RIZIN kicks off their 2020 year in a place they’ve never been before: Hamamatsu, Japan. The card is headlined by MMA and Youtube star Mikuru Asakura facing Daniel Salas. The 13 fight card goes live for international broadcast viewers at midnight EST, and carries through Saturday morning. Follow along through the night for live coverage.
Quick Results – Click a fight to skip to it:
Bout 4: Kenichi Takeuchi vs. Naoya (126 lbs) (Kickboxing Bout)
The first of three fights on the card were not televised for the international broadcast. They were all kickboxing bouts, and took place before the official opening ceremonies of the event. After the opening the first fight was a kickboxing battle between Kenichi Takeuchi and Naoya. Naoya was sporting blue dyed hair for this fight. There was quite a lot of empty seats in the crowd as the fight started. Takeuchi landed a teep kick to the body which slipped Naoya at the start. Takeuchi was the more active fighter throughout the round. He had a good combination in the final minute, landing knees to the body and close ranged punches.
In the second minute of the second round, Takeuchi landed a knee to the head which knocked Naoya down. Naoya continued to eat strikes for the rest of the round, although he was never really threatened by another knockdown.
Naoya was very active at the start of the final round, pressing forward with strikes. He was hit down again from a push kick. The first minute of this round was maybe the best part of the fight from Naoya. They had a really good exchange of strikes in the closing moments of the round. The fight went to the scorecards, with all three judges favouring Kenichi Takeuchi as the winner.
Bout 5: Kousuke Jitsukata vs. Ryo Sakai (265 lbs) (Kickboxing Bout)
In the next fight, MMA fighter Ryo Sakai made the crossover to kickboxing to face fellow heavyweight Kousuke Jitsukata. Sakai had a good start, throwing and connecting with more strikes. He mostly threw punches. While coming forward with punches, Jitsukata landed a right hook which dropped Sakai. Jitsukata came forward with hooks after the knockdown. He knocked out Sakai with punches, ending the fight. While Ryo Sakai came forward aggressively, it paid off for Kousuke Jitsukata in the end, earning a first round knockout win.
Bout 6: Vugar Kyaramov (14-3) vs. Kyle Aguon (13-8) (145 lbs) (MMA Bout)
The first MMA bout of the evening saw two debuting fighters. From Azerbaijan, Vugar Kyaramov came out to fight Guam’s Kyle Aguon. Aguon had previously fought in Japanese promotion Pancrase. Cornering Kyaramov was Tofiq Musayev, who won the Lightweight Grand Prix on New Year’s Eve. Krazy Bee’s Miyuu Yamamoto was in attendance to support Aguon. Kyaramov landed a right hook which shook Aguon early on. Kyaramov landed a trip takedown, then started with hammerfist strikes. Aguon was able to get to his feet and recover. Kyaramov continued to land hard punches periodically on the feet. Kyaramov got a single leg takedown in the final minute, however they got up seconds later.
Aguon got into a body lock in the first minute of the second round. From that position, Kyaramov got a takedown. They got back up in the body lock, but went back down where Aguon slipped in a triangle choke. Kyaramov was able to slip out of the position. They stood up in a clinch with two minutes left in the round. They went back to striking with a minute to go.
Kyaramov started the third round with a good combination of punches which connected. In his corner of the ring, Kyaramov tried for a takedown. He failed to secure it, with Aguon landing some strikes in the clinch. When they separated, a cut became visible beside Kyaramov’s right eye. Aguon shot for a takedown, although Kyaramov kept it on the feet. They went back to stand-up striking with a minute to go in the fight. Aguon’s corner sensed urgency. Kyaramov failed to get a takedown. The fight lasted all fifteen minutes, needing judges to find a winner. When going to the scorecards, Vugar Kyaramov swayed the opinion of all three judges.
Bout 7: Trent Girdham (12-3) vs. Naoki Inoue (12-2) (135 lbs) (MMA Bout)
The next fight saw former UFC fighter Naoki Inoue face Trent Girdham in a bantamweight contest. Girdham made his RIZIN debut in the summer, losing to Victor Henry. Cornering Inoue for this fight was fellow Serra Longo gym member Ulka Sasaki. Kai Asakura was on commentary during this fight. Both Inoue and Girdham were wearing ankle tape. Both fighters traded jabs early in the first round. While Girdham knocked Inoue down in the second minute, he also was hit in the groin, causing a pause in the fight. Inoue had a good charge forward of punches in the third minute of the round. Inoue started to bleed from the nose. Inoue got a takedown with just over a minute left in the round. He got on the back of Girdham, however Girdham escaped and got on the back of Inoue. They both got to their feet and returned to striking. Girdham started to bleed as well. As the round closed out, Girdham got a takedown.
Inoue was kicked in the groin early in the second round, causing another pause in the fight. Just like in the round before, the fight was fast-paced striking early in the second round. From a clinch, Inoue got a takedown in the second minute, being on the back of Girdham. Inoue tried for a rear naked choke, although Girdham was able to escape it. Inoue stayed on Girdham’s back for many minutes, even though Girdham nearly got out. Girdham endured until the round ended.
The final round started with close striking. Girdham was the way more active fighter, however Inoue was still quite active. Inoue got a takedown in the final minute of the round, however couldn’t do much before they got up. Girdham caught a leg kick for a sweeping takedown before the round ended. The fight needed judges to fight a winner. Naoki Inoue got a unanimous decision win. Girham stormed out of the ring after the decision.
