It was just last December 2014 when Herica Tiburcio from Brazil took the Invicta FC atom weight championship belt from America’s Michelle Waterson with a guillotine choke. On July 9th at Invicta FC 13, Japan’s Ayaka Hamasaki challenged Tiburcio for that atomweight belt and won it on a split decision. Hamasaki is now the first Japanese fighter to be a champion in a division of this all-women’s mixed martial arts fight promotion. Her coach and corner was the legendary Mega Megumi of the infamous toe hold finish.
Defeating the current UFC fighter Waterson is not a light affair, so you can imagine Tiburcio was quite the opponent at this lightning fast weight division. She had finished Waterson with a guillotine choke (imagine someone bending forward and under your armpit and you wrapping your arm around their neck and tightening it in a deathlock). I definitely expected Tiburcio to win this one, not knowing too much about Hamasaki, but as I saw Tiburcio attempt a few guillotine chokes on Hamasaki that failed and then Hamasaki advancing quite steadily in her striking against Tiburcio, I started to realize Hamasaki was not only holding her own but winning the fight, if only by a small lead.
When Hamasaki was announced the winner, she was the one suddenly overcome with emotion and tears as former champion Tiburcio came up to her with a big smile and gave her congratulatory hug. I became a fan of Hamasaki after that fight and am definitely looking forward to seeing her defend her belt.