Ayaka Hamasaki Defeats Kanna Asakura, Retains Title At Rizin FF 27The victory did not come easily, but Rizin FF Women’s Super Atomweight Champion Ayaka Hamasaki narrowly retained her title tonight at Rizin Fighting Federation 27 in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. Hamasaki earned a close Split Decision victory over Asakura in tonight’s championship main event.

Hamasaki, who submitted Asakura in the pair’s first fight at Rizin FF 14, got off to a very strong start in the rematch tonight. She dominated the first round on the feet, but Asakura battled back in round two and she kept the fight close until the final bell, leaving the judges with a tough decision.


Hamasaki (22-3-0) struck first with lead right hooks, but time was called when Asakura (18-5-0) was kneed in the groin during a clinch. When the fight continued, Hamasaki battered Asakura with more than a dozen left and right hooks. She took Asakura down and landed elbows and knees as Asakura sat against the corner post. Asakura worked back to her feet and dumped Hamasaki to the mat, but Hamasaki stood back up. She landed a hard one-two on the break and time was called to check on Asakura’s rapidly-swelling right eye. The fight resumed and both women landed leg kicks. Hamasaki’s nose began to bleed after Asakura landed a counter hook and her offensive output slowed down until the final 30 seconds when she flurried with punches and Asakura landed a one-two.

Asakura landed a nice left hook in the opening minute of round two and Hamasaki responded by taking her down into half-guard. She attempted a keylock, but Asakura powered out from the bottom and took top position in Hamasaki’s guard. Hamasaki punched from the bottom and threw up her legs in search of a triangle choke. Asakura kept both arms in and landed a stomp to Hamasaki’s face. The fighters returned to their feet and Hamasaki latched on to a guillotine choke as Asakura took her down. Asakura freed her head, and also escaped from a keylock, then mounted Hamasaki and finished the round strong with punches from the top.

The pace slowed down in the final round and the fighters traded single strikes throughout the opening two minutes. Asakura grazed with a spinning backfist and followed with a left-right combo. Hamasaki stuck to counterstriking until Asakura clinched and took her back against a corner post. Hamasaki grabbed on to Asakura’s right arm and tried for a standing kimura and a straight armbar. Asakura fell, but she escaped from the armbar in the process. The fighters stood and Hamasaki took Asakura down late in the final round of the closely-contested fight.

One judge scored the fight for Asakura, but the remaining two both sided with Hamasaki, giving the champion a Split Decision victory in her first title defence since regaining the Rizin FF Women’s Super Atomweight Championship in December. Hamasaki, who turns 39 on March 31st, indicated after the fight that she did not have too much time left in her fighting career and that she hopes that more young talent will rise up to take the spots previously held by tenured veterans.

Hamasaki is now 8-1 under the Rizin FF banner and the promotion may need to look outside of Japan – once it is safe to do so – in order to find her next title challenger.



(Photo Credit: Rizin Fighting Federation)