Arisa Matsuda Claims Interim Strawweight Title At Deep Jewels 43Former professional baseball player Arisa Matsuda kept her perfect MMA record intact with a narrow Split Decision victory today at Deep Jewels 43 in Tokyo, Japan. Matsuda edged out former amateur rival Machi Fukuda in the main event to win the Deep Jewels Interim Strawweight Championship.

Elsewhere on the card today, former atomweight title challenger Moeri Suda needed just 49 seconds to dispatch of Saki Kitamura with an armbar in the 49kg co-main event. At flyweight, Aoi Kuriyama earned her fourth win in her past five fights by stopping Momoko Saito midway through the first round.


Matsuda (4-0-0) relied on strong takedown defence in the opening round to stay on her feet against the cage as Fukuda (4-1-0) repeatedly pursued takedowns. Both women landed knees to the body during the prolonged clinches, but Matsuda’s strikes were more effective. Fukuda scored two brief takedowns in round two, but she could not hold Matsuda down and Matsuda bloodied Fukuda’s nose with a hard right cross. She took Fukuda’s back in a standing clinch before the bell.

The final round was a completely different story, as Fukuda took Matsuda down right away and she completely dominated the action on the mat. Working from side control, Fukuda landed knees to the body and hammerfists before passing to full mount. She continued to alternate between side control and mount until the final minute when she took Matsuda’s back and locked on a body triangle while working for a rear-naked choke. Fukuda switched to a face crank in the final seconds and Matsuda made it to the bell, though she did not look happy at the conclusion of the fight.

Five judges are tasked with scoring championship fights for Deep and Deep Jewels. Judge Ishikawa scored the fight 29-28 for Fukuda. Judges Hashimoto and Shibata both had it 29-28 for Matsuda, which drew an audible cry from Fukuda before realising that there were still two more scorecards to be read. Judge Uematsu scored the fight 29-28 for Fukuda to even thins at 2-2, but the final scorecard from judge Toyonaga came in as 29-28 in favour of Matsuda for a razor-thin win that seemed to surprise even her.

Matsuda will likely next face Deep Jewels Strawweight Champion Seika Izawa in a title unification bout in 2024. She addressed the looming title unifier and today’s performance when speaking backstage.

“I’m relieved. I won rounds one and two, but she dominated round three,” Matsuda said. “I worked hard to prevent her from taking my back or taking me down because I felt like the fight would be over if she did. I hit her nose and fortunately it began to bleed. I want to take care of my daughter [who was in attendance] when I get back to Osaka.

“I still need to improve in all areas; on attack and on defence,” Matsuda added. “I train with Moeri [Suda] and Aoi [Kuriyama] twice per month. I look forward to facing Seika. She is strong, but anything can happen in a fight. I will prepare well and take chances.”


The co-main event was over almost as quickly as it began, as Suda (10-5-0) locked on a tight armbar in the opening minute that prompted referee Akira Shibata to waved off the fight as Kitamura (1-2-0) briefly protested. Suda immediately clinched and backed Kitamura up against the cage, then jumped guard and attacked with an armbar from the bottom. She used it to spin into top position and cranked back on Kitamura’s arm. Kitamura was still defending, but her arm was bent back at the elbow and the fight was stopped at the 49-second mark.

“My armbar was tight, so I knew it would be the end,” Suda commented backstage. “I trained with other girls from the Kansai region and that benefited me today. I lost to [Jeong Eun] Park, my first opponent from abroad, but I ended the year well here. I want to bring the [Deep Jewels atomweight] belt back from Black Combat. If such a fight is held, I will participate.”

Arisa Matsuda Backstage At Deep Jewels 43Moeri Suda Backstage At Deep Jewels 43
Champion Arisa Matsuda (left) and Moeri Suda (right) following Deep Jewels 43 wins.


Following up on her crushing first-round knockout win at Rizin FF 43 in June, Kuriyama (6-5-1) scored another quick stoppage in her flyweight bout with Saito (0-2-0) today. The southpaw fighter scored with leg and body kicks early in the fight, then backed Saito up with two straight left hands. After landing more leg kicks, Kuriyama dropped Saito with another left cross and followed up with punches on the ground for a decisive TKO stoppage at the 2:51 mark of round one.

