Japanese MMA promotion RIZIN will make their debut in prestigeous Tokyo Dome venue on Sunday with RIZIN 28 from Tokyo, Japan. The 10-fight card includes the beginning of a 16-man bantamweight tournament and a fight to crown the promotion’s inaugural lightweight champ.
Follow along throughout the evening for live coverage.
Main Card (2:30AM EDT / 3:30PM JST) (Live-Now / RIZIN Live)
Bout 10: Mikuru Asakura (14-2) vs. Kleber Koike (27-5-1) (146 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Koike Ends Close Battle Against Asakura With Second-Round Triangle Choke
Kleber Koike put a close main event fight against Mikuru Asakura to an abrupt end in the second round, putting him unconscious with a triangle choke.
Koike searched for the choke after pulling guard, something he did many times before in the fight. He quickly secured the choke while on the back, letting go once Asakura was visibly asleep.
Asakura had his moments in the first round, being able to defend Koike’s grappling and find openings for striking. Koike found himself in trouble at points in the first round as Asakura had the quicker striking.
Koike was especially hurt after getting up from the ground at one point, as Asakura found an opening to land a combination of punches.
The win continued Koike’s undefeated run in RIZIN. The former KSW champ also has submission wins in his two previous fights, submitting Kyle Aguon and Kazumasa Majima.
The fight is only the third pro loss in Asakura’s career. His other recent pro loss was in November last year, as he dropped a close decision to Yutaka Saito in a title fight.
He bounced back from that bout in December, stopping Satoshi Yamasu within a round with strikes.
Bout 9: Tenshin Nasukawa vs. Koki Osaki, HIROYA, Hideo Tokoro (Special Rules Bout)
Nasukawa Faces Three-Man Striking Gauntlet, Announces Upcoming Final RIZIN Fight
Star kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa competed in a three-man striking gauntlet before the main event took place for RIZIN 28. The gauntlet saw him face three fighters: Koki Osaki, HIROYA and Hideo Tokoro.
Nasukawa made an important announcement after the fight, announcing that his last kickboxing bout will be on New Year’s Eve this year. The 22-year-old mentioned that he plans to transition to boxing in 2022.
The rules of the bout were that each fighter would fight Nasukawa in a one-round fight each. Kicks weren’t allowed, but punches were, including spinning backfists.
It was announced ahead of time that Osaki and HIROYA were opponents for Nasukawa, with Tokoro being unveiled at the event.
Nasukawa’s one-round fight against Osaki was a close battle, as Osaki was willing to engage in exchanges and make the fight a battle.
It was more one-way traffic against HIROYA, who shelled up and had a low output of strikes. Nasukawa scored a knockdown late in the fight, hurting HIROYA with an uppercut.
Nasukawa emptied his gas tank in the final round, throwing a fast pace of strikes that hurt Tokoro in the final minutes.
Bout 8: Tofiq Musayev (18-3) vs. Roberto Satoshi Souza (11-1) (Vacant RIZIN Lightweight Championship)
Souza Catches Musayev Early With Triangle Choke To Become Inaugural Lightweight Champ
Robert Satoshi Souza pulled off a quick win over Tofiq Musayev to become the inaugural RIZIN Lightweight Champion on Sunday. The fast fight saw Souza catch Musayev early with a triangle choke that forced an end to the fight.
Souza looked for a takedown early in the fight, nearly taking the back of Musayev during a scramble. The fight eventually went to the ground, although it was with Souza on his back and Musayev in full guard.
Souza made the best of the position, quickly slipping in a triangle choke on Musayev that forced a tap and finished the fight.
Souza has now earned five wins since joining RIZIN in 2019. The victory also continued his career-long streak of not going the distance in fights.
He was given the title fight after stoppage wins against Yusuke Yachi and Kazuki Tokudome in the past year.
Musayev was competing for the first time since 2019, having been inactive since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. He is best known for winning the RIZIN Lightweight Grand Prix, which saw him defeat Johnny Case and Patricky Pitbull in the same night.
