PIC 1: Megumi Yabushita told the fans after thefight, “This is my Jewels debut, and I am glad to see everyone is putting aneffort to promote women’s MMA.”
There is something really good going in Japan in terms of women’s MMA and thatis JEWELS.
Just after four events, the promoter that sort of took over the Smack Girloperation brought this promotion back to the point where actual ticket sales atthe box office have surpassed the number of tickets sold by the fighters.
Yes, this promotion mainly does their events at Shinjuku FACE where thecapacity is only about 600 but there is nothing wrong for the promotion tobegin at a stage where they can be sure that the event will actually attractenough fans to fill 600 seats.
And this multi-purpose live house located in the Kabukicho district of Shinjukuis a good location because it’s in the middle of one of Japan’s most activenightlife activities.
So although Jewels began very conservatively now they’ve got to the point wherethey can actually sell out Shinjuku FACE and that is actually amazingconsidering how women’s MMA promotions have struggled the past few years bothin the States and Japan.
By mixing young good looking talent like Mika Nagano and Saori Ishioka with topknown and established fighters like Megumi Fujii, this promotion hasestablished the image of clean, beauty, but tough and that is why they aredoing well in Japan right now.
This means that what Jewels needs to do now is to discover new talent that canalso compete with the best of the best in the world. Jewels already has topguns like Fujii, Hitomi Akano, MIKU, and Seo Hee Ham but the next generation ofgirls are a little too far behind and that is what Megumi Yabushita proved inthis show.
Yabushita is a true legend in women’s MMA. A former national judo champ turnedpro-wrestler that also does MMA, and she is the first one in women’s MMA, whohas actually captured the attention of the regular fight fans. And she did thatback in the year 2000 by defeating a 350-pound judo-ka from Russia named Gundarenkoin the ReMix tournament. That performance, made fans realize that, in fact,there is something that is worth watching in women’s MMA.
Almost ten years later, after fighting top fighters all over the world,Yabushita finally made a Jewels debut this past weekend and showed thedifference.
Yabushita quickly threw Atsuko Emoto with a beautiful judo throw, and then backup standing, just dominated with punches and fancy moves like a backhand blow.Then at the end, she nailed a seoi-nage, then quickly locked in an armbar. Itwas nothing but a one-woman show, and at the same time, she did send themessage that the new girls are still not up to her level.
The promotion is doing well, selling a good number of tickets, but now thisveteran has pointed out, the promotion needs to discover, perhaps, build a newstar that can actually give top fighters like Yabushita a trouble.
And that maybe the only thing missing in Jewels now.
JEWELS 5th RING
Sunday, September 13th, 2009
At Shinjuku FACE, Tokyo, Japan
8th Match – 49 kg & Under Bout 5 min / 2R
Misaki Takimoto (Japan / Karate-do Zendokai Yokohama Branch) vs. Seo HeeHam (Korea / CMA KOREA)
Winner: 2R Seo Hee Ham by Decision(0-3)
7th Match – Open-weight Bout 5 min / 2R
Megumi Yabushita (Japan / Freelance) vs. Atsuko Emoto (Japan / Freelance)
Winner: 1R 2’43” MegumiYabushita by Submission (armbar)
6th Match – ROUGH STONE GP 2009 60 kg & Under First Round 5 min / 2R
Shizuka Sugiyama (Japan / Karatedo Zendo-kai Yokohama Branch) vs. AlexandraSanchez (Germany / MMA Berlin)
Winner: 2R Alexandra Sanchez byDecision (0-3)
5th Match – ROUGH STONE GP 2009 60 kg & Under First Round Bout 5 min /2R
Chihiro Oikawa (Japan / Battlearts) vs. Tomoko Morii (Japan / Ito Dojo)
Winner: 1R 4’13” Tomoko Moriiby Submission (armbar)
4th Match – ROUGH STONE GP 2009 54 kg & Under First Round Bout 5 min /2R
Mika Nagano (Japan / S-KEEP CORE) vs. Rina Tomita (Japan / AACC)
Winner: 1R 2’25” Mika Nagano bySubmission (armbar)
3rd Match – ROUGH STONE GP 2009 54 kg & Under First Round Bout 5 min /2R
Ameba (Japan / DEEP OFFICIAL GYM IMPACT) vs. Yoko Kagoshima (Japan /Shinagawa CS)
Winner: 2R Yoko Kagoshima byDecision (0-3)
2nd Match – ROUGH STONE GP 2009 48 kg & Under First Round Bout 5 min /2R
Asami Odera (Japan / PUREBRED Kawaguchi REDIPS) vs. Patora Fukasaki (Japan/ Karatedo Zendokai Matsumoto Branch)
Winner: 2R 1’56” Asami Odera bySubmission (armbar)
1st Match – 52 kg & Under Bout 5 min / 2R
Kikuyo Ishikawa (Japan / Freelance) vs. ASAKO (Japan / U-FILE CAMP Gifu)
Winner: 1R 1’18” KikuyoIshikawa by Submission (rear naked choke)
Reportby Shu Hirata
Photo by Yoshinori Ihara (www.boutreview.com)
PIC 2: Froma judo throw to this armbar. The whole process just took alittle over 1 second. That is how fast Yabushita moved.
PIC 3: In The Main Event, Ham Soo Hee dominated with superior striking skills.
PIC 4: Mika Nagano (top) proved that she is not just about her looks.