Kanna Asakura, Emi Tomimatsu Score Big Wins At Deep Jewels 17Highly-touted 19-year-old prospect Kanna Asakura picked up one of her biggest wins to date in tonight’s Deep Jewels 17 headliner in Tokyo, Japan. Asakura defeated veteran contender Saori “Shooting Star” Ishioka and now moves on to compete in the Rizin FF women’s super atomweight grand prix.

In the Deep Jewels 17 co-main event, former Deep Jewels 115-pound champ Emi Tomimatsu put herself back in atomweight title contention with her second victory over Satomi “Sarami” Takano. In a 58kg catchweight contest, Shizuka Sugiyama submitted Satsuki “Komachi Karate” Kodama.


Asakura (8-2-0) targeted Ishioka’s (15-11-0) legs with early kicks and knees, and she reversed an Ishioka throw that allowed her to work from top position on the mat. Ishioka framed up submission attempts from her back, but Asakura kept her pinned down throughout most of the opening round and she landed some solid ground and pound before the bell.

Rounds two and three were more of the same, with Asakura repeatedly taking Ishioka down and Ishioka working for submissions from the bottom. Asakura threatened with a pair of arm-triangle chokes, but the veteran Ishioka escaped on both occasions and briefly got back to her feet, only to be swiftly taken down again. Ishioka gave up her back in the late stages of round three, which allowed Asakura to score with numerous punches to the sides of her head, and Asakura closed out the fight on top.

All three judges scored the fight in favour of Asakura, who has won three straight bouts and now advances on to compete in the inaugural 49kg Rizin Fighting Federation women’s super atomweight grand prix tournament later this year.

“Ishioka was strong,” Asakura noted backstage following her victory. “I wanted to finish her, and I succeeded with my takedowns, but after that it was not good. I gained a lot of respect for Saori. She is a well-known name in women’s mixed martial arts. I gained weight for this fight, and it suited me well, but I still have work to do. My arm-triangle chokes were not enough. I’ve never fought for a title, and I was always second place in wrestling, so I want to be number one.”

“I clearly lost,” Ishioka reflected backstage. “I feel strange and I can’t think of any words to say. I asked the crowd to cheer for Kanna after our fight. She outpaced me and prevented me from getting a submission. I don’t think that she outmatched me overall, though, and so that makes me think about other scenarios.”


Tomimatsu (13-12-0), who narrowly edged out Takano (10-9-0) in the pair’s first meeting at Deep Jewels 10 in late 2015, earned her second Split Decision victory over her rival in tonight’s spirited co-feature.

In round one, the fighters traded right hands on the feet and Tomimatsu repeatedly thwarted Takano’s takedown attempts. Takano managed to take Tomimatsu’s back and dragged her down to the mat in round two, but Tomimatsu used a leglock attempt to get back to her feet. She reversed a Takano takedown late in the round and tried for a rear-naked choke before time expired. The final round was contested on the feet, with Tomimatsu firing off straight right hands and Takano countering with right hooks and knees.

After three competitive rounds, judge Kenichi Serizawa scored the close bout in favour of Takano. He was overruled by judges Hidenobu Koike and Masato Fukuda, who both favoured Tomimatsu and awarded her with a razor-thin Split Decision victory.

“It was a competitive fight, but I showed guts and heart in the final [striking] exchanges and that’s why I won,” Tomimatsu commented backstage. “Satomi had a winning streak and I think that this [victory] should earn me a title shot. I train with [Deep Jewels Atomweight Champion Mina] Kurobe, but I want the belt. If that is not granted, then I want to avenge past losses and then get my title shot.”


Earlier on the card, popular Deep Jewels star Sugiyama (15-4-1) cruised to a first-round submission victory over Kodama (0-2-0), who remains in search of her first MMA win. Sugiyama took Kodama down and repeatedly threatened with armbars in the opening round, but Kodama spun free and escaped to her feet. Late in the round, Sugiyama scored one final takedown that led to another armbar as the ten-second warning was reached. Kodama could not escape from the hold and referee Yoshinori Umeki called for the technical submission stoppage at the 4:53 mark, giving Sugiyama the win.

Yuko Saito (1-0-0) made a successful pro debut by stopping Mizuki Furuse (1-2-0) in an atomweight contest. Saito caught a flying knee from Furuse and took her down soon after, and Saito wasted no time in passing to side control and then to mount. She rained down punches from the top as Furuse covered up and offered nothing in return, which forced referee Masato Fukuda to intervene for the TKO stoppage at the 3:38 mark of the opening round.

In the second of two amateur atomweight bouts, Momoko Yamazaki made quick work of Deep Jewels debutant Rion Noda. Yamazaki stuffed a takedown and picked Noda apart with hooks to the head and body early on. This continued until referee Hidenobu Koike had seen enough and rescued Noda from any further punishment at the 1:30 mark.

Opening up the card, 12-year-old Momo Shimizu made it two-for-two inside the Deep Jewels ring with a Unanimous Decision victory over Tomomi Souda. Shimizu, who trains alongside Deep Jewels champion Mizuki Inoue and Yukari Yamaguchi, took Souda down after an exchange of knees in the opening stanza and closed out the round on top in side control. Souda had success with clinch knees in round two, but Shimizu countered with a slick osotogari throw that allowed her to work from top position until the bell. All three judges scored the fight for Shimizu, who remains unbeaten.

“I’ve done over 350 [MMA] events, but this event reminded me of the strength of the fight world,” Deep boss Shigeru Saeki stated backstage after the card had concluded. “[Saori] Ishioka makes the audience feel something, and that defined this event. Kanna [Asakura] was strong, and she will need to defeat foreign talent in order to reach the [Rizin FF grand prix] final, but I want to see her in the final.

“[Shizuka] Sugiyama called out Shinju Nozawa-Auclair, but that seems too rushed to me because Shinju just had her debut,” Saeki added. “Satomi [Takano] would have gotten the next title shot if she had won, but Emi [Tomimatsu] won tonight and she might face ‘Sugi Rock’ [Naho Sugiyama] next if she doesn’t fight for the belt. I would like to hold an event at Korakuen Hall next year if the audience is large enough. People were critical and said that Momo [Shimizu] is too young, but is waiting four more years for her to fight really the best for her career? The criticism frustrates me.”

Full play-by-play for all bouts on tonight’s Deep Jewels 17 card can be found here.



(Photo Credit: Deep Jewels)