RIZIN’s 2022 schedule will begin on Wednesday night with their second-ever “TRIGGER” event. From the Ecopa Arena in Shizuoka, Japan, the promotion will present 13 fights inside their new MMA cage.
Wednesday’s card is set to be headlined by featherweights Kleber Koike and Ulka Sasaki. While Sasaki is still finding his footing in the division, Koike is looking to remain unstoppable.
Follow along throughout the evening for updates on the event.
Main Card (12:00AM EST / 2:00PM JST) (RIZIN Live / Live-Now)
Bout 13: Kleber Koike (28-5-1) vs. Ulka Sasaki (23-9-2) (146 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Koike Continues Grappling-Heavy RIZIN Run, Calls For Title Fight
Kleber Koike’s dominant RIZIN run continued in Wednesday’s main event, as he submitted former UFC fighter Ulka Sasaki in the second round of their fight.
Koike’s win saw him make a comeback, turning around a challenging start to his performance with a second-round submission.
Sasaki gave Koike trouble in the opening round, hurting him with striking on the feet. Sasaki earned a knockdown at one point, dropping Koike with a right hand.
Once Koike was able to get the fight to the ground a round later, he was able to take over.
Koike secured a tap from Sasaki in the second round by applying a rear naked choke. He had to work for this submission, attempting it more than once before it finally put an end to the bout.
Koike now has four consecutive submission wins since joining RIZIN in late 2020. His previous fight was a victory over Mikuru Asakura, submitting him at RIZIN 28 last year.
Following his win on Wednesday, Koike called for a title fight against current featherweight champ Juntaro Ushiku.
Sasaki has yet to win since moving up to featherweight last year. His debut at the weight class came in September, where he lost a decision to Yoshinori Horie.
Sasaki’s RIZIN record is now two wins and four losses.
Bout 12: Kenji Kato (13-7) vs. Kazuma Kuramoto (8-2) (134 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Kuramoto Bounces Back With Finish Victory
Kazuma Kuramoto returned to the win column with a first-round finish win over Kenji Kato, using his ground and pound ability to bring the fight to an end.
Kuramoto was quick to get the fight to the ground early in the first round, scoring many takedowns with ease. On the ground, Kuramoto unloaded with hard punches and knees that cut Kato open and did damage. The steady pace of shots eventually caused the fight to end late in the round.
Kuramoto now has two wins through three fights in RIZIN. His prior appearance for the promotion was a loss, dropping a decision to Alan Yamaniha in the promotion’s bantamweight grand prix last year.
Kato won his RIZIN debut late last year, stopping pro newcomer Katsuya Fujiwara in a fight.
Bout 11: Akira (16-8-4) vs. Takumi Suzuki (11-5) (157 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Akira Goes Three Rounds Against Suzuki For Second RIZIN Win
Akira picked up a win in a grappling-heavy battle against Takumi Suzuki, beating him in a unanimous decision result.
The majority of the fight took place on the ground, where Akira and Suzuki both had a fair amount of control time. Akira’s best moments were a large part of the second round and the start of the third round, where he held top control and scored with ground and pound shots.
Akira had a successful RIZIN debut in October, securing a second-round submission win over Daichi Abe. He is now on a four-fight winning streak, with all of the previous wins in the run coming via stoppage.
Suzuki, a vet of DEEP Impact, was making his first appearance in RIZIN. He was on a two-fight winning streak before Wednesday.
Bout 10: Suguru Nii (12-11) vs. Sora Yamamoto (12-6-2) (146 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Yamamoto Stops Nii In The First Minute
Sora Yamamoto had a quick performance in his first RIZIN win, using punches to stop Suguru Nii within a minute.
Yamamoto flattened Nii early in the fight, landing a right hook while backing up to drop him hard. Yamamoto capitalized on this knockdown, landing shots to Nii while he attempted to recover.
Yamamoto’s striking was enough to end the fight, causing the bout to end before they escaped the first minute of action.
Nii looked visibly shaken following the stoppage, staying on the canvas for an extended period of time and then needing help when exiting the cage.
Yamamoto lost his RIZIN debut last year to Chihiro Suzuki. He had a strong five-fight winning streak on the regional scene before then.
Nii is now on a three-fight losing streak. He was submitted by veteran Daisuke Nakamura in his previous RIZIN bout.
Bout 9: Kohei Tokeshi (6-8) vs. Harry Stallone (2-4) (161 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Tokeshi Concludes Brutal Win Over Stallon With Right Hook
Kohei Tokeshi worked hard for his first RIZIN victory, making a comeback and eventually stopping Harry Stallone with punches in the second round.
Tokeshi had to do a lot for his finish due to the toughness of Stallone and the willingness of the referee to keep the fight going.
Stallone started the first round strong, taking the back of Tokeshi and attempting a rear naked choke. Tokeshi mounted a comeback later in the round, hurting Stallone on the feet and nearly finishing the fight before the clock ran out.
That momentum carried into the second round, where Tokeshi continued to hurt him on the feet. Despite Stallone seemingly being out on his feet numerous times during the fight, a right hook from Tokeshi late in the second round dropped him and caused the fight to conclude.
Tokeshi now has his first win in RIZIN. He lost his promotional debut last year, suffering a brutal stoppage loss to Juri Ohara.
Stallon, a regular in regional promotion DEEP Impact, now has a negative record of two wins and five losses.
Bout 8: Katsutoshi Sasada vs. Mountain Ryugo (220 lbs) (Kickboxing Bout)
Ryugo Stops Sasada Within A Round
Mountain Ryugo scored a swift and brutal win against Katsutoshi Sasada, stopping him late in the first round of a kickboxing bout with strikes.
