Hisae Watanabe Faces Naoko Omuro In Jewels Exhibition MatchFormer DEEP Women’s Lightweight Champion Hisae Watanabe will make her Jewels debut in an exhibition match against one-time rival Naoko Omuro at Jewels: “22nd Ring” on December 15th in Tokyo, Japan. Omuro is set to retire following the exhibition bout after competing for close to 11 years.

In addition to the Watanabe-Omuro exhibition, a grappling match was also announced for the “22nd Ring” card today. Highly-touted jiu-jitsu practitioner Rikako Yuasa will face off against Jewels mainstay Yuko “Amiba” Oya. A total of 16 bouts have now been confirmed for next weekend’s Jewels event.

Watanabe (19-6-0) and Omuro (13-9-4) first faced off under the Smackgirl banner on May 6, 2002. Both fighters were competing as pros for the second time and Watanabe prevailed via Unanimous Decision. She repeated that feat close to three years later in a five-round rematch in Pancrase. Watanabe later went on to become the first DEEP Women’s Lightweight Champion at 106 pounds by knocking out the previously unbeaten “Princess” Satoko Shinashi at DEEP: “25th Impact” in what was, at the time, seen by many as the biggest women’s bout to ever take place in Japan.

Following Watanabe’s DEEP title victory, she went 2-2 in her next two fights and lost the DEEP belt to fellow pound-for-pound standout Miku “Supernova” Matsumoto. Watanabe retired from MMA in 2007, but she has made occasional appearances in kickboxing and shoot boxing matches in recent years.

For Omuro, the exhibition trilogy match with Watanabe marks the end of an MMA career dating all the way back to February 2002. The well-rounded fighter has been a contender for both Smackgirl and the all-female Valkyrie promotion. Omuro posted a solid 3-1-1 record in five bouts for Valkyrie, including a notable stoppage win over Sachiko “Sachi” Yamamoto and a Majority Draw with the promotion’s first and only flyweight (100-pound) titleholder, Yasuko “Ikuko” Tamada.

In mid-July, Omuro made her Jewels debut in a trilogy fight against Tamada at “20th Ring.” In just her second defeat in her past nine fights – the other coming against Tamada in a July 2010 Valkyrie title rematch – Omuro suffered a Unanimous Decision loss after two rounds. The veteran fighter will now compete one final time in the exhibition match with Watanabe next weekend.

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):

– Ayaka Hamasaki vs Emi “Kamikaze Angel” Fujino [Jewels Lightweight Queen Championship – 3×5]
– 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]*
– Mizuki Inoue vs Hyo Kyung Song [52kg Jewels Special Rules – 2×5]
– Kikuyo Ishikawa vs Tomo Maesawa [48kg Jewels Special Rules – 2×5]

– Megumi Yabushita vs Jade Marie Anderson [65kg Jewels Special Rules – 2×5]
– Miyoko Kusaka vs Celine Haga [51kg Jewels Special Rules – 2×5]
– Yasuko Mogi vs Keiko Tomita [56kg Jewels Special Rules – 2×5]
– Yurika Tanaka vs Rie Fukui [65kg Jewels Official Rules – 2×5]
– Naomi Taniyama vs Mina Kurobe [48kg Jewels Official Rules – 2×5]

– Emi Tomimatsu vs Nako Otsuka [50kg Shoot Boxing Rules – 3×2]
– Mayumi “Super Benkei” Aoki vs Satoko Ozawa [60.5kg Kickboxing Rules – 3×3]
– Reina Matsuda vs Harumi [51.5kg Kickboxing Rules – 3×2]
– Rikako Yuasa vs Yuko “Amiba” Oya [Jewels Grappling Rules – 2×4]
– Naoko Omuro vs Hisae Watanabe [Jewels Exhibition Match]**

*Tomita’s retirement bout.
**Omuro’s retirement bout.



(Photo Credit: Jewels blog)