First Ring 11/16/08 Tokyo Shinjuku FACE
Shizuka Sugiyama vs. HARUMI R1 2:55. Sugiyama had all the size and some technique. She landed some good clinch knees then stuffed a takedown, took the back and choked her out.
Kikuto Ishikawa vs. Sumie Yamada R1 1:02. Yamada tried to knee her way out of a triangle attempt, but it didn't work.
Kazumi Kaneko vs. Sachi (Sachiko Yamamoto) R1 4:34. Sachi got it to the ground and was able to advance position, but was just a bit too eager to get the submission. Once she relaxed and took her time she was able to get the armbar. This was a decent watch if not particularly high level.
HARI (Mika Harigai) vs. Hitomi Akano R1 0:34. Akano just pulled guard when her judo throw failed and turned into an armbar for the win.
HIROKO (Hiroko Yamanaka) vs. Mayumi Aoki 2R. HIROKO had 9" and 15 pounds on Aoki, but while this wasn't exactly fair matchmaking, the fight itself was much better than expected as Aoki showed some skill to go along with her heart. Aoki dropped HIROKO with a right hand early and went for an armbar, but went belly down for some reason and wound up losing position, even if she did quickly put up a triangle attempt. Once HIROKO got back to her feet she got her knee attack going, and most of the rest of the fight saw her scoring on the inside with clinch knees then punching when she released. The first round could have gone either way, but HIROKO got the unanimous decision. Above average match.
Mika Nagano vs. Saori Ishioka 2R. A pretty high level ground fight. Both had their moments, putting a lot of pressure on the opponent, but Ishioka had the edge because she was better at advancing position. Ishioka also had the better standup technique as she got her hips and core into the shots, while Nagano was more of an arm puncher. Nagano's kicks were better than her jabs, but that was the clearest victory for Ishioka, as she welted Nagano's leg up pretty badly. I'm not sure if I'm conveying the closeness of this bout very well, but it was highly competitive, and just a series of little edges ultimately pointing the decision in Ishioka's direction. Good match.
Megumi Fujii vs. Tomoko Morii R1 1:05. A clinic in chaining submissions together for Fujii. Fujii just jumped for a guillotine, and perpetually transitioned between submissions until she hit the armbar.
Second Ring 2/4/09 Tokyo Shinjuku FACE
Rina Tomita vs. HARUMI R2 0:22. HARUMI is MMA's answer to the Saturday Morning jobber, trying hard but never making an impact on her opponent or an impression on the fans. Tomita was making her pro debut, but who better to gain confidence and a win over. She attacked with the submission, and may have won in the 1st round had the ref not inexplicably stood them up when she was still trying to extend her legs for an armbar, but managed to get a belly down version early in R2.
Shizuka Sugiyama vs. SHIHO R1 2:55. SHIHO was looking like a less slothful version AJW's Akemi Torisu, just an unskilled brawler who stands around flatfooted mainly taking punches. Sugiyama was somehow still missing most of her jumping knees, but backed her into the corner and hit her defenseless opponent with punch after punch until the ref gave SHIHO a standing 8 count. Sugiyama quickly followed with a knee to the body then to the head for another standing 8 count. Everyone but the ref knew it was over at this point, and SHIHO looked more than happy to quit, but it took Sugiyama backing her into the corner yet again and landing another whole series of undefended punches and knees to get the ref to finally step in just before SHIHO could be saved by the bell. Sugiyama has size and potential, but it's hard to tell much beyond that her standing knees can be a real weapon when she's in with an opponent who had about as much business being in the ring as my grandmother. At least SHIHO realized this and found a new line of work.
Chihiro Oikawa vs. Mayumi Aoki R2 2:30. Aoki's skills really showed here now that she was in with an opponent of similar size. It's hard to believe she was just 2-6 coming into this fight, as she seemed to be the most well rounded fighter on these undercards. Her striking here was extremely impressive, using a super wide stance and using very solid technique to hit really hard. She dropped Oikawa with a right straight, landed a big high kick that got Oikawa to pull guard, delivered a series of punishing clinch knees for another standing 8 count at the end of R1 and the beginning of R2. Oikawa's strike defense was terrible, really all she could do was pull guard and try for a submission, but Aoki passed and armbarred for the win. This wasn't even remotely competitive, and perhaps it was simply fighting a debuting fighter who ultimately didn't have a future in the sport, but all Aoki's work showed extensive training. Above average match.
Misaki Ozawa vs. Masako Yoshida R1 0:54. These two just came out winging and didn't bother with defense. It was all set to be a good fight of the Leonard Garcia variety, but Yoshida landed a couple good overhand rights over the jab. Suddenly, after Ozawa reversed a takedown & mounted, there was blood leaking out of Ozawa's nose, though apparently it was the jaw that was broken, leading to the stoppage.
