Ayaka Hamasaki, Kanna Asakura Earn Stoppage Wins At Rizin FF 22Former Rizin FF Women’s Super Atomweight Champion Ayaka Hamasaki got back on track with a dominant win tonight at Rizin Fighting Federation 22 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. Hamasaki submitted current Deep Jewels champ Tomo Maesawa in the strawweight co-main event.

Also on tonight’s card, Rizin FF Grand Prix Champion Kanna Asakura picked up her third straight victory in quick and one-sided fashion. Asakura made short work of Mizuki Furuse, finishing the talented young prospect with ground and pound in the first round of their super atomweight bout.

 

Hamasaki (20-3-0) scored with early right hands as Maesawa (13-11-0) faked takedowns and struggled to find her range. Hamasaki dropped her with a left hook, but Maesawa quickly recovered and got back to her feet. Hamasaki took her down soon after and landed punches from a top-side crucifix. Maesawa scrambled free late in the round and worked for a single-leg takedown before the bell. Maesawa tried unsuccessfully to establish her jab in the second round and Hamasaki easily took her down again. She then moved to North-South position and locked on a kimura on Maesawa’s left arm. Maesawa, who challenged Hamasaki to tonight’s fight, reluctantly tapped out at the 1:26 mark of round two.

“I’m glad that I won by submission, but I have things to improve in my striking and so I’m not satisfied,” Hamasaki stated backstage after the fight. “I want to challenge [Seo Hee] Ham again and I need to get more wins. I want wins by submission or knockout, and I especially want KOs in the future. Any opponent is fine by me.”

“After [Deep Jewels 29], I challenged [Hamasaki], but I didn’t expect the match to happen this easily. Thanks to my teammates and to [Masanori] Kanehara for the support,” Maesawa expressed backstage following her defeat. “I know that our skill levels are different and her distance was too great for me. I tried to close in but I couldn’t. I need to defend my Deep Jewels belt next and I don’t know about any other plans for the future.”

 

Asakura (17-4-0) put forth one of the most impressive performances of her career tonight against Furuse (9-8-0), who shot in for a takedown after eating a hard left hand from Asakura in the opening seconds. Asakura sprawled in defence and took Furuse’s back. She battered Furuse with hammerfists to the sides of her face until referee Minoru Toyonaga had seen enough and intervened to stop the fight. The official time of Asakura’s TKO victory came at the 1:35 mark of round one.

“I needed to show how strong I am against her and so I am glad that I won,” Asakura said backstage after her quick win. “I did not feel pressure and I felt that I would defeat her in the first round. I will fight upper-tier opponents in this division, but I can’t say for sure that I am ready to fight Ayaka [Hamasaki] again yet, though. I want people to enjoy my fights because I think then I will also enjoy them more. I will be more nervous tomorrow [at Rizin FF 23], but I believe in [teammate Hiromasa] Ogikubo.”

“My opponent is strong and I was nervous, but most importantly I was weak,” a disappointed Furuse admitted backstage. “I thought that I was better than her in the standup striking, but Kanna was more calm and her hammerfists hurt me more than I had ever felt in a fight before. That showed that she belongs on a big stage.” Furuse, who has maintained an incredibly active fighting schedule since her pro debut in early 2017, then noted that she would like to take a year off to rest and refocus.

 

 

(Photo Credit: Rizin Fighting Federation)