The fight between Ayaka Hamasaki and Jessica Aguilar has been 11 years in the making. They were originally scheduled to fight at a Jewels card in 2011 but the event was cancelled at the very last minute due to the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.

Hamasaki was actually on her way to the venue when she felt the tremors,

“The earthquake hit as I was leaving my house. It shook hard but I had a fight scheduled so I jumped in a taxi and went to the venue and found out the event was cancelled.”

She admits to being surprised when the fight which was initially scheduled to take place in 2011 got put together for Rizin 37 this Sinday,

“I wasn’t expecting to fight someone who I was supposed to fight 11 years ago. We weighed in the day before and everything (but) the fight was cancelled because of the earthquake.”


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All rounder

Aguilar would go on to enjoy success with Bellator and the UFC while Hamasaki held the Rizin super atomweight title until recently. She was beaten by Seika Izawa at Rizin 35 and admits that avenging that loss is a priority,

“I want to get my revenge but I need to focus on what’s in front of me.”

Standing between her and a spot in the semi finals of the Rizin super atomweight Grand Prix is Aguilar. Hamasaki has had plenty of time to study the American and sees her as a strong all rounder,

“She’s got good boxing, good striking and is physically strong. She can grappler and has many submission wins. She can do anything.”

Her friend and teammate Rena Kubota is also in the tournament. There is currently no bracket so the quarter final winners won’t find out who they are facing in the next round until closer to the time.

High level

Hamasaki knows she could end up being asked to take on her teammate and says it is a possibility they are prepared for,

“I respect Rena, I have been training with her for quite some time. I consider her a teammate (and) I prefer not to face a friend if possible but it’s a tournament.”

The money spinning kickboxing bout between Tenshin Nasukawa and Takeru has set the bar for all combat sports events in Japan. That fight delivered in terms of entertainment and that is exactly what Hamasaki is hoping to do this weekend,

“I want people to see a high level fight like Tenshin and Takeru. I would like to show a performance like that (and) I think we can deliver that.”