Rin Nakai vs Aoi Kuriyama Added To Deep Jewels 40 CardDeep Jewels Flyweight Champion Rin Nakai’s hopes to return to the UFC will have to wait, as she will remain in Japan for her next fight. Nakai is scheduled to face Aoi Kuriyama in a flyweight matchup at Deep Jewels 40, which will take place on February 18th at Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo.

Deep Jewels officials announced the bout on Monday. Nakai, who recently signed with new management, has not fought since she won the vacant Deep Jewels flyweight title this past May. Kuriyama was unbeaten in 2022, earning decision wins in both of her bouts under the Deep Jewels banner.

Nakai (25-2-1) returned to MMA in March following a lengthy hiatus and stopped Shoko Fujita in the second round at Deep Jewels 38. She claimed the vacant Deep Jewels Flyweight Championship by defeating Tae “Te-a” Murayama and Shizuka Sugiyama in one night at Deep Jewels 40. Nakai has been inactive since then, but she signed with Iridium Sports Agency in December and it was thought that she might finally be on track to get back to the UFC, where Nakai fought twice in 2014 and 2016. She will first have to win at least one more fight, however, when she faces Kuriyama next month.

Kuriyama (4-4-1) debuted for Deep Jewels in late 2019 and won two of her first six fights leading up to the Deep Jewels Flyweight Grand Prix this past year. She received a Bye in the opening round when opponent Hanako Sawa withdrew, but her time in the tournament came to an end when she missed weight for her planned semi-final matchup with Sugiyama at Deep Jewels 37. Kuriyama then took a fight for Pancrase in July, battling to a Split Draw against Nori at Pancrase 328. She returned to Deep Jewels in September and scored back-to-back victories over Murayama and Fujita.

In addition to the Nakai-Kuriyama bout, Deep Jewels officials also recently announced two preliminary fights for next month’s event. The aforementioned Tae “Te-a” Murayama (2-3-0) faces Sayaka “Juicy” Hishinuma (0-3-0) at bantamweight, and Sarah (2-2-0 amateur) battles Momoka Yoshikawa (1-6-0 amateur) in an amateur strawweight contest.

Deep Jewels 40 takes place on February 18th at Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo, Japan.


Deep Jewels 40 Fight Card (to date; subject to change):

– Rin Nakai vs Aoi Kuriyama [Flyweight MMA Bout – 3×5]
– Namiko “Hime” Kawabata vs Machi Fukuda [Strawweight MMA Bout – 2×5]
– Hikaru Aono vs Kate “Lotus” Oyama [49kg MMA Bout – 2×5]
– Momoko Yamazaki vs Akari Kamise [44.5kg Microweight MMA Bout – 2×5]
– Eru Takebayashi vs Hitomi Taniyama [Strawweight MMA Bout – 2×5]
– Yuko “Pochan Z” vs Mayumi “Super Benkei” Aoki [Open-Weight MMA Bout – 2×5]
– Kyoka “Chibisai” Minagawa vs Koyuki [44.5kg Microweight MMA Bout – 2×5]
– Mana Akagi vs Haruka “Boss” Suzuki [Flyweight MMA Bout – 2×5]
– Tae “Te-a” Murayama vs Sayaka “Juicy” Hishinuma [Bantamweight MMA Bout – 2×5]
– Sarah vs Momoka Yoshikawa [Amateur Strawweight MMA Bout – 2×3]