This fight was pretty inarguably to determine the best 105-lb woman on the planet. Well now, RIZIN has added even more stakes to the match-up. During a RIZIN 14 press conference late Thursday, it was confirmed that the bout will be for an official world title.
Kanna Asakura vs. Ayaka Hamasaki
The RIZIN Atomweight Championship bout will be the first official world title fight in promotional history.
At just 21-years-old, it is wild to see how great of a fighter Kanna Asakura (13-2) is this early into her career. Fighting out Chiba, Japan, Kanna has used her wrestling-based attack to win eight-straight. Six of those eight come inside the RIZIN ring, with the other two taking place in DEEP JEWELS.
After defeating Saori Ishioka in DEEP last year, Asakura earned her spot in the 2017 RIZIN Super Atomweight Grand-Prix. Here she picked up dominant wins over Sylwia Juskiewicz, Maria Oliveira, and RENA to be crowned Grand-Prix Champion. Since the first-round win over RENA in December, Asakura has defeated Canada’s Melissa Karagianis and RENA once again at RIZIN 11. She is one of the most tenured fighters in RIZIN history with a record of 6-1 in the promotion.
Opposite her, former Invicta Atomweight Champion; Ayaka Hamasaki (16-2) of Tokyo. The 36-year-old judoka has carved out a fantastic MMA career for herself as one of the best to ever do it at women’s atomweight.
Hamasaki is undefeated at 105-lbs, with both of her career losses coming in risky match-ups where she moved up a division to strawweight. After her second career loss back in 2017, Hamasaki signed with RIZIN and faced Alyssa Garcia at RIZIN 10 in a rumored retirement bout. The veteran outpointed the hard-nosed Josh Barnett pupil before returning to the ring at RIZIN 13 in September. Here she defeated DEEP JEWELS title-holder Mina Kurobe with ease in round one.
A bout between the clear #1 and #2, this is a fitting fight for such a momentous occasion.