Shizuka Sugiyama vs Takayo Hashi Set For Deep Jewels 4Japanese star Shizuka Sugiyama and former Strikeforce title challenger Takayo Hashi will face off for the inaugural Deep Jewels Middleweight Championship at Deep Jewels 4 on May 18th in Tokyo. The 135-pound matchup was officially announced during a press conference today.

Sugiyama returned to the win column after fighting to a disappointing Draw with Ji-Yeon Kim in November by stopping Mizuho Sato in just 75 seconds at Deep Jewels 3. Hashi stepped back into action this month following a two-year hiatus and she also fought to a two-round Draw against Kim.

Sugiyama (11-3-1) has not tasted defeat in more than three years and the talented karateka has recently established herself as an effective finisher with first-round TKO victories in three of her past four bouts. This past year, it was announced that Sugiyama would likely compete for the first Deep Jewels 135-pound title in early 2014, but a Majority Draw against MMA debutant Kim put those plans on hold. Undeterred, Sugiyama returned to the ring in February and battered Saho with punches en route to a first-round doctor stoppage win to regain her title contender status.

Hashi (14-4-1) brought an eight-fight winning streak into the first Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Championship bout in February 2010. The Japanese veteran faced off against then-unbeaten Canadian standout Sarah Kaufman, but dropped a lacklustre Unanimous Decision after five rounds. She suffered subsequent defeats against Tara LaRosa and “Alpha” Cat Zingano in regional title bouts and took a two-year break from fighting after defeating Roxanne “The Happy Warrior” Modafferi at Jewels: “18th Ring.” On March 9th, Hashi battled Kim to a Unanimous Draw at Road FC: Korea 2.

In addition to the inaugural title bout between Sugiyama and Hashi, Deep Jewels 4 will also feature a matchup between the returning Saori “Shooting Star” Ishioka (12-7-0) and Satomi “Sarami” Takano (3-3-0). Ishioka has not fought in more than two years and she steps back into action after taking a break to start a family. Takano remains a top prospect on the Deep Jewels roster, but she is coming off of a close decision loss to former Jewels champ Naho “Sugi Rock” Sugiyama at Deep Jewels 3.

Rounding out the card thus far, Naomi Taniyama (0-2-0) faces Yuko Kawabata (0-5-0) and Shiori Hori (0-1-0) takes on Maya Dobashi (0-0-0).

Deep Jewels 4 takes place on May 18th at Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo, Japan.



(Photo Credit: Deep Jewels)