Tomo Maesawa Retains Title, Rin Nakai Wins Quickly At Deep Jewels 26In one of her most impressive performances to date, reigning Deep Jewels Atomweight Champion Tomo Maesawa made a successful defence of her title on Tuesday afternoon at Deep Jewels 26 in Tokyo, Japan. Maesawa defeated rival Emi Tomimatsu for a second time in the card’s main event.

Competing on just one day’s notice, former Pancrase champion and veteran Japanese star Rin Nakai scored a quick stoppage win in the Deep Jewels 26 co-headliner. Nakai, who replaced an overweight “King” Reina Miura in the 63kg bout, armbarred Titapa “Diamond Rose The Rocket” Junsookplung.


Maesawa (13-10-0), who was coming off of back-to-back losses to standouts Kanna Asakura and Seo Hee Ham in non-title fights at 49kg, returned to the win column in a big way against Tomimatsu (15-15-0) on Tuesday. Tomimatsu’s best success came in the opening round as she landed knees to the body in a clinch while preventing Maesawa from taking her down. Maesawa eventually secured the takedown, however, and she threatened with a rear-naked choke before Tomimatsu scrambled up to her feet late in the round.

The remainder of the fight was dominated by Maesawa, who once again worked for a rear-naked choke before blasting Tomimatsu with punches on the ground in round two. Maesawa also had success on the feet in the striking exchanges in round three, which forced Tomimatsu to shoot in for a desperation takedown. Maesawa stuffed it and landed hammerfists and elbows on the ground. Tomimatsu attempted a late triangle choke, but the action returned to the feet and Maesawa pinned her against the cage until the bell sounded to end the fight.

Five judges are used to determine the scoring in Deep Jewels title fights. Judges Matsumiya, Toyonaga and Tazawa scored the bout 30-27, while judges Fukuda and Igarashi had it 29-28. All scored it for Maesawa, who took the Unanimous Decision victory and retained her title in impressive fashion.

“I was losing [fights] continuously, but I didn’t lose my belt,” Maesawa commented backstage following her victory. “I also had an injury, so I was not motivated, but my teammates supported me and so I felt that I was not alone. If I had lost, I don’t think that I could still say that I was a full-time fighter as my occupation. I had trained with Emi, so both of us knew how to move. [Masanori] Kanehara told me that I was scared too much and that I should move freely. That’s what got me back to fighting passionately.

I am known as a striker, but my background is in judo and so today I mixed it in more frequently. I watched my opponent too much in the first round. I need to be going forward as part of my fighting style. I had lost twice and so I am just thankful to still have the belt. Today, I fear more about MMA after watching [Yuta “Ulka” Sasaki’s] recent injury. I realised more about the scary side of MMA, but I feel responsible for this belt. If there is a [minimumweight] title created, I want two belts.”


Following a tentative early start to the co-main event, Nakai (22-2-1) completely dominated the action once she was able to get Junsookplung (0-1-0) down to the mat. Nakai tripped her opponent and landed hammerfists from side control before working for a kimura from the top. When Junsookplung scrambled, Nakai switched to an armbar. She bent the arm back at an awkward angle, forcing referee Masato Fukuda to intervene for the technical submission stoppage at the 3:20 mark of round one.

“We train 365 days per year, and so deciding to take this fight was easy,” Nakai noted backstage when discussing her decision to accept a fight on the card. “We knew that the fight was at 63kg and that [Junsookplung] was about 60kg. We had been seeking a fight, but there was no opponent. Koreans, Thais, all candidates refused to face me. So we decided to take this fight by 4:30 P.M. [yesterday], and it felt like sparring for me.”


In earlier action on the card, flyweight standout Kana Watanabe (8-0-1) kept her unbeaten record intact with a quick submission victory over Hee Eun Kang (0-1-0). Watanabe scored an immediate takedown and worked from the top in side control. Kang managed to fight her way back to half-guard, but Watanabe peppered her with punches until Kang rolled and gave up her back. Watanabe landed more punches before locking on a rear-naked choke for the tapout win at the 1:48 mark of round one.

