Miki Motono Wins Strawweight Title At Deep Jewels 29Rising star Miki Motono earned the biggest victory of her young MMA career tonight in the main event of Deep Jewels 29 in Tokyo, Japan. The AACC representative finished Asami “Akaringo” Nakai with first-round ground and pound to capture the vacant Deep Jewels Strawweight Championship.

Also on tonight’s card, Deep Jewels mainstay Shizuka Sugiyama overcame the challenge of Mika “Arami” Arai, finishing her smaller foe with an armbar late in a bantamweight bout. Ayaka Hamasaki and Emi Tomimatsu scored a 2-0 victory over Tomo Maesawa and Mizuki Furuse in tag-team grappling.


Motono (5-1-0) avoided early punches from Nakai (4-3-0) and countered with a takedown into half-guard. She prevented Nakai from scrambling up to her feet and struck from the top with punches to the body. Motono passed to side control and attacked with elbows to Nakai’s face, then mounted her in the final minute. Motono rained down punches from the top until referee Minoru Toyonaga intervened for the TKO stoppage at the 4:23 mark of round one. The dominant victory earned Motono the vacant Deep Jewels strawweight title.

“I was determined heading into this fight,” Motono said to the crowd immediately following her title victory. “I lost in my Australian [Eternal MMA] title match [in October] and I was so frustraed. Now, I am so relieved. I don’t want forget the “challenger spirit” now that I am champion, and I would like to compete for Rizin in the future.

“I wanted this belt so bad,” Motono added backstage. “After this event was postponed, finally the day has come. Nakai is a strong striker, so I took her down and got this result. I have great mentors in Ayaka [Hamasaki] and Rena [Kubota]. They are fighting for Rizin, and so I would like to as well. I wanted to use elbows today because the rules permitted them. Rena trained with me before this fight, so I was calm and had confidence beforehand, but I got nervous again tonight because I wanted the title so badly and so I had to push through that.”


Sugiyama (19-6-1) faced a solid test from the smaller Arai (4-3-1), who took tonight’s bout on short notice and moved up several weight classes, but the experienced veteran was eventually able to finish the fight with a third-round armbar. Sugiyama defended against Arai’s submission attempts in the opening two rounds, and she landed some solid ground and pound from the top. Arai attempted scissor heel hooks multiple times, and she was able to get Sugiyama down with one once, but Sugiyama stayed calm and easily escaped. In round three, Sugiyama scored with some hard knees to the body before tripping Arai and locking on an armbar. Referee Naoya Uematsu stepped in for the technical submission stoppage at the 1:49 mark of round three.

“I did my best but still had some mistakes,” Sugiyama noted backstage following the fight. “I’m glad that I was able to submit her. I don’t think that I would have lost on points, but I need to look back at the fight. With the current [COVID-19] situation, I need to be ready for an opportunity at any time because there is a possibility of fighting for Rizin. [Arai] fought in a much higher weight class in order to face me tonight, and so I respect her for that.”


In a tag-team grappling match tonight, former Invicta FC and Rizin FF champion Ayaka Hamasaki led teammate Emi Tomimatsu to victory by submitting both Tomo Maesawa and Mizuki Furuse. Hamasaki and Furuse began the match, and Hamasaki wasted no time in taking her opponent down with a harai goshi throw. She moved to side control and then locked on an armbar that forced Furuse to submit at the 1:10 mark.

Tomimatsu and Maesawa, who clashed in a rematch for Maesawa’s Deep Jewels atomweight title in October, renewed their rivalry under grappling rules tonight. Both attempted to attack the other’s arm in a battle for grips on the feet until Tomimatsu fell to the mat. She tried to take Maesawa’s back, but Maesawa had none of it and she wound up in top position. Tomimatsu worked for an armbar and Maesawa defended. Tomimatsu then tagged in Hamasaki, who returned to the mat.

