RIZIN’s debut at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan will have to wait, as the promotion has moved their event at the venue ahead from May 23rd to June 13th. The change comes after Tokyo was put under what some called a “quasi-emergency” state earlier in the month which stopped live events from holding more than 5,000 in attendance.
The new date for RIZIN’s Tokyo Dome debut was announced at a press conference on Friday along with other updates regarding recent upcoming events.
RIZIN’s Tokyo Dome card, RIZIN 28, is set to be one of the two events that will include bouts from RIZIN’s Bantamweight Grand Prix. The plan is still to have the matchups for the bracket split between a card on May 30th at the Maruzen Intech Arena Osaka in Osaka, and the promotion’s debut at the Tokyo Dome.
The promotion confirmed the specific matchups in the bracket for both events on Friday, as well as announced two new matchups for RIZIN 29.
RIZIN vet Yusuke Yachi is expected to make his return to action on May 30th, fighting Yuki Kawana in an MMA bout. The event will also see the return of Rikuto Shirakawa and Jin Aoi in a featherweight matchup in Osaka.
Four bouts in the RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix will take place on May 30th. Some of the larger names in the bracket like Kai Asakura, Yuki Motoya and Hiromasa Ougikubo have their bouts scheduled for the now-delayed Tokyo Dome event.
Grappling With The Virus
Government-imposed restrictions have previously stopped RIZIN from holding an event at the Tokyo Dome as well.
The promotion’s original debut date for the venue was set to be on March 14th. However, state of emergency measures announced in January made RIZIN eventually move the event to Osaka and delay it by an extra week.
The state of emergency had an original end date of February 7th, although it was extended and eventually concluded on March 21st.
While Tokyo and Osaka aren’t currently under a full state of emergency, reports say one should be expected in the coming days which would last from April 25th to May 11th.
Japan has seen a steep incline in COVID-19 cases as of late, trending upwards since mid-March. Tokyo reported 861 new cases of the virus on Thursday, with Osaka reporting 1,167.
Here are the lineups for RIZIN 29 and RIZIN 28 along with the recently announced fights.
RIZIN 29 – Osaka – May 30th
Bout 6: Shian (8-8) vs. Takafumi Otsuka (28-18-1) (RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Opening Round)
Bout 5: Kuya Ito (10-8-1) vs. Kintaro (13-9-2) (RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Opening Round)
Bout 4: Kenta Takizawa (11-7) vs. Masakazu Imanari (38-19-2) (RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Opening Round)
Bout 3: Kazuma Kuramoto (8-1) vs. Alan Yamaniha (17-8-4) (RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Opening Round)
Bout 2: Rikuto Shirakawa (9-8-1) vs. Jin Aoi (8-3-1) (145 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Bout 1: Yusuke Yachi (21-11) vs. Yuki Kawana (16-5-5) (156 lbs) (MMA Bout)
RIZIN 28 – Tokyo – June 13th
Bout 4: Shooto Watanabe (22-5-6) vs. Kai Asakura (16-3) (RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Opening Round)
Bout 3: Shintaro Ishiwatari (26-8-4) vs. Naoki Inoue (15-2) (RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Opening Round)
Bout 2: Yuki Motoya (27-9) vs. Ryo Okada (17-4-3) (RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Opening Round)
Bout 1: Takeshi Kasugai (26-7-1) vs. Hiromasa Ougikubo (21-5-2) (RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Opening Round)