Monday, August 02, 2010

Sakura Nomura upsets Saori Ishioka on July 31 JEWELS show

Sakura Nomura, Saori Ishioka
The first round of the JEWELS Lightweight Tournament was held at the July 31 Shinjuku FACE show. The main event of the show was the tournament match between JEWELS poster girl Saori Ishioka and Sakura Nomura. Of course Ishioka was the favourite mainly because a lot of fans aren't familiar with the 2-0 Nomura. But you should remember that she has trained with former DEEP Lightweight Champ MIKU. Also, I thought that Ishioka was looking past her and was talking about avenging her loss to Ham Seo Hee a couple of years ago. Nomura's judo expertise was the key in this fight. She seemed to be able to throw Ishioka at will and followed it up with superior ground work. Ishioka didn't seem to have an answer for that. She would land an occasional blow but needed to do more in round two. But it didn't happen. Nomura landed strikes and followed with a takedown and several submission attempts. She wasn't able to finish Ishioka off and Ishioka had some offense at the end. But it wasn't enough and Nomura won by unanimous decision. It was an upset but I wasn't surprised as Ishioka seemed to underestimate Nomura so I thought we might see an upset. JEWELS matchmaker Shigeru Saeki was very impressed with Nomura.

Ham Seo Hee, Mai Ichii
The semi main event had Korean Ham Seo Hee against pro wrestler Mai Ichii. Ichii has punching power. She did very well in the M-1 kickboxing fed a couple of years ago. But she doesn't have Ham's skills. So not surprisingly Ham started out the match with striking. Then when Ichii tried to take her down, Ham turned the tables and attempted a sleeper hold.Ham continued to control round one including some ground and pound. Ichii landed some punches at the start of round two. But Ham kept her composure and took Ichii down again. She didn't finish her but wore her out and won a unanimous decision. Ham said in a post match interview that she doesn't really practice much jiu jitsu or wrestling at home in Korea. Fans need to remember that she only does MMA in Japan and does strictly kickboxing at home. And the funny part is she could win this tournament.

Mika Nagano, Celine
Those were the only matches on the show to go the distance. In one tournament match, Mika Nagano got a rematch with Celine. Celine won in May and I guess some thought she could win again. But fans have a bad habit of underestimating redemption as a motivator especially in Japan where shame is such a big deal. Sometimes a fighter needs to lose to learn to be a better fighter. So Celine came out swinging like she did in May. But Nagano's defense was better and then she took Celine down and attempted an arm bar. Celine escaped but Nagano regained the position and this time got the armbar for the submission at 1:52 of round one. In the other tournament match, Ayaka Hamazaki faced Korean kickboxer Han Sol Lee. Hamazaki trains at AACC and her boss Megumi Fujii was in her corner. And though this was only her second pro bout, she has an extensive amateur background and won the 2009 All Japan amateur Shooto Bantamweight championship. Hamazaki wasted no time taking Han down and submitted her with an armbar in 48 seconds of round one. Mika Nagano jokingly said afterwards that she would rather face either Nomura or Hamazaki because Ham scares her a bit. And Saeki said he was very impressed with Hamazaki.

Super Benkei, Esui
The match on the rest of the show of most interest to readers of this blog is the MMA debut of former Ibuki pro wrestler Esui. She was supposed to face Shizuka Sugiyama in a Shoot Boxing match. But Sugiyama suffered a seperated shoulder and broken collarbone in training. So veteran fighter Super Benkei was brought in and it was changed to an MMA match. Esui went for a flying kick but Benkei took her down. They were stood up when Esui was warned for grabbing the rope. Benkei took her down again and won with an armbar at 4:34 of round one. In other matches, Misaki Takimoto knocked British fighter Lisa Newton down and then put her to sleep at 2:10 of round one. In a Shoot Boxing match, Ai Takahashi won over Emi NFC by TKO at 3:19 of round one. Yukiko Seki won over MIYOKO with a sleeper at 50 seconds of round two. Amiba won over Fuuka Misaki with an armbar at 2:27 of round two. And Emi Murata won her MMA debut over Harumi with an armbar at 1:08 of round one. HARUMI is now 0-15 (!). The semi finals will be on Oct. 10 and the final will be at the big Korakuen Hall show in December. Who's the favourite? I like Ham Seo Hee but it's not a sure thing.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:19 PM

    I went to this event. It was my first MMA event and I loved every minute of it. I saw Hellboy Hansen and Enson Inoue.

    Seo Hee seems to get better with every fight. It's kind of odd that she is primarily a Kick boxer. She seems to have alot of potential when it comes to MMA. I think I was the only person screaming her name during her fight. I dont think any of the fights disappointed.