Ryugo first hurt Sasada in the opening minute of the fight, dropping him with a head kick. He then dominated the rest of the matchup by pouring punches on Sasada, coming forward with strikes until he was dropped again in the third minute. The second knockdown caused the fight to get stopped by the referee.
The matchup on Wednesday was a rare kickboxing bout above 200 pounds in RIZIN.
Ryugo, a veteran of fighting on the regional Japanese scene, was making his RIZIN debut.
Bout 7: Daisuke Endo (18-12-2) vs. Hikaru Yoshino (10-2) (137 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Yoshino Wins One-Sided Victory Against Veteran Endo
Hikaru Yoshino had a dominant victory in his RIZIN debut, putting a beating on veteran Daisuke Endo for a unanimous decision win.
Most of Yoshino’s work against Endo was on the ground, where he landed long combinations of hard punches to the head. While these shots never caused an end to the fight, they gave Yoshino a lead that Endo eventually wasn’t able to come back from.
Yoshino was also able to threaten with submissions at times, although that didn’t cause an end to the fight either.
Yoshino now has a three-fight winning streak. He scored two wins on the Japanese regional scene last year.
Endo, a veteran of over 30 fights, was also making his first appearance in RIZIN. The fight was his first appearance in over two years, but he was returning with a three-fight winning streak from DEEP Impact.
Bout 6: Katsushi Kojima (12-5-1) vs. Kouki Nakagawa (7-2) (146 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Nakagawa Dominates Kojima For Decision
Kouki Nakagawa made it easy for judges in his performance, dominating Katsushi Kojima for a unanimous decision result after three rounds of MMA competition.
Nakagawa opened the fight with a solid striking round on the feet, landing and even hurting Kojima at times. He put his focus more towards ground work in the second and third rounds, attempting submissions and landing solid ground and pound shots.
Kojima had put together an overwhelming amount of control time by the end of the fight.
The victory for Nakagawa snapped a two-fight losing streak that he took in 2021. He now has eight wins through 10 pro appearances.
Kojima was entering Wednesday on a three-fight winning streak that he developed in regional promotion Grachan.
Bout 5: Takuma Uchiyama (2-3) vs. Kotetsu Hara (2-1) (134 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Uchiyama Earns Close Decision Over Hara
Takuma Uchiyama evened his pro record with a win on Wednesday night, securing a close split decision win over Kotetsu Hara after three rounds.
The opening round of the fight was a close battle on the feet. This was seemingly a good start for Hara, who looked strong in these exchanges.
Uchiyama controlled most of the second round, taking the back of Hara and staying in that position for most of the round. He wasn’t too active in these positions, although he closed out the round with a flurry of punches and elbows to Hara.
Uchiyama scored a takedown to start the final round, although Hara was able to later get a takedown of his own and earn a fair amount of control time.
Uchiyama’s record is now three wins and three losses. He was representing Bonzai Jiu-Jitsu, a gym that will be represented in the main event by Kleber Koike.
Hara is now on a two-fight losing streak. He took his first pro loss last year, dropping a split decision to Hikaru Yoshino.
Bout 4: Yuuki Kitagawa vs. Koki Takeuchi (143 lbs) (Kickboxing Bout)
Takeuchi Endures Brawl For Decision Win
In what could be best described as a brawl, Koki Takeuchi earned a unanimous decision win over Yuuki Kitagawa after three rounds of kickboxing.
Takeuchi had a diverse variety of strikes in his fight, landing punches and knees frequently when battling in a close range against Takeuchi. Both fighters consumed a fair amount of shots in this battle, but Takeuchi often got the best of the exchanges.
Takeuchi is now on a three-fight winning streak. His two previous wins came in 2021 in the Hoost Cup promotion.
Kitagawa has now been unsuccessful through two RIZIN appearances. His prior fight with the promotion was in September 2020, when he was stopped by Taishi Hiratsuka.
Bout 3: Masanari vs. Taiki Matsui (128 lbs) (Kickboxing Bout)
Matsui Continues Strong Run In 2022
Taiki Matsui continued his winning streak in his RIZIN debut, defeating Masanari via unanimous decision after three rounds of a kickboxing fight.
Matsui was in a back-and-forth battle against Masanari on the feet, although his ability to land the better shots secured him the win in the end.
Matsui was riding the momentum of an incredibly successful 2021, where he scored five wins – including an appearance in RISE Kickboxing.
Bout 2: Kota Nakagawa vs. Taiki (130 lbs) (Kickboxing Bout)
Taiki Takes Decision Win Over Nakagawa
Constant pressure from Taiki earned him a unanimous decision win over Kota Nakagawa under kickboxing rules.
The victory from Taiki came from a fast-paced striking competition through three rounds against a game Nakagawa. The fight started as a close battle but became a much more one-sided competition late.
Taiki finished the match strong, being the much more aggressive fighter in the final round of the bout. He was able to back Nakagawa up against the cage during this frame, unloading with combinations in these moments.
Taiki, a former fighter in RISE Kickboxing, returned to the win column after taking a loss late last year.
Bout 1: Yudai Ito vs. Momoto (132 lbs) (Kickboxing Bout)
Momoto Takes Ito Out With Punches
Sharp punches from kickboxer Momoto earned him a win to open the evening in Shizuoka, Japan.
Momoto’s striking skills, most notably his lead jab, were able to do damage to the face of opponent Yudai Ito throughout their first round of action. The fight went into the second round just briefly before ending due to a doctor’s stoppage.
The referee paused the fight due to a significant amount of bleeding that Ito had suffered due to the punches. Ito was never significantly rocked by shots during the fight, although the visible amount of damage called his fight to an end.