At atomweight, Thai star Suwanan “Amp The Rocket” Boonsorn (4-2-0) rebounded from a loss to Ayaka Hamasaki in August by submitting Yoon Ha “Cage Vixen” Hong (3-5-0). It was Hong who secured an early takedown against the cage, but Boonsorn countered with a triangle choke attempt. She then transitioned to a belly-down armbar soon after and Hong tapped out almost immediately. The official time of the submission finish was 1:37 of the first round.

In a flyweight bout, Yukari Nabe (7-3-1) steamrolled a still-winless Kaewjai “The Rocket” Prachumwong (0-4-0) en route to a first-round TKO stoppage. Nabe took Prachumwong down early on and rained down punches and hammerfists from mount. Prachumwong held on for some time, but Nabe was relentless with her attacks and referee Minoru Toyonaga eventually intervened to wave off the one-sided bout at the 3:15 mark of round one.

South Korean contender Jeong Eun “Little Wolf” Park (6-6-1) picked up her second straight win with a first-round TKO triumph over Emi Sato (4-4-0) in atomweight action. Park took Sato down and trapped her in a tight arm-triangle choke early in the first minute. Sato eventually escaped, but Park took her back in a scramble and threatened with a rear-naked choke. She then flattened Sato out and landed numerous punches until the fight was stopped at the 2:36 mark of the opening round.


In one of two 49kg bouts on the preliminary card, Mizuki Furuse (5-6-0) eked out a Split Decision win over Pan “Kai” Hui (5-5-0). Furuse countered Hui’s forward pressure with knees to the body and quick punches in the competitive first round. Hui remained the aggressor in round two, but Furuse bloodied her nose with counterpunches and the fighters traded knees. Hui scored with lead left hooks late in the close fight, which went to the scorecards. All three judges had it 19-19, with two giving their Must Decision verdict to Furuse. The third judge favoured Hui.

Also at 49kg, Otoha Nagao (2-1-0) upset popular Deep Jewels mainstay Nanaka “Nijika” Kawamura (2-5-0) in a bout that Kawamura was clearly winning early on. Kawamura landed punching flurries in between clinch battles with Nagao, and she appeared to be well on her way to winning the round until Nagao badly rocked her with a head kick. Nagao was unable to finish Kawamura with follow-up punches, but clearly stole back the round with the kick. The second round was even until Kawamura tripped Nagao in the final 90 seconds after catching a kick. She landed some solid punches from the top and the bout went to the scorecards. All three judges had it 19-19, but all three awarded their Must Decision to Nagao as a disappointed Kawamura collapsed to the canvas.

Opening up the card, 14-year veteran and former Invicta FC title challenger Yasuko “Ikuko” Tamada (17-10-3) scored a lopsided Unanimous Decision win over Kotori Tamiya (1-1-0) at minimumweight. Tamada completely dominated the fight from top position after taking Tamiya down right away in both rounds one and two. Tamiya was never able to mount any offence aside from heel strikes from her back, and the judges were left with an easy verdict. Judge Matsumiya scored the fight 20-17, while judges Wada and Tazawa both had it 20-18; all in favour of Tamada.


“Reina [Miura’s] weigh-in was at 3:45 and she was 2.3kg overweight, so we cancelled the fight,” Deep boss Shigeru Saeki stated backstage following the event as he discussed the late change to the co-main event. “Rin [Nakai] had arrived here at 9:00 A.M. just to add value for the fans. We had tried to find an opponent for Rin up until one week before this event, and so she was already in shape. The next Deep Jewels event will be on December 22nd in Osaka.”

Full play-by-play for all bouts on today’s Deep Jewels 26 card can be found here.



(Photo Credit: Deep Jewels)