Japanese MMA promotion RIZIN will crown their first featherweight champion on November 21st, as Mikuru Asakura will fight Yutaka Saito at the Osaka-jo Hall in Osaka, Japan.
The fight will headline RIZIN 25, which had nine fights in total announced for it on Monday.
Asakura will carry an eight-fight win streak into the ring in November. His last fight dates back to February, where he defeated Daniel Salas in the main event of RIZIN 21.
Asakura has become a star within the company in the past year, as the growth of his Youtube channel has now reached 1.5 million subscribers.
The brother of Mikuru, Kai Asakura, is the promotion’s bantamweight champion.
Saito has been booked for the title shot after a successful RIZIN debut in August which saw him defeat Kazumasa Majima. Saito has primarily competed in regional Japanese promotion Shooto throughout his career.
Ougikubo To Return Against Pancrase Fighter Takizawa
Returning after a failed title shot against Kai Asakura in August, Hiromasa Ougikubo will be paired with Pancrase veteran Kenta Takizawa.
Ougikubo’s three-fight streak of wins was snapped in August, being stopped late in the second round by Asakura at RIZIN 23.
The previous fight for Ougikubo was a win over Shintaro Ishiwatari at RIZIN 20, a fight that put him next in line for a title shot.
Takizawa, a long-time Pancrase fighter, made his RIZIN debut in September, taking a split decision victory over Yuto Hokamura.
Pancrase Champ Kitakata To Face Saomoto
Strawweight King of Pancrase Daichi Kitakata will make his RIZIN debut on the card facing Tatsuki Saomoto.
Kitakata captured the Pancrase belt in 2019, defeating Mitsuhisa Sunabe in the fifth round with punches. He last fought in October of 2019, losing to Yosuke Saruta on a Pancrase versus Shooto card put on by ONE Championship.
Saomoto won his RIZIN debut in August, stopping Yusaku Nakamura late in the first with punches. The win extended a streak of victories mainly maintained on the regional scene to 11-in-a-row.
Bantamweights Uchimura and Hagiwara Paired
Experienced bantamweight Yojiro Uchimura will fight on the card against Kyohei Hagiwara. The fight will be Uchimura’s first in the promotion.
Uchimura was set to make his RIZIN debut in August against Tetsuya Seki, although injury interfered in the fight from happening. He fought former UFC talent Yoshinori Horie in the main event of Pancrase 312 in his last outing.
Hagiwara will attempt to come back from a loss in September to Takahiro Ashida which saw him get stopped by a hammerlock.
‘Let’s’ Gota To Get RIZIN Shot Against Sumimura
Looking for his first RIZIN win after two previous losses in the promotion, Ryuichiro Sumimura will fight “Let’s” Gota Yamashita.
Yamashita enters the RIZIN ring after a 24-fight career as a pro which includes 14 wins. He has mainly competed in Pancrase and GLADIATOR on the Japanese MMA scene.
Sumimura lost his second RIZIN bout in December, being stopped in the first round by Jon Tuck on a collaborating card with Bellator. He has since bounced back, defeating Yuta Watanabe at a DEEP Impact show.
Four Kickboxing Bouts Announced
The card also had four kickboxing bouts announced.
RISE fighter Jin Mandokoro will have his first RIZIN appearance since 2017 when he fights Shoot Boxer Syuto Sato. Both fighters will be returning to action after losses in their respective home promotions.
Set for his seventh appearance in RIZIN, TAIGA will fight Yuma Yamahata. A win for TAIGA in the fight would snap a three-fight skid. Yamahata will get his first fight on a big stage after experience in regional kickboxing promotions DEEP KICK and NJKF.
Bantamweight fighters Yuma Yamaguchi and Shohei Asahara will both make their RIZIN debuts on the card. Isami Sano and Hidenori Ebata will also fight on the card.
Hall’s Attendance Limited Due To COVID-19
The November date for RIZIN will be their debut at the Osaka-jo Hall. The venue, which seats a capacity of 16,000, will only have 50% of the seats available due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The venue has been used in the past for concerts, kickboxing and pro wrestling events.
Here’s the full card so far.
Bout 9: Mikuru Asakura (13-1) vs. Yutaka Saito (18-4-2) (Vacant RIZIN Featherweight Championship)
Bout 8: Hiromasa Ougikubo (20-5-2) vs. Kenta Takizawa (11-5) (134 lbs)
Bout 7: Ryuichiro Sumimura (15-8) vs. Let’s Gota (14-9-1) (169 lbs)
Bout 6: Yojiro Uchimura (17-13-3) vs. Kyohei Hagiwara (1-3) (145 lbs)
Bout 5: Tatsuki Saomoto (15-2) vs. Daichi Kitakata (20-9-1) (125 lbs)
Bout 4: Jin Mandokoro vs. Syuto Sato (Kickboxing Bout) (116 lbs)
Bout 3: Taiga vs. Yuma Yamahata (Kickboxing Bout) (133 lbs)
Bout 2: Yuma Yamaguchi vs. Shohei Asahara (Kickboxing Bout) (138 lbs)
Bout 1: Hidenori Ebata vs. Isami Sano (Kickboxing Bout) (182 lbs)