Ishioka, ‘Mega Megu’ Prevail at Jewels Debut

By Wesley Endow Nov 16, 2008
TOKYO -- In the main event of the inaugural Jewels show Sunday at Shinjuku Face, Saori Ishioka and Mika Nagano battled to a unanimous decision that ended in Ishioka’s favor. Also, Japanese women’s MMA ace Megumi Fujii added another quick submission to her record.

The main event featured contrasting styles as Ishioka, the 2007 All Japan Real Fighting karate champion, was matched against the 2002 Wrestling Queens Cup top-four finisher in Nagano.

The match started with the fighters sizing up each other carefully -- very different from the other fights on the card. After the initial feeling-out period, Ishioka landed with kicks and Nagano scored with right hands. Nagano shot in for a single-leg takedown, but Ishioka sprawled and got a front headlock, which she used to send Nagano to her back. A period of no action followed, and the ref stood the fighters. Ishioka then took advantage of the opportunity and landed some punches before Nagano changed levels for a takedown at the end of the round.

In the second round, Ishioka started to find the distance for her striking. She landed right and left leg kicks that forced Nagano to clinch and pull guard. Nagano attempted a loose armbar, which Ishioka used to pass straight to mount. Again after no action on the ground, they were stood and Ishioka continued to punish Nagano with punches and kicks. Then Nagano landed her most significant blow of the match, a spinning backhand that landed flush. Ishioka seemed unfazed, though, and connected with more strikes and a final takedown into side control to secure her unanimous victory.

In what could have been the main event, superstar Megumi Fuji faced newcomer Tomoko Morii.

Megumi, an undefeated veteran, was the obvious favorite coming into the match. Early on, she showed why many consider her the best female mixed martial artist in the world by landing a quick hook followed by a straight. When Morii crouched to defend, Megumi went for a guillotine choke and pulled guard. The choke looked deep, but Morii defended it well.

From her guard, Megumi then went for an armbar to an omaplata. She was close to finishing the fight with the omaplata, and right when Morii defended that submission, Megumi switched back to the armbar, but this time it was in deep. Morii was forced to tap at 1:05 in the first round. With the win “Mega Megu” showed why she is one of the best submission specialists in MMA, winning 13 of 16 (81 percent) of her matches by submission.

While not a particularly pretty win, Hiroko used her height and strength advantage to overcome the smaller Cho Benkei.

In the first round, Hiroko punched her way to set up a Thai clinch and deliver knees to the body and head of Benkei. Benkei landed right hands with success, but they were not enough to slow down the attack of Hiroko.

The second round was more of the same with neither fighter looking for the takedown. Hiroko continued with her game plan of clinching, kneeing and throwing punch combinations. Toward the end of the round, she knocked Benkei down to guarantee the unanimous decision.

Hitomi Akano showed why she was the Smack Girl Grappling middleweight tournament champion in 2006 with her quick submission over veteran Hari. She closed the distance to clinch, then jumped to pull guard while smoothly transitioning to an armbar that ended the fight just 38 seconds into the first round.

In what turned out to be the most exciting, energetic battle of the night, Misaki Takimoto got the unanimous nod over Masako Yoshida. In the first round, both fighters came out swinging. Takimoto started to control the furious pace of the fight with her kicks and knees, while Yoshida tried to slow her down by pulling guard. Takimoto landed the better shots in the second round, but Yoshida threatened with a triangle choke before Takimoto postured up to ensure her win.

Sachi out-rolled the smaller Kazumi Kaneko. After her takedown and submission attempts and counters made the two fighters roll around and around, Sachi transitioned into an armbar that Kaneko could not reverse at 4:34 in the first.

In her pro debut, Kikuyo Ishikawa out-grappled kick boxer Sumie Yamada. From mount she threatened with an armbar and then transitioned to the triangle 1:00 into the first period.

Also in her pro debut, Shizuka Sugiyama scored a rear-naked choke over veteran Harumi at 2:55 of the first round.
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