Ayaka Hamasaki (Jap. 浜崎朱加) – one of the most decorated stars in the history of Japanese MMA, was born on March 31, 1982, in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. She specializes in modern Japanese martial arts – judo and submission grappling.
The 39 year-old is the current, Rizin Super Atomweight Champion, former Jewels first Lightweight Champion of the promotion, and former Invicta FC Atomweight Champion. She is currently ranked the 8th best female atomweight fighter and globally ranks as the 31st current, best, pound-for-pound female MMA fighter.
Since, her debut in 2009 against Kinuka Sasaki, she has accumulated an astonishing record of 23 victories by representing MMA promotions Shooto, Jewels, Rizin, and Invicta FC. Away from wrestling she enjoys the simple life, spending time with her dogs and going for walks.
Ayaka also holds a flawless 8-0 record in submission grappling competition. She showcased her grappling prowess authoritatively by submitting Emi Tomimatsu and Yuko Oya via armbar, at the 1-night grappling mini-tournament at Jewels 10th Ring.
Hamasaki practiced judo for eight years, achieving a 2nd Dan black belt.
Training out of Abe Ani Combat Club, she made her MMA debut on October 25th, 2009 by defeating Kinuka Sasaki via armbar submission in round 2.
Next year in 2010, she headed into Jewels’ first Lightweight Queen tournament fight submitting Han Sol Lee with an Americana within 48 seconds of the match.
The commentators were also dumbfounded upon seeing Hamasaki defeat the experienced South Korean fighter, Seo Hee Ham, witnessing a spectacular striking exchange between the duo, as she went on to win the first Jewels Lightweight Queen tournament.
Ayaka suffered her first professional defeat at the hands of Claudia Gadelha fighting for the Invicta FC Strawweight Championship, however, she bounced back by gaining two successive victories at Jewels, and coming back to Invicta, she won the Invicta FC Atomweight Championship.
She yearned to make her presence felt in the Strawweight division of Invicta FC. However, her dreams were shattered when she was knocked out in the first round against Livia Renata Souza in 2017. With that loss, Ayaka Hamasaki vacated her Atomweight title and left Invicta.
Subsequently she signed with Rizin in 2018, and challenged Kanna Asakura for the Rizin Super Atomweight Championship. Hamasaki made alarm bells ring for the entire roster when she defeated the champion via a painful armbar submission. Ayaka Hamasaki was standing tall once again.
She locked horns with Emi Fujino 3 days ago at RIZIN 30, (on September 19th) and won via round 3 unanimous decision, to extend her winning streak to four.
Okay, so now you’ve got the back story on the current RIZIN Super Atomweight Champion and former Invicta FC Atomweight Champ, let’s get into Ayaka Hamasaki’s Top 5 MMA Finishes! (in descending order)
5. Vs. Mina Kurobe – RIZIN 13 (Sept. 30, 2018)
A calm and sagely composed, Ayaka Hamasaki took on Mina Kurobe at RIZIN 13.
In round 1, at 20 seconds in, Hamasaki, suddenly appeared to gear up ransacking enemy territory with an outburst of ruthless striking. The camera angle in the video clearly shows her going all out, guns blazing on Kurobe exacting her merciless stone-clad strikes, jabs that made her opponent run for cover!
Kurobe experimented with taking Hamasaki in a clinch as her main move at this point in her arsenal, looking to throw down a trap. Soon however, Hamasaki turns the tables, retains her grip and drives her opponent into the ring post, punishing her with ruthless, almost sinister striking, including hard-hitting knees on Kurobe’s head and hammer fists to her nose.
Kurobe was in danger as Hamasaki performed a vicious armbar, whilst Kurobe pivots on her feet and side mounts to set herself free. Hamasaki swiftly rolled her over and, with mounting pressure, applies a double wristlock which could have very well broken the arm in two had Kurobe not tapped out.
By 4:45 of round 1, it was all over. This match is ranked as the 73rd Best MMA Submission of the Year, 2018
4. Vs. Miyuu Yamamoto – RIZIN 26 (Dec. 31, 2020)
This match was fought for the vacant RFF Atomweight Championship.
In this match, it was interesting to see Hamasaki moving so effortlessly, spilling over the entire canvas like a burgeoning storm of clouds, all set to wreak havoc in the ring.
In round 1, Ayaka sprawled aggressively toward her opponent forcing her to the back foot from the beginning.
At 30 seconds in, Yamamoto strikes with a right-hand jab, aiming to try and end the match with just one or two heavy blows. Hamasaki, however had her own plan.
