RIZIN will continue its annual tradition of hosting a New Year’s Eve event on Friday, presenting a 16-bout card from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
The card is set to be headlined by the conclusion of their 16-man bantamweight tournament, which will see its semi-finals take place earlier in the night. Also on the show is a lightweight title fight at Tenshin Nasukawa’s last appearance for the promotion.
Follow along throughout the evening for live updates.
Main Card (11:30PM EST / 1:30PM JST) (RIZIN Live / Live-Now)
Bout 16: Kai Asakura (19-3) vs. Hiromasa Ougikubo (24-5-2) (RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Final)
Ougikubo Beats Asakura In Rematch, Claims RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix
Hiromasa Ougikubo put on a near dominant performance against Kai Asakura to avenge a previous loss and win the RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix in Friday night’s main event.
Ougikubo won via unanimous decision over Kai, obtaining that result through a combination of wrestling and stand-up striking.
Ougikubo had the sharper striking to begin the bout, landing a variety of leg kicks and punches to the head.
Ougikubo scored his first takedown of the fight in the third minute. He moved to full mount on Asakura, allowing him to score with punches.
Most of the second round was on the feet, where Ougikubo connected with sharp strikes that overwhelmed Asakura.
Asakura showed an uptick of aggression in the final round, although he continued to struggle against an excelling Ougikubo.
Both fighters competed earlier in the night, fighting three rounds in those bouts as well.
Ougikubo’s previous fights in the tournament saw him beat veterans Takafumi Otsuka and Takeshi Kasugai.
Ougikubo lost a fight to Asakura in 2020, getting finished in the first round with strikes.
Bout 15: Roberto Satoshi Souza (12-1) vs. Yusuke Yachi (23-11) (RIZIN Lightweight Championship)
Souza Submits Yachi, Defends Lightweight Belt For First Time
Roberto Satoshi Souza defended his RIZIN Lightweight Championship for the first time on Friday night, capping off a dominant grappling performance against Yusuke Yachi with a second-round armbar.
Souza was able to fully extend the arm of Yachi after sweeping him and going into side control. The submission wrapped up a thorough grappling showcase from him.
Souza gave Yachi trouble for most of the opening round, pressuring him with submission attempts throughout. While Yachi was able to stop all submission attempts, he was defending for most of the round.
Satoshi Souza earned the belt in June, submitting Tofiq Musayev in the first round with a triangle choke.
Souza has now won for consecutive bouts via stoppage.
The fight was a rematch, as Souza had put away Yachi in 2020 as well.
Bout 14: Yutaka Saito (20-5-2) vs. Mikuru Asakura (15-3) (146 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Asakura Takes Scorecard Win, Avenges Loss To Saito
Mikuru Asakura avenged a loss on Friday, defeating former RIZIN Featherweight Champion Yutaka Saito in a unanimous decision result.
The first round of the fight worked at a slow pace. Saito was able to control Asakura in positions, but it was often Asakura who was more throw striking.
The biggest round was the second, as strikes from Asakura visibly hurt Saito.
Asakura stunned Saito with a right hook in the second round. He was then hurt by a combination of punches that made him shoot for a takedown. Saito started to bleed heavily from his nose after the combination.
Asakura closed out the fight on top, throwing punches and knees while in half guard.
Asakura lost a close decision to Saito last year, making him miss out on becoming the inaugural RIZIN 145-pound champ.
Saito lost his champion status earlier this year, as a doctor stoppage forced him to drop his belt to Juntaro Ushiku.
Bout 13: Tenshin Nasukawa vs. Takanori Gomi (Custom Rules Bout)
Nasukawa Declares Farewell To RIZIN With Battle Against Gomi
Undefeated kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa made his last appearance on a RIZIN card on Friday, fighting a two-round striking exhibition against MMA legend Takanori Gomi.
Gomi, 43, had a close battle against Nasukawa, at times getting into heated punching exchanges. Due to the exhibition nature of the fight, a winner was not selected in the end.
