Satomi Takano Defeats Tomo Maesawa In Deep Jewels 18 Trilogy BoutPerennial contender Satomi “Sarami” Takano earned another shot at the Deep Jewels Atomweight Championship with a hard-fought decision victory today at Deep Jewels 18 in Tokyo, Japan. Takano defeated long-time rival Tomo Maesawa for a third time in the closely-contested main event.

Takano, who previously bested Maesawa in 2015 and again earlier this year, has won four of her past five fights and will now seek to avenge a 2014 defeat when she challenges Deep Jewels champion Mina Kurobe. Also at Deep Jewels 18, highly-touted judoka Kana Watanabe stopped Hikari Sato.

 

Takano (11-9-0) controlled the early clinch battles in today’s bout with Maesawa (9-8-0), who found herself pinned in a corner in the opening minute. Takano targeted the body with knees until Maesawa was able to break free and establish her jab. Takano fired back with a nice right hand and a series of elbows in a clinch, but Maesawa rallied back in the second stanza with more stiff jabs and a takedown attempt. Takano used punches to set up takedown attempts in the final round, and she was able to get Maesawa down into back control shortly before the end of the back-and-forth fight.

All three judges scored the bout 29-28 for Takano, whose Unanimous Decision victory secured a future title fight against Kurobe.

“I did what I could and I thought that I would win,” Takano stated backstage after the fight. “[Maesawa] thought that I was not technical, but I’m Kitaoka’s student and I am technical. If I keep improving at this pace, I will take the belt. I’m serious about that. These rookie fighters better not keep doing MMA. It’s not an easy road. My MMA road has not been easy at all, but if I win the title then it is proof that I didn’t give up when things got tough.”

 

In the 58kg catchweight co-main event at Deep Jewels 18, Yukari Nabe (3-2-0) rebounded from a loss in September by overwhelming Yurika Nakakura (3-3-0) with second-round ground and pound.

Nabe threw Nakakura to the mat with a harai goshi in the opening round and she blasted her opponent with hammerfists from side control until Nakakura spun for a heel hook attempt. Nabe lost her balance and grabbed the rope, which resulted in the referee giving her a Yellow Card for the infraction. In round two, Nabe landed hard leg kicks that forced Nakakura to shoot in for a takedown. Nabe reversed and took top position in side control. She quickly moved to mount and rained down punches until the fight was stopped at the 2:50 mark of the second round.

 

Kyu Kitano (2-1-0) picked up another razor-thin decision victory over Yuko Kiryu (5-6-0) in an atomweight rematch from the pair’s first fight in February 2016.

Kiryu scored an early takedown and landed knees to Kitano’s legs after the fighters returned to their feet in a corner. Kitano answered with punches to the body and she threw Kiryu to the mat with an osoto garai, but Kiryu was active from her back and she threatened with a triangle choke. Kitano controlled the striking exchanges in round two and fought off Kiryu’s takedown attempts before eventually securing a takedown of her own. She avoided submissions from Kiryu and finished the round with a rear-naked choke attempt and ground and pound.

One judge scored the fight even at 19-19. The remaining two both had it 20-18 for Kitano, who took home a Majority Decision victory over Kiryu for the second time.

 

Arguably the top prospect on today’s card, Watanabe (1-0-0) made a successful Deep Jewels debut in front of fans and supporters from her past in judo. Watanabe finished Sato (0-1-0) with an armbar in round two of their featured flyweight matchup.

The powerful Watanabe took Sato down with a harai goshi throw and went to work with ground and pound in round one. Sato scrambled back up to her feet, but Watanabe floored her with a right hand and landed more hard punches on the ground. In round two, Watanabe secured a kosoto garai throw into half-guard and she passed to mount seconds later. After dropping punches from the top, Watanabe transitioned to a deep armbar and referee Yoshinori Umeki waved off the fight at the 1:32 mark of the second round.

“I was a judo practitioner but now I am an MMA fighter, so I showed off my striking,” Watanabe commented backstage. “I got a guarantee to fight [for Rizin] on New Year’s Eve, but that was already one of my goals before I debuted. I was nervous today, but during the fight I started to enjoy it. I’m confident that I will win on NYE, but I don’t choose my opponents.”

 

Earlier on the card, Emi Sato (2-2-0) picked up her second straight win by finishing Hikaru Aono (0-1-0) with an armbar in the second round of their atomweight bout.

