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Ayaka Hamasaki was pushed to the limit in her rematch against Kanna Asakura, but did just enough to earn the split-decision verdict from the ringside judges as she retained her Rizin FF super atomweight title by the slimmest of margins in Nagoya, Japan.
Hamasaki’s title bout with Asakura was the main event of Rizin FF 27, and saw the champion hang on to title after a grueling three round battle at Nippongaishi Hall.
After the fight was paused in the opening seconds for an accidental low blow, the action resumed with both women engaging in a wild exchange that eventually saw the action move to the canvas, with the champion on top.
Hamasaki (22-3) landed a pair of powerful knees to her downed opponent, but Asakura (18-5) showed her grit by battling to her feet, before picking up the champion and slamming her powerfully into the canvas.
Round 2 saw Asakura push the pace as she forced Hamasaki onto her back and set to work from the champion’s guard. But Hamasaki defended well and threatened with an armbar off her back before eventually escaping and returning to her feet. Asakura wouldn’t be denied, however, and after taking Hamasaki to the mat again, the challenger moved into mount and rained down a salvo of strikes as the bell sounded to save the champion from a TKO defeat.
After a cagey start to the final round, Asakura landed a takedown and pushed for a finish, but Hamasaki had successes of her own through the final stanza, as she attempted to snatch a final-round submission from the challenger with a standing armbar in the corner.
Neither athlete could make the crucial breakthrough, however, as the bout went to the judges, with Hamasaki hanging on to her title via split decision.
'Satoshi' scores yet another quickfire finish
In the co-main event in Nagoya, Brazilian lightweight contender [autotag]Roberto de Souza[/autotag] extended his remarkable 100 percent finishing rate with a 107-second submission of former lightweight King of Pancrase [autotag]Kazuke Tokudome[/autotag]. The Brazilian, known to his legion of Japanese fans as "Satoshi," quickly took the action to the mat, where he locked up a triangle choke on the Japanese veteran. After a little adjustment, Souza (11-1) applied the squeeze to force Tokudome (20-11) to tap as the Brazilian claimed the 10th first-round finish of his MMA career. Following his victory, Souza called for a shot at the interim lightweight title, with reigning undisputed champion Tofiq Musaev currently serving for the Azerbaijan military.
Takeda moves into contention after thrilling win
Japanese lightweight contenders went head to head on the main card with DEEP lightweight champion [autotag]Koji Takeda[/autotag] earning the unanimous decision verdict after a three-round war with lightweight King of Pancrase [autotag]Takasuke Kume[/autotag]. Both men bit down on their mouthpieces and traded big shots as they battled back and forth for the full 15-minute duration, but it was Takeda whose work was more effective as he outstruck Kume to earn the nod from all three judges after a punishing matchup.
Koike claims slick submission
Also on the main card, Brazilian submission specialist [autotag]Kleber Koike Erbst[/autotag] continued his winning start to life on the Rizin FF roster as he followed up on his D'Arce choke victory over Kyle Aguon at Rizin FF 26 with a triangle choke finish of [autotag]Kazumasa Majima[/autotag]. The victory extended the Brazilian's winning streak to three, with his only defeat since 2015 a unanimous decision loss in a KSW featherweight title fight against current UFC lightweight Mateusz Gamrot in 2018. https://twitter.com/rizin_English/status/1373567833255374848
Sudario claims fastest knockout in Rizin FF history
Sumo wrestler [autotag]Tsuyoshi Sudario[/autotag] picked up arguably the most eye-catching win of the night as he wrote his name into the record books by registering the fastest knockout in Rizin FF history. Sudario took on the debuting [autotag]Kazushi Miyamoto[/autotag] and needed just six seconds to separate his opponent from his senses as the popular heavyweight showed off his punch power in spectacular style in his main card showcase. The victory extended Sudario's perfect start to life in MMA as he registered his third straight win, with all three coming inside the distance. https://twitter.com/rizin_English/status/1373561977612742656
Rizin FF 27: Full results
Champ Ayaka Hamasaki def. Kanna Asakura via split decision – for women's super atomweight title
Roberto de Souza def. Kazuki Tokudome via submission (triangle choke) – Round 1, 1:43
Koji Takeda def. Takasuke Kume via unanimous decision
Kleber Koike Erbst def. Kazumasa Majima via submission (triangle choke) – Round 2, 3:02
Tsuyoshi Sudario def. Kazushi Miyamoto via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 0:06
Yoshinori Horie def. Tetsuya Seki via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 1:16
Hiroki Yamashita def. Kazuma Sone via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 0:27
Shooto Watanabe def. Takumi Tamaru via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 4:13
Yutaro Muramoto def. Seigo Yamamoto via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 2:37
Yuki Ito def. Kohei Sugiyama via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 0:33