Top Japanese MMA promotion RIZIN Fighting Federation is set to make their return on Sunday, starting a doubleheader of shows with RIZIN 22. From the Pia Arena MM in Yokohama, Japan, the promotion will offer nine bouts including newcomers and veterans of the promotion. Here’s a preview of the show.
Previous viewers of RIZIN outside of Japan might have remembered viewing the shows through internet platform FITE. That won’t be the option for live content this time, as RIZIN has moved its product to their own website. The show will cost roughly $50 for American viewers, which is nearly double the price they were charged for shows on FITE. Further details can be viewed on the promotion’s website, which has an English section.
Main Card (2:00PM EDT / 3:00PM JST) (RIZIN Live)
Bout 1: Erson Yamamoto (3-4) vs. Kenji Kato (10-7) (134 lbs)
Kicking off the show, Krazy Bee fighter Erson Yamamoto will look to even his professional MMA record when he faces Kenji Kato. Yamamoto made his professional MMA debut in 2015. In his first five fights, Yamamoto lost three. Yamamoto got back into the win column for the first time in nearly two years in 2019, stopping Tim Eschtruth in the first round with an elbow. Kato will aim to bounce back from his RIZIN debut, where he lost to Yuto Hokamura last February via rear naked choke.
Bout 2: Rikuto Shirakawa (7-7-1) vs. Kyohei Hagiwara (0-2) (146 lbs)
Looking for his first win in MMA, Kyohei Hagiwara will battle Rikuto Shirakawa on the main card. Hagiwara last fight in 2018, where he lost to Min Gu Lee via armbar on a regional Korean card. Shirakawa will be coming off of a loss as well, as in his last fight injury took him out of a match against Takafumi Otsuka in the first minute. Before then he had a split decision win over Koichi Ishizuka.
Bout 3: Tetsuya Seki (12-6-1) vs. Kouya Kanda (5-2) (146 lbs)
Tetsuya Seki and Kouya Kanda will be on a larger stage for the first time in their careers on Sunday. The fighters have built up good records on the regional scene, with Seki having competed mostly in ZST and Kanda in DEEP Impact. Seki hasn’t lost since 2016, with eight wins and one draw since then. Kanda has a shorter record which includes a three-fight winning streak. Kanda will come off of a shorter layoff, as he last competed in March, winning over Raiki Endo.
Bout 4: Yoshinari Nadaka vs. Yuushin (112 lbs) (Kickboxing Bout)
In a kickboxing bout, Yoshinari Nadaka will fight Yuushin. This fight is a first for RIZIN as it is a kickboxing match that allows elbows. Nadaka, a 19-year-old fighter has competed in Muay Thai in Japan mostly. His last fight was quite recent, defeating Takuto Wada on Battle of Muay Thai’s returning show from COVID-19. Yuushin has been on a run of kickboxing wins lately, with his last being in February over EIJI.
Bout 5: Rui Ebata vs. Seiki Ueyama (123 lbs) (Kickboxing Bout)
The last kickboxing bout sees Rui Ebata return to RIZIN to fight Seiki Ueyama. Ebata made his RIZIN debut in December, losing to star kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in the first round after being knocked down three times. He will look for his first win in the promotion when he faces Ueyama. Ueyama has experience mostly in the regional promotion Shoot Boxing, although he’s also appeared twice in RIZIN. Ueyama fought on RIZIN’s June and October cards in 2019, picking up wins on both outings.
Bout 6: Naoki Inoue (13-2) vs. Shooto Watanabe (20-4-6) (134 lbs)
Former UFC fighter Naoki Inoue will look for his second RIZIN win when he faces Shooto Watanabe on Sunday. Inoue made his promotional debut last February, getting a decision win over Trent Girdham. Before then he had a win in regional promotion DEEP Impact. He now faces Watanabe, who is coming off of a strong 2019 run on the regional scene. Watanabe won all three of his 2019 bouts, stopping two opponents with a first-round choke.
Bout 7: Kanna Asakura (16-4) vs. Mizuki Furuse (7-6) (108 lbs)
After four-straight wins in DEEP Jewels, Mizuki Furuse will get the call up to RIZIN to fighter one of their stars, Kanna Asakura. Asakura has won her last two fights, including a stoppage win last December against Jayme Hinshaw.
Bout 8: Ayaka Hamasaki (19-3) vs. Tomo Maesawa (13-10) (Strawweight)
Similar to many bouts on the card, the co-main event sees a fighter looking to bounce back from a New Year’s Eve loss. In the second fight, former RIZIN Super Atomweight Champion Ayaka Hamasaki will be paired with DEEP Jewels Atomweight Champion Tomo Maesawa. Hamasaki held the RIZIN belt for a year, winning it after defeating Kanna Asakura on the promotion’s 2018 New Year’s Eve card. She defended it once after, getting a scorecard win over now-UFC fighter Jinh Yu Frey. Asakura lost her belt in December, dropping it to Seo Hee Ham via decision.
Maesawa has mostly fought on a regional level in all-womens promotion DEEP Jewels, although she has competed in RIZIN before, as she lost to Ham on a July of 2019 card. In her last fight, she defended her DEEP Jewels Atomweight Championship for the first time, defeating Emi Tomimatsu via decision in October.
Bout 9: Yusuke Yachi (21-9) vs. Roberto Satoshi de Souza (9-1) (157 lbs)
Returning to the ring on Sunday will be Roberto Satoshi de Souza, who aims to bounce back from a loss for the first time in his professional MMA career. The loss came in the second round of the RIZIN Lightweight Grand Prix, with Johnny Case stopping him early with punches. He’s now matched with Krazy Bee fighter Yusuke Yachi.
Yachi had a slump from 2018 to 2019, losing three-straight fights in RIZIN. The issues started in the summer of 2018, where Yachi was stopped by promotional newcomer Luiz Gustavo. His next fight saw a cut make him lose to Johnny Case, with the fight after that being a scorecard loss to Mikuru Asakura.
Yachi got his swagger back last December, where he finished Hiroto Uesako late in the third round to win. He will look to build off of his first win in a year-and-a-half when he faces Souza.
RIZIN is set to hold their second event of the week, RIZIN 23, on Monday with another nine bouts scheduled for that.