Yasuko Tamada vs. Misaki Takimoto 2R. Entertaining fight where Takimoto was the better striker on paper, but Tamada had the answers to not only win the ground, but even the standing portions. Tamada applied a lot of pressure so she could get in on the legs, and was also able to repeatedly catch Takimoto's kicks and take her down. Tamada had a good standing rear naked choke at the end of R1. Takimoto came on in R2 after stuffing a takedown and answering with knees, but Tamada stunned her with a left uppercut and took her down off another caught kick. You felt like Takimoto could have won this fight if she focused on closing the distance and kneeing rather than kicking and getting taken down, but maybe Tamada would have adjusted and taken her down when she was coming in? Tamada just seemed the more intuitive and better reacting fighter. Above average match.
HIROKO vs. Michiko Takeda R2 3:25. HIROKO is raw, but she got all the physical gifts. She was super aggressive here, often seeming overexcited to strike, but I think that was to her disadvantage here as she kept coming in early rather than using her reach and keeping Takeda at the end of her strikes to beat her up and tire her out first. Not that Takeda was a threat in standup, but from the close distance she had chances for the takedown, and that really was her only chance. That said, when HIROKO's got to the clinch, it was again her best position, as she landed some impressive knees. HIROKO really dominated the 2nd, as Takeda was either charging in upright (hoping for ???) or standing with her back against the ropes getting punished. HIROKO got a standing 8 count with knees that bloodied Takeda's mouth then finished with punches. Above average match.
Hanako Kobayashi (Hanako Nakamori) vs. Saori Ishioka R1 2:20. Debuting Kobayashi was very aggressive in standup, but it was clearly apparent that the majority of her training was in puroresu. She didn't have solid technique or much concept of range, and her biggest liability by far was her defense, if it could be called that given she just stood flatfooted her her hands down and chin up. Kobayashi tried to win on volume, but was so there to be picked apart, eating a lot of good, solid shots in return from her well trained opponent. It was quickly apparent that the standing 8 counts were the only thing keeping Kobayashi in the match, and after a few more damaging right straights from Ishioka, the ref finally stopped it.
MPW 3/16/96: The Great Sasuke & Tiger Mask IV & Shiryu vs. Super Delfin & Gran Naniwa & TAKA Michinoku. TAKA was definitely the best here. He made Tiger look great. A bit sloppy, but a hot crowd responding to some awesome dives and a great near fall fest at the end. ***3/4
Third Ring 5/16/09 Tokyo Shinjuku FACE
Miki Morifuji vs. Mayu Yamagishi R1 0:16. These two came out with a flurry of wild punches, and Yamagishi fell first for the KO.
Mika Nagano vs. Misaki Ozawa R1 2:09. Nagano was able to get the takedowns and work from dominant positions. The first time she landed a few good knees from side mount, but the ref stood them up when she had full mount. The second time Nagano stepped over, getting the armbar submission from the side rather than going full belly down.
Shizuka Sugiyama vs. Celine Haga 2R. Haga was all about the takedown, but Sugiyama figured her out, and did better and better defending with each attempt going from sweeping when Haga mounted to sweeping as soon as they hit the mount, to simply defending and either taking the top or staying on her feet and working Haga over in the corner with knees. Sugiyama did some good work on her feet, and Haga was tiring quickly from having to keep shooting to avoid the standup game. Sugiyama controlled her spent but still digging deep opponent most of the 2nd as well, scoring in standup with knees, and holding the top position on the ground, but Haga had a heel hook attempt. Haga had one chance in the mount, but quickly blew it by landing an illegal punch to the head. Sugiyama won a unanimous decision. Above average match.
Misaki Takimoto vs. Yukiko Seki R1 3:40. 4'10" Seki was fearless charging in with left hands, but Takimoto had more skill as well as size and strength, quickly hurting Seki with knees then working for the rear naked choke. Takimoto couldn't get it either time she had Seki's back, but shifted to the armbar for the win.
HIROKO vs. Shannon Hooper 2R. Hooper was a much stronger opponent than HIROKO has faced so far, but HIROKO has added to her game, doing a much better job of using her jab to control the distance. Hooper had good head movement and checked the low kicks, but still it was Yamanaka scoring repeatedly with the jab & low kick. I kept expecting the Josh Barnett protege Hooper to go for the takedown, but even when HIROKO closed the distance to work her clinch knees, Hooper wasn't offering any wrestling to make her think twice about it. Hooper forced herself to pursue in R2, but would only go so far with it, refusing to actually push herself into range where she could land rather than just Yamanaka. HIROKO only does a few things so far, but Hooper couldn't stop them, so she continued get picked her apart. Hooper's lead leg was quite simply destroyed by the end of the fight, swollen red on both sides of the knee and all the way up the outside of the leg to the hip. Ultimately, the match was a bit tedious because of the lack of diversity in Yamanaka's striking game, but she was certainly putting a high volume on Hooper. HIROKO won a unanimous decision. Above average match.
