Takayo Hashi Wins Deep Jewels Middleweight ChampionshipFormer Smackgirl champion Takayo Hashi captured another prestigious title in the main event of Deep Jewels 4 today in Tokyo, Japan. Hashi stopped top star Shizuka Sugiyama late in the third round of a competitive fight to become the first Deep Jewels Middleweight Champion at 135 pounds.

In one of many bouts on the card that ended with a technical submission, former Jewels postergirl Saori “Shooting Star” Ishioka made a successful return by stopping Satomi “Sarami” Takano. Deep Jewels Featherweight Champion Seo Hee Ham defeated Yuuki Kira in a kickboxing match.


The opening round of tonight’s title tilt was a close one and both Hashi (15-4-1) and Sugiyama (11-4-1) had success with punching combinations and kicks to the body. Sugiyama appeared to hold a slight edge in the early exchanges, but Hashi gained momentum as the round progressed and she scored a big takedown in the final minute. Hashi mounted Sugiyama and landed punches, then transitioned to a tight triangle choke just as time expired.

In round two, the pace remained high early on as the fighters traded punches in close. Sugiyama landed a quick flurry and a leg kick, but Hashi took her down and scored with right hands as Sugiyama battled back to her feet. Hashi landed stiff jabs and lunging punches that kept Sugiyama on the defensive until the bell.

Hashi clinched immediately in round three and she landed uppercuts in close while pinning Sugiyama against the ropes. Sugiyama circled out and Hashi tagged her with a combination. Sugiyama scored a much-needed takedown and took Hashi’s back, but Hashi wound up in top position as the fighters hit the mat. She tried for a kimura and an arm-triangle choke, but Sugiyama defended well. However, Hashi mounted her soon after and rained down punches that forced Sugiyama to give up her back. Hashi flattened her out and teed off with punches for a TKO victory at the 4:20 mark of round three.

Hashi’s title victory today was just her second win in the past five years, but she remains a top contender in Japan in spite of her recent inconsistency.

“I thought I would succeed in striking, but [Sugiyama’s] strikes hit me, too,” Hashi told MMARising.com after the fight. “Sugiyama came forward with her strikes, and if she had moved backwards I could have done better in the fight. She was a star in Jewels, but I have had a longer career that includes international fights and I got to show off my experience.

“I want to defend my belt and I would like to challenge other champions abroad,” Hashi added. “I’d like to defend my [Deep Jewels] title against Ji-Yeon Kim [in a rematch], and if there is a 125-pound women’s title in the UFC, I want to fight Miesha Tate.”


Tonight’s co-main event between the returning Ishioka (13-7-0) and Takano (3-4-0) was clearly the best fight on the card and Ishioka earned MVP honours for her first-round victory.

Takano whipped Ishioka to the mat right away in the fight, but Ishioka quickly countered with an armbar from her back. Takano slammed her way free and the fighters went for duelling heel hooks. Ishioka postured up and landed punches that allowed her to briefly escape, but the leglock battle continued and Takano switched to a kneebar. Ishioka broke free and she mounted Takano seconds later. She trapped her arm behind her back and landed a series of punches that forced Takano to roll to her side. Ishioka instantly took advantage by locking on an armbar and referee Ryogaku Wada intervened for a technical submission stoppage at the 4:44 mark.

“I tried to strike, but I got hit by a hook and could not see out of one eye,” Ishioka said while speaking with MMARising.com following her victory. “I will try to rebuild women’s MMA in Japan, and my pregnancy and new child have helped me to mature as a person. I would like to fight at 115 pounds, but I cannot increase my weight. Still, I want to fight for a title at least once.”


In the lone kickboxing match on the card, Ham and Kira engaged in a spirited three-round bout that ended in a well-deserved Unanimous Decision victory for the South Korean Deep Jewels champion.

Both fighters mixed up their strikes well in the opening round with punching combinations and body kicks. Ham’s precision strikes allowed her to take the lead in the exchanges and she backed Kira up against the ropes. Kira showed her resolve by firing back with flurries of her own, but Ham continued to score with kicks and knees as the round progressed.

It was more of the same in rounds two and three, as Kira put forth a solid showing but lacked power behind her strikes. Ham continued to keep her opponent guessing by switching between punching combinations and body kicks, and she landed knees to the body when Kira closed the distance. In the final minute, Ham kept Kira at bay with front kicks and all three judges scored the fight in Ham’s favour.


