The lineups are set for the 2010 Rough Stone Grand Prix tournaments, which kick off at Jewels: “Tenth Ring” on October 10th in Tokyo, Japan. Earlier today, Jewels announced the first-round matchups for each of the three weight classes, which are set at 48, 52 and 56 kilograms.
Also announced was a non-tournament bout at 58kg between rising T-Blood star Miki Morifuji and women’s MMA veteran Aya “Ariya” Koyama. Morifuji is fresh off of a win over Jewels postergirl Shizuka Sugiyama, while Koyama, a pro wrestler, returns to MMA for the first time in over six years.
The opening round of the 48kg (106-pound) bracket pits Kikuyo Ishikawa (2-2-0) against Misaki “Patora” Ozawa (1-5-0) in one bout, while Yoko Kagoshima (1-4-0) faces Yukiko Seki (6-19-0) in the other. On paper, the lineup for the 48kg bracket is mediocre and the weight class has lost the lustre that it once had in DEEP when Hisae Watanabe and Miku “Supernova” Matsumoto held titles. However, all four of the tournament participants have something to prove heading into the opening round and each will be looking to advance to the finals at the famed Korakuen Hall in December.
The 52kg (114-pound) bracket, clearly the strongest weight class in Jewels, will feature bouts pitting former Mach Dojo member Miyo Yoshida (1-1-0) against Mai Ichii (3-4-0) and Hiroko Kitamura (4-1-0) against Rina Tomita (2-4-0). This event is not to be confused with the Jewels Lightweight (115-Pound) Queen Grand Prix, which will also wrap up in December. While Kitamura must be seen as an early favourite to win the 52kg bracket, Tomita’s losses have all come against top competition and she remains one of the focal points of Jewels. The winner of this tournament could move on to face the Jewels Lightweight Queen tournament winner next year.
Lastly, the 56kg (123-pound) bracket features an interesting lineup with two equally interesting style matchups. In the first opening-round bout, unbeaten AACC prospect Emi Murata (1-0-0) will welcome J-Girls kickboxing teen Mizuki Inoue (0-0-0) to mixed martial arts, while Asako Saioka (3-4-0) competes for just the second time in five years when she faces the still-winless Harumi (0-15-0). The Murata-Inoue fight pits grappler against striker and Inoue, who has already had success as a kickboxer, could make a big statement in her MMA debut if she is able to upset Murata. Saioka has fought just once in five years, but her losses have come against elite fighters. Harumi will likely suffer her 16th loss.
The 58kg (128-pound) bout between Miki Morifuji (9-6-0) and Aya Koyama (4-9-1) marks Koyama’s first fight in mixed martial arts since April 18, 2004. She made her MMA debut on May 3, 2001 and fought actively before taking up professional wrestling. Following the lengthy layoff, Koyama will now make her return, but she will not have an easy opponent. Morifuji picked up the biggest victory of her career when she upset Shizuka Sugiyama at Jewels: “Seventh Ring” in March and she has won six of her last eight fights. Also a veteran, Morifuji made her MMA debut just three weeks after Koyama in 2001.
Jewels: “Tenth Ring” takes place on October 10th at Shin-Kiba 1st Ring in Tokyo, Japan.
Jewels: “Tenth Ring” Fight Card (to date; subject to change):
– Saori “Shooting Star” Ishioka vs Celine Haga [2010 Lightweight Queen Grand Prix Quarterfinal]
– Miki Morifuji vs Aya “Ariya” Koyama [58kg Non-Tournament Bout]
– Kikuyo Ishikawa vs Misaki “Patora” Ozawa [48kg Rough Stone Grand Prix Semi-Final]
– Yoko Kagoshima vs Yukiko Seki [48kg Rough Stone Grand Prix Semi-Final]
– Miyo Yoshida vs Mai Ichii [52kg Rough Stone Grand Prix Semi-Final]
– Hiroko Kitamura vs Rina Tomita [52kg Rough Stone Grand Prix Semi-Final]
– Emi Murata vs Mizuki Inoue [56kg Rough Stone Grand Prix Semi-Final]
– Asako Saioka vs Harumi [56kg Rough Stone Grand Prix Semi-Final]
– Sakura Nomura vs Yoshimi “Arika” Ohama [Shootboxing Match]
One-Day 52kg Grappling Tournament Participants:
– Yuko “Amiba” Oya, Asami Kodera, Ayaka Hamasaki, Emi Tomimatsu