This article is the play-by-play of RIZIN 25 to accompany live coverage of the event. The live coverage article can be viewed here.
Main Card (12:00AM EST / 2:00PM JST) (RIZIN PPV)
Bout 1: Yuma Yamaguchi vs. Shohei Asahara (139 lbs) (Kickboxing Bout)
Yamaguchi came out flying, although Asahara avoided him. Yamaguchi landed a leg kick 30 seconds in. Asahara connected with a two-punch combo to the head in the opening minute. Yamaguchi was connecting with more leg kicks, although Asahara started to check them. Yamaguchi whiffed on a two-punch combo in the second minute. Asahara threw a head kick which Yamaguchi blocked. Asahara wobbled Yamaguchi with a two-punch combo in the final minute. He consumed many more hooks to the head while visibly wobbled. Despite slipping to a knee for a moment, which the referee considered a slip, Yamaguchi stayed on his feet and endured the round.
The fighters took turns throwing hooks early in the second round. Asahara connected with a loud body kick halfway through the fight. A left hook from Asahara dropped Yamaguchi to a knee, although it was ruled a slip. While Yamaguchi was staying active with his own strikes, Asahara continued to connect with punches to the head for the rest of the round.
Like the rounds before, they were both active with strikes, although Asahara was connecting at a higher rate. A hook from Asahara dropped Yamaguchi in the final minute of the round. With his guard down, Yamaguchi consumed more hooks to the head until he dropped, ending the fight.
Bout 2: Jin Mandokoro vs. Syuto Sato (117 lbs) (Kickboxing Bout)
Sato came forward with a series of strikes at Mandokoro in the first minute, throwing after he was told to stop and while Mandokoro was on the ground from being shoved. Mandokoro landed Both fighters connected with hard punches during an exchange in the closing moments of the round.
Mandokoro caught a leg kick to sweep Sato early in the second round. Sato connected with a strong two-punch combination in the second minute of the round. Mandokoro answered back by pushing forward with punches, eventually landing a spinning back fist that knocked Sato down. Backing Sato in a corner of the right, Mandokoro unloaded with punches. Sato was able to connect with his own fair amount of punches at the same time. Mandokoro closed the round by sweeping Sato again with a kick.
Mandokoro put Sato against the ropes with punches again early in the third round. Both fighters were fighting at a very fast pace by the third round. Sato landed a two-punch combo that gave Mandokoro wobbly legs, although Mandokoro was able to answer back and connect punches of his own right after. Mandokoro had a strong close to the fight, throwing a much higher volume than Sato before the round ran out of time. Needing judges to find a winner, Mandokoro got the win via unanimous decision.
Bout 3: Kotetsu Boku (26-15-2) vs. Rikuto Shirakawa (8-8-1) (146 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Boku threw a high volume of leg kicks early. Shirakawa connected with overhand rights in the second minute that backed Boku up. Boku was connecting with his lead jab frequently. The pace of the fight was slow in the closing minutes of the round, although Boku was the more active fighter.
Boku was given a yellow card before the start of the second round due to a large amount of water being spilt in his corner of the ring. Boku was the more active strike throughout the second round, keeping Shirakawa on his backfoot for a large portion of the time. Shirakawa came forward with a combo of strikes in the third minute of the round, although a pause came afterwards due to an accidental illegal strike. Boku threw numerous hooks to the body during the round.
Shirakawa landed a knockdown in the second minute of the third round with punches. Shirakawa went down after, taking full guard on top. The referee stood them up with a minute-and-a-half to go in the fight. Shirakawa knocked Boku down again in the final minute with a straight right. He landed a soccer kick to the head before the referee stopped the fight.
Bout 4: Hidenori Ebata vs. Isami Sano (183 lbs) (Kickboxing Bout)
Ebata connected with a head kick in the opening moments of the fight. He threw a high frequency of body and head kicks early on while Sano chased him. Ebata’s kicks continued to help him win the fight throughout the round.
Ebata backtracked for most of the second round, stopping moving when throwing kicks or knees.
Sano was able to catch a lot of Ebata’s kicks early in the third round, sometimes countering with punches after. Fatigue became a big issue for Ebata late in the fight. Ebata seemingly went down halfway through the round, just barely getting up before the eight count. Keeping the fight in a close range late, Sano threw punches and clinched with Ebata. Sano won via unanimous decision when looking at the scorecards.
Bout 5: TAIGA vs. Yuma Yamahata (133 lbs) (Kickboxing Bout)
Both fighters connected with leg kicks early in the fight. Both fighters were throwing a low volume of strikes as they attempted to figure each other out. Yamahata connected with a head kick halfway through the round.
TAIGA put together good strikes in the second round, often throwing combinations as opposed to singular shots.
TAIGA punches lead him through the third round of the fight, as he would put together combinations that Yamahata didn’t have an answer for. The fight went the distance, with TAIGA winning on scorecards after.
Bout 6: Yojiro Uchimura (17-13-3) vs. Kyohei Hagiwara (1-3) (146 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Uchimura missed a spinning back kick to start the fight. Hagiwara landed a right hook to Uchimura that dropped him, causing the referee to end the fight.
