RIZIN Featherweight Champion Yutaka Saito will look to defend his belt for the first time on October 24th when facing regional champ Juntaro Ushiku at RIZIN 31. The fight will take place as part of a card that will happen at the Pia Arena MM in Yokohama, Japan.
The title fight was confirmed during a press conference held Monday.
Saito became RIZIN’s inaugural 145-pound champ in November of last year, going five rounds against promotional star Mikuru Asakura to win via unanimous decision.
Saito has appeared once since then, earning a close split decision victory over Vugar Karamov in June in a non-championship fight.
Ushiku, one of Japan’s top featherweight talents, will be making his RIZIN debut in the fight. He became DEEP Impact’s featherweight champ last year with a majority decision victory against Satoshi Yamasu.
Ushiku’s last fight was just three months ago, where he retained his belt in a split decision over Daisuke Nakamura – avenging a loss he took earlier in the year.
Sudario Looks To Rebound From First Loss Against Ace
Sumo wrestler turned MMA fighter Tsuyoshi Sudario will aim to bounce back from his first pro loss when fighting RIZIN newcomer Saint.
Sudario turned pro last year and quickly attained three wins in MMA, defeating two pro wrestlers and veteran Minowaman. He had his three-fight win streak broken in June, as Shoma Shibisai scored a third-round submission over him at RIZIN 28.
Saint is getting his RIZIN shot after two wins in regional promotion DEEP Impact this year. He won his pro debut in under a minute, then returned in September to get a decision nod over Seigo Mizuguchi.
The title fight joins a card that already has a clear focus on the featherweight division, as three other bouts in the weight class have been booked as well.
Here is the updated lineup:
Bout 9: Yutaka Saito (20-4-2) vs. Juntaro Ushiku (19-8-1) (RIZIN Featherweight Championship)
Bout 8: Seiichiro Ito (13-4-2) vs. Kunta Hashimoto (7-1) (126 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Bout 7: Rikuto Shirakawa (10-8-1) vs. Takuya Yamamoto (7-1-1) (146 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Bout 6: Daichi Abe (9-4) vs. Akira (15-8-4) (157 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Bout 5: Masanori Kanehara (27-14-5) vs. Takahiro Ashida (24-10-2) (146 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Bout 4: Daisuke Nakamura (30-20-1) vs. Suguru Nii (12-10) (146 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Bout 3: Yusaku Nakamura (16-8-1) vs. Yuki Ito (8-2) (126 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Bout 2: Kanna Asakura (18-5) vs. Saori Oshima (6-2) (108 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Bout 1: Tsuyoshi Sudario (3-1) vs. Saint (2-0) (264 lbs) (MMA Bout)