Aya Murakami Wins Microweight Title In Deep Jewels 42 HeadlinerAya Murakami scored one of her biggest victories to date and captured her first championship title tonight at Deep Jewels 42: “10th Anniversary” in Tokyo, Japan. The skilled grappler outpointed Suwanan “Amp The Rocket” Boonsorn to win the 44kg Deep Jewels Microweight Championship.

Another key winner on the Deep Jewels 42 card was recent Rizin FF title challenger Si Woo “Korean Queen Bee” Park, who took a clear Unanimous Decision victory over Namiko “Hime” Kawabata in the super atomweight co-main event. Park has now earned victories in five of her past six fights.


Murakami (7-1-0) looked to take the fight to the ground right away, but it was Boonsorn (5-5-0) who scored the first takedown and Murakami spent most of the first round working for an Achilles lock from the bottom. She swept into top position and elbowed Boonsorn’s face during the final minute. In round two, Murakami secured an immediate takedown and she landed a few strikes while avoiding a Boonsorn armbar. Murakami hunted for a heel hook late in the round and closed with punches from the top.

The final round began with an exchange of punches and Boonsorn landed two powerful leg kicks before Murakami took her down. Boonsorn’s defence was good and she tied Murakami up from the bottom while landing some elbows. Murakami eventually postured up and punched from the top, then tried for a toe hold and Boonsorn spun free before the bell.

All five judges for the championship fight – Hashimoto, Nagase, Fukuda, Shibata and Ishikawa – scored the contest 29-28 in favour of Murakami, who took the title-winning Unanimous Decision victory. She has won three straight fights since suffering her lone defeat in a rematch against Moeri Suda one year ago at Deep Jewels 38.

“I tried to avoid my opponent’s submissions and I was successful,” Murakami stated backstage following her title victory. “[Boonsorn] is small, but her striking is strong. She is good at grappling from the bottom, but I was able to take top position because her sprawl was not as good. I worked well from the 50/50 position and then moved to the top. My corner said to throw punches and so I did that. I would like to unify my title with Saori [Oshima]’s, but if I have a chance to take a huge step up I want to face Ayaka Hamasaki.”


The competitive 49kg super atomweight co-feature saw Park (10-5-0) take a well-deserved Unanimous Decision win over a game Kawabata (4-3-0). Park held Kawabata against the cage during a prolonged clinch in the opening round and kneed her thigh before taking Kawabata down to a knee. Kawabata stood back up, only to be slammed down by Park and kneed in the face when she got to her feet shortly before the bell.

Park opened round two with a punching combination and took Kawabata’s back in a standing clinch. She kneed Kawabata’s thigh until the fighters were separated. Kawabata charged forward with a late combination, but Park tied her up and there was more clinching early in the final round. She attacked Kawabata’s leg and body with knees, then broke free from the clinch with a hard flurry of punches. Late in the round, Kawabata landed a right hook and a combination, only to be taken down one final time.

Scores were 30-27 thrice for Park, who returned to the win column in a big way following her contentious Split Decision loss to Seika Izawa in the pair’s Rizin FF title rematch on New Year’s Eve.

“Everyone thinks that I am just a striker, but I used more MMA techniques today,” Park noted backstage. “When my opponent stepped forward, I used calf kicks to counter and then took her down. I used more strategy tonight. I want to go to the UFC, but I would also like to avenge my losses to Saori [Oshima] or Seika [Izawa]. Shoko [Sato] coached me at Krazy Bee, and he taught me to do what my opponent does not want to do.”

Aya Murakami Backstage At Deep Jewels 42Si Woo Park Backstage At Deep Jewels 42
New champ Aya Murakami (left) and Si Woo Park (right) following Deep Jewels 42 wins.


Also at super atomweight, Moeri Suda (9-5-0) bounced back with a much-needed victory when she edged out Kate “Lotus” Oyama (4-6-0) in their featured matchup. Suda pulled guard early on and locked on a deep armbar from the bottom, but Oyama refused to submit and she eventually spun free and escaped. Suda briefly took mount position, then spent most of the remainder of the round trying for a heel hook. In round two, Suda again pulled guard in search of an armbar. She later threatened with a triangle choke and a second armbar, but Oyama closed out the round strong with hammerfists from the top and a diving right hand. Judges Shibata and Hashimoto scored the fight 20-18, while judge Ishikawa had it even at 19-19 and awarded his Must Decision to Suda for a Unanimous Decision win.

Veteran contender Yuko Kiryu (13-10-0) halted a two-fight losing skid with one of her biggest career victories by defeating former Deep Jewels title challenger Hikaru Aono (9-7-0) at strawweight. Aono controlled the first round, both in the clinch and then from top position on the ground, but Kiryu rallied in a big way in round two. She blasted Aono with knees and punches on the feet, then sprawled out of a takedown and punched Aono’s head from back control. Aono finally shook her off and attempted a few late submissions, but Kiryu finished strong with a flurry of punches. Scores were 19-18 twice and 19-19 with a Must Decision to Kiryu for a Unanimous Decision victory.

