When DEEP JEWELS announced that a 7th-grader was going to fight a 24-year old woman, America pretty much freaked the hell out. Outlets sought out and interviewed little Momo Shimizu, parents panicked, and hundreds of MMA fans worried this kid would get seriously hurt. Japan on the other hand, just shrugged. The organization has put on fights like this before. Another person who wasn't worried about Shimizu fighting Momoko Yamazaki, was Shimizu herself. Surprisingly, the 12-year old fighter finished Yamazaki in a single round by a rear naked choke.
“Momo has been training MMA six times a week at least three hours a day ever since when she was in the kindergarten. Momo already had over 100 amateur BJJ, kickboxing, and karate matches, therefore, she has far more experience in combat sports than her upcoming opponent Ms. Momoko Yamazaki. [...] On May 20th, we all strongly believe Momo would beat Yamazaki. I think it’s gonna be a public humiliation for Yamazaki.” — A statement released prior to the fight by Momo's manager Shu Hirata.
After some front kicks, the young girl immediately took Yamasaki's back like a spider monkey and fought for the choke. It looked like Yamasaki was going to last until the end of the first round, but after the referee checked on her, she was strangled unconscious. He waved off the fight and the 12-year-old Momo Shimizu won her amateur MMA debut at DEEP JEWELS 16. This just serves as a less to us all: Never count anyone — and we mean anyone — out.
Meet another 12-year-old changing the fight game: