Ayaka Hamasaki Wins Jewels Lightweight Queen TitleUnbeaten Megumi Fujii protégé Ayaka Hamasaki moved her record to 4-0 on Friday night with a pair of convincing decision victories to claim the Jewels Lightweight Queen Championship at 115 pounds. Hamasaki bested fellow prospect Sakura Nomura and talented striker Seo Hee Ham to win the title.

In the tournament semi-finals, Hamasaki displayed excellent striking and ground skills in handing Nomura, a standout from the Club Barbarian Impact gym, the first loss of her career. Hamasaki’s striking was again on display in the final, and a late submission rally sealed her victory on the scorecards.

Displaying ground abilities perfected by mentor Megumi Fujii, Hamasaki was able to control the many submission battles in her bout with Nomura, who was a very game opponent and provided Hamasaki with a tough fight. The victory propelled Hamasaki into the finals, where it seemed that her grappling skills would counter the striking prowess of Ham. Instead, Hamasaki opted to stand and trade with the South Korean kickboxing star, and surprisingly got the better of some exchanges.

Using an effective lead right hook and kicks, Hamasaki held her own and even did some damage on the feet before taking Ham down in the later stages of the second and final round. From there, she landed knees to the body and tried to set up a variety of submissions, with an armbar becoming her ultimate choice. She finally managed to extend Ham’s arm just as the final bell sounded, and the late rally was enough to earn Hamasaki a hard-fought decision.

Full results and play-by-play from all of the Jewels: “Eleventh Ring” fights can be seen here.


Following the fights, Hamasaki commented on her victories.

Of Ham, Hamasaki stated that she was worried about her opponent’s strength. “Now, I’m just relieved that it’s over,” she said. “I didn’t think I’d win the whole tournament! I’m very grateful to everyone at the AACC [Abe Ani Combat Club] for their training and support.”

“I’ve never fought Sakura Nomura or Seo Hee Ham before, but I watched a lot of their videos,” Hamasaki continued, when asked how confident she was heading into the tournament. “I knew they were really good. Since I’d done my research, I was as confident as I could be, I suppose.”

Hamasaki then fielded questions about her fight with Nomura and her fighting stance.

“In round one, we mostly did striking,” she said of the bout with Nomura. “When I did get the takedown, I wasn’t able to do as well as I had thought. She felt very heavy on top.” She then added, “In judo, the right foot is first, but in standing [in MMA], the left foot is in front. Sometimes, in habit, it’s easy to switch back, but in [MMA] striking, orthodox is better.”

Of her future plans, Hamasaki said, “I want to practise more and more, so I can win more and more. I train at the AACC with veterans like Megumi Fujii and Hitomi Akano. Everyone is really good. The training atmosphere is really important.”

When asked what was next for her, Hamasaki answered, “There are so many people I haven’t fought yet, so I just want to fight many different people. I’ll do my best next year!”


Hamasaki’s post-fight comments were translated in their entirety by Roxanne Modafferi.



(Photo Credit: GBRing.com)

  1. Her name is not Hamazaki but Hamasaki.

  2. Roxanne asked her and has said that it’s actually a z, not an s like the Jewels poster and Japanese reports have listed, but I agree that it’s tough to tell because everyone in Japan uses an s if they write it in English.

  3. Hah. Roxanne triple-checked since there was confusion and has told me that it is indeed Hamasaki, so I will go ahead and re-update that. Apologies.

  4. Thx 🙂