Mina Kurobe, Tomo Maesawa Earn Upset Wins At Deep Jewels 14Atomweight rising star Mina Kurobe earned the biggest victory of her career in the main event of Deep Jewels 14 today in Tokyo, Japan. Kurobe put together a strong performance en route to a Unanimous Decision win over former Deep Jewels title challenger Saori “Shooting Star” Ishioka.

The Deep Jewels 14 co-main event also featured a significant upset, as atomweight prospect Tomo Maesawa finished former Deep Jewels Interim Strawweight Champion Emi Tomimatsu with a third-round rear-naked choke. At 125, former boxing champ Emiko “Fujin” Raika defeated Jin Hee Gan.


Kurobe (9-2-0) worked for takedowns in the opening round following an exchange of jabs, but Ishioka (14-10-0) defended well and she secured a throw of her own into mount. Kurobe gave up her back and Ishioka finished the round strong with hammerfist strikes from the top. Momentum shifted in round two, however, and Kurobe kept Ishioka tied up in clinches until she was eventually able to score a takedown. She passed to Ishioka’s half-guard and closed out the second stanza by landing punches from mount.

With the competitive fight still up for grabs heading into round three, Kurobe wasted no time in taking Ishioka back down, but Ishioka countered with a guillotine choke attempt from the bottom. The fight returned to the feet and Kurobe was relentless in her pursuit of takedowns. She got Ishioka down once more and fought off an armbar by dropping hammerfists from the top. Ishioka tried to roll and flip Kurobe off before the final bell, but she was unsuccessful.

All three judges scored the fight for Kurobe, whose upset win seemingly spoiled plans for a potential Rizin Fighting Federation bout between Ishioka and Shoot Boxing superstar Rena Kubota.

“Sorry to the [Rizin] TV guys, but I won,” Kurobe quipped after the fight. “This 39-year-old won. I guess I’ll ‘go watch’ Rizin on New Year’s Eve. I’m tired now, and I wanted to win by stoppage, but I had better stamina today. It was easy for [Ishioka] to say that she thought she would beat me, but I have had a nice winning streak lately and I think that I’m ready to fight abroad.”


In the co-feature, Maesawa (7-6-0) rebounded from her second loss to Kurobe in an August rematch by submitting Tomimatsu (11-12-0) with a rear-naked choke after flattening her out in the third round.

The fight began with a cautious exchange of jabs and Maesawa was unsuccessful in her attempts to take the action to the mat. Both women battled for position in clinches and Tomimatsu landed a nice standing elbow. Maesawa continued to work for takedowns in round two, but Tomimatsu defended well and she kept her opponent pinned in corners, which allowed Tomimatsu to land numerous knees. Late in the round, Maesawa secured a harai goshi throw into side control, and she dropped hammerfists to the sides of Tomimatsu’s face.

Tomimatsu battled back to her feet after being taken down early in round three, but Maesawa scored a second takedown soon after and this time she kept the veteran grappler pinned down. Tomimatsu gave up her back while trying to stand up and Maesawa locked on a rear-naked choke. She flattened Tomimatsu out and Tomimatsu was forced to submit at the 1:24 mark of round three.

“This was my first time fighting three rounds, and I didn’t have a lot of confidence going in, but I was determined to make myself win,” Maesawa said following her big victory. “I feel bad for having to choke Emi, but I would like to move on to fight [for Rizin] on New Year’s Eve and Rena would fit into my weight class. [Masanori] Kanehara has taught me a lot, and I wish to thank him.”


After suffering a pair of losses, decorated striker Raika (3-4-0, 1 NC) returned to the win column with a clear-cut Unanimous Decision victory over the debuting Gan (0-1-0) today.

Gan got off to an excellent start in round one by mixing up her strikes with jabs, right hooks and front kicks that kept Raika guessing. However, Raika eventually connected with a hard right hand that dazed the South Korean, and she rocked Gan again with another right hook soon after. Gan recovered early in round two, and she once again landed punch-kick combos, but Raika responded with a takedown and a rear-naked choke attempt. Gan got back to her feet, but she was taken down once more before the end of the fight, and all three judges scored the bout in favour of Raika.


Grappling specialist Ayaka Miura (3-1-0) made it two-for-two in 2016 with a slick submission victory over talented prospect Sachiko Fujimori (4-3-0) in a strawweight matchup.

Miura looked to take the fight to the mat early in round one, but she failed with a seoi nage attempt and gave up her back in the process. Fujimori punished her with hammerfists until Miura scrambled back up to her feet. In the final minute, Miura scored a takedown into the scarf hold position and she closed out the round with punches and an arm-triangle choke attempt. Very early in the second round, Miura threw Fujimori to the mat and landed again in the scarf hold position. She locked on a scarf hold armlock and Fujimori was forced to tap out at the 35-second mark of round two.


Perennial atomweight contender Satomi “Sarami” Takano (8-8-0) made a successful return to action with a first-round submission victory over Deep Jewels newcomer Miyuki Furusawa (0-2-0).

Takano pressed forward with right hooks and took Furusawa down into half-guard early in the fight. She passed to mount and dropped hard punches from the top until Furusawa rolled over and gave up her back. Takano continued to strike from the top until she saw an opportunity to transition to a deep armbar, and referee Yoshinori Umeki waved off the fight at the 3:53 mark of round one.


Earlier on the card, 18-year-old Nori Date (2-3-0) made quick work of Takako “BB Taka” Iizuka (0-1-0) in flyweight action. Nori opened the fight with a side kick and a front kick, and she floored Iizuka with a devastating head kick soon after. Iizuka tried to recover on the mat, but Nori unloaded with punches until the brief bout was waved off at the 48-second mark.

At atomweight, Nori’s Team Date stablemate, Hana (2-3-0), posted a Unanimous Decision victory over Sayuri Yamaguchi (0-2-0). It was Yamaguchi who struck first with right hooks and clinch knees in the opening round, but 19-year-old Hana stayed calm and she fought off Yamaguchi’s takedown attempts. She battered Yamaguchi with knees late in the round and Yamaguchi was visibly dazed heading to her corner. Hana controlled most of round two on the feet and on the ground after securing an uchi mata throw. Yamaguchi swept and mounted Hana in the dying seconds, but it was not enough to steal back a win and all three judges rightfully scored the bout in Hana’s favour.

Opening up the action today, “King” Reina Miura (1-0-0) made a successful pro debut by finishing Eriko “Eri” Iwamoto (0-1-0) early in their 75kg (165-pound) matchup. Miura walked Iwamoto down with heavy punches and scored a harai goshi throw into side control in the opening minute. Iwamoto was unable to scramble free and Miura locked on an armbar that forced referee Kenichi Serizawa to intervene and stop the fight at the 1:57 mark of the opening round.


“Today’s event lasted for two hours and 40 minutes, and it was a good event,” Deep boss Shigeru Saeki commented backstage following the card. “Many fighters want to compete for Rizin, and others have received calls to fight abroad, and because of that we had a lot of great fights here. [Tomo] Maesawa scored a huge upset, and I feel that she has improved a lot since coming to Tokyo. I’m not sure who will participate for Rizin, but our next Deep Jewels event will be at the end of February [2017].”

Full play-by-play for all bouts on today’s Deep Jewels 14 card can be found here.



(Photo Credit: Deep Jewels)