Thanks to a point deduction in round two, former Pancrase title challenger Nori (6-6-1) narrowly edged out Momoko Saito (0-1-0) by Split Decision at flyweight. Nori fared well in round one with one-two combos and a variety of kicks, but Saito took her down in the second stanza. However, Saito landed an illegal knee on the ground and was deducted one point, which nullified her ground control during the remainder of the round. One judge scored the fight 19-18 for Saito, while the remaining two both had it 19-18 for Nori.

In 44kg microweight action, Reina Kobayashi (3-3-0) took a dominant Unanimous Decision win over Momoko Yamazaki (3-5-0), whose birthday was spoiled with the defeat. After an exchange of knees, Kobayashi slammed Yamazaki down and mounted her in the first round. Yamazaki eventually got back to her feet, and she had success with her striking early in round two. Kobayashi scored two more takedowns into back control, however, and that was enough to earn her a victory with scores of 20-18 across the board.

The return of popular Korean fighter Ye Ji Lee (5-6-0) was a successful one, as she earned a close Unanimous Decision victory over 22-year-old Mizuki Furuse (11-11-0). Lee held Furuse against the cage and landed knees in the opening round, then took Furuse down and avoided an armbar. Furuse countered a takedown from Lee in round two by taking Lee’s back, which allowed Furuse to land punches to the side of her head. Lee finally stood up and Furuse jumped guard with a guillotine choke. The judges each scored the fight even at 19-19, but all three awarded their Must Decisions to Lee.


Earlier on the card, Saki Kitamura (1-1-0) proved that a single strike can make all of the difference, as she took a first-round TKO victory over teen prospect Eru Takebayashi (3-4-0, 1 NC) despite being dominated for most of the brief 50kg fight. Takebayashi was very aggressive with her punches right away and she dropped Kitamura twice with combinations. Kitamura connected with a counter hook between the knockdowns, however, and that one damaging strike broke Takebayashi’s jaw. When Takebayashi clinched after landing a knee, time was called to check on her bleeding mouth. The doctor immediately identified that Takebayashi’s lower jaw had been damaged significantly and waved off the fight at the 2:19 mark of round one, giving Kitamura the win in a fight that she was soundly losing.

In what was intended to be a 44kg microweight bout, Akari Kamise (1-1-0, 1 NC) instead had to settle for a No Contest after she missed weight for her fight against Kyoka “Chibisai” Minagawa (2-3-0, 1 NC). Kamise took Minagawa down after landing two hard body kicks, then hopped on Minagawa’s back and locked on a rear-naked choke. Minagawa tapped out at the 2:34 mark of round one. However, due to Kamise missing weight by a significant margin, she was ineligible to win the fight.

Chieko Hosoya (2-1-0) dominated the still-winless Yuko “Pochan Z” Matsuura (0-5-0) en route to a second-round TKO victory at lightweight. Hosoya scored with leg kicks in the opening round and tripped Matsuura, then mounted her and used more punches to set up a belly-down armbar. Matsuura survived, but Hosoya took her back down into half-guard in round two. Hosoya first landed hammerfists, then postured up with harder right hands, and scored a TKO victory at the 1:41 mark of round two.

At flyweight, Yuka “Dosukoi” Okutomi (2-0-0) cruised to a quick win over Haruka “Boss” Suzuki (0-2-0) in a rematch from their amateur bout at Deep Jewels 39. Suzuki battled back to her feet after being taken down early on, but Okutomi got her back down and she passed to mount. Suzuki covered up and rolled to her side as Okutomi rained down hammerfists and the fight was stopped at the 3:16 mark of the opening round.

In amateur strawweight action, Sarah (4-2-0 amateur) narrowly edged out Anouk Rossen (2-2-0 amateur) by Split Decision after two rounds. Sarah kneed Rossen in the body and took her down with a guillotine choke attempt in round one. Rossen mounted Sarah late in the second round, but Sarah countered with a heel hook attempt from the bottom and the bout went to the scorecards. Two judges scored the fight even at 19-19, with one awarding a Must Decision to Sarah and the other to Rossen. A third score of 20-18 sealed the victory for Sarah, who has won back-to-back bouts.

Opening up the card, Miku Makihara (1-0-0 amateur) made quick work of Misaki Suda (1-4-0 amateur) in their 49kg amateur bout. Makihara landed an early right hook and took Suda down into side control. Suda scrambled and Makihara trapped her in a guillotine choke as the fighters stood up. Makihara pulled guard with the guillotine and Suda tapped out at the 1:13 mark.


“We had many finishes today,” Deep boss Shigeru Saeki said backstage following the event, as he spoke about both the Deep Jewels card and the Deep: Tokyo Impact event that preceded it earlier in the day. “Saki [Kitamura] broke Eru [Takebayashi]’s jaw, and she had to go to the hospital. Amp [Suwanan Boonsorn] arrived in Japan in the middle of the night due to a typhoon, which was very unfortunate for her. [Momoko] Saito’s yellow card cost her a victory, and [Yuko] Kiryu showed that she is a lot better than some thought.

“Saori [Oshima] will defend her title in March,” Saeki added. “The Deep vs Black Combat event [next weekend] will determine our future.”

Full play-by-play for the Deep Jewels 42 card can be found here.



(Top Photo Credit: Deep Jewels)