Asian MMA

Haruo Ochi set to defend strawweight championship at DEEP 88 Impact

Image for Haruo Ochi set to defend strawweight championship at DEEP 88 Impact

Haruo Ochi set to defend strawweight championship at DEEP 88 Impact

The should-be stacked DEEP 88 Impact x DEEP JEWELS 23 show keeps loading up with the addition of multiple new bouts. This new batch of announcements continues to focus on the DEEP 88 Impact portion of the card.

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In his first bout since snapping Mitsuhisa Sunabe’s 16-fight win streak, Haruo Ochi returns to DEEP for a title defense against Namiki Kawahara.

The new additions were announced via DEEP on Saturday.

Haruo Ochi (18-7-2) has been one of the most underrated fighters in Japan throughout most of his career, but that changed a few months ago. After becoming the DEEP Strawweight Champion in late 2017, and tallying one title defense afterward, the Paraestra Ehime product competed most recently at RIZIN 13.

Here he took on Pancrase Strawweight Champion, Mitsuhisa Sunabe, as he was on a 16-fight win streak. The bout was title vs. title and ended in one of the year’s best knockouts. After a competitive round’s one and two, Ochi landed a beautiful body/head combo in round three to drop Sunabe before sleeping him with two soccer kicks to the temple. He returns to DEEP in March after the biggest win of his career by far, looking to defend his title and a newfound spot atop the men’s 115-lb throne.

Fighting out of STYLE MMA, the 29-year-old Namiki Kawahara (5-1-2, 1NC) has a gigantic opportunity ahead of him come March 9. It was a successful 3-0 run of finishes as an amateur that convinced the then 25-year-old to turn professional in 2015, and that’s exactly what he did.

Just nine days after turning 26, his pro debut came. It was, funnily enough, scored a draw. After this Kawahara won three-straight, two by way of finish. Then he dropped a controversial split decision to Takuya Goto before two-straight knockout wins. In his most recent two, however, Namiki Kawahara has fought to a majority draw as well as competed in a No Contest after accidentally hitting Yuya Kodama with a fight-ending low blow. It has been a year and a half since his last victory.

This joins the recent batch of DEEP 88 Impact x DEEP JEWELS 23 bouts featuring Yuki Motoya, Roque Martinez, and Kanna Asakura.

Today, along with the Ochi match-up, more fights were confirmed for the DEEP 88 Impact side of the card. Here is the card as of now.

  • Yuki Motoya vs. Victor Henry – Title
  • Roque Martinez vs. Ryo Sakai – Title
  • Haruo Ochi vs. Namiki Kawahara – Title
  • Shoji Maruyama vs. Koichi Ishizuka
  • Yoichiro Sato vs. Nao Yoneda
  • Yuta Watanabe vs. Yoshitomo Watanabe
  • Juri Ohara vs. Ken Hamamura
  • Chikara Shimabukuro vs. Makoto Takahashi
  • Taito Kubota vs. Kyosuke Yokoyama
  • Yuki Ohara vs. Shernand Ladd
  • Koya Kanda vs. Hiroto Yamaguchi

Expect multiple women’s bouts to be announced for the DEEP JEWELS 23 portion of the show shortly.

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