Flyweight Grand Prix Participants Announced For Deep Jewels 36Deep Jewels kicks off its flyweight grand prix tournament on March 12th at Deep Jewels 36 in Tokyo, Japan, and all eight participants in the quarterfinal matchups have been announced. Among them, former Pancrase champion Rin Nakai brings an impressive six-fight winning streak into the tournament.

Also scheduled to compete in the grand prix is one of the promotion’s biggest stars, Shizuka Sugiyama, who has not lost under the Deep Jewels banner since her May 2014 bantamweight title bout against Takayo Hashi. The winner of the grand prix will become Deep Jewels Flyweight Champion.


Nakai (22-2-1) earned a spot on the UFC roster in 2014 after scoring notable wins over Sarah D’Alelio and Tara LaRosa in Pancrase, but Nakai’s two fights inside the Octagon ended in the only defeats of her career to date. She was outpointed by Miesha Tate and Leslie Smith, respectively, before making a quick return to Pancrase. Since then, Nakai has racked up six straight finishes including a submission win over current UFC competitor Kanako Murata. All of those bouts were contested at flyweight aside from Nakai’s most recent win in a 63kg catchweight fight at Deep Jewels 26.

Sugiyama (20-6-1) began her MMA career on the inaugural Jewels card, “First Ring,” in November 2008, and went 6-3 in her first nine fights before taking a year off to train and study in Australia. She returned to Jewels and scored three victories before the promotion merged with Deep to become Deep Jewels. Sugiyama’s two appearances for Rizin FF both ended in defeats against Kana Watanabe, but she is 7-1 under the Deep Jewels banner and has finished her past three opponents. Title gold has thus far eluded her, but Sugiyama will be viewed as one of the favourites to win the grand prix.

The remaining tournament competitors, all of whom are prospects who have fought recently for Deep Jewels, were also announced today. Mikiko “Mikko Nirvana” Shimizu (3-1-0), Aoi Kuriyama (2-4-0), Shoko Fujita (2-1-0), Hanako Sawa (1-0-0), Tae “Te-a” Murayama (2-1-0) and Kano Kagaya (2-1-0) complete the grand prix lineup. Quarterfinal matchups have not yet been announced.

Deep Jewels 36 takes place on March 12, 2022 at New Pier Hall in Tokyo, Japan.