RIZIN star Mikuru Asakura will be back in action on New Year’s Eve, fighting Satoshi Yamasu at RIZIN 26. The fight was among the four new bouts announced for RIZIN’s December 31st card on Thursday.
The fights will take place at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, and will be viewable online through RIZIN’s pay-per-view service.
The bout for Asakura is a quick turnaround from a November loss to Yutaka Saito. Asakura’s fight in November was for RIZIN’s new featherweight belt.
Asakura had eight consecutive wins prior to his loss at RIZIN 25.
“I’m not sure why I’m not getting the DEEP Champion but I look to show the difference in skills and finish him [Yamasu] early,” said Asakura in a press release provided by RIZIN.
Asakura now fights Yamasu, a former DEEP Impact Featherweight Champion. Similar to Asakura, Yamasu had a streak of wins stopped in his last fight. Losing to Juntaro Ushiku in September, Yamasu lost his DEEP belt and his eight-fight win streak.
“I think I was brought here because it is posterboy Asakura’s comeback fight and RIZIN brass picked a full time working man who fights on the side,” said Yamasu.
Former KSW Fighter Koike To Make RIZIN Debut Against Aguon
Featherweight fighter Kleber Koike will enter a RIZIN ring for the first time in December, fighting Spike22’s Kyle Aguon.
Koike competed in Polish MMA promotion KSW from 2016 to 2018. After four-straight wins in the promotion, Koike lost a title shot against Mateusz Gamrot, who was already the promotion’s lightweight champ.
His last fight was a win against Akiyo Nishiura on a regional show hosted by ONE Championship.
Koike appeared at RIZIN 25 in November where he did a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu demonstration with Roberto Satoshi Souza.
Guam-based fighter Aguon will fight in RIZIN for the second time in December. The Pancrase veteran lost his RIZIN debut in February, as Vugar Kyaramov put on a one-sided performance against him.
Bantamweights Nakahara and Kuramoto Set For RIZIN Debuts
Bantamweight fighters Taiyo Nakahara and Kazuma Kuramoto will both appear in RIZIN for the first time in December.
Nakahara faced his first loss as a pro in May, being stopped in the second round by Ryo Okada on a Shooto Japan card. He had previously obtained six-straight wins in Shooto from 2017 to 2019.
The fight will be Nakahara’s return to action after a few years out of the cage. His fight was in early 2017, where he beat Je Hoon Moon on a Road FC card.
Muay Thai Fighter Nadaka To Return
19-year-old Muay Thai talent Yoshinari Nadaka will return to RIZIN in December when matched against Petmalai Phetjaroenvit. Nadaka had a strong performance in his RIZIN debut back in August, stopping Yuushin in the second round with strikes.
Nadaka last fought in October, defeating Hidetora Abe on a Battle of Muay Thai card.
The four fights join a RIZIN card which has many big matchups. The current main event is scheduled to be a rematch between RIZIN Bantamweight Champion Kai Asakura and former champ Kyoji Horiguchi.
Bout 12: Kai Asakura (16-2) vs. Kyoji Horiguchi (28-3) (RIZIN Bantamweight Championship) (MMA Bout)
Bout 11: Ayaka Hamasaki (20-3) vs. Miyuu Yamamoto (6-4) (Vacant RIZIN Super Atomweight Championship) (MMA Bout)
Bout 10: Shinobu Ota (0-0) vs. Hideo Tokoro (34-30-2) (134 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Bout 9: Ren Hiramoto (0-0) vs. Kyohei Hagiwara (2-3) (149 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Bout 8: Minowaman (65-43-8) vs. Tsuyoshi Sudario (1-0) (264 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Bout 7: Yuki Motoya (26-8) vs. Naoki Inoue (14-2) (134 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Bout 6: Ulka Sasaki (22-8-2) vs. Kenta Takizawa (11-6) (134 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Bout 5: Kanna Asakura (17-4) vs. AI (5-0) (108 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Bout 4: Mikuru Asakura (13-2) vs. Satoshi Yamasu (11-5) (149 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Bout 3: Kyle Aguon (13-9) vs. Kleber Koike (25-5-1) (147 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Bout 2: Nadaka Yoshinari vs. Petmalai Phetjaroenvit (110 lbs) (Kickboxing Bout)
Bout 1: Taiyo Nakahara (15-8) vs. Kazuma Kuramoto (7-1) (138 lbs) (MMA Bout)