Bout 7: Kai Asakura (16-3) vs. Shooto Watanabe (22-5-6) (RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Opening Round)
Asakura Stops Watanabe Within A Round With Hard Ground and Pound
Sharp ground and pound from Kai Asakura allowed him to finish his fight against Shooto Watanabe within a round, advancing the former champ past the opening round of the RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix.
Asakura put an end to the fight in full guard, unleashing a series of punches that made Watanabe shell up and caused the referee to intervene.
Watanabe aggressively tried to take the fight to the ground throughout the round, looking for numerous takedowns and even pulling guard at one point.
Asakura used Watanabe’s takedown attempts as opportunities to land strikes, scoring with knees and punches after stuffing shots. He was eventually able to find an opening with punches in full guard, where the fight came to an end.
The fight put Asakura back into the win column after losing the RIZIN Bantamweight Championship to Kyoji Horiguchi in December.
Watanabe was entering the tournament after scoring his first RIZIN win in March, submitting Takumi Tamaru with a rear naked choke. He was selected as an opponent by Asakura during the drawing process back in March.
Bout 6: Shintaro Ishiwatari (26-8-4) vs. Naoki Inoue (15-2) (RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Opening Round)
Inoue Lands Combination of Punches, Soccer Kick To Advance In Grand Prix
Naoki Inoue prevailed in a hectic exchange against Shintaro Ishiwatari, stopping him in the first round with a damaging combination of strikes. The victory put him past the opening round of RIZIN’s Bantamweight Grand Prix.
Inoue dropped Ishiwatari with a combination of punches while coming forward. After hurting and knocking Ishiwatari down with punches, Inoue finished the bout with a soccer kick to the head. The referee intervened in the fight as Ishiwatari’s corner threw in the towel to end the fight.
The finish victory continues Inoue’s hot run through RIZIN currently. He now has four consecutive wins in the promotion, with three having come via stoppage. His last two fights were especially big wins, submitting Shooto Watanabe and Yuki Motoya last year.
Ishiwatari was competing for the first time in over a year on Sunday. He had last fought on a New Year’s Eve card in 2019, where he lost a split decision to Hiromasa Ougikubo.
Ishiwatari has competed in a RIZIN tournament before, notably making it to the finals of a 16-man bracket in 2017.
Bout 5: Hiromasa Ougikubo (21-5-2) vs. Takeshi Kasugai (25-7-1) (RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Opening Round)
Ougikubo Punches Ticket Into Second Round With Decision Over Kasugai
Hiromasa Ougikubo put together a solid performance with striking and wrestling to defeat Takeshi Kasugai in the opening round of the RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix.
Takeshi started the fight strong with strikes in the opening round, although Ougikubo started to take the fight over in the second round.
Ougikubo scored his first takedown of the fight in the second round from a body lock. He used his position on the ground to land hammerfist strikes from half guard.
Following the success he had in the second round, Ougikubo scored another takedown to start the third round.
Ougikubo, a veteran of RIZIN, now has four wins in his last five appearances. His last loss was roughly a year ago, where Kai Asakura defeated him in a title fight.
Kasugai, a Pancrase and HEAT vet, was making his RIZIN debut in the bout.
Bout 4: Yuki Motoya (27-9) vs. Ryo Okada (17-4-3) (RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Opening Round)
Motoya Gets Decision Win Over Okada In Opening Round of Grand Prix
Yuki Motoya became the first fighter to advance past the opening round of the RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix on Sunday, scoring a unanimous decision win over Yuki Motoya.
The decision came after a fast-paced three-round battle that was mostly contested on the feet.
Both fighters had a high output of strikes throughout, trading with punches that connected clean and did damage. Motoya had a strong start to the fight, with Okada seemingly closing out the fight better with an aggressive final round.
Okada, a Shooto Japan veteran, was making his RIZIN debut in the fight. He had gone undefeated through his last eight bouts.
