Tomo Maesawa taps Hikaru Aono, retires with Deep-Jewels atomweight title
Tomo Maesawa retires at the top of the game. The atomweight champion successfully defended her title against Hikaru Aono in the main event of Deep-Jewels 30, which took place on Saturday night at New Pier Hall in Tokyo.
The title challenger connected early with a right hand and dipping immediately into a takedown, initiating a rocky start for the 32-year-old Maesawa. Aono stuck to her like glue and dominated nearly all of the grappling exchanges, even slamming the champion to the mat when necessary.
Aono was just one step ahead in every sequence but Maesawa did not get frustrated and stayed calm in vulnerable spots. The tide turned halfway through the middle frame.
Maesawa found herself fighting off her back again yet her patience paid off and when a sweep presented itself, she exploded and reversed position. She went from knee on belly to taking the back and attacking the neck.
While Aono spun out, Maesawa threw up the armbar but lost it with the seconds running down on the clock. With the fight likely tied on the scorecards, both fighters needed a decisive round yet the champion was not going to risk the judges.
While clinched up against the fence, Maesawa used her veteran savvy and snuck the arm under the neck and pulled guard. It was a risky move especially with her opponent being so suffocating in that position.
But the guillotine choke was locked tight and after she rolled over into mount, Aono had to tap and Maesawa instantly was in tears.
With two successful title defenses in the bank, Maesawa hangs up the gloves with a 14-11 record overall. Meanwhile, 27-year-old Aono drops to 6-3 and goes to the back of the line.
After Maesawa was officially announced the winner, the organization played a video package of Deep-Jewels alumni such as Ayaka Hamasaki, Kanna Asakura and Seo Hee Ham paying respect and providing their congratulations for a stellar career.
Best of the rest
Earlier in the night Sakura Mori (3-1) disassembled Pan Hui (5-7) and bounced back from her first professional loss with a very technical display. The 17 year old bloodied her opponent first on the feet and then took the fight to the canvas late in the opening round to get the rear-naked choke victory, extending Hui’s losing streak to five straight in the process.
In a major upset, debutant Seika Izawa (1-0) outclassed DEEP Jewels veteran Mika Arai (5-4) leading to a unanimous decision. The Takamoto Gym representative utilized a strong grappling attack to control “Arami” with takedowns while scoring points with punches and knees.