Hamasaki wasted no time in depatching of Maesawa, as she swiftly took her down with a double-leg takedown and passed to side control. Seconds later, Hamasaki spun into an armbar and Maesawa tapped out at the 6:42 mark. Hamasaki and Tomimatsu took the 2-0 win.

“We had a good event and the rookies shined,” Hamasaki stated backstage after the event. “Tomo’s challenge [for an MMA fight] to me was not expected. I would like for that to be in Rizin, but I will take the fight anywhere.”


Earlier on tonight’s card, Hikaru Aono (6-3-0) earned a first-round TKO victory over Rion Noda (1-1-0) in a 49kg super atomweight bout. Aono took Noda down early in the opening round and she worked from the top with punches while preventing Noda from scrambling free. When Noda tried for an armbar, Aono escaped into half-guard and then moved to side control. She landed numerous hammerfists to Noda’s face while preventing her from moving. Noda was unable to defend herself and referee Tatsuro Nagase waved off the fight, giving Aono a TKO victory at the 4:53 mark of round one.

Saori Oshima (2-1-0) made the most of a short-notice fight opportunity by finishing the previously unbeaten Sakura Mori (2-1-0) in the second round of their 49kg contest. Mori fought off early clinch attempts, but Oshima tagged her with right hands. Mori secured a takedown and Oshima countered with a guillotine choke, which she used to sweep into top position. She was unable to submit Mori with a late-round kimura, but her persistence paid off in round two. After Mori scored a takedown and mounted her, Oshima attacked with a kimura from the bottom and she used it to sweep into top position. She continued to crank on the kimura until referee Masato Fukuda stopped the fight for a technical submission finish at the 2:10 mark of round two.

Also at super atomweight, Otoha Nagao (3-2-0) narrowly edged out Pan “Kai” Hui (5-6-0) via a razor-thin Split Decision. Hui spent much of the two-round fight chasing after Nagao with looping punches that often came up short, and Nagao was effective with front kicks to the body. Hui rallied late in the second round, however, as she landed a series of knees to the body in a clinch and Nagao answered with a Superman Punch at the bell. Judge Fukuda scored the fight 20-18 for Nagao. Judge Nagase had it 20-18 for Hui. Judge Igarashi saw the fight even at 19-19. As Draws are not permitted under Deep Jewels rules, Igarashi gave his Must Decision to Nagao, who took the Split Decision victory as a result.

In an amateur strawweight bout, Yuri Takeda took a Majority Decision victory over Aya Murakami. Takeda fought off multiple takedown attempts in the opening round, as well as an armbar and a heel hook once Murakami finally got her down. She returned to her feet and attacked Murakami’s midsection with knees from a Thai clinch. It was more of the same in round two, and Murakami once again had to battle to get Takeda down to the ground. Murakami mounted her, but Takeda bucked her off and stood up. The fight ended with Takeda landing more knees in a clinch. Judge Igarashi had the fight even at 19-19, while judges Fukuda and Toyonaga both had it 20-18 in favour of Takeda.

Opening up the card, Moeri Suda made quick work of Motoko “Moochan” Tashiro in an amateur super atomweight bout. Suda jumped into a guillotine choke early in the fight and the action went to the ground soon after. Suda tried for a triangle choke and Tashiro escaped. Very late in the round, Suda secured an armbar and pulled back on Tashiro’s arm until referee Masato Fukuda waved off the fight. The technical submission stoppage came just as the bell sounded to end the 3:00 round.


“We only had one-third of the people at the venue compared to normal,” Deep boss Shigeru Saeki commented backstage after tonight’s event. “We did a lot of work against COVID-19 and what we can do is test. We did temperature checks today and we communicated with the government about doing this. I did not expect Tomo’s [challenge to Ayaka Hamasaki], and Rizin’s cards have already been decided. Foreign fighters cannot get into Japan and so I need to re-plan tonight’s event. The PPV stream was a challenge. The next Deep Jewels event will be on November 1st.”

Full play-by-play for all bouts on tonight’s Deep Jewels 29 card can be found here.



(Photo Credit: Deep Jewels)