Bout 8: Roberto Satoshi Souza vs. Team NAKAI (Jiu-Jitsu Exhibition Elimination Match)
The next matchup saw Roberto Satoshi Souza challenge a team of five BJJ players. Captained by Yuki Nakai, Team NAKAI included Nakai, Yuna Kimura, Koji Shigemizu, Edison Kagohara and Hiroshi Shinagawa.
How this match worked was Souza had 10 minutes to defeat all five members.
The first of five matchups was Yuna Kimura facing Souza. In under a minute, Souza took the back of Nakai and put in a rear naked choke to make her tap out. Koji Shigemizu came in with nine minutes to go. Souza was able to get Shigemizu with an armbar, stopping him in under a minute too.
The third of five opponent was Edison Kagohara. It took just another minute for Souza to make Kagohara tap. Hiroshi Shinagawa came in next. He was put in a triangle choke, and endured it for quite some time before tapping out.
The final entrance was Yuki Nakai. There was five minutes left on the clock when this started. With under two minutes to go in the game, Souza made Nakai tap out to a triangle choke. In an impressive performance, Roberto Satoshi Souza dismantled the diverse cast of Team NAKAI.
Bout 9: Kintaro (12-8-2) vs. Kenji Kato (10-6) (135 lbs) (MMA Bout)
The final MMA fight before the intermission saw Pancrase fighter Kintaro face Shooto fighter Kenji Kato. Both fighters were making their promotional debut. Kintaro wore wrestling shoes for this fight. Kintaro got a takedown in the first minute of the fight. Kato threatened a guillotine choke from bottom position. Kintaro let hammerfist strikes go from the top position eventually. The referee kept moving the fighters as they were getting to close to the ropes on the ground. Kintaro got on Kato’s back in the final minute, putting in a rear naked choke. Kintaro kept with the joke Kato went out. While many expected a striking stoppage, they still got a stoppage nonetheless as Kintaro finished the fight in the first round with a rear naked choke.
Bout 10: Marcos Yoshio Souza (8-2) vs. Falco Neto (11-10) (175 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Before the intermission, RIZIN Bantamweight Champion Manel Kape and RIZIN Lightweight Grand Prix winner Tofiq Musayev spoke to the crowd. In the first fight after the break, Marcos Yoshio Souza attempted to bounce back from a RIZIN debut loss, facing Falco Neto. Neto came into this fight with the endorsement of Manel Kape. Neto seemingly got hurt by a strike early on. Neto got a takedown, however Souza was able to quickly flip position and take top control. Souza got on his feet to throw punches to a grounded Neto. Neto stood up but was put back down by a right hook. Souza landed a few more punches before the fight ended. In a flipside scenario to his debut in RIZIN, Marcos Yoshio Souza got a win in the first round with strikes.
Bout 11: Roque Martinez (14-5-2) vs. Hideki Sekine (7-3) (265 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Returning to RIZIN, Roque Martinez fought Hideki “Shrek” Sekine in a rare heavyweight battle. Martinez charged at Sekine to start the fight. Sekine shot for a double-leg takedown in the first minute, although Martinez resisted. After a minute or so in the clinch, the referee separated them due to inactivity. Martinez went into another clinch, putting Sekine against the ropes. Sekine reversed the position, putting Martinez in the corner. They were separated yet again with two minutes to go in the round. Sekine failed to land a takedown, eating lots of punches from Martinez. Sekine was landing lots of leg kicks. A right hook dropped Sekine. Martinez landed punches and soccer kicks to a grounded Sekine. The referee seemingly paused the bout to get Sekine back in the ring as half of his body was outside of the ring. However, after looking at Sekine, the referee called an end to the bout. Getting his third stoppage win in RIZIN, Roque Martinez got it done quickly. After the fight, Martinez dedicated the fight to his grandfather.
Bout 12: Victor Henry (19-4) vs. Masanori Kanehara (27-13-5) (135 lbs) (MMA Bout)
In the co-main event of the evening, two well-recognized bantamweights from DEEP Impact in Victor Henry and Masanori Kanehara faced off. In his RIZIN debut, Henry defeated Trent Girdham last summer. The first round started slow with striking. Kanehara got a takedown with two minutes to go. Kanehara got on Henry’s back, throwing some strikes to the head. He didn’t do much else before the time ran out.
Kanehara initiated a body lock right off the bat in the second round. He could not bring the fight to the ground. Henry landed a right straight for Kanehara that hurt him. Henry kept on him with strikes until the referee ended the fight. Victor Henry’s quick with showed the power in his strikes.
Bout 13: Mikuru Asakura (12-1) vs. Daniel Salas (16-6-1) (150 lbs) (MMA Bout)
In the main event of the evening, MMA and Youtube star Mikuru Asakura fought Mexico’s Daniel Salas. Asakura landed a left hook in the second minute which landed clean. They were both throwing hard punches as the round was closing out. Salas threw a flying knee in the fourth minute. Salas caught a leg but let go after Asakura threatened a guillotine choke. Asakura landed lots of punches in the final minute of the round.
A pause came in-between rounds as a doctor needed to check a cute that was above the right eye of Salas. The fight continued. Asakura landed a good switch kick to the body in the second minute. Asakura landed a hard head kick. Salas caught the leg after eating the head kick. Asakura landed punches on the ground to finish the fight. With a damaging head kick, Mikuru Asakura was able to close out his fight against Daniel Salas