Japanese MMA promotion RIZIN is scheduled to return to their home venue, Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, on Sunday. The card is headlined by star kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa facing former K-1 Japan fighter Kouzi.
Follow along throughout the evening for live updates.
Main Card (3:00AM EDT / 4:00PM JST) (RIZIN Live)
Bout 11: Tenshin Nasukawa vs. Kouzi (129 lbs) (Kickboxing Bout)
Nasukawa Puts on Stellar Performance Over Kouzi
A near one-way traffic performance from Tenshin Nasukawa closed out the evening, picking up a win over former K-1 fighter Kouzi. Despite not landing any knockdowns, Nasukawa’s performance saw him almost always on the attack, causing Kouzi to constantly defend and stay on his backfoot.
A big part of Nasukawa’s attacks was flying knees, which connected numerous times throughout the fight.
The matchup displayed Kouzi’s durability, as he endured a large amount of damage while still being in the fight.
The fight was Nasukawa’s first of 2020 under the RIZIN banner. His previous RIZIN fight was last December, where he defeated Rui Ebata in under a round.
Nasukawa competed on a RISE Kickboxing card in July, defeating Yuki Kasahara.
The fight was the first for Kouzi since his departure from K-1 Japan. He finished his stint in the kickboxing promotion with three-straight wins in 2019.
Bout 10: Kai Asakura (15-2) vs. Shoji Maruyama (18-12-1) (134 lbs)
Asakura Takes Maruyama Out Early
Kai Asakura had a quick and successful performance in the co-main event, stopping Shoji Maruyama with strikes within a round.
The finish came shortly after Maruyama was dropped by a two-punch combination. Asakura landed a head kick to Maruyama while he was getting up, putting him back down and causing the referee to intervene.
Asakura captured the RIZIN Bantamweight Championship in August, defeating Hiromasa Ougikubo to win the vacant title. His fight on Sunday did not have the bantamweight belt on the line.
Maruyama also competed in August, defeating Kosuke Terashima on a DEEP Impact card.
Bout 9: Koji Takeda (10-1) vs. Yuki Kawana (16-4-5) (157 lbs)
Takeda Earns First RIZIN Win Via Split Decision
Earning his first RIZIN win, Koji Takeda won a split decision over Yuki Kawana. The victory was the first for the regional champion on the bigger stage.
Takeda scored a takedown in the second round and held his own with Kawana in the striking department.
Despite losing, Kawana had strong moments on the feet. Kawana was able to consistently connect with a right hand throughout the fight.
Takeda made his RIZIN debut in 2019, losing a decision to Damien Brown at RIZIN 15. Since then he fought twice in DEEP Impact, defending his lightweight belt twice against Juri Ohara.
Kawana returned to Shooto in 2019 following a 2018 stint in the PFL. His last fight was in July, stopping Shutaro Debana in the first round with strikes.
Bout 8: Takasuke Kume (23-6-3) vs. Satoru Kitaoka (42-20-10) (157 lbs)
Pancrase Champion Kume Defeats Kitaoka
Takasuke Kume won a split decision in the eighth bout, defeating MMA veteran Satoru Kitaoka. The victory saw Kume as the better striker throughout the fight.
There were many moments in the fight where Kitaoka got rocked by punches. Both fighters were able to threaten a guillotine choke at some point in the battle.
Kume, the Lightweight King of Pancrase, entered the bout on a two-fight streak of wins.
Kitaoka’s last win was in 2018, defeating Tatsuya Kawajiri via split decision. His fights since then were two losses in RIZIN and a draw in his newly formed promotion iSMOS.
Bout 7: Yuuki Kitagawa vs. Taishi Hiratsuka (132 lbs) (Kickboxing Bout)
Hiratsuka Stops Kitagawa In The Second With A Left Hook
A huge left hook from Taishi Hiratsuka gave him a win, knocking out Yuuki Kitagawa in the second round. The knockout came as part of a wild exchange which saw both fighters throw a series of punches.
The knockdown to Kitagawa caused the fight to be waved off immediately.
Kitagawa previously had experience in Japanese promotion Shoot Boxing.
Hiratsuka had fought before in K-1 Japan and RISE Kickboxing.
