Leading all-female promotion Jewels has announced a trio of big fights for its upcoming “15th Ring” event on July 9th in Tokyo, Japan. Final Valkyrie Featherweight Champion “V.V” Mei Yamaguchi will make her Jewels debut when she faces kickboxing standout and Jewels mainstay Seo Hee Ham.
In a bout rescheduled from December 30th, Strikeforce veterans Hitomi “Girlfight Monster” Akano and Roxanne “The Happy Warrior” Modafferi will square off in a featured matchup at 15th Ring, while top Jewels star Hiroko Yamanaka returns to face rising prospect Bolormaa “Esui” Erdenebileg.
Both Yamaguchi (8-2-1) and Ham (8-4-0) have won five of their last six fights. Yamaguchi captured the Valkyrie Featherweight Championship with a shocking 76-second submission win over Yuka “Vale Tudo Queen” Tsuji on February 11, 2010 and recently picked up a pair of victories in Pancrase after Valkyrie encountered financial troubles. She will now make her Jewels debut against Ham, who is one of the premier female strikers at 115 pounds and made it to the finals of last year’s Jewels Lightweight Queen tournament. Both fighters are 2-0 thus far in 2011 and a victory for either could set up a title fight with Jewels Lightweight Queen Champion Ayaka Hamasaki down the line.
Akano (17-8-0) and Modafferi (15-7-0) were first set to face off at SRC: “Soul of Fight” on December 30th, but the bout was scrapped at the last minute after Modafferi fell ill. Akano has won two of her last three fights, with the lone defeat coming in a competitive Strikeforce tournament final bout with Miesha “Takedown” Tate last August. The submission specialist has won 14 times by tapout, with all but one coming via armbar. Modafferi enters the July bout on a two-fight losing skid, but fought to a very close decision against Rosi “The Surgeon” Sexton in February and should hold an advantage in striking and clinchwork over Akano.
In an intriguing addition to the card, two of Jewels’ top fighters in the featherweight division will square off when Yamanaka (11-1-0) faces the surging Erdenebileg (2-1-0), who has won back-to-back fights in impressive fashion. Yamanaka has not tasted defeat since losing to Hitomi Akano over three years ago. She avenged the defeat last March and has since won three more fights, but has not competed since December. Erdenebileg, a former professional wrestler from Mongolia, was defeated in her pro MMA debut last July, but made a big statement in December when she stopped Jewels postergirl Shizuka Sugiyama. She most recently defeated Chisa Yonezawa by doctor stoppage last month.
The three bouts join a previously announced matchup between former Valkyrie and long-time Smackgirl champion Yuka Tsuji and perennial Jewels contender Saori “Shooting Star” Ishioka. All four bouts announced thus far will be contested under Jewels Special Rules, which permit ground and pound.
Jewels: “15th Ring” takes place on July 9th at Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo, Japan.
Jewels: “15th Ring” Fight Card (to date; subject to change):
– Yuka “Vale Tudo Queen” Tsuji vs Saori “Shooting Star” Ishioka [52kg Jewels Special MMA Rules]
– “V.V” Mei Yamaguchi vs Seo Hee Ham [52kg Jewels Special MMA Rules]
– Hitomi “Girlfight Monster” Akano vs Roxanne “The Happy Warrior” Modafferi [61kg Jewels Special MMA Rules]
– Hiroko Yamanaka vs Bolormaa “Esui” Erdenebileg [65kg Jewels Special MMA Rules]