Fourth Ring 7/11/09 Tokyo Shinkiba 1st Ring
Hiroko Kitamura vs. HARUMI R1 3:51. Kitamura dominated with her size, getting inside and working HARUMI over with knees then transitioning to the ground game to work for the submission, mounting and finishing with the triangle armbar.
Mutsumi Kasai vs. Celine Haga R1 3:06. Haga looked pretty good in JEWELS 3, but was completely overwhelmed here both in standup and on the ground. Kasai was really doing damage with the right straight, dropping Haga with it then continuing to use rights to force the desperation takedown, which she stuffed, took the top, and finished with the Kimura.
Asami Kodera vs. Yukiko Seki R1 4:47. Seki tried to pressure, landing some good punches, but Kodera tripped her up and hit a belly down armbar.
Shizuka Sugiyama vs. HARI (Mika Harigai) 2R. An all action brawl pitting Sugiyama's punches vs. HARI's kicks. HARI held her hands down at her waist, so Sugiyama's accuracy at hitting her in the head was quite high. The real difference though was Sugiyama could close the distance and score with clinch knees, and HARI had no answer for this position whatsoever. HARI was a durable bruiser for the first round and a half, but was completely blown up to the point there was nothing on her strikes down the stretch. Sugiyama was tired too, but was still able to be effective. Sugiyama won a unanimous decision. Average match.
Mika Nagano vs. Rina Tomita R2 0:35. Tomita had the reach advantage, but would just pull guard and go for the submission. She nearly won right off the bat with a triangle armbar. Nagano took over after this with a couple submission attempts of her own. To start round 2, Nagano countered an outside trip, coming down into mount and armbarring Tomita for the win. I liked the submission work from both, but there wasn't much going on beyond that, so it almost seemed too easy. Average match.
Shootboxing: Rena Kubota vs. Tomoko SP 3R. These two were much better trained than the MMA girls, both showing good technique. SP was fine from the outside, but didn't have enough power to scare Kubota out of just walking right through these shots. After the first few minutes where SP did okay, Kubota just swarmed her and beat her up. Kubota did a great job of closing the distance and either landing a combo of short punches or throwing her, never relenting or giving SP any space. Kubota was doing a nice job finishing her combos with a middle kick, and even landed a floating middle kick after getting a standing 8 count. Tomoko couldn't even get off in the last 2 rounds because Kubota put so much volume on her she was always forced to defend. Good match.
Hitomi Akano vs. Miki Morifuji R2 4:17. Morifuji had the advantage in standup, but was tentative because Akano would pull guard at any opportunity. Akano's standup game was rudimentary, but her ground game was pretty high level as exemplified by an omoplata sweep into an armbar. Akano couldn't get that armbar, but she shifted to a top side triangle to continue to attack the arm, finishing with a Kimura combined with a headscissor. Average match.
Megumi Fujii vs. Saori Ishioka R2 4:17. The highest level fight in JEWELS so far. Fujii was looking amazing both in standup and on the ground, but Ishioka was more than a game opponent, and Fujii clearly had to raise her level to take her out. Fujii wasn't forcing the ground, instead beating Ishioka up pretty badly in standup with fast punch combos, dropping her with a right hook then left straight. Fujii tripped Ishioka up when Ishioka clinched, quickly mounting and beating her up with ground and pound to set up a keylock, but Ishioka turned to her knees and slid out the back, flurrying with ground and pound, but Fujii tripped her up with a leg lock attempt. Ishioka was aggressive in standup in the 2nd, not landing big shots, but taking what was available while looking for the uppercut. Fujii dominated on the ground though, mounting and using her favorite armbar. Ishioka did a good job of stacking, but couldn't pull the arm out and Fujii was able to turn it into a belly down armbar for the win. Good match.
Fifth Ring 9/13/09
Rough Stone GP 2009 -48 kg 1st Round: Asami Kodera vs. Misaki Ozawa R2 1:56. Ozawa was the more committed striker, but Kodera got her down and attacked with submissions. She was looking for the traditional armbar, but eventually got a triangle and worked the arm, getting enough leverage to bend it against the joint and force the submission.
Rough Stone GP 2009 -54 kg 1st Round: Yuko Oya vs. Yoko Kagoshima 2R. The standup was fast & furious, but there was almost no technique at all. Kagoshima just charged forward throwing untrained punches, and Oya answered. The ground was a much higher level. Kagoshima was avoiding the takedowns early, but Oya got her down quickly in the 2nd and tried a guillotine. I had it a round a piece, but Kagoshima got the decision. Below average match.
