Two more bouts have been added to the upcoming Jewels: “23rd Ring” card on March 30th in Tokyo, Japan. Jewels Featherweight Queen Champion Naho “Sugi Rock” Sugiyama looks to rebound from the first loss of her pro career when she takes on Norway’s Celine Haga in a non-title matchup.
In other action on the card, Jewels producer and matchmaker Yasuko “Pink Spider” Mogi faces Takumi Umehara, who debuted for Jewels in December. The fights join a previously announced contender’s bout between grappling specialists Mika “Future Princess” Nagano and Emi Tomimatsu on the card.
Sugiyama (8-1-0) became the second champion in Jewels history when she defeated Kikuyo Ishikawa and Misaki Takimoto in one night at Jewels: “17th Ring” in December 2011 to win the inaugural Jewels Featherweight Queen Championship. She went on to defeat former Valkyrie champion Yasuko “Ikuko” Tamada in a non-title rematch this past May before travelling to Kansas City, Kansas to face Jessica Penne for the Invicta FC Atomweight Championship. Penne prevailed via second-round triangle choke submission and Sugiyama now looks to return to her winning ways in her first fight of 2013.
Haga (3-11-0) has been an underdog throughout her MMA career and that will be the case once again when she steps in to face the top-ranked Sugiyama next month. However, the Joachim Hansen-trained fighter has shown considerable improvement in recent fights and has put on strong showings against many of the top stars in the Jewels promotion. Her most notable win came in May 2010 when she upset the aforementioned Mika Nagano. In December, Haga earned her second straight victory by defeating one-time contender Miyoko Kusaka. She now faces arguably her toughest opponent to date.
The bout between Sugiyama and Haga will be contested under Jewels special rules, which permit strikes to the face on the ground.
Mogi (3-7-0) returned to action for the first time in more than two and a half years at Jewels’ first caged event, “22nd Ring,” in December. However, the veteran grappler was unable to contend with the striking ability of opponent Keiko Tomita and Mogi was ultimately stopped by strikes early in the second round. She now meets MMA newcomer Umehara (0-0-0), who was also a part of “22nd Ring.” Umehara was originally scheduled to face Kessya Takeuchi in a grappling match on the card, but ultimately faced Yuki Uchiyama after Takeuchi was forced to withdraw due to illness. Umehara was defeated via decision in an uneventful match and will look to put on a stronger showing in her MMA debut.
Jewels: “23rd Ring” takes place on March 30th at Shin-Kiba 1st Ring in Tokyo, Japan.
Jewels: “23rd Ring” Fight Card (to date; subject to change):
– Mika “Future Princess” Nagano vs Emi Tomimatsu [52kg Jewels Special MMA Rules - 2x5]
– Naho “Sugi Rock” Sugiyama vs Celine Haga [49kg Jewels Special MMA Rules - 2x5]
– Yasuko “Pink Spider” Mogi vs Takumi Umehara [56kg Jewels Official MMA Rules - 2x5]