Kanna Asakura got back on track in the Deep-Jewels 23 main event with a dominant showcase against Tomo Maesawa on Saturday morning in Tokyo.
The 21-year old grappler suffered a tough setback at Rizin 14 when she fell by second round submission to Invicta Fighting Championships veteran Ayaka Hamasaki this past December.
She returned to action with a determination to get back in the win column and Asakura proved why she remains one of the top young prospects coming out of Japan with her latest performance.
Known for her dominant wrestling, it took Asakura less than 90 seconds before finding an opening to shoot inside and take Maesawa down to the mat.
It was clear from the exchanges on the feet that Maesawa was showing too much timidity because she was constantly preparing for the moment when Asakura decided to wrestle her.
While Maesawa did a good job finding her way back to the feet on repeated occasions, Asakura was attached to her like glue as she constantly pressed forward to look for the takedowns.
It was more of the same in the second round with Asakura rushing inside and planting Maesawa on the canvas where she began her ground attack. Asakura wasn’t doing a ton of damage but she was constantly making Maesawa defend her strikes while looking to advance her position.
With less than a minute to go in the round, Maesawa finally made her way back to the feet and for the first time during the fight, she came after Asakura with some serious aggression.
Maesawa even attempted a takedown of her own, although Asakura was quick to block the shot before reversing the position with a body lock while muscling her opponent around the cage.
While she was dominant through the first 10 minutes, Asakura wasn’t done because she continued to feed Maesawa takedowns in the third round while still looking to finish the fight.
Asakura nearly locked on a rear naked choke against the cage after planting Maesawa on the mat and then immediately looking to take her back. It looked for a moment like Asakura had the submission locked up but she wans’t able to secure her position due to the cage and Maesawa was still able to scramble free.
Still, Asakura remained in complete control until the final bell sounded.
In the end, Asakura (14-3) bounced back from her loss in Rizin with a dominant showcase in the Deep-Jewels 23 main event. She remains one of the brightest young stars in Japanese MMA while Maesawa drops to 12-9.
There was no feeling out process in the co-main event between Reina Miura and Mao Ueda after it appeared there was some bad blood heading into this matchup.
As soon as the referees released the fighters from their corners, Miura charged forward with relentless aggression as she began exchanging punches in a huge flurry with Ueda on the feet.
The punches came in bunches from both fighters but as the exchange continued it was Miura who started to land shots with much more accuracy rather than just swinging wild shots looking for the knockout.
Miura connected with a stinging right hand that staggered Ueda and she started teetering towards the cage with her opponent coming after the finish.
Miura continued the assault with a barrage of rapid-fire punches that continued to blast away at Ueda until one final punch sent her crashing to the canvas as the referee rushed into stop the contest.
It was a very impressive outing from Miura (11-2) as she earned the first round knockout. Ueda is 0-1 and was completely outmatched on her pro debut.
Size and power
Kana Watanabe showcased her size and power against Soo Min Kang before earning a first round finish in their contest at Deep-Jewels 23.
Watanabe had a considerable reach advantage over Kang, who struggled all fight long to get inside with her punching combinations. Kang was wild with her strikes and she rarely connected with anything as Watanabe depended on her height and reach to keep the South Korean fighter at bay.
Finally with less than two minutes to go in the opening round, Watanabe secured a well timed inside trip to bring Kang to the ground and she would not get back up again.
Once the fight hit the floor, Watanabe immediately transitioned into side control and then trapped Kang’s arms in the crucifix position.
From there, Watanabe began peppering away at her opponent with short punches and it soon became clear that Kang was not going to escape. Watanabe’s shots started coming down with more and more force and the grimace on Kang’s face as she was getting punched without having any route to escape was enough for the referee to stop the fight.
Watanabe earns the first round TKO in a lopsided showcase as she moves to 6-0-1 in her career. Kang drops to 0-1.