Bout 3: Yutaka Saito (19-4-2) vs. Vugar Karamov (15-3) (146 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Saito Takes Close Decision Over Returning Karamov
RIZIN Featherweight Champion Yutaka Saito won a split decision on Sunday, defeating Vugar Karamov via split decision. The fight saw Karamov utilize wrestling while Saito remained active throughout with strikes.
Karamov consistently scored takedowns in the fight, landing at least one in each round. Saito would often work back up to his feet, but Karamov would eventually make another attempt.
Saito was more active with strikes in the fight, sometimes throwing hammerfist punches while on his back or pushing the pace in stand-up exchanges.
Saito fell out of the ring while in a wrestling scramble with Karamov in the first round. When emerging from outside the ring, a cut was visible below Saito’s right eyebrow.
It was hard to tell if the cut came from the fall or another exchange, although it caused concern at the time due to the possibility of the fight being stopped due to the severity of it. After a short break, ringside officials decided to allow the fight to proceed.
Saito was making his return to RIZIN for the first time after defeating Mikuru Asakura to earn the promotion’s featherweight belt in November. While he is still a champion in the promotion, his fight on Sunday was not for his belt.
Karamov, a fighter from Azerbaijan, was returning to RIZIN after over a year out of action. He made his RIZIN debut early last year, defeating Pancrase vet Kyle Aguon.
Bout 2: Shoma Shibisai (6-2) vs. Tsuyoshi Sudario (3-0) (265 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Shibisai Submits Sudario With Rear Naked Choke, Hands Heavyweight First Pro Loss
Shoma Shibisai handed former sumo wrestler Tsuyoshi Sudario his first pro loss on Sunday, submitting him in the third round of an MMA bout with a rear naked choke. The finish came after a fight that was mostly a stand-up battle between the heavyweights earlier on.
Shibisai secured the choke just moments after landing a takedown early in the third round. Sudario tapped to the choke after it went under his chin, causing an end to the fight.
Shibisai was the fighter marching forward during the striking exchanges, although they were both throwing and landing at a high rate early in the fight. The pace of the fight slowed in the second round, and the fighters were warned for inactivity by the referee.
The fight was a big step-up in competition for Sudario in comparison to his three previous opponents. Heading into Sunday, his record included wins over pro wrestlers Dylan James and Kazushi Miyamoto and a win against veteran fighter Minowaman.
Shibisai was competing for the first time in over a year, although he came back on a two-fight win streak from previous appearances in RIZIN.
Bout 1: Satoshi Yamasu (11-6) vs. BeyNoah (0-0) (161 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Kickboxer BeyNoah Loses MMA Debut To Yamasu
RISE kickboxer BeyNoah lost his MMA debut in the opening bout of the card, dropping a split decision to former DEEP Impact Featherweight Champion Satoshi Yamasu.
The fight showed BeyNoah’s striking skills, although the wrestling skills of Yamasu caused troubles for him throughout.
BeyNoah had a strong opening round to the bout, using his striking skills to hurt Yamasu. He also did his best in that round to stop takedown attempts, which Yamasu attempted on numerous occasions.
Yamasu scored his first takedown early in the second round, taking the back of BeyNoah. BeyNoah was able to escape the position later in the round, forcing Yamasu back to his feet afterward.
Yamasu scored another takedown in the second round and spent the majority of the final round in control of BeyNoah.
BeyNoah had Yamasu in trouble late in the third round, unleashing fast hammerfist punches on the ground.
BeyNoah was handed a yellow card and a subsequent red card for grabbing ropes in the second round of the fight to resist takedown attempts. The cards on BeyNoah put a deduction on his ability to win via scorecards in the fight.
Yamasu was returning after losing his RIZIN debut last year on New Year’s Eve to Mikuru Asakura.
BeyNoah has an experienced kickboxing record that includes over a dozen fights in Japanese MMA promotion RISE.