Top Jewels stars Mika “Future Princess” Nagano and Shizuka Sugiyama both picked up stoppage victories tonight at Jewels: “21st Ring” in Tokyo, Japan. Nagano submitted Jewels newcomer Tomo Maesawa, while Sugiyama finished Yurika Tanaka with a barrage of punches in round two.
In the night’s Muay Thai main event, popular kickboxer Kozue “Azuma” Nagashima battered late replacement opponent Mi-Jeon Chan across three rounds for a clear-cut Unanimous Decision victory. Satomi Takano remained unbeaten in her MMA career with a win over “Happy” Fukuko Hamada.
Nagano (10-7-0) and Maesawa (0-1-0) traded pawing jabs for much of the opening round until Nagano was eventually able to get the fight to the ground. She transitioned from side control to North-South position and later took Maesawa’s back, but Maesawa defended well against Nagano’s submission attempts. Nagano responded by punching Maesawa in the ribs until the bell.
In round two, Nagano clinched up again and landed some short punches in close before taking Maesawa back down. She passed from side control to mount and Maesawa gave up her back. Nagano was unable to secure a rear-naked choke, but she did manage to lock on an armbar and wrenched back on Maesawa’s arm for the technical submission victory at the 3:37 mark of round two.
Nagano has won back-to-back fights and is progressively battling her way back into title contention for the Jewels Lightweight Queen Championship held by Ayaka Hamasaki.
Sugiyama (8-3-0) also scored her second straight win tonight by mauling an overmatched Tanaka (0-1-0). Save for an early trip takedown from Tanaka, round one was all Sugiyama and the karateka scored at will with knees to the body and big flurries of punches. A dazed Tanaka was given a standing eight count after one particularly nasty combination from Sugiyama and Sugiyama threatened with a rear-naked choke in the dying seconds.
The second round was more of the same and the more experienced Sugiyama again held a clear edge in the striking exchanges. Tanaka was given two more standing eight counts before referee Kenichi Serizawa finally intervened to halt the bout at the 1:24 mark of the second round, giving Sugiyama the TKO win.
In other MMA action on the card, Club Barbarian’s Takano (2-0-0) once again showed why she is one of the top prospects in Jewels by taking out the veteran Hamada (7-8-1) after two dominant rounds. Takano scored with punches early on and later worked for a rear-naked choke and an arm-triangle on the ground while peppering Hamada with punches and knees to the body.
Takano repeatedly took Hamada down to the mat in round two and did her best to work from the top in between referee standups. Hamada snuck in a nice flurry of punches in the final minute, but the round ended with Takano working for a toe hold and a heel hook on the ground.
Judges Akira Yamazaki, Ryogaku Wada and Yoshinori Umeki all scored the fight for Takano, who took the Unanimous Decision victory.
Rounding out the MMA portion of “21st Ring,” Norway’s Celine Haga (2-11-0) had little trouble in defeating Anna Saito (1-11-0) via second-round submission. Round one was all Haga, as she punished Saito with punches and worked for submissions on the ground. Saito held on, but Haga took mount and landed numerous strikes to the body. In the second stanza, Haga dropped Saito with knees and methodically worked for an armbar from the top until she was able to pull back on Saito’s arm for the technical submission victory at the 2:18 mark of round two.
Nagashima was in complete control of her main event bout with Chan, which was contested under Muay Thai rules that permitted elbow strikes. Chan faded as the fight progressed and Nagashima made her pay with big knees to the body and punching combinations. By round three, Chan was struggling to stay in the fight and Nagashima knocked her partway out of the ring with a series of knees and elbows.
Judges Kenichi Serizawa and Akira Yamazaki both scored the fight 30-27, while judge Yoshinori Umeki had it 30-28 for the winner by Unanimous Decision, Nagashima.
In other highlights on the card, highly-touted teammates Mizuki Inoue (age 18) and Yukari Yamaguchi (age 14) both earned victories in their respective fights. Inoue needed just 56 seconds to defeat Yukiko Suzuki via technical submission due to an armbar in a featured grappling match. Yamaguchi defeated Shobukai’s Miiri Sasaki in an amateur kickboxing bout. Scores were 20-19 across the board for Yamaguchi, who took the Unanimous Decision win.
Rena Matsuda won the 2012 Jewels 52kg amateur kickboxing tournament with a Majority Decision (20-18, 20-19, 19-19) victory over Wano Sato.
Full play-by-play and results for all 15 bouts at Jewels: “21st Ring” is available here.
(Photo Credit: Jewels blog)