RIZIN TRIGGER 3rd Preview

Yusuke Yachi wearing a black t-shirt and a white headband while walking to the ring.
Yusuke Yachi vs. Luiz Gustavo is set to headline RIZIN “TRIGGER 3rd” on Saturday (RIZIN FF)

RIZIN will kick off a doubleheader of events on Saturday with a “TRIGGER” card. A rematch between RIZIN vet Yusuke Yachi and returning talent Luiz Gustavo is scheduled to headline the event, pitting the lightweights up against each other nearly four years after their first meeting.

This eight-bout show is scheduled to take place inside a cage at the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza in Tokyo, Japan. Here’s a preview of the show.

Main Card (1:00AM EDT / 2:00PM JST) (Live-Now / RIZIN Live)

Bout 1: Shoji Otani vs. Rikiya (139 lbs) (Kickboxing Bout)

In the sole kickboxing bout of the weekend, Shoji Otani and Rikiya will compete.

Otani has appeared more than a dozen times on small kickboxing cards like REBELS and KNOCK OUT. He is attempting to bounce back from a loss he took in March against Yota Shigemori.

There is little information online about Rikiya. He has fought somewhat on the regional kickboxing scene and trains out of Tokyo gym Shikon Murakamijyuku. His last fight was just last month when he settled with a draw against Takemi Hasegawa.

Bout 2: Grant Bogdanove (2-0) vs. Takeshi Izumi (0-0) (158 lbs) (MMA Bout)

Grant Bogdanove will return against pro newcomer Takeshi Izumi in the next fight.

Bogdanove’s grappling skills have been on display during his first two MMA bouts. This included his RIZIN debut last year, which saw him submit pro wrestler Keisuke Okuda in just over a minute via rear naked choke.

He will now face Izumi, who has a background in wrestling and is taking his first crack at MMA.

Bout 3: Tatsuya Saika (7-2) vs. Kimihiro Eto (18-6-2) (157 lbs) (MMA Bout)

Former ONE Championship fighter Kimihiro Eto will face Tatsuya Saika in the next matchup.

Eto was on the ONE roster from 2018 to 2020. He competed in their “Warrior Series” four times before being promoted to the promotion’s flagship programming. He then posted one win and two losses before departing the promotion in 2020.

Eto is coming off a win from a Shooto Japan card from last year, defeating Gunter Kalunda Ngunza via decision.

Saika is a Fighting NEXUS and Pancrase vet and is also making his first appearance in RIZIN. He came up short in a Pancrase interim title fight last year, getting submitted by Takasuke Kume. Before then, he had five consecutive finish wins on the regional scene.

Bout 4: Shooto Watanabe (23-6-6) vs. Takuma Sudo (5-0) (134 lbs) (MMA Bout)

Undefeated bantamweight Takuma Sudo will get a big test on Saturday when he faces Shooto Watanabe.

Sudo has scored five wins since turning pro in early 2020. Mostly competing for Fighting NEXUS, he has finished all five of his fights via submission. Interestingly, all of his wins have come from more rare submissions like kneebars and a heel hook.

Watanabe has a massive experience edge over Sudo, having fought more than 30 times since first debuting in 2012. He evened his RIZIN record to two wins and two losses in his last outing, submitting Koki Naito in the first round of a bout at “LANDMARK Vol. 1” last year.

Bout 5: Takaki Soya (11-4-1) vs. Nobuyoshi Nakatsukasa (7-3) (126 lbs) (MMA Bout)

Takaki Soya will make his return to competition on Sunday when he faces Nobuyoshi Nakatsukasa.

Soya has not competed in recent years due to medical issues and other personal troubles. He had a strong RIZIN run prior to this break, securing two finish wins in 2019.

Nakatsukasa’s 10-fight career as a pro has taken place in smaller promotions around Japan. He is getting the RIZIN call after winning his last fight in just over a minute against Shingo Makita.

Bout 6: Masanori Kanehara (28-14-5) vs. Kazumasa Majima (14-3) (146 lbs) (MMA Bout)

Veteran Masanori Kanehara will return to RIZIN and face Kazumasa Majima in the next bout.

Kanehara, a UFC alum, is riding the momentum of his first RIZIN victory. This win came in October 2021, when he faced Takahiro Ashida and scored a second-round win.

Majima will be fighting to turn things around after struggling in his first two RIZIN appearances. It is worth noting that both of his previous fights for the promotion were against high-level competition, facing Yutaka Saito and Kleber Koike.

Bout 7: Hideki Sekine (11-5) vs. Takakenshin (0-0) (265 lbs) (MMA Bout)

Heavyweights Hideki Sekine and Takakenshin will compete in the co-main event of the card.

“TRIGGER” was originally scheduled to have a bantamweight fight between Kintaro and Kazuma Kuramoto in the co-main event. However, that bout was removed from the show due to Kintaro suffering an injury.

Much like RIZIN heavyweight Tsuyoshi Sudario, Takakenshin is a former sumo wrestler making the transition to MMA. He competed in sumo from 2013 to 2021 but was forced to retire last year after the Japan Sumo Association found cannabis in a drug test registered on him.

He has a tough opponent for his debut, given that Sekine has fought as a pro since 2009. He is coming off his first-ever RIZIN win, which was a finish victory against Shoma Shibisai on New Year’s Eve. Along with the two wins he scored for DEEP Impact in 2021, Sekine is currently on a strong three-fight winning streak.

Bout 8: Luiz Gustavo (10-2) vs. Yusuke Yachi (23-12) (157 lbs) (MMA Bout)

Yusuke Yachi has the chance to avenge a loss in Saturday’s main event when he faces Luiz Gustavo.

When Yachi first met Gustavo in 2018, he was a rising name in the promotion. Known as a veteran of Pancrase, Yachi had quickly attained five wins in RIZIN from 2016 to 2018. But Gustavo put an end to this momentum back then with a brutal second-round knockout.

Yachi went on to struggle for a few years, losing four out of his next five fights. He started to turn things around in 2021, scoring two wins in what he marketed as his official “sequel.” His year concluded with a loss to dominant RIZIN Lightweight Champion Roberto Satoshi Souza.

While Yachi is coming off a loss, Saturday gives him a chance to show that he has improved since the first time he met Gustavo.

Gustavo became a regular name in RIZIN between 2018 and 2019. He fought in their lightweight tournament in 2019, winning in the opening round of the tournament but losing in the semi-finals to Patricky Pitbull.

The COVID-19 pandemic has stopped Gustavo from competing in RIZIN in recent years. His performance on Saturday will show where he stands following the layoff and how he looks against a rival, and what could be next for him in RIZIN.

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