing fight. That assumption could not have been more wrong. This fight started off with some high level striking but Sugiyama took it to the ground. She tried to get an armbar on Karate Komachi. Each time Karate Komachi was able to escape. I counted a total of 3 Attempt with only the 3rd being successful. It was impressive how far the armbar attempts were in but Karate Komachi, showing her excellent grappling techniques was able to escape. Finally the 3rd armbar attempt was in tight enough to get Yamazaki the win.
At the end of the fight Sugiyama had a few minutes to address the crowd. She took this time to say that everyone should remember the name Sugiyama and that she wanted a shot to fight in Rizin. She said she would take on anyone to get there and even called out Ishioka. Judging by the skills she showed in the ring I think this is a possibility.
THe semi final fight was a grand sight to see as well. This fight pitted Sarami agains Tomimatsu. Sarami is a student under the MMA Legend Satoru Kitaoka. He was in her corner along with Rocky Kawamura. Both excellent coaches that offered Sarami advice during the fight.
Tomimatsu came out to one of the coolest walk out songs I’ve ever seen. In fact, it was a Metal Guitar solo performed live by one of her friends. It was an amazing sight to take in.
The fight was very even and it went back and forth thoughout the match. In the end Tomimatsu to the win by split decision.
The final fight of the evening, the main event, was a fight for the ages. You have 2 Rizin fighters that have both have such success in the ring it was inevidible that they would clash in the ring at some point. This was Kanna Asakura VS. Saori Ishioka. These two started off the fight with strong striking and then eventually went to the canvas. But on the canvas the striking did not stop. So much ground and pound happened it was amazing. The most spectacular part was the heart and guts that Ishioka showed. She was the main recipient of the beatings on the ground but it didn’t slow her down at all she kept fighting back to her feet. Never giving an inch. Never giving up. In the end it was the judges decision that her effort was not enough and they gave the win to Asakura.
MMA Japan was on the ground bringing you all the latest updates and behind the scenes information. Please follow @mmajpn1 on Twitter for the latest news and updates.
- Kanna Asakura def. Saori Ishioka by unanimous decision
- Emi Tomimatsu def. Satomi Takano by split decision
- Shizuka Sugiyama def. Karate Komachi by submission (armbar). Round 1, 4:58
- Yuko Saito def. Mizuki Furuse by TKO (ground and pound). Round 1, 3:38
- Momoko Yamazaki def. Rion by TKO (punches). Round 1, 1:30 (amature rules)
- Momo Shimizu def. Tomomi Souda by unanimous decision (amature rules)