The special ruleset bout had both fighters wear boxing gloves and fight two rounds that were three minutes each. They wore shoes and were only allowed to throw punches and spinning backfists.
The bout also had no set weight class, allowing Gomi to come in 30 pounds over what Nasukawa weighed.
Nasukawa is set to make his transition to boxing later this year. He is set to compete in a kickboxing superfight in June, meeting K-1 Japan fighter Takeru.
Takeru made a special appearance after the fight, entering the ring to share words with the live crowd.
Nasukawa had an emotional send-off afterward, fighting back tears while addressing the RIZIN crowd.
“Thank you very much to everyone for their continued support. I was a nobody when I first came here,” said Nasukawa after his fight, per the English RIZIN broadcast feed.
Gomi fought in a similar exhibition bout last year, fighting kickboxer Kouzi.
Bout 12: RENA (12-3) vs. Park Si-woo (5-4) (110 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Park Scores High-Profile Win Over RENA In RIZIN Debut
The night of upsets continued after the intermission, as Park Si-woo scored a unanimous decision win against RENA.
Park’s victory came after three rounds of her using takedowns and clinch positions to control RENA.
A large portion of the opening round was in a clinch position, where Park forced RENA into the corner of the ring.
Park scored two takedowns against RENA in the second round, but RENA was relatively quick to spring back up from both.
On her back, Park did significant damage to RENA with numerous upkicks in the third round. The final round was a clinch-heavy battle, at times exchanging punches while in the position.
Park was making her RIZIN debut. She entered the bout on a two-fight losing streak in DEEP Jewels.
RENA scored a win just a month prior, defeating Miyuu Yamamoto in the main event of RIZIN 32.
Bout 11: Ayaka Hamasaki (23-3) vs. Seika Izawa (4-0) (108 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Undefeated Izawa Scores Upset Win Over Hamasaki
Prospect Seika Izawa pulled off a massive upset in her RIZIN debut, stopping RIZIN Super Atomweight Champion Ayaka Hamasaki in a non-title fight.
Izawa finished Hamasaki in the second round with a long flurry of punches from full mount. The finish came after Izawa showed her proficiency on the ground against Hamasaki.
Izawa gave Hamasaki trouble in the first round. She was on her back for most of the opening frame, as the fight went to the ground in the second minute.
Izawa hurt Hamasaki with upkicks, although Hamasaki was able to also connect with punches from full guard. Izawa threatened Hamasaki with submissions, trying for an armbar at times.
On her back again, Izawa hurt Hamasaki with upkicks more. Izawa trapped Hamasaki with a triangle, using the position to land punches. She transitioned into a full mount position due to the triangle position, unloading with punches
Izawa, the current DEEP Jewels Strawweight Champion, is now undefeated through five fights.
The fight snapped a four-fight winning streak for Hamasaki. She earned two wins earlier in the year, including a title bout against Kanna Asakura.
Bout 10: Koji Takeda (12-2) vs. BeyNoah (1-1) (157 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Takeda Submits Kickboxer BeyNoah, Returns To Win Column
Koji Takeda used his ground skills to submit kickboxer BeyNoah, stopping him in the second round with an armbar.
Takeda was able to fully extend the hold, forcing a tap from BeyNoah to end the round eventually.
The finish came after a close back-and-forth battle that showed a clash of two different styles in MMA.
BeyNoah’s kickboxing skills earned him the first few minutes of the fight, out-landing Takeda. Takeda later focused on wrestling, scoring numerous takedowns that lead to hard ground and pound.
BeyNoah opened the second round with a knockdown. Takeda was dropped by a right cross but was quick to return to his feet. Takeda recovered in a clinch position and scored a takedown to take control of the fight again.
BeyNoah was coming off his first MMA win, which was a comeback victory over Daryl Lokoku.
