Emi Fujino, Mika Nagano Among Winners At Deep Jewels 1Former Jewels title challenger Emi “Kamikaze Angel” Fujino survived early scares and emerged victorious in the Deep Jewels 1 main event tonight at Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo, Japan. Fujino used a rear-naked choke to defeat South Korean challenger Hyo Kyung Song in the late stages of round two.

Fujino’s one-time Jewels foe, Mika “Future Princess” Nagano, picked up her fourth straight victory on tonight’s card when she submitted Akiko “Betiko” Naito. Both Fujino and Nagano will compete in the Deep Jewels lightweight title tournament, which is set to begin at Deep Jewels 2 on November 4th.


Fujino (13-6-0) found herself in early danger tonight when she was dropped by a counter right hand from Song (0-3-0) in the opening round of their 52-kilogram bout. Fujino recovered and tried for a takedown, but Song defended well and stayed on her feet. As the round progressed, Fujino began to have greater success on the feet and she rocked Song as time ticked down.

In round two, Song once again stunned Fujino with a counter hook. Fujino regained her composure and secured a takedown into half-guard. She transitioned to side control and postured up with punches. Song rolled over and gave up her back, which prompted Fujino to lock on a rear-naked choke for the tapout victory at the 3:34 mark of round two.

Despite being named MVP of the event, Fujino was not satisfied with her performance in tonight’s fight. Her victory nevertheless earned her a spot in the Deep Jewels lightweight (114-pound) title tournament, which will crown a new champion to succeed Ayaka Hamasaki, who relinquished her belt tonight due to lingering injuries. Fujino will be joined in the four-woman tournament by the aforementioned Nagano, teen standout Mizuki Inoue and grappling specialist Emi Tomimatsu.

“Somehow, I was able to win, but I have my regrets about the contents of my fight,” Fujino said following tonight’s event. “My plan was to strike more and land takedowns, and I wasn’t able to, but I finally won so I’m relieved. I’m honoured to be chosen to be in the tournament. I’ve already fought Nagano, but she’s getting stronger lately. Mizuki is clearly the favourite here, but I have the most physical strength.”

Deep boss Shigeru Saeki also weighed in on tonight’s main event and the upcoming title tournament.

“I was planning the tournament, but Fujino sort of struggled in the first round tonight,” Saeki said. “So I was a bit worried about how that would affect the tournament, but she was able to come back and win. That made it a good main event.”


Two of the three remaining title tournament participants were also in action on the Deep Jewels card. Nagano (14-8-0) made quick work of Naito (6-13-0) in Naito’s retirement fight. Nagano landed some nice punches early on and followed with a trip takedown into mount. From there, she rained down punches from the top until she was able to secure an armbar that forced Naito to submit at the 2:24 mark of round one. Naito departs the sport following a career spanning more than ten years.

Inoue was the lone member of the tournament roster to taste defeat tonight. The gifted young fighter, who celebrated her 19th birthday 12 days ago, suffered a Unanimous Decision loss to highly-touted jiu-jitsu ace Rikako Yuasa in a two-round grappling match. Both competitors displayed excellent skills in the match, but Yuasa’s guard passing and slick submission attempts from the bottom were enough to propel her to victory. Inoue will look to rebound when she enters the Deep Jewels tournament.


In a featherweight (48-kilogram/106-pound) title eliminator bout, Sadae “Manhoef” Numata (5-1-1) did the near-impossible by overcoming two Yellow Cards to take a narrow Split Decision win over Celine Haga (5-12-0). Numata, who was severely penalised for weighing in two pounds over the limit, landed solid punches in round one and scored a much-needed takedown in the second stanza. She was unable to finish Haga with a rear-naked choke, but her striking dominance and late-fight rally on the mat proved to be just enough to earn her the win.

Numata will now move on to challenge Deep Jewels featherweight champion Seo Hee Ham, who won the title at the final Jewels event in May. On August 25th, Ham defended her CMA/KPW title in a kickboxing match at Gladiator 59 when she stopped challenger Yumi with punches just 1:48 into their fight. A date has not yet been announced for the Ham-Numata title tilt, but Saeki discussed plans for the fight tonight.

“Numata wasn’t in good condition, so unfortunately she couldn’t make weight,” he said. “She had two Yellow Cards, which meant that she pretty much needed a KO or submission or something close to that. She actually made it, so I’m planning on setting up Numata versus Ham. I’m also thankful that Haga took the fight.”


The remainder of the MMA portion of Deep Jewels 1 featured wins for long-time veterans and talented newcomers alike. Yuko “Amiba” Oya (6-3-0) overcame a surprisingly strong performance from Jewels producer and matchmaker Yasuko “Pink Spider” Mogi (3-9-0) to take a close Split Decision victory. Mogi fared well on the ground, but Oya was able to hurt her on two occasions with punches and avoided Mogi’s submission attempts en route to the competitive decision win.

Former Valkyrie champion Yasuko “Ikuko” Tamada (15-8-3) weathered a proverbial storm of takedowns from fellow veteran Yukiko Seki (11-23-0) to earn a Unanimous Decision win. Seki was relentless with takedowns in round one, but Tamada remained calm and countered with a kneebar attempt just before the bell. Tamada scored takedowns of her own in round two and her aggression late in the fight swayed the judges in her favour.

Masako Yoshida (17-18-5) put on one of her most impressive performances in recent years by dominating prospect Satomi Takano (2-2-0) for ten minutes. Yoshida landed hard punches on the feet and controlled the fight from top position on the mat. Takano did her best to remain active with submission attempts, but they were no match for the experienced Yoshida, who cruised to victory.

Elsewhere, Miyoko Kusaka (4-6-1) halted a four-fight winless streak by upsetting “Happy” Fukuko Hamada (7-9-1). Kusaka threatened with a number of submissions throughout the fight and easily escaped Hamada’s attempts to lock on a submission hold of her own. At the end of two rounds, Kusaka had left no doubt in the judges’ minds and all three awarded her with the win.


In newcomer bouts that outlawed ground and pound, AACC prospect Megumi Sugimoto (1-0-0) made a successful pro debut by taking an impressive Unanimous Decision victory over Takumi Umehara (1-2-0), and Sachiko Fujimori (1-0-0) needed just 49 seconds to submit fellow pro debutant Sumire Takahashi (0-1-0) with a rear-naked choke.

Rounding out the card, veteran striker Kozue “Azuma” Nagashima narrowly outpointed Ji Yun Kim via Majority Decision in the kickboxing co-feature. Scores were 30-30 and 30-29 twice for Nagashima. In a second kickboxing match, Rena Matsuda and Rumina “K” Kurihara fought to a Majority Draw after three rounds. One judge saw the close fight 30-29 for Matsuda, while the remaining two had it even at 29-29.

Tonight’s event proceeded at a brisk pace with very little time between fights. According to Saeki, this was intentional, and he hopes that Deep Jewels’s addition of ground and pound to the standard rule set will continue to create more action in future fights.

“In women’s fights, there were less KOs and finishes, so we decided to allow punches to the face on the ground,” he said. “Hopefully we can expect more finishes now. The events moved too slow before and I wanted more movement in the fights. I think the 30-second inactivity rule helped in that sense.”

Deep Jewels 2 will take place on November 4th when the promotion returns to Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo, Japan. The event will feature the opening round of the Deep Jewels lightweight title tournament.

Full play-by-play for all fights on tonight’s Deep Jewels 1 card can be found here.



(Photo Credit: Deep Jewels)