Back in 2016, Ayaka Hamasaki squared off against Jinh Yu Frey at Invicta 19. The fight was an exciting affair, with Frey controlling most of the action and Hamasaki uncorking a massive punch that left a cut on Frey’s head, leading to the ref stopping the bout.
Despite insisting she was fine and able to continue, referee Marc Wasem waved it off. Frey went on to win the then-vacant title after Hamasaki left the organization with a controversial decision win over Finland’s Minna Grusander, and earned another decision victory in an immediate rematch. Yamasaki moved up to challenge current UFC fighter Livia Renata Souza and suffered a brutal loss, but found a new home in her native Japan under the RIZIN banner and racking up four straight wins. Unfortunately a rematch bnever materialized.
Until now, that is.
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani announced via Twitter that RIZIN is aiming to hold a rematch between the two in their upcoming RIZIN 16 event on June 2nd.
Invicta FC atomweight champion Jinh Yu Frey vs. Rizin atomweight champion Ayaka Hamasaki is in the works for Rizin 16 on June 2, sources told ESPN. The bout, which will be contested for the Rizin super atomweight belt, will be a rematch. Hamasaki won in 2016 via doctor stoppage.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) April 30, 2019
Since weight classes differ in RIZIN from most conventional American organizations, RIZIN’s Super Atomweight title is contested at 108lbs (49kg), not 105 as is the atomweight norm. As such, both fighters would obviously cut slightly less weight.
Hamasaki’s most recent win was a grappling-heavy fight against rising prospect Kanna Asakura, and it ended in a second round armbar submission. She’s been very crafty with her submission and overall grappling game for years, as you can see from this thrilling match she had against New Mexico’s Amber Brown at Invicta 16. Frey is one of the most complete athletes in her division, a strong grappler with always improving striking and constant pressure. Seeing as the first fight left fans wanting more, this rematch should be able to deliver with the benefit of being on a grand stage.
RIZIN 16 is set to take place in Kobe, Japan, featuring such talents as Tenshin Nasukawa, Kanna Asakura, and Kai Asakura expected to participate.