Seika Izawa, Si Woo Park Advance To GP Final With Rizin FF 38 WinsRizin FF Women’s Super Atomweight Champion Seika Izawa kept her perfect MMA record intact with a second-round submission win tonight at Rizin Fighting Federation 38 in Saitama, Japan. Izawa defeated Anastasiya Svetkivska in the co-main event to advance on to the 49kg grand prix final.

The Izawa-Svetkivska match was one of two women’s super atomweight grand prix semi-finals on tonight’s card. In the other, South Korean rising star Si Woo Park earned her biggest victory to date by defeating former champion Ayaka Hamasaki. Park has won all three of her Rizin FF bouts.


Izawa (8-0-0) countered an early kick from Svetkivska (2-2-0) by taking her down into side control. She soon moved to North-South position, but Svetkivska spun and got back to full guard. Izawa landed a hammerfist and Svetkivska looked to set up an armbar from the bottom. The fighters exchanged short punches on the ground as the round entered its final two minutes. Svetkivska held Izawa in rubber guard, but Izawa broke free and landed a right hand. Svetkivska threw up her legs for a triangle choke and Izawa countered by latching on to her ankle for an Achilles lock attempt.

The second round began with Izawa landing a body kick. She tried to throw Svetkivska to the mat, but Svetkivska reversed it on the way down and wound up in Izawa’s guard. Izawa trapped her in a triangle choke and targeted the side of Svetkivska’s head with elbows. Svetkivska eventually escaped and avoided an omoplata. The fighters went for duelling leg submissions and Izawa took top position. She moved to North-South and attempted a leg scissor choke. When that failed, Izawa instead switched to an armbar and then to another triangle choke. With mere seconds remaining in the round, Izawa transitioned to a tight armbar on Svetkivska’s left arm and Svetkivska tapped out at the 4:56 mark.

Izawa has earned finishes in three of her four Rizin FF wins since debuting for the promotion nine months ago. The 24-year-old, who is also the reigning Deep Jewels Strawweight Champion, will now look to add a Grand Prix title to her collection by winning the tournament final.


“I was fearful of [Svetkivska], but I also had a fun time in there, too,” Izawa said backstage after her win. “She had good striking against Rena [Kubota], but she is a ground fighter and her submission defence is strong. She made good posture to defend against submissions. I feel for Anastasiya about her tough situation [with the war in Ukraine]. Tonight, I felt a connection with her. I shared a fight with her, so I shared holding up the Ukraine flag with her as well.

“[Si Woo] Park is a strong striker,” Izawa added. “I need to deal with that, but I also aim to take her down. Like Ayaka [Hamasaki], I feel that takedowns are key, but I also think that chaining grappling moves together [on the ground] is important, too.”

“I know Seika is the strongest in this division,” Svetkivska stated backstage. “I had a good experience, though. I don’t think I needed to minimise the grappling, but having more time to fight while standing would have been better for the result. I trained a lot for these fights in Japan and I feel that I’ve evolved. I’m very grateful for the Japanese fans and media. Our country has hard times and the war has not ended. I’m thankful that people support me and my country. I want to thank the soldiers defending my country, and I am also thankful to Seika for raising our [Ukrainian] flag with me. This is an important time for us to show our flag to the audience.”

Seika Izawa Backstage At Rizin FF 38Anastasiya Svetkivska Backstage At Rizin FF 38
Seika Izawa (left) and Anastasiya Svetkivska (right) backstage following Rizin FF 38.


Park (9-4-0) kept her distance and threw single punches and kicks during the opening two minutes. Hamasaki (24-6-0) lunged forward with a one-two and came up just short with a lead right hook. She shot in for a takedown and got Park down to the mat. Park stood in a corner and Hamasaki landed two uppercuts on the way up, then scored with a right hook and backed away. In the final seconds, Park landed a nice right cross that snapped Hamasaki’s head back.

Hamasaki landed a flurry of punches in the second round and then pulled guard. She was unable to set up a submission from the bottom and opted to kick Park off. The fighters stood and both landed leg kicks. Hamasaki followed with a three-punch combo and Park landed a calf kick in response. With just over a minute remaining, Park landed a one-two and followed with a straight right hand. She landed a knee to the body and a right hook at the bell.

The final round began with Park landing a right hook and a front kick. She floored Hamasaki seconds later with a big right hand. Hamasaki was dazed but managed to get back to her feet. Another right hand scored for Park, as well as a calf kick. Hamasaki struggled to land anything and Park connected with a right hook. Time was called when Hamasaki was poked in the eye, but action resumed and Park landed a hard kick to Hamasaki’s left forearm. Hamasaki tried to counter a body kick with a takedown, but Park avoided it and the fight came to an end.

All three judges scored the fight in favour of Park for a well-deserved Unanimous Decision win. She will now look to avenge her most recent defeat when she faces Izawa in the grand prix final. Izawa took a hard-fought decision win over Park in the pair’s first meeting 11 months ago, and both fighters have improved considerably since then.


“I’m glad I won,” Park said backstage. “I knocked her down, but she’s a veteran and so I did not want to go too fast and try to rush a finish. She is strong and an all-around MMA fighter. Seika [Izawa] is tough, and I lost to her last year, but we’ve both evolved. I’m good at striking and she is good at grappling. It will be interesting. Izawa is skilled at judo, so she is good with throws, but I am overall a better fighter.”

“I am sorry to the fans about my loss,” a disappointed Hamasaki said backstage while wearing a sling on her injured left arm. “Her punch that knocked me down damaged me. I don’t know how long I will need to heal my broken arm, but it affected my takedown ability tonight. In terms of Park versus Seika, Park is better at striking. I think it will depend on whether Seika can take her down. Park can grapple, but Seika has strong submission and finishing skills.”

Si Woo Park Backstage At Rizin FF 38Ayaka Hamasaki Backstage At Rizin FF 38
Si Woo Park (left) and Ayaka Hamasaki (right) backstage following Rizin FF 38.