The quarter-final matchups for RIZIN’s Bantamweight Grand Prix, which is set to happen at RIZIN 30 on September 19th, were revealed Tuesday. The new bouts join a card that is set to happen at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
While the matchmaking in the opening round of the grand prix was determined via random draw, this round was handpicked by RIZIN matchmakers.
Former Champ Asakura To Face Yamaniha
Former RIZIN Bantamweight Champion Kai Asakura has been matched with Alan Yamaniha for the second round.
Asakura advanced past the first round of the tournament earlier this year by stopping Shooto Watanabe within a round with strikes. The fight put him back in the win column after losing to current champion Kyoji Horiguchi in December.
Yamaniha is coming off a successful RIZIN debut win over Kazuma Kuramoto from last month. That win extended his streak of victories to four consecutive.
Prospect Inoue Booked Against Kintaro
24-year-old fighter Naoki Inoue’s second match in the tournament will come against Kintaro.
Inoue continued his strong RIZIN run with a win in the first round of the tournament at RIZIN 28, stopping Shintaro Ishiwatari in the second minute with a flurry of strikes. Inoue, a former UFC fighter, is undefeated through four fights in RIZIN so far.
Kintaro took a scorecard victory over Kuya Ito in his last showing. The fight was his first appearance in roughly nine months.
Veterans Ougikubo and Otsuka Matched For Tournament
Veterans Hiromasa Ougikubo and Takafumi Otsuka will meet in the quarter-finals.
Both bantamweights enter their RIZIN 30 booking with over 25 pro bouts each.
Otsuka has fought as a pro since 2006. The frequent regional JMMA scene fighter made his return to RIZIN last month, scoring a win over Shian.
Ougikubo already defeated an experienced fighter in the first round of the bracket, getting the scorecard nod over Takeshi Kasugai in June.
DEEP Fighter Motoya To Battle Against Pancrase Vet Takizawa
It will be a battle between two notable JMMA promotions when DEEP’s Yuki Motoya faces Pancrase’s Kenta Takizawa.
Motoya has frequently fought in RIZIN since 2017, although he has remained active in DEEP Impact as well. He advanced past the opening round of the tournament in June with a win against Ryo Okada.
Takizawa avoided the threatening leg locks of Kazumasa Imanari and prevailed over him with a unanimous decision at RIZIN 29. The win snapped a two-fight skid for Takizawa and evened his RIZIN record at two wins and two losses.
RIZIN Champ Hamasaki To Face Fujino In Non-Title Bout
RIZIN Super Atomweight Champion Ayaka Hamasaki’s second fight this year will take place at RIZIN 30, where she will face Emi Fujino.
The fight between Hamasaki and Fujino is a rematch nearly a decade in the making. Their first fight was back in 2012, where Hamasaki won on scorecards at a JEWELS card.
Hamasaki has been RIZIN’s super atomweight champion since late 2020, where she defeated Miyuu Yamamoto to earn the vacant belt. She defended her 108-pound belt for the first time earlier this year, battling to a unanimous decision win against Kanna Asakura in the main event of RIZIN 27.
Hamasaki has previously held the belt, having carried it for the majority of 2019 before dropping it to now-ONE Championship fighter Ham Seo Hee.
Fujino will be making her RIZIN debut in this fight. While she has been inactive since 2019, Fujino is returning after a series of wins in Pancrase that culminated with a championship victory in the promotion.
Bout 5: Naoki Inoue (16-2) vs. Kintaro (14-9) (RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Quarter-Final Bout)
Bout 4: Kai Asakura (17-3) vs. Alan Yamaniha (18-8) (RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Quarter-Final Bout)
Bout 3: Hiromasa Ougikubo (22-5) vs. Takafumi Otsuka (29-18) (RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Quarter-Final Bout)
Bout 2: Yuki Motoya (28-9) vs. Kenta Takizawa (12-7) (RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Quarter-Final Bout)
Bout 1: Ayaka Hamasaki (22-3) vs. Emi Fujino (25-11) (108 lbs) (MMA Bout)