Takeda is now back into the win column following a loss against Yusuke Yachi from earlier this year. He had a four-fight winning streak before then.
Bout 9: Shoma Shibisai (7-2) vs. Hideki Sekine (10-5) (265 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Sekine Stops Shibisai With Strikes For First RIZIN Win
Hideki Sekine outlasted Shoma Shibisai for a second-round stoppage win on Friday night.
Shibisai started the fight well, but the effects of cardio caused Sekine to take control and close out the bout eventually.
Shibisai did damage early in the first round, hurting Sekine with ground and pound punches and even soccer kicks at times. Sekine seemingly turned things around as fatigue set in, finishing the frame in top position.
The incredibly tired heavyweights fought at a slow pace to start the second round. Sekine earned a takedown and moved into side control, allowing him to land a long series of hammerfist punches. These punches weren’t stopped by Shibisai, making the referee step in to end it.
Shibisai had won his three previous fights in RIZIN via stoppage. He handed Tsuyoshi Sudario his first pro loss in June, submitting him with a rear naked choke.
Sekine has now won three consecutive, including two victories in regional promotion DEEP Impact.
Bout 8: Kyohei Hagiwara (5-4) vs. Hiroaki Suzuki (1-0) (146 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Hagiwara Takes Decision Nod Over Suzuki
Kyohei Hagiwara picked up his second consecutive victory, fighting to a decision victory against Hiroaki Suzuki.
Hagiwara used ground control to put Suzuki on his back for most of the fight. He scored numerous takedowns in the fight, then often remaining in full guard after.
Hagiwara earned a win last month, defeating veteran Shoji due to a doctor stoppage.
Suzuki, a kickboxer, was coming off his first MMA fight. He succeeded earlier this year, beating winless pro wrestler Keisuke Okuda.
Bout 7: Kouzi vs. YA-MAN (137 lbs) (Kickboxing Bout)
YA-MAN Takes Close Decision Over Kouzi
RISE Kickboxing standout YA-MAN won his RIZIN debut on Friday night, fighting to a majority decision win over Kouzi in a kickboxing bout.
YA-MAN competed in a fast-paced fight against Kouzi through three rounds, out-landing him at a high pace. YA-MAN started the fight strong, excelling against a slow-starting Kouzi early on. Kouzi heated up in the later rounds, making it a close fight in the end.
Kouzi, a former K-1 Japan kickboxer, was coming off his first win in RIZIN. He fought just last month, defeating Kazume Sone.
YA-MAN also fought in November, defeating Kan Nakamura for his third consecutive victory in RISE Kickboxing.
Bout 6: Shibatar vs. Yuta Kubo (198 lbs) (Special Rules MMA Bout)
Shibatar Catches Kubo With Armbar
Youtuber Shibatar pulled off a win against former K-1 Japan Kickboxer Yuta Kubo, submitting him in the first round with an armbar.
Shibatar seemingly dropped Kubo a minute into the fight with a two-punch combination. Back on the feet, he pulled guard with an armbar attempt that made the referee step in and end the fight.
Kubo protested the stoppage, seemingly claiming that he did not tap out to the hold.
Shibatar, a Youtuber who is famous for his comedy style, came out with a flamboyant walkout vocal performance that saw him accompanied by other influencers. Kubo also had a walkout, as partner Sara Kubo did a performance.
Shibatar had a similar fight at last year’s New Year’s Eve card, beating kickboxer HIROYA.
Kubo lost his RIZIN debut earlier this year, getting wrestled by Shinobu Ota.
Bout 5: Kazuma Sone (24-21-1) vs. Shinobu Ota (1-1) (134 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Ota Picks Up First Stoppage Win, Defeats Sone
Former Greco-Roman wrestling Olympian Shinobu Ota picked up his first stoppage MMA win on Friday, finishing Kazuma Sone with strikes.
Ota was able to put an end to the fight in the second round. He got to his feet against a grounded Sone, connecting with a series of soccer kicks and stomps to the head to force a finish.
