Tomo Maesawa Retains Title In Deep Jewels 30 Retirement BoutDeep Jewels Atomweight Champion Tomo Maesawa successfully retained her title in her retirement bout tonight at Deep Jewels 30 in Tokyo, Japan. Maesawa overcame a strong start from challenger Hikaru Aono en route to a third-round submission victory in tonight’s entertaining main event.

Also on the Deep Jewels 30 card, Aoi Kuriyama overcame a significant experience disadvantage and outpointed veteran Yuko “Amiba” Oya in the flyweight co-main event. In other featured action, Sakura Mori submitted former title contender Pan “Kai” Hui in round one of their 49kg matchup.


Maesawa (14-11-0) found herself on the defensive early in the main event as Aono (6-4-0) repeatedly took her down and threatened with arm-triangle chokes on the ground. This continued in round two and Aono took the fight to the ground once again, but Maesawa scrambled up to her feet and she reversed an Aono throw. This allowed Maesawa to take Aono’s back and the round ended with Maesawa working for a triangle choke after a scramble on the mat.

Early in round three, Maesawa threw Aono to the mat, but Aono immediately returned to her feet. She shot in for a single-leg takedown and Maesawa trapped her in a tight guillotine choke on the way down. With nowhere to go, Aono tapped out at the 57-second mark of the final round.

Post-fight, Maesawa spoke in front of the audience and heaped praise upon her opponent, Aono. She attributed Aono’s strong performance to training that Aono has done alongside boyfriend and top-ranked Japanese standout Shuto Watanabe. Maesawa went on to joke that she would postpone her retirement if she could face Rena Kubota on a future Rizin Fighting Federation card, then thanked her husband and her fans for their support.

“In the first round, it was difficult for me,” Maesawa noted backstage following tonight’s victory. “When grappling, I did not think that [Aono] would be able to overpower me. She was prepared for my armlock. I thought that she was tired because she had wrestled offensively a lot. A last-round submission is rare for me and I felt like Khabib [Nurmagomedov] when I won. I felt like I could not move on to a new life if I had lost. [Masanori] Kanehara said that the winner can say anything, so will there be one more time? I guess it’s 50%. I wanted to laugh with [Pan] Hui today, but she lost. MMA isn’t easy, but if she hadn’t been there to help me, I would not be champ. Goodbye and thank you.”


Kuriyama (2-1-0) repeatedly thwarted Oya’s (9-8-0) takedown attempts in their matchup tonight as she outstruck and outwrestled the veteran grappler en route to a clear-cut decision victory. Kuriyama took Oya’s back in a first-round scramble, which allowed her to mount Oya after Oya tried to roll forward to escape. Oya was able to get back to her feet, but her attempts to take Kuriyama down were unsuccessful before the bell. In round two, Kuriyama kept Oya at bay with stiff jabs and she countered Oya’s late-fight clinches with knees to the body. All three judges scored the bout 20-18 for Kuriyama, who took the Unanimous Decision win.

In another prospect versus veteran bout, Mori (3-1-0) showcased her slick submission game by finishing Hui (5-7-0) late in the first round. Hui got off to an excellent start on the feet and she repeatedly scored with right hooks to the body and head. Mori responded with straight left hands and she eventually secured a double-leg takedown into side control. Hui tried to explode out from the bottom, but Mori used the opportunity to take her back and sink in a rear-naked choke, which forced Hui to submit at the 4:40 mark of round one.


Elsewhere on the main card, Momoko Yamazaki (2-2-0) made a successful return to action by outpointing Sae Kokuho (0-5-0) in a 44.5kg microweight bout. The opening round was an event one, as Kokuho’s relentless pursuit of a takedown finally yielded success and she took Yamazaki’s back on the ground. Yamazaki reached back and trapped her in a headlock, however, and she peppered Kokuho with punches until late in the round. Yamazaki reversed a takedown into top position in the second stanza, and her ground and pound sealed the decision in her favour. Two judges scored the fight 20-18 for Yamazaki. A third had it 19-19, with his Must Decision going to Yamazaki, who took the well-earned Unanimous Decision win.

Seika Izawa (1-0-0) made a successful pro debut by easily outpointing Mika “Arami” Arai (5-4-0) in their 54.5kg catchweight bout. Izawa threatened with guillotine chokes in the first round and she controlled round two on the mat after taking Arai down into back control. Arai eventually scrambled up to her feet, but she was taken down again and Izawa scored with ground and pound from the top. Scores were 20-18 across the board for Izawa, giving her a clear-cut Unanimous Decision victory.

In 49kg super atomweight action, Aya Murakami (1-0-0) made the most of a short-notice opportunity and edged out Moeri Suda (0-1-0) after two hard-fought rounds. Murakami controlled the majority of round one with takedowns and ground and pound while avoiding Suda’s leglock attempts. Suda rallied in the second round, first by knocking Murakami down with a front kick and later with crisp two-punch combinations on the feet. Murakami reversed a throw later in the round, however, and she tried for a rear-naked choke. Suda shook her off and closed out the round with punches from top position. One judge scored the fight 20-18 for Murakami. The remaining two each had it 19-19, but both awarded their Must Decisions to Murakami for a Unanimous Decision win.

Mikiko “Mikko Nirvana” Shimizu (1-0-0) kicked off her pro career with a second-round TKO victory over Yurina Horiguchi (0-1-0) in a 58kg catchweight bout. After an initial standing rear-naked choke was unsuccessful, Shimizu took Horiguchi down and battered her with punches from side control and mount during a lopsided opening round. She countered a Horiguchi takedown attempt with a rolling kimura in round two, which allowed Shimizu to take mount again and she landed unanswered punches to Horiguchi’s face until the referee waved off the fight at the 2:51 mark of round two.

Opening up the main card, Shoko Fujita spoiled the Deep Jewels debut of prospect Kate “Lotus” Oyama in a two-round amateur bout. Both fighters landed combinations on the feet in round one and Oyama countered a head kick from Fujita with a takedown. Fujita was active off of her back and she attempted a triangle choke before the bell. Oyama took Fujita down in the second round and once again found herself fighting off a triangle choke. The fighters returned to their feet and traded punches until the end of the competitive fight. One judge scored the fight 20-18 for Fujita. The remaining two both had it even at 19-19, and both awarded their Must Decisions to Fujita for a Unanimous Decision victory.

Post-fight, a disappointed Oyama cited fight-night nerves and frequent interruptions to her training due to COVID-19 as contributing factors for her performance, and she stated that she wants to get back to regular training as soon as possible.


“Aono took positions, but Maesawa showed guts,” Deep boss Shigeru Saeki said backstage following the event. “Kuriyama is getting better and Izawa was good even though this was her debut fight. There is a lot of young, up and coming talent including today’s amateur fighters, and many debuts today due to the timing. Kate [Oyama] should fight with pro rules because her style fits that. In March and May, we will have a tournament for Tomo’s returned [atomweight] belt. We plan to have an event in December first with [strawweight champ] Miki Motono and Si Woo Park both competing.”

Full play-by-play for the Deep Jewels 30 main card, and amateur prelim results, can be found here.



(Photo Credit: Deep Jewels)