Bout 7: Tatsuki Saomoto (15-2) vs. Daichi Kitakata (20-9-1) (126 lbs) (MMA Bout)
The first round started with close striking where neither fighter connected with much. Saomoto scored a single leg takedown in the third minute of the round. Kitakata worked up to his feet for a moment, going back down to the knees after. Kitakata landed a series of knees to the head of Saomoto while in a sprawl position. Saomoto got back to the feet with 15 seconds left in the round. Kitakata caught a kick to sweep Saomoto. He landed ground and pound until the fight ran out of time.
After missing with a flying knee, Saomoto landed a takedown in the second minute of the second round. Saomoto too side control on top. The referee stood them up in the third minute due to inactivity. The round finished with close striking on the feet.
Saomoto slipped and fell early in the third round, allowing Kitakata to go to the ground with a hold on Saomoto’s head. Kitakata looked for a guillotine choke from his back. Saomoto was able to pop out of it while in side control. Kitakata looked for the choke again while up on his knees. Saomoto got up, scored a takedown on Kitakata, then got up again to return to striking. Saomoto shot for a takedown in the fourth minute, eventually seating Kitakata down. The referee separated them with 30 seconds left in the fight. Kitakata charged at Saomoto with strikes. Saomoto connected with two uppercuts before the round ran out of time. Saomoto got the decision win after three rounds.
Bout 8: Ryuichiro Sumimura (15-8) vs. Let’s Gota (14-9-1) (170 lbs) (MMA Bout)
The first few minutes of the fight was slow-paced on the feet. The fight sped up dramatically in the fourth minute, as Sumimura came forward with a cluster of punches that Gota stopped with a clinch. Sumimura put Gota against a corner of the ring in a clinch. The referee split them up with 10 seconds left in the round.
Sumimura scored a takedown a minute into the second round, landing in full guard. Gota was able to escape the position and return to the feet with three minutes to go. The fight had a slow back-and-forth battle on the feet for the rest of the round.
The fighters clinched in the first round, although a pause came from it due to a groin strike seemingly. Another clinch later in the round was separated due to inactivity. Sumimura scored a takedown in the third minute of the round. The referee stood them up due to inactivity with a minute left in the fight. Sumimura shot for another takedown until the round concluded. Sumimura won via split decision in the end.
Bout 9: Hiromasa Ougikubo (20-5-2) vs. Kenta Takizawa (11-5) (134 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Ougikubo threw some kicks early in the fight. The first few minutes of the bout were a feeling out process between the two. Takizawa put together a good combination of strikes in the fourth minute of the round, coming forward with a few hooks and then a knee to the head. Ougikubo finished the round by coming forward with punches and a head kick.
Ougikubo shot for a takedown halfway through the round. Takizawa went over to a corner of the ring to resist the takedown. Ougikubo let a combo of strikes go after Takizawa broke free from a body lock. The exchanges on the feet were close, with neither fighter hurting each other with anything major.
Ougikubo hurt Takizawa early in the third round with a head kick that dropped him. After looking for a choke on the feet, Ougikubo scored a double leg takedown on Takizawa. Ougikubo threw Takizawa down for a takedown again in the second minute, taking his back on the ground. Ougikubo took full guard on top with half of the round left. Ougikubo got on the back of Takizawa again in the final minute of action. Takizawa was able to flip around the take full guard on top. Takizawa left the position to slug with Ougikubo on the feet for the closing seconds of the round. Ougikubo was favoured on all three scorecards in the end.
Bout 10: Mikuru Asakura (13-1) vs. Yutaka Saito (18-4-2) (Inaugural RIZIN Featherweight Championship)
A pause came in the second minute of action as Saito was accidentally kicked in the groin. The fight resumed after Saito took a few minutes to recover. Mikuru stopped a takedown attempt in the final minute of the round. Asakura landed a counter left hook that rocked Saito in the closing moments of the round. They clinched on the feet afterwards.
An accidental kick to the groin of Asakura caused a break in the opening minute of the second round. Saito marched forward with a combination of punches in the first minute. Saito caught a leg kick for a takedown in the second minute of the round. Asakura worked back to his feet quickly, although he had Saito on his back with a body lock on. The referee separated them from the corner with half of the round to go. Saito put Asakura against a corner in a body lock after another flurry of punches. The referee separated them from the position, with over a minute to go in the fight. Asakura connected with a strong left cross in the final minute of the round.
Asakura landed a knee to the body in the first minute of the final round. Saito countered shortly after with a kick to the body. Saito scored a takedown in the second minute of the round. The referee stood them up with under two minutes to go in the fight. Asakura landed a left cross in the fourth minute that visibly rocked Saito. Trading punches on the feet and eating shots each, Saito got wobbled again. Asakura shot for a takedown, not being able to get it. He held on to the leg of Saito until the fight ran out of time. Going to the scorecards, Saito was given the unanimous decision victory and was crowned the first RIZIN Featherweight Champion.