Deep Jewels crowned its first 114-pound women’s champion under unique and contentious circumstances tonight at Deep Jewels 3 in Tokyo, Japan. Grappling specialist Emi Tomimatsu took home the Deep Jewels Interim Lightweight Championship when opponent Mizuki Inoue missed weight.
Tomimatsu and Inoue faced off in what became a non-title fight on tonight’s card, which Inoue unofficially won via third-round armbar. However, as a result of her inability to make weight, Inoue was disqualified. Other winners on the card included Naho “Sugi Rock” Sugiyama and Shizuka Sugiyama.
Tomimatsu (7-7-0) was presented with the newly-created Deep Jewels Lightweight Championship on an interim basis during a ceremony at the beginning of tonight’s event. She was initially scheduled to battle Inoue (7-2-0) for the inaugural title in the Deep Jewels 3 headliner, but the bout was changed to a non-title fight when Inoue failed to make weight during Saturday’s weigh-ins. She started tonight’s fight with two Yellow Cards and a stipulation that prevented her from earning a win on her official record.
In the fight itself, Inoue dominated the action on the feet with a series of left jab, right cross combos that kept Tomimatsu on the defensive. Inoue also scored takedowns in rounds one and two and she worked for chokes and armbars on the mat. Tomimatsu escaped each time, but Inoue closed out the middle stanza with more punching combinations and some solid knees.
Early in round three, Inoue landed more stiff jabs and straight right hands. She scored with punches in close and tried for a trip takedown. Tomimatsu sprawled and wound up on top, but Inoue quickly locked on an armbar and referee Ryogaku Wada intervened for a technical submission stoppage at the 3:57 mark of round three.
Under normal circumstances, Inoue’s armbar victory would have earned her both an official win and also the Deep Jewels title. However, due to her inability to make weight, Deep Jewels determined that Inoue would be ineligible to earn a victory tonight and she was therefore disqualified. Tomimatsu became the first Deep Jewels Interim Lightweight Champion and snapped Inoue’s five-fight winning streak.
Tonight’s open-weight co-main event ended quickly. Former top Jewels star Shizuka Sugiyama (11-3-1) returned to her winning ways after a disappointing Majority Draw in November by stopping Mizuho Sato (6-6-1). Sugiyama used her reach advantage to land a series of unanswered right hands in the opening minute. She closed the distance and landed more punches in close. Referee Yoshinori Umeki called for the ringside doctor to check on Sato’s rapidly-swelling eye and the fight was stopped at the 1:15 mark of round one, giving Sugiyama a swift TKO victory.
Former Jewels Featherweight Queen Champion Naho “Sugi Rock” Sugiyama (10-3-0) held off the charge of prospect Satomi “Sarami” Takano (3-3-0) in a 106-pound contender’s bout. Sugiyama landed left hooks throughout the first round and scored a late takedown, but Takano dropped her with a right hand just before the bell. Both women landed leg kicks, knees and punches in the final round and Takano threw Sugiyama to the mat with a hip-toss. Sugiyama swept just before the bell and the bout went to the scorecards, where Sugiyama prevailed via a close Split Decision.
In featured action on the preliminary card, ten-year veteran Masako Yoshida (18-19-5) thwarted many takedown attempts from Miyoko Kusaka (4-8-1) en route to a clear-cut Unanimous Decision victory after two rounds. Kusaka jabbed in round one and tried in vain to get the fight to the mat. Yoshida countered with punching combinations. It was more of the same early in round two, but Kusaka did manage to get Yoshida down. Yoshida trapped her in a tight triangle choke and she punched from her back for the remainder of the round. All three judges scored the bout in Yoshida’s favour.
Submission specialist Yuko “Amiba” Oya (7-3-0) added another tapout win to her record by stopping Mamiko Mizoguchi (2-6-2). Oya stuffed an early takedown and the fighters exchanged wild punches. Oya connected with a one-two and took Mizoguchi down into back control. She flurried with punches and locked on a rear-naked choke for her third submission victory at the 4:31 mark of round one.
Opening up the MMA portion of the card, Sachiko Fujimori (3-0-0) kept her perfect record intact by defeating newcomer Shiori Hori (0-1-0). Fujimori fought off takedown attempts throughout the first half of round one. Hori eventually got her down, but Fujimori reversed into top position. The fighters scrambled back and forth and Fujimori moved from side control to Hori’s back. She tried unsuccessfully for an armbar late in the round. In round two, Fujimori took Hori’s back on the feet and secured a standing rear-naked choke that forced Hori to submit at the 23-second mark of the second round.
Tonight’s event began with a grappling match between Brittany Ann Decker and Haruka Kojima. Decker worked for a modified guillotine choke early in round one and Kojima escaped into top position. Decker tried to take her back, but time expired. Decker once again attempted a guillotine choke in round two and she trapped Kojima in a front choke as the fighters fell to the mat. Kojima could not escape from the choke and she tapped out at the 33-second mark of round two.
Mika “Future Princess” Nagano (14-9-0), a former postergirl for the Jewels promotion, had a retirement ceremony during tonight’s intermission. Nagano, who was originally set to compete in an exhibition retirement match against Saori “Shooting Star” Ishioka tonight, was pulled from the card earlier this month after announcing that she is pregnant. Nagano’s retirement ceremony officially concluded her six-year MMA career. The gifted wrestler finished 11 of her 14 wins by submission.
Ishioka, who had planned to attend the event in order to be a part of Nagano’s retirement ceremony, was unable to travel to Tokyo due to a recent snowstorm that shut down trains leading into the city. In a statement to the audience, it was announced that Ishioka is planning to return to MMA. She has not fought since March 2012 and is currently on hiatus in order to focus on her new family.
Tonight’s Deep Jewels 3 event almost did not take place. Event organisers struggled to book fights for the card, which ultimately stood at a modest seven matches. Deep Jewels boss Shigeru Saeki told MMARising.com after the event that he would like to hold Deep Jewels 4 in May, but a venue has not yet been locked down for the planned show. It remains to be seen whether Deep Jewels will book a title rematch between Tomimatsu and Inoue when the promotion returns later this year.
Full play-by-play for all fights on the Deep Jewels 3 card can be found here.
(Photo Credit: Deep Jewels)