Ayaka Hamasaki Takes Split Verdict Over Kanna Asakura, Retains Title at Rizin 27

By Tristen Critchfield Mar 21, 2021

Though the rematch was more difficult than the first fight, Ayaka Hamasaki nonetheless seems to have Kanna Asakura’s number.

Hamasaki retained her atomweight crown with a split-decision triumph over Asakura in the Rizin Fighting Federation 27 headliner at Nippon Gaishi Hall in Nagoya, Japan, on Sunday. The reigning champion had previously faced Asakura at Rizin 14 in December 2018, winning via second-round armbar.

After a wild exchange in the bout’s opening moments, Hamasaki took Asakura down, where she landed a couple solid knees on her grounded opponent. The 23-year-old Paraestra Matsudo product turned the tide in Round 2, when she grounded Hamasaki, defended an armbar and ended the frame unloading ground-and-pound from mount. Asakura landed another takedown in the third period, but Hamasaki responded late in the round by threatening with a standing armbar.

Ultimately, two of the three ringside judges sided with Hamasaki (22-3), who has won eight of her last nine appearances under the Rizin banner. Asakura (18-5) saw a four-bout winning streak come to an end in defeat.

In the co-main event, Roberto de Souza (11-1) earned his 11th finish in as many professional victories when he submitted UFC and Pancrase veteran Kazuki Tokudome (20-11-1) with a triangle choke 1:44 into the opening stanza of their lightweight clash. The Brazilian wasted little time taking the action to the canvas, where he secured the fight-ending maneuver, adjusted the hold and forced his opponent to tap out. Ten of de Souza’s 11 victories have ended inside of a round.

In other main card action, Deep lightweight champion Koji Takeda (12-1) captured a hard-fought three-round verdict against King of Pancrase Takasuke Kume (24-6-4). In an action-packed matchup, Takeda authored perhaps the most memorable moment of the fight when he executed a belly-to-back suplex on his opponent in the third round.

Elsewhere, Kleber Koike Erbst secured a spot in Rizin’s bantamweight grand prix by tapping out Kazumasa Majima in a 135-pound main card affair. Erbst (27-5-1) scored his 23rd career submission triumph by finishing Majima (14-3) with a triangle choke at the 3:02 mark of Round 2.

Tsuyoshi Sudario (3-0) turned heads with an eight-second knockout of Kazushi Miyamoto (0-1) at heavyweight. Sudario rocked his opponent during a furious initial exchange, and when Miyamoto returned to his feet, the sumo wrestler knocked him out with a right hand. Sudario then continued his assault with standing-to-ground strikes as the referee attempted to pull him off his adversary.

In earlier action: Yoshinori Horie defeated Tetsuya Seki via knockout at the 1:16 mark of Round 3 in a featherweight contest; Hiroki Yamashita put Kazuma Sone away with punches in just 27 seconds at bantamweight; Shuto Watanabe submitted Takumi Tamaru with a neck crank 4:13 into Round 2 of their bantamweight scrap; Yutaro Muramoto scored a KO of Seigo Yamamoto 2:37 into the opening round at flyweight and Yuki Ito knocked out Kohei Sugiyama in 33 seconds in the card’s opening MMA contest at 125 pounds.

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