Miki Motono Rebounds With Dominant Victory At Deep Jewels 35Former Deep Jewels Strawweight Champion Miki Motono scored a much-needed victory in the main event of Deep Jewels 35 tonight at New Pier Hall in Tokyo, Japan. Motono, who lost her title in June, handed Namiko “Hime” Kawabata her first defeat tonight via a clear-cut Unanimous Decision.

In the Deep Jewels 35 co-feature, “King” Reina Miura made a successful return to the promotion with a first-round submission victory over Tae “Te-a” Murayama at featherweight. Aya Murakami improved to 4-0 by upsetting Mizuki Furuse, a veteran of 16 fights, in their 44.5kg microweight matchup.


Motono (6-3-0) set the tone of the main event early in round one with her first of many takedowns that set up a pass to side control and then to North-South position. Kawabata (2-1-0) tried to trap Motono in a leg scissor choke from the bottom on two occasions, but Motono was wise to it and the fight eventually returned to the feet. Motono quickly took Kawabata down again, and this time she moved straight to mount. Kawabata fought off an armbar and briefly scrambled up to her feet, only to be dragged back down. Motono struck from top position until Kawabata stood up again, and the round ended with Motono holding standing back control.

Kawabata was aggressive on the feet to begin the second round, but her lunging punches came up short and Motono shot in for a takedown. Kawabata stayed on her feet and landed a nice right hand, only to be taken down by Motono on her second try. The middle portion of the round was Kawabata’s best of the fight, as she effectively tied Motono up from the bottom and landed a series of punches from her back that ultimately allowed Kawabata to get back to her feet. It was short-lived, however, and Motono put her back down on the mat before finishing the round with punches from side control as Kawabata covered up.

Judges Fukuda, Shibata and Wada all scored the fight 20-18 for Motono for a Unanimous Decision win, which got Motono back on track following two defeats against Seika Izawa; the latter of which cost Motono her 115-pound championship.

“I don’t care about my opponent’s [limited] experience. I just wanted to win,” Motono stated backstage following the event. “I regret that I could not get a finish, and I had wanted to test my striking, but most importantly I just need to win. I was confident about my armbar but couldn’t finish it. I feel that I need more overall skills as an MMA fighter, and I used wrestling takedowns more than judo throws today because, if I had failed [with throws], my opponent could have taken back. I am still focused on my goal of competing for Rizin.”


Miura (13-4-0), who last competed for Deep Jewels in February 2020, had little trouble in securing a victory tonight as she forced Murayama (2-1-0) to tap out to an armbar late in the opening round.

Right from the opening bell, the much more experienced Miura was in clear control, as she stunned Murayama with a right hook and took her down into back control. Murayama tried unsuccessfully to foll free and she gave up mount in the process, but she was able to power out from the bottom and stood up. Miura tied her up in a clinch and kneed her thighs until she was able to throw Murayama back down to the ground. Once more, Miura took mount and landed ground and pound, but again Murayama was able to explode out from the bottom. She stood up, only to be put on her back by a Miura double-leg takedown. Miura took mount again, but this time she locked on an armbar that forced Murayama to submit at the 4:55 mark.

“I cried because I could not win recently, but winning tonight means that I can start [progressing] again,” Miura said backstage. “I needed to get a finish in the first round against this opponent. My cornerman, Fuga [Izawa], also struggled in his recent fight, but I won tonight because Fuga called for the armbar. I am thankful for that. I want to compete for a major organisation again, and to begin fighting abroad.”


Despite giving up a significant amount of experience to her opponent, Murakami (4-0-0) continued her streak of impressive victories by finishing Furuse with an armbar very late in the first round of their featured matchup.

Murakami tried to finish the fight quickly with a standing guillotine choke in the opening seconds, but she lost it as she pulled Furuse down to the ground and that allowed Furuse to stand back up. Murakami scored two more takedowns, and the second one allowed her to pass to side control and then to mount. She landed punches and set up an armbar, which Furuse defended against. More punches landed for Murakami, who locked on a second armbar, and this time referee Akira Shibata intervened for a technical submission stoppage at the 4:58 mark of the opening round.


In what may be her final flyweight appearance, fan favourite Kate “Lotus” Oyama (2-2-0) evened her pro record with a close but well-deserved Unanimous Decision victory over Aoi Kuriyama (2-4-0).

Oyama spent almost the entire first round landing knees to Kuriyama’s body in a prolonged clinch. She continued to score with clinch knees in the second round, but Kuriyama’s takedown defence was good and Oyama could not get her down. As Oyama threw knees, Kuriyama stomped on her foot, and the fighters were separated. Kuriyama finished strong by fending off Oyama’s clinch attempts until the end of the fight. Judge Fukuda scored the fight 20-18 for Oyama. Judges Toyonaga and Wada had it even at 19-19, but both awarded their Must Decisions to Oyama for a Unanimous Decision win.

“I’m glad,” a relieved Oyama expressed backstage. “I became tired later in the fight, so I need to drop down a division. Even though I was tired, my training at K-Clann is more difficult, and so I felt okay. I got to show off my knees, which I’ve trained. I need to keep progressing one step at a time. At K-Clann, I am able to train with Seika [Izawa], Reina [Miura], Rajina [Bista] and many other female fighters.”


