Weekend Recap: Saya Ito, Rena Matsuda Victorious At MAT 1 In TokyoWPMF Women’s Pinweight Champion Saya Ito capped off the year with another impressive victory on Saturday night at Martial Arts Tournament 1 in Tokyo, Japan. Ito knocked out previously undefeated Thai champion Rojana late in the fifth round of their featured Muay Thai bout on the main card.

MAT 1 also featured three additional women’s matchups. J-Girls Flyweight Champion Rena Matsuda captured WBKF gold by defeating Lorena “Lady Pitbull” Klijn. Kwanchai Sor.Tawanrung upset J-Girls bantamweight champ Madoka Jinnai, and Mizuno Shiho outpointed “Crusher” Keiko Matsukawa.


The fighters exchanged body kicks in the opening round and Ito (78-12-3 amateur, 11-2-1 pro) held a clear advantage over Rojana (16-1-0) in punching technique. She set up one-two combos with kicks to the body and dumped Rojana to the mat after catching a kick. Ito caught more kicks from Rojana in round two and countered with right hands. She backed Rojana into a corner with front kicks and the round ended with a frenetic exchange of kicks to the body.

Ito pressed the action with kicks to Rojana’s lead leg and body in the third round. She knocked her down with a chopping leg kick and again with a front kick to the chest. In round four, both fighters flurried with punches and Ito punished Rojana with knees in the clinch. She landed numerous kicks throughout the round that dropped Rojana again and finished with a nice flurry.

Body kicks were exchanged once more in the final round and Ito landed knees in a brief clinch. She backed Rojana into a corner and unleashed a barrage of rapid-fire punches. Rojana collapsed to the mat and the bout was stopped at the 1:48 mark of round five, just 12 seconds shy of the final bell.

Ito, who turns 17 in January, had the most successful year of her lengthy career in 2015. The skilled striker began her Muay Thai career at age four and she is now one of the fastest rising female stars in Japan. Her knockout victory on Saturday was preceded by a WPMF world title win in September.


Sor.Tawanrung showcased excellent skills in the clinch throughout her five-round bout with Jinnai (19-6-1). She repeatedly scored with knees and elbows, and prevented Jinnai from landing anything by trapping her in a Muay Thai plum. Jinnai’s face began to swell up in the later rounds as a result of the damage sustained from Sor.Tawanrung’s elbows in close. Jinnai did score with body kicks, but she was unable to contend with Sor.Tawanrung’s dominance in the clinch.

In the final round, Jinnai pressed forward with a series of kicks and she landed quick combinations. Sor.Tawanrung slowed down, but she had done enough in the first four rounds to take home the victory. One judge had the fight even at 48-48. The remaining two had it 50-48 and 49-48 for Sor.Tawanrung, who prevailed via Majority Decision.


Matsuda (14-1-4) flurried with punches to the head and body throughout round one and Klijn clinched each time. She countered with jumping knees, but Matsuda continued to score with hard right hands. She landed head and body kicks in the latter half of the round. Big knees were then exchanged in close and Klijn attacked with a somersault kick. She tossed Matsuda to the mat and both women landed knees, but Klijn was given a Yellow Card for excessive holding.

Matsuda backed Klijn into a corner and landed punches in round two until Klijn exploded out with another flying knee. She dumped Matsuda to the ground, but Matsuda stood and knocked Klijn off-balance with a lead left hook. Matsuda threw a spinning back kick that grazed off of Klijn’s chin and the fighters traded more knees in close.

The final round began with an exchange of power punches and Matsuda kicked at Klijn’s lead leg. She continued to attack with spinning strikes and swept out Klijn’s leg. Matsuda landed knees to Klijn’s midsection and pinned her in a corner. The fighters were separated and Matsuda charged at Klijn with a flying front kick and punches. Both women landed big knees in a brawl before the bell.

As a result of a one-point deduction for failing to make weight, as well as the Yellow Card in round one, Klijn was unable to overcome the deficit. All three judges scored the fight 29-28 for Matsuda, who claimed the WBKF Women’s Flyweight Championship with the victory.


Earlier on the card, Shiho used effective combinations of punches, knees and body kicks en route to a Unanimous Decision victory over Matsukawa. Shiho’s quick strikes allowed her to land precision punches before Matsukawa had time to counter. After three 3:00 rounds, Shiho was awarded the win with scores of 30-29 and 30-28 twice.



(Photo Credit: Hirofumi Sugi)