With an exchange of blows, Yamamoto clinched Ayaka’s right leg looking for a take down. Hamasaki rolled over, not giving her enough time and space to execute her next move.
Still gripping Ayaka’s right leg, Yamamoto started dishing out hard-hitting knee blows to the top side of her head.
In a split second opening, Ayaka with all her strength, breaks the deadlock on her wrist and gets an armbar whilst exerting mammoth pressure on Yamamoto’s neck whilst scissored in between her legs. Yamamoto had nowhere to go and was forced to tap out.
Ayaka Hamasaki was hereby crowned the RFF Atomweight Champion.
3. Vs. Tomo Maesawa – RIZIN 22 (Aug. 9, 2020)
This match started with a bang as both fighters went ‘berserker mode’ on each other with Hamasaki throwing abrupt punches and high kicks giving no time for Tomo to even think.
With a ringing left jab, Tomo collapses to the ground within the first 8 seconds of the match.
By now, their smouldering eyes expessed intense, fire-like rage. Now, with thunderbolt speed, Ayaka starts thrashing Tomo with left-right jabs leaving Tomo with no answer to the thunderous assault. Unable to find a suitable striking position, Tomo finds her punches going waywardly, and far off target.
At 2:40 into round 1, Tomo connects a hard-right hand to which Hamasaki retaliates with a meaty left jab of her own.
Then, Hamasaki in an anticipated moment, got Tomo down in the final seconds of round 1, and would have gotten the armbar had the bell not sounded the end of the round.
In round 2, Hamasaki started with an even more aggressive mindset, driving Tomo to the floor, and mounting over her opponent to unleash her animal instincts to put on that patented vicious armbar. Tomo Maesawa tapped out without further ado at 1:25 of round 2.
2. Vs. Jinh Yu Frey – RIZIN 16 (June 2, 2019)
In this match Ayaka Hamasaki defended her RFF 49kg Championship against the American Jinh Yu Frey. The match took place in front of a packed house in Japan cheering loud for their favourite, Hamasaki.
Yu Frey had a height advantage against Hamasaki but the Japanese fighter’s composure and agility proved sublime.
In round 1, Hamasaki took her time, with the fighters occasionally colliding with a kick and throwing punches from time to time in the initial moments. Both fighters were wise as to the importance of energy conservation, neither of them being a rookie.
In round 2, at 10 seconds in, Hamasaki ran wild and started attacking with rigid, right-hand punches and a swinging backhand as Frey flees back from danger.
Directing her again towards the corner Hamasaki attacks Frey with a spinning back kick, missing by a just whisker.
In the last 10 seconds of round 2, the fighters go at one another, throwing numerous punches.
Now, Hamasaki decided to go ‘outside of the box’, and with a raging sprint towards her opponent, dropped her to the ground with the first takedown of the match.
Taking advantage of the mount, she worked her elbows hard on Frey’s head. For more than half of the round, Hamasaki exhausts her quarry with a combination of her body weight plus hard-hitting knees to her head.
Then Hamasaki wraps Frey’s right arm between her shins, and drops a flurry of short, left-arm jabs while grinding elbows on her face.
Hamasaki won the match via a unanimous, round 3 decision to retain her RFF 49kg Championship.
1. Vs. Kanna Asakura – RIZIN 14 (Dec. 31, 2018)
This match was fought for the vacant RIZIN Super Atomweight Championship. Hamasaki was fighting here against Kanna Asakura, an opponent 15 years her junior.
In round 1, racing forward towards Kanna, Hamasaki went in for the kill throwing punches, however, the match was stopped for a few moments as Asakura unintentionally poked Hamasaki’s eye with Hamasaki appearing to be struggling a bit.
The match took off again and now, with a composed, clear mind, Hamasaki rages forward in a bid to tear her opponent apart. She executes a submission maneuver, but Kanna swiftly finds her way back to her feet.
At 3:53 into round 1, after receiving two jabs to her face, Kanna ducks down and puts her opponent on the ground. The crowd went wild on their feet cheering the solid performances they were witnessing from both fighters.
Now, Kanna struck the back of Hamasaki’s head as Hamasaki pivoted on her feet quickly gripping her striking hand and turning around 360 degrees to get the position on a deadly armbar. Kanna gets away however, just in time.
Round 2 starts with a bang as Hamasaki furiously goes on the offensive after her opponent to include sharp knee strikes.
Kanna looked for a clinch at the side of the ring but that cost her heavily as Hamasaki overpowers her to the ground, and, with all her might cinches in a vicious armbar. Kanna taps out at 4:33 of round 2.
Ayaka Hamasaki won the match via armbar submission here, earning the RIZIN Super Atomweight Championship.