What Makes Ayaka Miura The Queen Of Scarf-Hold Americanas
Ayaka “Zombie” Miura’s game plan is no secret when she steps into the Circle — but that doesn’t mean her rivals can do anything to stop it.
The 30-year-old grappling wiz — who will return to action against Rayane Bastos at ONE: DANGAL on Saturday, 15 May — has rocketed to the #4 contender spot in the women’s strawweight division thanks to her incredible signature move: the scarf-hold Americana.
Before she faces the unbeaten Brazilian in Singapore, find out how Miura came to be the queen of this spectacular submission.
A Love For Judo
The Tokyo native started judo as a teenager, and she was instantly hooked on the Japanese martial art that combines both standing and ground grappling.
While it was the throws that initially enamored the future black belt, she soon became proficient in the Ne Waza (ground techniques) within the sport.
In judo, both pins and submissions are a route to victory on the mat, and one of the sport’s most famous pinning positions is the Kesa Gatame (scarf hold).
When an opponent is controlled underneath a heavy top player, they can begin to attack for a submission, and joint locks are a particular favorite.
Miura clearly honed in on the Ude Garami (armlock) from that position and made it her own.
Making It Work In MMA
When “Zombie” entered the mixed martial arts world, she took her judo base with her and found great success — particularly on the ground.
She earned her debut win via submission and then unveiled her scarf-hold Americana in her third pro victory.
Prior to signing with ONE Championship, Miura had finished another two opponents with the same move, although a weight discrepancy meant one of them was ultimately registered as a no contest.
Still, it was clear that any opponent standing across from her had to be wary of the trademark finish.
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Hitting It On The Global Stage
Repeatedly hitting the wince-inducing armlock on the regional circuit is one thing, but the real test came when “Zombie” inked a deal to compete in ONE Championship.
She proved its efficacy against elite competition when she tapped out former World Title contender Laura “La Gladiadora” Balin with the scarf-hold Americana in just 73 seconds at ONE: CALL TO GREATNESS in February 2019.
By then, opponents had figured out what to look for, but that did nothing to stop Miura from executing the submission hold.
She returned against another World Title challenger in Samara Santos at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES that October and finished the Brazilian with the move after 39 seconds of round two.
The Tribe Tokyo MMA star then continued her winning streak while adding her third consecutive scarf-hold Americana finish over Maira Mazar at ONE: A NEW TOMORROW in January 2020 – despite the Evolve product’s best efforts to prevent it.
Miura now boasts a 50 percent win rate with the scarf-hold Americana. Not including the no contest, she’s earned five of her 10 victories using the technique.
Incredibly, the judo stylist has claimed all three of her ONE Championship wins with the same identical submission maneuver.
Though Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist Bastos has surely been focused on defenses and counters during training camp, there’s still no guarantee she’ll be able to escape Miura’s clutches.
Will “Zombie” stick to her tried-and-tested formula on 15 May, or will we see a different approach from the Japanese standout? Tune in and find out when she meets one of her toughest rivals yet inside the Circle.
Read more: The Best Knockouts From The Superstars Of ONE: DANGAL