Bout 6: Kintaro (13-8-2) vs. Kenta Takizawa (10-5) (134 lbs)
Takizawa Wins Split Decision Over Kintaro
Pancrase fighter Kenta Takizawa won a split decision over Kintaro in the sixth bout of the evening. The fight had explosive exchanges of strikes from both fighters throughout.
Kintaro found himself in trouble late, being rocked by punches from Takizawa. Kintaro was able to recover by scoring a takedown.
Kintaro appeared in RIZIN last February, defeating Kenji Kato via rear naked choke.
Takizawa entered the fight after a 15-fight career that was mostly in Pancrase.
Bout 5: RENA (10-3) vs. Emi Tomimatsu (15-16) (117 lbs)
RENA Picks Up First 2020 Win, Defeating Tomimatsu
RENA won in her return to RIZIN, picking up a unanimous decision victory over Emi Tomimatsu. The performance from RENA saw her evade danger and out-strike Tomimatsu.
RENA has the better striker throughout, often being able to piece together combinations of punches.
The second round was the best for Tomimatsu, who was able to score a takedown and take the back of RENA.
RENA’s previous fight was on New Year’s Eve, where she avenged a loss against Lindsey VanZant she took earlier in the year.
The fight was the RIZIN debut for Tomimatsu, who had an extensive record in regional promotion DEEP Jewels.
Bout 4: Takahiro Ashida (23-10-2) vs. Kyohei Hagiwara (1-2) (146 lbs)
Ashida Catches Hagiwara With Triangle Choke
Takahiro Ashida was successful in his outing, catching Kyohei Hagiawa with a triangle choke in the first round to win. The stoppage came shortly after Hagiwara swept Ashida and took full guard on top.
Prior to the sweep, Ashida was in control on the ground for a few minutes.
Hagiwara won his first MMA bout in August, defeating Rikuto Shirakawa at RIZIN 22.
Ashida had 35 fights outside of RIZIN prior to Sunday’s bout.
Bout 3: Sudario Tsuyoshi (0-0) vs. Dylan James (0-0) (Heavyweight)
Former Sumo Wrestler Tsuyoshi Wins MMA Debut
Former sumo wrestler Sudario Tsuyoshi won his MMA debut on Sunday, defeating pro wrestler Dylan James. The victory came via doctor stoppage after one round of action.
The most important part of the first round saw when Tsuyoshi stopped a takedown, being able to land a flurry of knees to the head of James while on the ground.
The fight had a special ruleset of three-minute rounds.
Tsuyoshi was previously a sumo wrestler, competing under the name Takanofuji Sanzo from 2013 to 2019.
Tsuyoshi retired from sumo in 2019 after the Japan Sumo Association pressured him to due to reports of him hitting an attendant of a session.
James has wrestled in Japan since 2011, competing in promotions like Pro Wrestling ZERO1 and AJPW.
Bout 2: Mutsuki Ebata vs. Rasta (121 lbs) (Kickboxing Bout)
Ebata Scores Two Knockdowns In RIZIN Debut
Mutsuki Ebata won his RIZIN debut in the second bout, defeating Rasta via unanimous decision after three rounds of kickboxing. Ebata took the lead quickly, scoring two knockdowns in the first round of the fight.
Ebata dropped Rasta twice in the second round, both times with punches. The second knockdown, which came in the closing seconds of the round, came from a four-punch combination from Ebata.
Rui Ebata, the two-time RIZIN competitor was in the corner of his twin brother, Mutsuki.
Rasta’s previous kickboxing experience mostly came from his fights in RISE Kickboxing.
Bout 1: Yusuke Yachi (21-10) vs. Juri Ohara (26-18-3) (157 lbs)
Ohara Wins RIZIN Debut, Hands Yachi Loss
A split decision victory opened the show for Juri Ohara, defeating Krazy Bee fighter Yusuke Yachi. The loss was Yachi’s fifth in his last six fights.
Yachi was dropped in the first round after Ohara scored two knees to the head. Ohara was able to throw ground and pound for a couple of minutes.
Yachi had a much better second round, coming forward and connecting with punches. Ohara was floored by a left hand in the final minute of the round, although he was able to get back to his feet and survive the round.
Yachi had lost a bout in the month before, being stopped by Roberto Souza at RIZIN 22.
Ohara made his RIZIN debut in the fight. He had previously competed in the regional scene of Japan since 2009.