The outcome came after a dominant performance from Ota that included numerous minutes of wrestling mixed in with ground and pound.
Ota won his pro debut earlier in the year, going three rounds against former K-1 Japan Kickboxer Yuta Kubo.
The loss continues a long skid for Sone. Between MMA and kickboxing, Sone has now lost seven of his last 10 bouts. He previously fought just last month, dropping a decision to Kouzi.
Bout 4: Yuki Motoya (28-10) vs. Kintaro (14-10-2) (RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Reserve Bout)
Motoya Beats Kintaro For Alternate Spot
Yuki Motoya secured his spot as an alternate in the RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Finals, defeating Kintaro via unanimous decision in a close result.
Motoya used his grappling to control Kintaro for a large portion of the first and second rounds. He was able to take the back of Kintaro during the second frame, but couldn’t secure a submission.
Kintaro’s striking was the best part of his performance. He excelled in the final round, as the bout mostly took place on the feet.
Kintaro and Motoya were both eliminated in the quarter-finals of the tournament in September. Kenta Takizawa scored an upset win over Motoya, and Naoki Inoue beat Kintaro on scorecards.
It is unknown at the moment if Motoya will need to be utilized as an alternate in the tournament later tonight.
Bout 3: Hiromasa Ougikubo (23-5-2) vs. Naoki Inoue (15-2) (RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Semi-Final Bout)
Ougikubo Makes Comeback, Secures Grand Final Rematch
Hiromasa Ougikubo made a comeback against Naoki Inoue, working his way towards a unanimous decision win to secure a spot in the RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Finals.
The fight saw Inoue start strong, but have Ougikubo succeed late with wrestling.
Inoue opened the fight with a solid first round, out-landing Ougikubo with strikes on the feet and on the ground.
Ougikubo had a much better second round, taking the back of Inoue and threatening him with a neck crank at moments.
Ougikubo had his most dominant round late, as he was able to wrestle Inoue for numerous rounds.
The Grand Final later in the night will give Ougikubo a chance to avenge a loss he took against Kai Asakura in August 2020. Ougikubo is now on a four-fight winning streak, including wins earlier in the tournament against Takeshi Kasugai and Takafumi Otsuka.
Bout 2: Kai Asakura (18-3) vs. Kenta Takizawa (13-7) (RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Semi-Final Bout)
Former Champ Asakura Goes Three Rounds For Win
Former RIZIN Bantamweight Champion Kai Asakura secured his spot in the RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Final early in the night, battling to a comfortable unanimous decision win over Kenta Takizawa.
Asakura pushed the pace for most of the fight in stand-up positions, advancing on Takizawa with punches. Takizawa was able to back up for most of the fight, circling off to the side frequently.
Asakura was able to drop Takizawa in the final minute of action, landing a series of punches.
Asakura is now set to fight in the main event of the evening.
Takizawa was a massive underdog heading into the semi-finals. He pulled off a big upset in the quarter-finals earlier this year, stopping Yuki Motoya with punches.
Asakura defeated Shooto Watanabe and Alan Yamaniha in the earlier parts of his tournament run.
Bout 1: Kota Miura vs. YUSHI (146 lbs) (MMA Special Rules Bout)
Miura Wins Pro Debut In Stunning Fashion
Kota Miura, the son of famous footballer Kazuyoshi Miura, had a stunning MMA debut to open the card, finishing YUSHI in the first round with strikes.
Miura was able to close out his fight against YUSHI with a combination of a soccer kick to the body and a right hook to the head. This combination dropped YUSHI, ending the fight.
The finish came after Miura pressed YUSHI with submissions for most of the opening round, attempting an armbar and guillotine choke, among other submissions.
The fight was under a special ruleset that made it three-minute rounds.
Miura’s father, also known as “King Kazu,” has played soccer since the 1980s and is currently recognized as the oldest pro football player.