Final Valkyrie Featherweight Champion “V.V” Mei Yamaguchi (12-7-1) halted a tough two-fight losing skid by stopping veteran journeywoman Yukiko Seki (12-24-0) in the first bout on the main card.

Yamaguchi landed short knees and punches to the body in an early clinch and she took Seki down against the ropes. Seki stood and Yamaguchi landed punches on the way up. She hopped on Seki’s back and dragged her down to the mat. She landed punches that set up a rear-naked choke. Seki tried to defend, but Yamaguchi sunk in the choke and referee Masato Fukuda jumped in to stop the fight just as Seki began to lose consciousness. The official time of Yamaguchi’s technical submission win was 3:17 of the opening round.


The preliminary portion of Deep Jewels 4 included four MMA fights and one grappling match. In the featured prelim, Tomo Maesawa (3-3-0) posted her third straight win with a hard-fought Unanimous Decision verdict over MMA newcomer Brittany Ann “Briko” Decker (0-1-0).

Maesawa controlled much of the opening round in the clinch and she used an impressive judo throw to get Decker down, but Decker countered by taking her back shortly before time expired. Maesawa scored two more takedowns in the second round, but Decker was able to reverse a third and she took Maesawa’s back. Decker landed ground and pound until the final 30 seconds of the fight when Maesawa turned into her guard. Maesawa finished the round strong with punches and that proved to be just enough to earn her the narrow decision win.

Highly-touted prospect Ayaka Miura (1-0-0) kicked off her pro career with a quick victory that ended with opponent Ella “Power” Wu (0-1-0) unconscious on the mat. Wu opened the action with a hard combination, but Miura promptly took her down and moved to side control. She secured a tight arm-triangle choke and Wu struggled to defend. She could not escape from the hold and was choked out within seconds, though referee Masato Fukuda failed to stop the fight until the 1:25 mark, leaving an unconscious Wu defenceless for close to ten seconds.

Naomi Taniyama (1-2-0) notched her first pro victory by outpointing the still-winless Yuko Kawabata (0-6-0) in a two-round bout. Kawabata had success with leg kicks in round one, but Taniyama repeatedly scored with right hands and she mounted Kawabata late in the round. Taniyama scored two more takedowns in the second stanza and controlled the exchanges on the feet en route to a Unanimous Decision win.

Submission specialist Miyoko Kusaka made quick work of newcomer Sayuri Yamaguchi in the lone grappling match on the card. It was Yamaguchi who scored the first takedown of the match, but Kusaka stayed calm on the ground and she used a quick transition to set up an armbar. She rolled through with the hold and Yamaguchi fought hard to maintain her grip. Just as Kusaka separated Yamaguchi’s hands, referee Hidenobu Koike intervened for the technical submission stoppage at the 2:30 mark.

Opening up the action today, Shiori Hori (1-1-0) defeated Maya Dobashi (0-1-0) with a first-round armbar. Dobashi took Hori down early in the fight and she swiftly moved from side control to a top-side crucifix. Hori battled back to full guard and the fight returned to the feet. Hori wobbled Dobashi with a combination and she reversed a takedown into mount. From the top, Hori secured an armbar and she went belly-down with the hold for a technical submission victory at the 4:43 mark of round one.


For the first time in the promotion’s history, Deep Jewels 4 was streamed live to a worldwide audience on Ustream. The move was made in light of recent financial struggles that continue to plague Deep Jewels since the new faction was formed when Jewels merged with Deep this past year. The future of Deep Jewels hinged on the success of today’s iPPV and Deep Jewels boss Shigeru Saeki spoke about the all-female promotion’s future with MMARising.com at the conclusion of the event.

“Ticket sales struggled because [Seo Hee] Ham’s fight was a kickboxing match and because regional fighters can’t yet bring in big audiences,” Saeki said. “However, the co-main and main event were both good. I think that [Takayo] Hashi will receive an offer to fight for Invicta.

“Opportunities for women [in Japanese MMA] are limited for now, but I am planning to hold four Deep Jewels events per year,” Saeki added. “We hope to hold the next event in August, but we need a sponsor for Deep Jewels.”

Full play-by-play for all fights on the Deep Jewels 4 card can be found here.



(Photo Credit: Deep Jewels)