Kanna Asakura, Miyuu Yamamoto Victorious At Rizin FF 11 In SaitamaRizin FF Women’s Super Atomweight Grand Prix Champion Kanna Asakura extended her winning streak to eight with a Unanimous Decision victory tonight at Rizin Fighting Federation 11 in Saitama, Japan. Asakura defeated Shoot Boxing star Rena Kubota for a second time in the 49kg headliner.

Asakura, who choked out Kubota to win the GP title on New Year’s Eve, left no doubt in tonight’s rematch and dominated the fight on the mat. Elsewhere tonight, famed wrestler Miyuu Yamamoto posted her biggest win to date by defeating veteran Deep Jewels contender Saori “Shooting Star” Ishioka.


Asakura (13-2-0) circled on the outside in the opening minute and Kubota (7-2-0) threw occasional kicks to her lead leg. Asakura punched her way into a clinch and took Kubota down. She looked to set up an arm-triangle choke and mounted Kubota after a scramble. Asakura landed elbows and postured up with punches until Kubota swept into her guard. Kubota immediately found herself trapped in a triangle choke, but she picked Asakura up and slammed her off, and then sprawled to fight off a takedown. Kubota landed a combination, but Asakura shot in and took her back down against the ropes, which allowed her to strike from the top until the bell.

Kubota landed a body kick and a right hook to begin the second round. She followed with another hard kick to the body soon after and avoided a takedown attempt. Asakura tried for a takedown in the corner and Kubota thwarted it again, but Asakura drove in a third time and she managed to get Kubota down into full guard. Asakura landed some solid punches from top position and passed to half-guard. She mounted Kubota and spun into an armbar, but Kubota defended until the end of the round.

The fighters traded hooks early in round three and Asakura dove at Kubota’s ankle in search of a takedown. She attempted a lateral drop and Kubota defended well. Kubota landed a one-two and a body kick, but Asakura caught the kick and she looked again to take the fight to the mat. Kubota sprawled and landed knees to the head, but Asakura used a rolling suplex to drag Kubota down and she wound up on top in Kubota’s open half-guard. She peppered Kubota with short punches and elbows and attacked with an armbar. Kubota escaped by stomping on her face. The fight returned to the feet and Asakura knocked Kubota off-balance with a leg kick. Kubota landed a body kick, but Asakura took her down and landed short right hands before the final bell.

All three judges scored the fight for Asakura, who proved that her first victory over Kubota in December was not a fluke. The 20-year-old Asakura discussed her performance backstage following tonight’s fight.

“I did worry about Rena’s improvement during this fight,” Asakura admitted. “I improved, too, but she is faster. Her leg kicks hurt me and she did sprawl well, but my continuous takedowns worked. I didn’t stand at her striking range and that worked well for me, too. At the end of the fight, I tried for a submission. Up until tonight, I couldn’t do that [late in a fight], and so I view that as an improvement. I will definitely refuse a third fight [against Kubota]!

“[Deep Jewels champion Mina] Kurobe is a training partner of mine and I know that she is strong. I don’t want to fight her because she is my training partner, but I am glad that she will compete for Rizin. I bought a car with my [Grand Prix] prize money and now I’ve made the main event. This route will hopefully make women more ambitious about fighting in the future.”

“I did my best,” Kubota stated following her defeat tonight. “I can feel my improvements and I know that I was better than in our first fight. I was determined, but lost due to position. I could not deal with her takedowns and positioning. My leg kicks hurt her and I planned to knee her when she tried to take me down. Hiroyuki Abe and Rumina Sato approved of that plan. I should have thrown more kicks to her knees. I thanked [Asakura] after the fight. It was fun and I felt that way because of my improvement.”

Kubota added that the chances of her returning to compete for Rizin FF in the future are “50%,” but she first plans to take time off to rest and re-evaluate.


Earlier on the card, Yamamoto (2-3-0) relied upon her wrestling background en route to a close but well-deserved Split Decision victory over Ishioka (15-12-0), who threatened with numerous submissions.

Ishioka dropped Yamamoto with a counter right hook to begin the fight, but Yamamoto regained her footing and responded with a left cross that sent Ishioka to the canvas. Yamamoto dove on her and worked from the top in full guard. Ishioka defended well and scrambled up to her feet, but she ate a series of punches from Yamamoto on the way. Ishioka threw knees and Yamamoto pulled her down to the mat from a body lock. She struck from the top in side control until Ishioka trapped her in a head scissors. Yamamoto escaped and rained down big punches and knees to Ishioka’s face. Ishioka eventually kicked her off and stood up, but Yamamoto cracked her with a hard left hand. She reversed a takedown and landed punches from the top, but Ishioka attacked with an armbar.

Ishioka opened round two with a knee and a right hand. She reversed a throw attempt into top position, but Yamamoto swept and the fighters were moved away from the ropes. Yamamoto stood and landed a stomp, but Ishioka countered with a heel hook attempt and the fighters returned to their feet again. Ishioka landed a head kick and a left hook in an ensuing exchange. Yamamoto fell after blocking a head kick and Ishioka jumped on her back just before time expired.

Yamamoto scored with lead right hooks in the final round that backed Ishioka up. Ishioka pulled guard later on and postured for an armbar from the bottom. Yamamoto avoided danger once by punching from the top, but Ishioka locked on a second armbar and wrenched back on Yamamoto’s arm. Yamamoto defended with kicks to the face and she rolled back into Ishioka’s guard. Yamamoto landed punches until the fighters were stood up. Both women connected with hard shots and Yamamoto slammed Ishioka down just before the end of the fight.

One judge scored the fight in favour of Ishioka, but the remaining two both had it for Yamamoto, who has now won two of her past three fights after beginning her pro MMA career with a pair of setbacks.

“I wanted to pressure [Ishioka], but she kept her distance,” Yamamoto stated backstage. “Combinations made my rhythm. She said that the first shot hurt her, but my style is to win with combinations. I train with heavier partners, so I could control her more easily. My corner’s advice was precise for defending against her armbars. I felt for [Ishioka] when we spoke after our fight. We’re both mothers.”

“The reason I lost is because the first shot that I got hit with damaged me. That defined the fight,” Ishioka noted following her loss. “I thought that whoever landed the first big shot would win the fight, but that was her tonight. I could not use my power due to the punch’s damage. I wanted to chain rubber guard to an omoplata and then a triangle choke or an armbar, but she defended. I can’t think about my future right now. Immediately after the fight, I cried because I thought about my sacrifices as a mother. Miyuu said ‘Sorry I won’ after the fight and I could feel her sacrifice, too.”

Rizin Fighting Federation’s next event, Rizin FF 12, takes place on August 12th in Nagoya.



(Photo Credit: Deep Jewels)