Mega Megu Victorious At Smackgirl
TOKYO, Feb. 14 -- Japan's most well-known female MMA promotion,
Smackgirl, kicked off 2008 on Thursday with the opening rounds of
its lightweight and open-weight World ReMix Tournaments at Korakuen
The 114-pound lightweight bracket was particularly stacked, with
eight of the top female fighters from around the world vying for a
ticket into the next round. Only six participants were slated for
the open-weight tourney, meaning that two as yet unknown
participants will get an automatic bye into the semifinal
The main event of Thursday's show saw the undefeated Wonder Woman
of MMA, Megumi Fujii
(Pictures), square off against Abu
Dhabi competitor Cindy
"Mega Megu," who usually bombards her opponents right off the
opening bell, was kept mostly at bay during the first by the long
arms and hard kicks of her American opponent. Both women did a good
job in the clinch of preventing each other from gaining the upper
hand with a takedown. In the closing moments of the round, Fujii
secured a leglock attempt but ran out of time before she could
However, it wasn't long into the second before Fuji had another
chance at a submission. After a brief period in the clinch, the
Japanese fighter dragged her opponent into her guard, threw her leg
over Hales' head and secured a solid armbar. Hales tried her best
to escape the technique, but eventually she fell to her back and
tapped at the 27-second mark.
Fatal Femmes Fighting veteran Lisa Ward (Pictures) showed her mat abilities in her
quarterfinal matchup against Ayumi Saito (Pictures), starting off with an excellent
throw shortly after the opening bell. For the rest of the match,
Ward maintained solid ground control, moving to side and mount
positions and working for submissions. Saito, a hard-hitting
striker who has pummeled her opponents in the past, just couldn't
get going against Ward's clinch work and takedowns.
The climax of the fight came toward the end of the first, when both
women went for anklelock attempts at the same time. The war of
attrition lasted for several tense moments until Ward found the
right alignment of the heel hook before Saito did, forcing the
Japanese fighter to tap out at 4:41.
Su Hi Ham (Pictures) dominated in her quarterfinal
fight against Saori
Ishioka (Pictures). On her feet, the Korean
sensation threw punches in combination and was particularly apt at
landing her right cross and following her hands with viciously hard
On the mat, Ham scored several reversals and maintained good ground
control, including a move into the mount in the closing seconds of
the fight. Outside of some judo throws and a very strong
counterpunch that caught Ham off guard in the second, Ishioka
couldn't find her stride against the Korean. The fight went to the
judges, and Ham walked away with the decision.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Michelli Tavares
(Pictures) had a big reach advantage
in her quarterfinal bout against Alive's Kyoko Takabayashi
(Pictures). Yet the Japanese fighter
still charged forward and went for takedowns when she found herself
in trouble on the feet.
Takabayashi defended well against a triangle attempt from her
Brazilian opponent toward the end of the first, but in the second
Taraves got her revenge. The Nova Uniao fighter slapped on another
triangle after Takabayashi completed a takedown just off the bell.
This time the Brazilian made no mistake, forcing her opponent to
tap at the 26-second mark.
After the card finished, the pairings for the April 25 lightweight
tournament semifinals were randomly drawn. Megumi Fujii (Pictures) will face Su Hi Ham (Pictures), and Michilli Tavares will face
Lisa Ward (Pictures).
In the quarterfinals of the open-weight tournament, former
Smackgirl middleweight champion Hitomi Akano (Pictures) faced off against Smackgirl
After brawling in the clinch for the entire first round and the
majority of the second, Akano ended up on her back following a
failed judo throw. Despite missing the takedown, the AACC fighter
still caught one of her opponent's legs. From there she worked for
an anklelock attempt. Yabushita tried to fight off the technique,
but eventually she succumbed to the pressure and tapped at
The other open-weight quarterfinal of the evening featured Atsuko Emoto (Pictures) against Keiko Tamai (Pictures).
Tamai connected with punches early in the bout, but Emoto weathered
the storm and took control on the mat, where she dominated
positions and kept her opponent pinned to the canvas. Emoto really
went after her Tamai's legs, applying some excellent leglock
techniques. She also had an especially slick transition to a
kneebar in the second but could not find the submission. After the
fight went to the judges, though, Emoto did walk away with the
Both Akano and Emoto will face as yet unnamed non-Japanese fighters
in the April 25 semifinals.
In non-tournament bouts, Okada Madoka defeated Sakura Nakamura by rear-naked
choke in the first round, and Masako Yoshida (Pictures) defeated Asami Kodera.
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