SHARE


The pack may be closing in on Ayaka
Hamasaki
even as she closes in on 40, but they haven’t caught
her just yet.

In the main event of Rizin
27
on Saturday, the Abe Ani Combat Club representative defeated
Kanna
Asakura
by split decision, going 2-0 against the young
contender and retaining her Rizin Fighting Federation super atomweight (49
kg/108 lb) title. With the win, Hamasaki, who turns 39 later this
month, put just a little more distance between herself and the
second greatest atomweight of all time — whoever you want to argue
that is. Hamasaki’s résumé is nearly unassailable; in addition to
being the only woman to successfully defend the Rizin atomweight
belt, she still holds the record for the most defenses of the
Invicta FC 105-pound title, with two. She
counts wins over Invicta champs Herica
Tiburcio
and Jinh Yu
Frey
(twice), is 2-1 against her greatest rival, Seo Hee Ham,
and aside from the loss to Ham, her only other setbacks have been
at strawweight, against much larger, natural 115-pounders Claudia
Gadelha
and Livinha
Souza
.

Of course, if Hamasaki’s spirited performance on Saturday is any
indication, it isn’t time to start chiseling her hall of fame
plaque just yet. Here is the history of the Rizin super atomweight
title, and the times it was won, lost or defended. For the most
part, it tells the story of one woman, carving out a remarkable
career in the sport’s lightest divisions.

Ben
Duffy/Sherdog.com illustration


LEAVE A REPLY