Competing under the Deep Jewels banner for the first time in more than three years, Yuko Kiryu (10-8-0) scored a convincing Unanimous Decision win over Tomoko Inoue (0-3-0) at strawweight. Kiryu controlled most of round one with ground strikes and a triangle choke attempt, but Inoue rallied shortly before the bell with a rear-naked choke after taking Kiryu’s back. In the second round, Kiryu struck from top position again while Inoue tried unsuccessfully for leg locks. Kiryu landed more hammerfists until Inoue latched on to her arm for an armbar attempt before time expired. Judges Shibata and Fukuda scored the fight 20-17 and 20-18, respectively, for Kiryu. Judge Uematsu had it even at 19-19, but he awarded his Must Decision to Kiryu for a Unanimous Decision win.

Elsewhere on the card, Shoko Fujita (2-1-0) notched her second pro win by outpointing Yurina Horiguchi (1-2-0) in a 58kg matchup. Fujita punished Horiguchi with numerous knees to the head and body each time Horiguchi clinched in round one. Horiguchi was slightly more successful on the feet in the second stanza, and she did connect with some decent right hands, but Fujita’s front kicks largely kept her at bay. Judges Shibata, Uematsu and Wada all scored the fight 20-18 for Fujita, who returned to the win column following her first pro loss.

In a 49kg super atomweight bout between two of Deep Jewels’ brightest young prospects, 17-year-old Moeri Suda (4-2-0) bested 18-year-old Eru Takebayashi (2-2-0, 1 NC) with a first-round armbar. Suda took the fight to the ground early on and Takebayashi attacked with a guillotine choke and a leg lock attempt from the bottom. Suda briefly looked to secure a heel hook of her own from the 50/50 position before getting to her knees and holding Takebayashi in a front choke. This allowed Takebayashi to take over top position, but Suda swiftly transitioned to an armbar from the bottom and Takebayashi tapped out at the 4:41 mark.

Talented wrestler Hanako Sawa (1-0-0) kicked off her MMA career with an impressive Unanimous Decision victory over Kano Kagaya (2-1-0) at flyweight. Aside from a Kagaya armbar attempt in round one and a loose guillotine choke in the second stanza, Sawa was otherwise in complete control of this fight. She landed some good strikes on the ground in the first round and threatened with a rear-naked choke late in round two. Judge Wada scored the fight 20-17 for Sawa, while judges Nagase and Hashimoto both had it 20-18. Post-fight, Sawa admitted that her striking still needs work, but she expressed a love for MMA and is glad that she transitioned from wrestling to MMA training earlier this year. Sawa hopes to be a part of the Deep Jewels flyweight tournament next year.


In earlier action, Haruka Yamaguchi and Otoha Nagao fought to a Majority Draw in a three-round 50kg kickboxing match. Nagao landed the most damaging strike of the fight – a right hook that wobbled Yamaguchi – in round two, but Yamaguchi’s consistent attacks to the body with a variety of kicks were enough to earn her a 30-29 scorecard from judge Nagase. That was overruled by 29-29 scorecards from judges Fukuda and Toyonaga, however, and the bout ended in a draw.

Marina Kumagai (1-4-0) at least picked up the first victory of her MMA career, and in dominant fashion, as she easily defeated Yuko “Pochan Z” (1-2-0) via Unanimous Decision at 68kg. Kumagai outstruck Yuko with straight left hands on the feet and dozens of hammerfists on the ground. She continued to batter Yuko with ground and pound in round two and Yuko offered little in return. Judge Tazawa saw the fight 20-17, while judges Hashimoto and Wada both had it 20-18; all for Kumagai.

Opening up the card, Rajina Bista edged out Saki Nakamura in a two-round 54kg amateur kickboxing match. Nakamura landed body kicks in both rounds, which she used to set up jabs and right hooks. Bista scored with a right cross early on and landed body kicks of her own in the back-and-forth second round. The close nature of the fight was reflected on the scorecards. Judge Tazawa saw it 20-19 for Nakamura. Judges Nagase and Hashimoto both scored the fight 20-19 Bista for a Split Decision win.


“Hanako [Sawa] had a good debut and she held top position for two rounds. She can be a [flyweight] favourite if she continues to improve,” Deep boss Shigeru Saeki stated backstage after tonight’s event. “[Aya] Murakami won again and so [atomweight champ] Saori [Oshima] may have her next opponent. I felt that Reina [Miura] could have gotten a finish earlier if she was at her best.

“Miki [Motono] may need to drop down a division, as opponents are limited for her [at strawweight] without Seika [Izawa],” Saeki added. “Seika will challenge Ayaka [Hamasaki] with just over one year of MMA experience. Seika struggled in the [Si Woo] Park fight, and I was curious why she was crying then, but it was because expectations had been set too high.”

Full play-by-play for the Deep Jewels 35 card can be found here.



(Photo Credit: Deep Jewels)