Following back-to-back wins this year, Shizuka Sugiyama looks for her third victory of 2012 when she faces former Strikeforce title challenger Roxanne “The Happy Warrior” Modafferi at Jewels: “22nd Ring” on December 15th in Tokyo, Japan. The 130-pound matchup was added to the card today.
Sugiyama returned to Jewels in July after a year-long trip to Australia to study English and jiu-jitsu. She has won three of her past five fights and is now set to take on her toughest opponent to date. Modafferi looks to get herself back on track by earning her first victory under the Jewels banner.
Sugiyama (8-3-0) has been one of the top stars in Jewels for more than three years, but a pair of losses in 2010 forced the karate practitioner to re-evaluate her overall MMA game. She opted to take a year off from competition to improve her ground game and earned her BJJ blue belt following extensive training in Australia. She returned home to Japan earlier this year and stepped back into the Jewels ring in July. After two back-and-forth rounds, Sugiyama took a narrow Split Decision victory over Japanese MMA pioneer Megumi Yabushita. She then stopped newcomer Yurika Tanaka at “21st Ring” in September. A win over Modafferi would finally vault Sugiyama from prospect to contender status in Japan.
Modafferi (15-10-0) has been actively competing for nine years and put together an impressive six-fight winning streak from 2007 to 2008 that included notable victories over both Marloes “Rumina” Coenen and Vanessa Porto. She was later defeated by Coenen in a November 2009 Strikeforce rematch, but rebounded with key wins over Molly Helsel and top-ranked contender Tara LaRosa to earn a shot at the Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Championship in 2010. Modafferi’s bid for the title ended in defeat and she is currently in the midst of a tough five-fight losing streak. She remains in search of her first Jewels win and will earn it if she can get past Sugiyama next month.
Jewels: “22nd Ring” takes place on December 15th at Differ Ariake in Tokyo, Japan. For the first time in the promotion’s history, the event will be contested inside a cage instead of a ring.
Jewels: “22nd Ring” Fight Card (to date; subject to change):
– Shizuka Sugiyama vs Roxanne “The Happy Warrior” Modafferi [59kg Jewels Special Rules – 2×5]
– Satomi Takano vs Yasuko “Ikuko” Tamada [46kg Jewels Special Rules – 2×5]
– Mika “Future Princess” Nagano vs Rina Tomita [52kg Jewels Special Rules – 2×5]*
– Naomi Taniyama vs Mina Kurobe [48kg Jewels Official Rules – 2×5]
– Naoko Omuro vs TBD [Jewels Exhibition MMA Match]**
*Tomita’s retirement bout.
**Omuro’s retirement bout.
(Photo Credit: Jewels blog)