Seo Hee Ham, Stephanie Egger Win Impressively At Rizin FF 17Road FC Women’s Atomweight Champion Seo Hee Ham earned another impressive victory in her Rizin debut tonight at Rizin Fighting Federation 17 in Saitama, Japan. Ham finished Deep Jewels champion Tomo Maesawa in the first round of their 49kg super atomweight contender’s bout.

Ham’s victory has propelled her into a title eliminator matchup later this year, where she will look to add more championship gold to her collection. Also at Rizin FF 17, Swiss standout Stephanie Egger dominated popular judoka “King” Reina Miura throughout their featured 63kg matchup.


Ham (21-8-0) struck first with left hands in the opening minute and Maesawa (12-10-0) returned fire with quick punches. Ham continued to score with straight left hands that backed Maesawa into a corner, but Maesawa broke free and she scored with a solid combination. Later in the round, Ham connected with a flurry of punches and she dropped Maesawa with a knee to the body. Maesawa tried to get back to her feet, but Ham punished her with more knees to the body and head and the fight was waved off at the 3:14 mark of round one.

Post-fight, it was immediately announced that Ham would next face fellow contender Miyuu Yamamoto in a super atomweight title eliminator bout at a future Rizin FF event. confirmed with Rizin FF officials that the matchup is planned for Rizin FF 19 in October.

“I’m glad to fight in Japan again,” Ham stated backstage following her win. “Thanks to Rizin, [Nobuyuki] Sakakibara and to the fans. I was nervous because of the big audience and because Tomo [Maesawa] has a style that is tough for me. She is energetic and I could feel her energy. I was expecting her to always move fast, but she moved slowly as well and I was not expecting that. I got hit with some strikes, but I was able to finish her by staying calm.

“I don’t want an easy path to a title shot,” Ham added. “Miyuu Yamamoto is a great tactical fighter. She has great wrestling and has trained a lot in striking recently. I did more muscle training for this fight compared to my old Japanese days. This outfit [that I’m wearing] is my first one from my [pro MMA debut fight] against Hisae Watanabe. I use this as a statement for my career restarting again.”

“My guts and determination were not enough,” Maesawa noted backstage. “My opponent’s experience is better. I could fight until that knee came. I felt good when it came to my entrance with the larger audience. My MMA skills have improved since coming to Tokyo, but I need to fill in the gap between aspects of striking and grappling. If I can better transition between the two in the future, I will be able to overcome [Ham] in a rematch.”


Egger (4-1-0) pinned Miura (11-3-0) in the corner and slammed her down to the mat early in round one. She sunk in both hooks and peppered Miura with punches to the face. More punches landed for Egger, but Miura scrambled up to her feet. Egger landed right hands while trapping Miura in the corner again, and the fighters separated and Egger landed jabs and leg kicks. Miura finally connected with overhand rights and Egger responded with body kicks late in the round.

The fighters clinched in the second round and battled for position against the ropes. Egger landed a right hand and Miura countered with a body shot, but Egger took her down into side control. Egger transitioned to back control and attacked with a rear-naked choke while flattening Miura out. Miura fought off the choke, but Egger landed punches and stayed on her back. She lost the position soon after and the fighters clinched against the ropes. Egger slowed way down in the final minute, but she dragged Miura back to the mat before the bell.

A fatigued Egger struck first with an overhand right and a grazing head kick in the final round. Both women landed punches and Egger cracked Miura with two hard right hands. She swept out Miura’s leg in order to get her down to the mat and landed punches and hammerfists to the sides of Miura’s head from back control. Egger eventually locked on a rear-naked choke and Miura stayed calm while working to escape. The fight returned to the feet with one minute remaining and Egger threw short knees to the body. She landed overhand rights and more knees before the bell.

All three judges scored the fight in favour of the winner by Unanimous Decision, Egger, who was competing for the first time since a TKO victory in March 2018. She has won back-to-back fights.

“I’m really happy I won this fight, but I was not happy with my performance,” Egger admitted backstage. “I wanted to win by knockout or submission, but we went to a decision. She is a tough opponent. I thought I could take her out with my right hand, but she didn’t show much damage on her face and she is really tough. Much respect for her. My goal for this fight was to land one-twos because we knew that she likes to throw right hands, and then get a takedown and a choke. I train with men who have more power [than Miura], so I was not surprised by her strength, and I am not sure how much the weight cut affected her performance since this was my first fight against her.”

“This was my first serious weight cut and I had no energy today,” Miura stated after the fight. “I could not throw punches with force. Her grappling is not the best that I have faced, but I didn’t have energy and she chose an area of grappling that I am not good at. I cut most of the weight without trouble, but I lacked energy today and I cried because I could not fight how I wanted to due to energy rather than a lack of skill. I felt good one week ago, but the last two kilograms of water reduction were too tough. My body could not fight today, not my will, and so I need to better understand my body in the future.”