Aono got off to a strong start in round one after taking Sato down into side control. She landed numerous punches and hammerfists, and continued her offensive onslaught with more ground and pound after passing to mount. It was more of the same in the second round after Aono secured another early takedown, but Sato battled back to guard and framed up an armbar from the bottom. She tightened her grip on the hold and referee Yoshinori Umeki waved off the fight at the 1:43 mark of round two, giving Sato a comeback victory.

 

Popular Japanese idol Nanaka Kawamura, who was largely responsible for today’s sold-out standing room only crowd at Deep Jewels 18, won her promotional debut with a Unanimous Decision victory over Reica in an amateur atomweight bout.

Proving that she is more than just a musical artist, Kawamura dominated round one of today’s bout with takedowns and an armbar while Reica did little more than hold on from the bottom. In round two, Kawamura landed body kicks and countered Reica’s wild punches with another takedown. She tried unsuccessfully for an arm-triangle choke and kept Reica pinned down until the end of the fight. All three judges scored the fight 20-18 in favour of Kawamura, to the delight of the crowd in attendance.

“I said that I would get a finish and I couldn’t, so I regret it,” Kawamura said backstage. “My opponent had better striking. I want to show that idols can fight. When I am in the ring, I only think, ‘I will do it, I will win.’ Fans worried about me, so I want to tell them that I’m okay. I will continue to fight.”

 

On the preliminary card, Yuko Saito upset former Jewels postergirl Mika “Future Princess” Nagano in a two-round strawweight grappling match. Nagano reversed a takedown and took top position in round one, but her armbar attempts were unsuccessful and Saito defended well on the ground. Saito took Nagano down with a harai goshi in round two and worked for an arm-triangle choke from the top. She followed with a mounted armbar attempt and maintained top position until the bell. Scores were 20-18 across the board for Saito, who took the Unanimous Decision victory.

In a 49kg catchweight bout, Mika “Arami” Arai (2-0-0) stayed unbeaten with a second-round TKO triumph over Mizuki Furuse (1-3-0). Arai spent the majority of round one landing punches from Furuse’s half-guard after taking her down in the opening minute. Furuse foolishly opened round two with a front kick that allowed Arai to take her back down, and Arai used an arm-triangle choke to set up a move to mount. She landed numerous punches from the top until the fight was finally stopped at the 2:17 mark of round two.

Ayako “Ryo The Skywalker” Miyata (1-0-0) made a successful Deep Jewels debut by defeating the still-winless Sayuri Yamaguchi (0-3-0) in strawweight action. Yamaguchi got the better of the early striking exchanges by landing jabs and leg kicks, but Miyata stunned her with a hard right hand and Yamaguchi shot in for a takedown. She got Miyata down, but fell into a tight triangle choke in the process. Referee Kenichi Serizawa saw no way for Yamaguchi to escape and called off the fight for a technical submission stoppage at the 3:54 mark of round one.

At atomweight, Tomomi Souda (1-0-0) kicked off her pro career with a victory over the eccentric Madoka Ishibashi (0-3-0), who remains in search of her first win. Souda stuffed an early takedown and punished Ishibashi with knees to the body, but Ishibashi eventually got her down. Souda countered with a guillotine choke and Ishibashi closed out the round with ground and pound after escaping. In round two, Ishibashi scored two more takedowns, but Souda took her back in a scramble and locked on a rear-naked choke. Referee Kenichi Serizawa waved off the fight at the 3:03 mark of the second round.

Opening up the card, Momoko Yamazaki defeated Momoka Yoshikawa in an amateur atomweight bout. Yamazaki fought off Yoshikawa’s takedown attempts throughout the first round. She reversed a takedown in round two and took top position in side control, which allowed her to land a series of punches to Yoshikawa’s body. The strong defence in round one and offence in round two were enough to earn Yamazaki a Unanimous Decision win with scores of 20-19 and 20-18 twice.

 

“We had many fights today,” Deep boss Shigeru Saeki reflected following the event. “We tried to make a fight for [Mina] Kurobe but couldn’t. Some fighters lost today, but I will give them another chance. Kana [Watanabe] getting a shot with Rizin is so sudden, but I think her performance impressed [Nobuyuki Sakakibara]. Deep Jewels showcases rookie fights because that is our value. [Nanaka] Kawamura needs more experience and she will fight in March.”

Full play-by-play for all bouts on today’s Deep Jewels 18 card can be found here.

 

 

(Photo Credit: Deep Jewels)