Rough Stone GP 2009 -54 kg 1st Round: Mika Nagano vs. Rina Tomita R1 2:25. A rematch from Fourth Ring 7/11/09 with Nagano getting the quick takedown and pressuring with submission attempts until she once again beat her with the armbar.
Rough Stone GP 2009 -60 kg 1st Round: Chihiro Oikawa vs. Tomoko Morii R1 4:13. Lots of action here, particularly some fast paced standup with Oikawa really making an effort to immediately follow one shot with the next. Oikawa was throwing a barrage of knees (that seemed to have less impact because they were so fast), but Morii actually cracked her with an overhand right counter in the midst. The ground work was technically better, culminating with Morii getting an armbar submission.
Rough Stone GP 2009 -60 kg 1st Round: Shizuka Sugiyama vs. Alexandra Sanchez 2R. Sanchez had a lot of height, weight, and reach on an opponent who was fighting up a weight class (or two?), and looked to use her muay thai skills to bully Sugiyama at every opportunity. Sanchez was far from a one-dimensional kickboxer though, she had both takedown defense so she could keep it on her feet and a solid BJJ game to attack submissions. Increasingly, Sugiyama was unable to score a takedown, and Sanchez was able to attack Sugiyama with superior strikes even when Sugiyama was trying to throw single shots, especially the low kicks, to fend her off. Sanchez won a unanimous decision, handing Sugiyama her first defeat.
Megumi Yabushita vs. Atsuko Emoto R1 2:43. An open weight contest where Emoto had a good 25 pounds on the far more skilled and experienced Yabushita. Emoto did her best to use her size advantage to bully Yabushita, working some good punches to the body after reversing an ipponzeoi and taking her back. Yabushita reversed on the mat before the standup, and then went back to the judo throw, this time not hitting it cleanly but probably more effectively as she slammed Emoto on her head and then transitioned into an armbar for the win.
Misaki Takimoto vs. Seo Hee Ham 2R. An entertaining, albeit largely one-sided toe-to-toe contest. Takimoto's karate quickly proved considerably inferior to former professional muay thai kickboxer Ham, who was simply too technical and too skilled. Being a lefty also helped Ham, who was just pounding Takimoto with left straights to beat up her eye. Even when Takimoto did land a good shot, mainly left hooks, it didn't seem to phase Ham. It wasn't that Takimoto wasn't landing, it was that Ham was just way too good and eating her up with punch combos in between. Takimoto might land the last punch, but then Ham would use her kicks to reset the spacing, and Takimoto had nothing with her legs to either match Ham or change things up. As Takimoto has several submission ones, you'd expect her to try to get the fight to the ground to explore that aspect (and at least give herself a break from eating fists), but it didn't happen until Takimoto was already too worn down and battered to hit the takedown. Good match.
Seventh Ring 3/19/10
Shoot Boxing: Ai Takahashi vs. Asako R2 1:08. Skill vs. brawling, as Takahashi was at a far higher level, especially when it came to her fluidity and movement. Asako just wanted to drive forward and attack, but Takahashi was a real talent, and was working her over in the clinch. Takahashi quickly broke Asako's nose, and was just floating around on the outside putting combinations on her all fight until the ref finally stopped it after her chin may have been injured as well.
Hiroko Kitamura vs. Celine Haga R1 2:04. Haga was all about attempting submissions, trying for the takedown and pulling guard if it wasn't there. On the ground, she'd just attacking with no heed to gaining or losing positions. Surprisingly, karate stylist Kitamura hit a Kimura off Haga's first takedown, and made good on it.
Mika Nagano vs. Mai Ichii 2R. Nagano was able to take Ichii down easily and consistently and dominate the grappling and submission game. The first time Ichii burned her arm out on a hopeless, spacious guillotine, but the 2nd time Nagano transitioned an arm triangle into a reverse head and arm into an armbar attempt but time expired. Nagano continued to dominate throughout the 2nd with her wrestling, but just couldn't tap a game Ichii. Nagano took some abuse to her eye, but overall this was pretty comprehensive in Nagano's favor. Nagano defeated Ichii by unanimous decision. Above Average match.
Hitomi Akano vs. Hiroko Yamanaka 2R. One of the highest level JEWELS fights. Akano is the only fighter who has defeated HIROKO so far, but Yamanaka has improved her overall game since then, particularly her takedown defense. Yamanaka was able to score somewhat from the outside with her punches and avoid the takedowns, but Akano was ready for Yamanaka to close the distance, and would pull guard if she could. Yamanako certainly did more damage, but Akano had enough submission attempts to put some doubt into round 1. Round 2 was more Yamanaka's as she landed a big punch that had Akano momentarily fleeing, but still neither was able to do anything decisive. I wish there was another round, as neither could come close to dominating in their domain because the defense and counters had improved, though both did enough good work to make their case. Yamanaka defeated Akano by split decision. Good match.
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