A trio of title fights was confirmed for RIZIN’s April 17th card on Thursday, including three big rematches in the promotion’s history.
The fights are set to take place during RIZIN 35 at the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza in Tokyo, Japan. It will be the second night of a doubleheader hosted by the promotion at that venue.
Three Title Bouts Announced For RIZIN 35
In the first of three championship rematches, lightweight titleholder Roberto Satoshi Souza will meet Johnny Case.
Case currently stands as the only MMA fighter that has ever beat Souza. He secured a first-round finish over him in 2019, stoping him in a fight as part of the RIZIN Lightweight Grand Prix.
Case later lost in the semi-finals of that tournament to Tofiq Musayev. The former UFC fighter was set to debut as part of the 2021 PFL regular season, although a domestic battery charge in April that year forced him off their roster.
Since his loss to Case, Souza has since gone undefeated. He has earned four wins and picked up the promotion’s lightweight belt. His last victory was on New Year’s Eve, submitting Yusuke Yachi in the second round of a fight.
Yutaka Saito could become a two-time RIZIN Featherweight Champion when facing Juntaro Ushiku at RIZIN 35.
Ushiku, already a titleholder in DEEP Impact, became RIZIN’s featherweight champ in October 2021, as a doctor stoppage forced Saito out of their fight.
Saito was the inaugural RIZIN Featherweight Champion, having earned the belt in a fight against Mikuru Asakura in 2020.
Seika Izawa will have a chance to become champion when facing Ayaka Hamasaki in a super atomweight title fight. Izawa scored a unanimous decision win over Hamasaki last year, although the victory came in a non-title bout.
Izawa has yet to lose as a pro. Before her win over Hamasaki, she attained four victories in DEEP Jewels.
Three Fights Booked For ‘TRIGGER’
A night before RIZIN 35, the promotion will hold their third “TRIGGER” card. Like the two previous “TRIGGER” shows, it is expected to include fights inside a cage.
The biggest fight of the three announced for the show Thursday is a rematch between Luiz Gustavo and Yusuke Yachi.
Gustavo became the first RIZIN fighter to beat Yachi in 2018, scoring a finish win over him at RIZIN 12. This was a big moment for Yachi, as he walked into the appearance on a strong six-fight winning streak.
Gustavo has not competed in RIZIN since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. His last appearance was part of the 2019 RIZIN Lightweight Grand Prix, where Patricky Pitbull eliminated him in the semi-finals.
Bantamweights Kintaro and Kazuma Kuramoto are expected to meet on the card as well.
Kuramoto is riding the momentum of a finish win that he scored against Kenji Kato last month. The fight was his second win through three appearances for the promotion.
Kintaro will be fighting to snap a losing streak, having lost bouts to Naoki Inoue and Yuki Motoya in 2021.
Veteran names Masanori Kanehara and Kazumasa Majima will also meet on the card.
Kanehara, a former UFC fighter, scored his first RIZIN victory in October 2021 with a finish victory against Takahiro Ashida.
Majima is still searching for his first RIZIN victory. His last fight was a defeat to Kleber Koike last year.
RIZIN TRIGGER 3rd – 4/16/22
Bout 3: Luiz Gustavo (10-2) vs. Yusuke Yachi (23-12) (157 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Bout 2: Kintaro (14-11-2) vs. Kazuma Kuramoto (9-2) (134 lbs) (MMA Bout)
Bout 1: Masanori Kanehara (28-14-5) vs. Kazumasa Majima (14-3) (146 lbs) (MMA Bout)
RIZIN 35 – 4/17/22
Bout 3: Roberto Satoshi Souza (13-1) vs. Johnny Case (27-7-1) (RIZIN Lightweight Championship)
Bout 2: Juntaro Ushiku (21-8-1) vs. Yutaka Saito (20-6-2) (RIZIN Featherweight Championship)
Bout 1: Ayaka Hamasaki (23-4) vs. Seika Izawa (5-0) (RIZIN Atomweight Championship)