Four Women's Bouts Announced For Deep: Dream Impact 2014Four women’s bouts featuring many of Japan’s top female fighters are now set for Deep: Dream Impact 2014, which takes place on December 31st in Saitama. Former Jewels Lightweight Queen Champion Ayaka Hamasaki battles former Valkyrie Featherweight Champion “V.V” Mei Yamaguchi.

Also confirmed for the New Year’s Eve card is a bout between former Deep Jewels Interim Lightweight Champion Emi Tomimatsu and recent WSOF title challenger Emi “Kamikaze Angel” Fujino. Shizuka Sugiyama faces Emiko “Fujin” Raika and “Princess” Satoko Shinashi takes on Rika Hamada.

Hamasaki (10-1-0) became the first Jewels champion in late 2010 when she won two fights in one night to capture the Jewels Lightweight Queen Championship. She won three more fights for Jewels before making her North American debut at Invicta FC 2, where she submitted Lacey “The Ladie” Schuckman. Hamasaki’s next Invicta FC bout ended in a one-sided loss to Claudia “Claudinha” Gadelha and she took a year off from fighting to recover from injuries. In August, Hamasaki moved down to 106 pounds and mauled former Jewels Featherweight Queen Champion Naho “Sugi Rock” Sugiyama. She was set to face Hérica Tibúrcio at Invicta FC 9, but Tibúrcio encountered visa issues and the bout was scrapped.

Yamaguchi (12-7-1) captured her first major MMA title in February 2010 when she submitted legendary fighter Yuka “Vale Tudo Queen” Tsuji to become the second and final Valkyrie Featherweight Champion. When the promotion folded soon after, Yamaguchi posted back-to-back victories for Pancrase before making her much-anticipated Jewels debut. Over the course of her next six fights, Yamaguchi went 3-3 and scored notable wins over Mika “Future Princess” Nagano and Emi Tomimatsu. She subsequently suffered a pair of contentious Split Decision losses for Pacific Xtreme Combat, but bounced back from the controversial defeats by choking out Yukiko Seki at Deep Jewels 4 in May.


Tomimatsu (8-8-0) has enjoyed a career resurgence since returning to MMA in 2011 following a lengthy injury hiatus. She racked up three straight victories before dropping a series of competitive decisions against formidable opponents including Yamaguchi and current UFC fighter Kailin Curran. In February, Tomimatsu became the inaugural Deep Jewels Interim Lightweight Champion when opponent Mizuki Inoue missed weight. Inoue took the title from Tomimatsu in the pair’s August rematch, but Tomimatsu scored her eighth career win by outpointing Hyo Kyung Song at Road FC 19.

Fujino (14-8-0) has been one victory away from becoming a champion on multiple occasions during her career, but she remains in search of her first MMA title. After coming up short in a Jewels Lightweight Queen Championship bout against Ayaka Hamasaki in December 2012, Fujino got back on track with a pair of submission wins. She then suffered setbacks against Mizuki Inoue and WSOF champ Jessica “Jag” Aguilar, but Fujino’s most recent fight ended in a victory when she defeated talented grappler Ayaka Miura at Deep Jewels 6 earlier this month.


Sugiyama (12-4-1) has been one of Japan’s biggest female stars dating back to her Jewels debut on the promotion’s first card in November 2008. The popular karateka won six of her first nine fights before taking time off to work on developing her ground game. She returned to action in July 2012 and reigned unbeaten in her next six fights, with five wins and a Split Draw. On May 18th, Sugiyama took on Takayo Hashi for the inaugural Deep Jewels Middleweight Championship, but Hashi prevailed via third-round TKO. Sugiyama most recently defeated Yurika Nakakura for a second time at Deep Jewels 6.

Raika (25-8-1 Boxing, 0-1-0 MMA) is one of Japan’s most decorated and successful female boxers. Her 14-year boxing career included numerous title reigns and she scored key victories over international stars such as Jeri Sitzes, Shelby Walker, Melissa Fiorentino and Ann Saccurato (twice). In September, Raika made her mixed martial arts debut against South Korean kickboxer Su Jeong “Beautiful Fighter” Lim, but Lim’s varied offence propelled her to a Unanimous Decision victory. Raika most recently won her kickboxing debut by outpointing “Crusher” Keiko Matsukawa this past weekend.


Shinashi (30-2-2) was once one of MMA’s top pound-for-pound female fighters. The 99-pound dynamo amassed an incredible 21-0-2 record through her first 23 fights that included wins over Hisae Watanabe and Misaki Takimoto (twice). In September 2005, Shinashi became Smackgirl Lightweight Champion by defeating Naoko Omuro for a second time. The victory set up a rematch against Watanabe for the inaugural Deep Women’s Lightweight Championship, but Shinashi suffered her first defeat when she was brutally knocked out by the standout striker.

Following the loss to Watanabe, Shinashi dropped down in weight and won seven straight fights en route to becoming the first and only Deep Women’s Flyweight Champion. She was upset by Mai Ichii in a non-title fight and announced her retirement following an October 2008 submission win over Yukiko Seki. This past month, six years after she stepped away to focus on family life, Shinashi returned to MMA and stopped South Korean kickboxer Ye Jin Jung with ground and pound at Deep: “69th Impact.”

Hamada (1-0-0) enters next month’s bout with Shinashi as a massive underdog due to her limited MMA experience, but the Japanese idol-turned-fighter is gunning for an upset win on New Year’s Eve. After watching friend Noriko Okamoto fall to Shinashi at Deep: “20th Impact” in September 2005, Hamada set her sights on one day challenging the Deep champion. This past Saturday, Hamada made her pro MMA debut at a Kingdom Cage event in Yokohama and stopped Ayaka Kawaguchi early in the second round.

Deep: Dream Impact 2014 takes place on December 31st at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.



(Photo Credit: Esther Lin, /