Arisa Matsuda claimed the interim strawweight belt with a split decision victory over Machi Fukuda at Deep Jewels 43 in Tokyo on Wednesday. The 28 year old only made her pro debut last year but has rapidly established herself as one of the country’s top 115lbers.

Both fighters came into the contest with unblemished records. With Seika Izawa busy with Rizin commitments the promotion decided to create an interim strawweight title and put it on the line at the New Pier Hall.

In the first round, Matsuda attacked the southpaw with low kicks and body kicks while her opponent sought to counter with right hooks and straight lefts. She fought off a series of takedown attempts with both women trading knees in the clinch.

Split decision

In the second round, Fukuda secured a pair of takedowns but the former baseball player proved resilient and resisted being held down. Matsuda bloodied her opponent’s with a powerful right cross and managed to take her back in a standing clinch as the round ended.

Fukuda scored an early takedown in the third before gaining top position and transitioning to mount where she landed knees and hammer fists. Despite Matsuda’s attempts to escape she maintained control aiming for a rear-naked choke and then a face-crank.

It was a strong finish from the 20-year-old, but not sufficient to swing the tide as three of the five judges awarded Matsuda the decision. She improves to 4-0 while her opponent drops to 4-1.

Best of the rest

In the co-main event, Moeri Suda (10-5) a former challenger for the super atomweight belt took a step back towards title contention. She submitted Saki Kitamura (1-2) with an armbar after just 49 seconds.

Deep Jewels 43, Tokyo, November 22nd
Arisa Matsuda def Machi Fukuda via Decision (Split)
Moeri Suda def Saki Kitamura via Submission (Armbar) at 0:49 of Round 1
Aoi Kuriyama def Momoko Saito via TKO (Punches) at 2:51 of Round 1
Marina Kumagai def Tae Murayama via Decision (Unanimous)
Momoko Yamazaki def Koyuki via TKO (Punches) at 4:27 of Round 2
Yuka Okutomi def Hitomi Taniyama via Decision (Unanimous)
Mana Akagi def Chiiko Hosoya via Decision (Unanimous)