Marina Kumagai (4-5-0) bounced back from her June loss to Kuriyama with a clear-cut Unanimous Decision victory today against Tae “Te-a” Murayama (3-5-0) at bantamweight. Murayama offered very little offence in the fight aside from takedown attempts, which were all thwarted by Kumagai. In the clinches, Kumagai landed knees to the body and she was effective with leg kicks during the striking exchanges. Late in the fight, Kumagai took Murayama’s back and she scored with more knees. Scores were 20-18 across the board for Kumagai, who won convincingly.

In a 44kg microweight bout, Momoko Yamazaki (4-5-0) put forth one of the best performances of her career by defeating Koyuki (0-2-0) late in the second round. Yamazaki attacked Koyuki’s legs and upper body with knees during the opening stanza. In round two, she took Koyuki down and attempted an arm-triangle choke from the top in mount. Koyuki defended, but Yamazaki postured up with a barrage of punches and hammerfists in the final minute until the fight was waved off at the 4:27 mark of the second round.

Undefeated flyweight prospect Yuka “Dosukoi” Okutomi (3-0-0) earned a one-sided Unanimous Decision victory over Hitomi Taniyama (1-2-0) in their matchup. Okutomi had early success on the feet with leg kicks before taking Taniyama down into back control, where she threatened with rear-naked chokes and landed punches to the side of Taniyama’s head. Taniyama secured a takedown in round two, but Okutomi returned to her feet and she knocked Taniyama down with a leg kick before taking her back once more. Taniyama fought off a rear-naked choke and a heel hook, but time ran out and Okutomi took the well-deserved win.


Earlier on the card, Mana Akagi (2-2-0) and Chieko Hosoya (2-2-0) engaged in an action-packed bout at bantamweight. Akagi was in complete control in round one and battered Hosoya with punches and hammerfists before attempting a kimura. Hosoya survived and she rallied in a big way in round two. In a complete reversal, Hosoya controlled the action on the mat and threatened with rear-naked chokes while punching Akagi’s face. Akagi eventually managed to turn over into Hosoya’s guard, then scored a takedown and mounted her, and that late-round rally likely saved the victory for her. Judge Shibata scored the fight even at 19-19 and awarded his Must Decision to Akagi. Judges Fukuda and Uematsu both had it 19-18 in favour of Akagi for a close Unanimous Decision win.

After first defeating her in February, 17-year veteran Mayumi “Super Benkei” Aoki (8-11-0) posted her second Unanimous Decision win over Yuko “Pochan Z” Matsuura (0-6-0) this year in an open-weight bout. Action was sparse in round one, but Aoki took Matsuura down and mounted her in the second round. She landed punches and hammerfists as Matsuura gave up her back and tried desperately to escape from the bottom. Scores were 20-18 and 19-18 twice for Aoki.

In a 54kg grappling match, Yua Yokose spoiled the Deep Jewels debut of former Rizin FF ring girl Akipi. At the beginning of the match, Akipi sat down and pulled Yokose into her guard. Yokose quickly passed to half-guard and then to three-quarter mount while isolating Akipi’s right arm. Yokose then took Akipi’s back and locked on a rear-naked choke for the tapout win at the 3:25 mark.

Kimika “Jaka” Kawaguchi (1-1-0) took a hard-fought Unanimous Decision win over Chucky Ruby (0-1-0) in a 44kg microweight bout. Kawaguchi started strong with leg kicks and a takedown into three-quarter mount in round one, then landed punches on the ground. Ruby rallied in round two and charged forward with overhand rights as Kawaguchi countered with leg kicks. Ruby’s forward pressure was not quite enough to steal back the fight. Judge Ishikawa scored the fight 20-18 for Kawaguchi. Judges Fukuda and Shibata had it even at 19-19, but both awarded their Must Decisions to Kawaguchi for the win.

Opening up the card, Sarah (5-2-0 amateur) scored a Unanimous Decision win over Miku Yokose (1-1-0 amateur) in their 50kg amateur bout. Sarah reversed a takedown and hopped on Yokose’s back in round one, then tried for standing rear-naked chokes. In the second round, Yokose got a takedown and both women attempted leg submissions. Sarah got to her feet and held Yokose in a guillotine choke, and punches were exchanged late in the fight. Judge Ishikawa had the fight even at 19-19 and awarded his Must Decision to Sarah. Judges Shibata and Takahashi both scored it 20-18 in favour of Sarah.

Full play-by-play for the Deep Jewels 43 card can be found here.



(Top Photo Credit: Deep Jewels)