Seika Izawa, Si Woo Park Score Huge Wins At Rizin FF 33Undefeated Deep Jewels Strawweight Champion Seika Izawa scored the biggest victory of her young MMA career tonight at Rizin Fighting Federation 33 in Saitama, Japan. Izawa stopped Rizin FF Women’s Super Atomweight Champion Ayaka Hamasaki in round two of their non-title 49kg matchup.

Izawa, who has only been competing professionally in MMA for 14 months, hurt Hamasaki with a series of upkicks in the first round and continued that momentum en route to a second-round TKO stoppage. Also tonight, Si Woo Park upset promotional superstar Rena Kubota in a close bout at 50kg.


Izawa (5-0-0) closed the distance early on and lifted Hamasaki (23-4-0) up into the air. Hamasaki got her feet back on the canvas and Izawa took her back while landing short knees to her thigh. She suplexed Hamasaki down, but Hamasaki rolled through with a kimura attempt that allowed her to take top position in Izawa’s half-guard. Hamasaki tried to pass to mount and Izawa used the opportunity to get back to full guard. She quickly postured for an armbar from the bottom and Hamasaki landed two hard right hands from top position. Izawa upkicked and Hamasaki got back to her feet.

When Izawa tried to follow, Hamasaki dropped down with a right hand. Izawa kicked her off again and the fighters returned to their feet. Izawa took Hamasaki down into half-guard and she landed quick hammerfists before attempting a guillotine choke to end the round.

The second round began with a clinch against the ropes and Izawa attempted a guillotine choke as Hamasaki pushed her down to the mat. Hamasaki quickly escaped and Izawa tied her up in rubber guard before unleashing three upkicks to Hamasaki’s face. Izawa then trapped Hamasaki in a triangle choke and she punched from the bottom. Izawa rolled over and mounted Hamasaki with the triangle choke still applied, and she battered her with elbows and punches. This continued for almost 30 seconds until referee Akira Shibata waved off the fight at the 2:50 mark.

“Thanks to Ayaka for taking this fight when there was only risk for her,” Izawa stated in the ring following her victory. “Ayaka and Megumi Fujii hate the term jyoshikaku [“women’s MMA”], but I like it and I feel that jyoshikaku can be just as charming as men’s fights. Thanks to K-Clann, [Kazunori] Yokota and my gym members for supporting me.

“I only had four fights and got to face Ayaka, so I’m honoured,” Izawa added when speaking backstage. “Ayaka has a strong armlock, and my plan for today was to be offensive while taking care to avoid those armlocks. I trained hard for this fight, to win and to make a winning image, so I don’t feel that it’s a big upset. My stamina was better, so I could fight aggressively right from the start of the fight. I’m confident about working from both top and bottom while grappling, so being on the bottom was okay. I want [Hamasaki’s] Rizin title belt.”

“I regret this outcome, and [Izawa] is better than me overall,” a defeated Hamasaki said backstage. “I feel that more strong fighters are coming. I can’t think about my future right now, but I know that I have a duty to face her again because I lost in this non-title fight. My game plan was to sprawl when she came for takedowns, but her clinch was strong. Her upkick was also effective and it dazed me. Seika’s punches at the end didn’t damage me much, but the fight was stopped. I have a bad habit of getting stuck in a triangle, like in the [Seo Hee] Ham fight. [Izawa] is a mature fighter for only having five fights.”

Seika Izawa Backstage At Rizin FF 33
A victorious Seika Izawa speaks with media backstage following Rizin FF 33.


In the second women’s bout on tonight’s card, Park (6-4-0) snapped a two-fight losing skid with what was arguably her most important win to date against Kubota (12-4-0), who suffered her first loss under the Rizin FF banner since July 2018.

Following an exchange of leg kicks, Kubota landed a strong right hook and Park fired back with a three-punch flurry. She followed with two leg kicks and Kubota grazed the side of Park’s head with a high kick. The fighters clinched and Park backed Kubota into a corner. She kept her pinned there and landed short left hands, but Kubota eventually scored with three knees that allowed her to reverse the clinch. She attacked Park’s body with more knees and two left hooks. Park briefly escaped from the clinch, but Kubota tied her up in another one before the bell.

Round two began with both women landing punches and Kubota backed Park into a corner, but Park countered with a double-leg takedown in the centre of the ring. Kubota kicked her off and stood up, but Park landed a soccer kick to her face in the process. Both women landed punching flurries and Park swept out Kubota’s leg. She could not keep Kubota down for long, however, and the fighters returned to their feet. Kubota landed a combination and a leg kick, then whipped Park down to the ground with a headlock throw. Park immediately stood back up and landed a body kick. Punches were exchanged and the round ended in a clinch in the corner.

Park was aggressive to start the final round and she clinched after landing two punches and a body kick. Kubota threw her to the mat and kicked at Park’s legs until Park was stood up. Kubota reversed a clinch and she landed punches and knees to Park’s body. She swept out Park’s leg and then stood over her, but Park landed some decent upkicks from the bottom. Kubota entered Park’s half-guard and landed one elbow, but Park kicked her in the face and the fighters stood up. Park landed knees to Kubota’s body while holding her against a corner post until referee Akira Shibata called for a break. In the final 30 seconds, Park landed a quick flurry and she backed Kubota up into a corner. Kubota escaped from the clinch and Park landed a knee to her face before time expired.

Despite the close nature of the fight, all three judges favoured Park’s clinch work and forward pressure, and she was awarded a Unanimous Decision victory. Park previously tallied a number of notable wins under the Deep and Deep Jewels banners, including a decision victory over two-division champion Saori Oshima, but tonight’s triumph was undoubtedly her most important to date.

“I have had one year of experience since coming to Japan,” Park noted backstage. “I don’t have a good record, but today I had a good win. Rena was not as strong as I had expected. [Seo Hee] Ham advised me about being more versatile with my striking and aiming at both the head and body. I need to use my MMA skills and potential as much as possible. I was surprised that Seika won tonight, but right now I am just focused on continuing to improve.”

“My movements were broken down by Park and I had expected to trade more strikes,” Kubota said following the close defeat. “I think I landed more, but the clinches may have affected the judges’ scores. I am still motivated, so next year will be my revenge year. Ayaka’s loss was shocking, but in this professional fighting world there is nothing to excuse about it. I landed my crescent kick, but couldn’t finish and Park took me down two times. Damage-wise, I thought I won, but I was not 100% focused this time. The time [six weeks] between fights for me was too short, and I will learn from that as well.”



(Top Photo Credit: Deep Jewels)