Asakura Kanna continues to grow from strength to strength in the unforgiving world of mixed martial arts. The 22-year-old from Chiba, Japan, was humbled by Ayaka Hamasaki on New Year’s Eve of 2018.
She opened up 2019 with a decision win over DEEP JEWELS mainstay Tomo Maesawa in March. Maesawa is a veteran of DEEP JEWELS and QUINTET Fight Night 3, but Asakura was too much. Her wrestling and timing got the nod from the judges.
She went on to face wrestling legend, Miyuu Yamamoto at RIZIN 16 in June, this time on the wrong end of the judge decision. However, Yamamoto’s elite wrestling skills shut down Asakura’s usual dominating grappling control.
She then got quick redemption over Alesha Zappitella at RIZIN 18 in August although it was a hard fought a win to a split decision.
Asakura finishes 2019 on a win over American, Jayme Hinshaw, at Bellator 237 in Japan. Bellator tied up with RIZIN to put on a star-studded fight card at Saitama Super Arena.
Before the bout, her father says he always feels the nerves on fight day, but Asakura herself does not until just before the fight.
“Especially this time I was not nervous beforehand, and that had the opposite effect of making me feel anxious!” she shares.
“But, because of [not feeling nervous] I slept well and felt that I was able to fight at my own pace,
“I wasn’t particularly conscious of using certain techniques, but I thought that my training showed through.”
Asakura secured a kimura from top position in the third round although the referee did not see the first tap.
“I noticed the tap myself, so I’m glad I didn’t let it go!…I’m glad to finish the year with a submission.”
She concludes by saying her striking and submission skills have improved in 2019, but feels she still has a long way to go.