A non-title rematch between Jewels Featherweight Queen Champion Naho “Sugi Rock” Sugiyama and final Valkyrie titleholder Yasuko “Ikuko” Tamada has been added to the May 26th Jewels: “19th Ring” event in Osaka, Japan. The featured 106-pound matchup was officially announced today.
Sugiyama and Tamada first faced off at Valkyrie 8 in November 2010, where Sugiyama upset the veteran. Tamada’s Valkyrie Flyweight Championship was not on the line and the promotion folded this past year. Also added to “19th Ring” today was a bout between Yukiko Seki and Yuko Kawabata.
Sugiyama (7-0-0) is currently the top female atomweight fighter in the sport. Since making her promotional debut at “14th Ring” one year ago, Sugiyama has reigned undefeated in the Jewels ring. She captured the Jewels Featherweight Queen title in December by winning two fights in one night in the finals of the inaugural Jewels Featherweight Queen Grand Prix. Sugiyama’s Jewels title will not be on the line in the rematch with Tamada, but she will look to prove that her first win was no fluke by defeating Tamada for a second time.
Tamada (12-7-3) opened her pro career with just one win in her first seven fights, but went on to enjoy one of the longest unbeaten streaks of any female mixed martial artist to date. For four full years, Tamada avoided the taste of defeat, with 11 wins and a lone blemish coming in the form of a November 2008 Draw with Naoko Omuro. She went on to defeat Omuro in a rematch at Valkyrie 6 to capture the promotion’s vacant 100-pound title. Tamada has struggled since, however, and is currently in the midst of a three-fight losing streak.
With the fighters heading in opposite directions in their respective careers, the rematch between Sugiyama and Tamada provides the former with an opportunity to earn another solid victory, while Tamada looks to get back to her winning ways by handing Sugiyama her first career defeat.
In other action at “19th Ring,” Featherweight Queen GP semi-finalist Yukiko Seki (10-21-0) faces the still-winless Yuko Kawabata (0-4-0). Seki was defeated by Misaki Takimoto in her semi-final bout in December, but had won five of six prior to the setback. Kawabata remains in search of her first win after suffering two losses apiece to the aforementioned Omuro and “Happy” Fukuko Hamada.
Jewels: “19th Ring” takes place on May 26th at Azalea Taisho Hall in Osaka, Japan.
Jewels: “19th Ring” Fight Card (to date; subject to change):
- Ayaka Hamasaki vs Yuka “Vale Tudo Queen” Tsuji [Jewels Lightweight Queen Championship - 3x5]
- Naho “Sugi Rock” Sugiyama vs Yasuko “Ikuko” Tamada [48kg Jewels Special Rules - 2x5]
- Mika “Future Princess” Nagano vs Anna Saito [53kg Jewels Official Rules - 2x5]
- Sachiko “Sachi” Yamamoto vs Sadae “Manhoef” Suzumura [48kg Jewels Official Rules - 2x5]
- Yukiko Seki vs Yuko Kawabata [46kg Jewels Official Rules - 2x5]
(Photo Credit: Sherdog.com)