(In the second round, HIROKO (left) landed hard inside lowkicks that slowed Hitomi Akano down)
HIROKO cut more than 20 lbs for this fight for just one reason.
She wants to fight in the States.
More specifically, her ultimate wish, is to challenge the current Strikeforcechamp at 145 lbs and under, Crisitian Cyborg.
That is why the headliner of Jewels' seventh show was held at 65 kg (143.29lbs) & under, between HIROKO and the second Japanese woman to fight Cyborg,Hitomi Akano.
Akano actually fights at 135 lbs & under however she took an offer to fightCyborg at 145 lbs because she didn't want to miss an opportunity to fight inthe Strikeforce show.
And for this Jewels fight, Akano took the offer because there is no one elsefor Akano to fight in the Jewels 135 lbs roster, and also, there is no one elsethat can fight HIROKO at 145 lbs.
Sure there are Rin Nakai and Takayo Hashi and a few other top girls out therebut they are not signed with Jewels and most of them fight in the Valkyrieshows, the competitor of Jewels, which means, in Japan, its "politicallydifficult" for Jewels to sign these fighters.
Therefore, although these two met once in the past, both agreed to fightbecause, Akano wanted to stay active, and for HIROKO this was an opportunityfor a revenge.
Akano, from the southpaw stance, threw a left kick to the body but HIROKOcountered with a right straight and that pushed the Strikeforce vet all the wayto the ropes.
However Akano stayed active.
She shot in a few times, pushed HIROKO to the corner, went for single anddouble legs, but compared to their last encounter two years ago, HIROKO's takedown defense improved tremendously.
She wasn't able to defend all of Akano's take down attempts but even though shewas on the bottom, HIROKO was calm, listening to Kuniyoshi Hironaka, her cornermen, for an advice.
When Akano went for an armbar and kimura, HIROKO was able to defend and whenshe revered the position, HIROKO did not go after her with wild punches butinstead she stood up immediately for the stand up bout.
At the press conference held prior to the show, HIROKO had said, "Eversince I moved to Master Japan, I was able to train MMA."
In the second round, HIROKO landed a left inside low followed by a right insidelow kick then went in with furious punches. Akano shot in to avoid punches butHIROKO sprawled out then getting the back-mount.
Akano eventually reversed the position and threw punches but HIROKO's long legsprevented her from landing a solid strike.
Till the very end, both fighters didn't get to score clear decisive points andthe fight went to the judges' score card.
Akano was definitely the aggressive one. She was constantly attacking but thejudges gave it to HIROKO who defended attacks and landed good strikes to createopportunities.
After the fight, HIROKO grabbed the microphone, "I realized there is somuch more I have to work on, so I will do that, and will be looking to beatCyborg."
Akano didn't make any official comments but later she told ADCC News that"I am not satisfied (with the judges' scoring)."
JEWELS 7th RING
Friday, March 19th, 2010
At Shinjuku FACE, Tokyo, Japan
Main Event - Full MMA Rules 65 kg & Under Bout 5 min / 2R
Hitomi Akano (Japan / AACC) vs. HIROKO (Japan / Master Japan)
Winner: 2R HIROKO by Decision (1-2)
6th Match - 542 kg & Under Bout 5 min / 2R
Mika Nagano (Japan / S-KEEP -CORE) vs. Mai Ichii (Japan / IceRibbon)
Winner: 2R Mika Nagano by Decision (3-0)
5th Match - 58 kg & Under Bout 5 min / 2R
Miki Morifuji (Japan / T- BLOOD)vs. Shizuka Sugiyama (Japan /Karate-do Zendokai Yokohama Branch)
Winner: 2R Miki Morifuji by Decision (3-0)
4th Match - Shoot Boxing Rules 54 kg & Under Bout 2 min / 3R
Aoi Takahashi (Japan / CeasarGym) vs. ASAKO (Japan / U-FILE CAMPGifu)
Winner: 2R 1'08" Aoi Takahashi by TKO (referee stoppage - chin injury)
3rd Match - 52 kg & Under Bout 5 min / 2R
Hiroko Kitamura (Japan / KarateZendo-kai Koganei Dojo) vs. Serina(Norway / Team Hellboy Hansen)
Winner: 2R 2'04" HIroko Kitamuara by Submission (kimura)
2nd Match - 48 kg & Under Bout 5 min / 2R
Kikuyo Ishikawaa (Japan /Freelance) vs. MIYOKO (Japan /GRABAKA)
Winner: 2R MIYOKO by Decision (1-2)
1st Match - 52 kg & Under Bout 5 min / 2R
Yoko Kagoshima (Japan /Shinagawa CS) vs. Sakura Nomura(Japan / P's LAB Yokohama)
Winner: 1R 2'20" Sakura Nomura by Submission (armbar)
Reportby Shu Hirata
Photo by Yoshinori Ihara (www.boutreview.com)