Luiz Gustavo picked up a win in his return to RIZIN on Saturday night, beating Yusuke Yachi for the second time via finish.
Hard punches from Gustavo caught Yachi in the second round, ending their fight in a decisive fashion.
Gustavo’s win headlined RIZIN’s second “TRIGGER” card, which took place at the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza in Tokyo, Japan.
Gustavo closed out his fight late in the second round, dropping Yachi with a right hand. Yachi fell hard due to this shot, causing the referee to step in and finish the bout only moments after.
Gustavo had Yachi in trouble earlier in the round, connecting with a series of right hands to stun him. Yachi used his wrestling to slow Gustavo down, but later lost a position on the ground and took ground and pound from Gustavo.
Gustavo was making his first appearance in MMA since late 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic stopped him from competing in RIZIN for the better part of two years, as entry into Japan was strict.
Gustavo’s previous fight was in the semi-finals of a tournament in 2019, where Bellator fighter Patricky Pitbull finished him with strikes.
The lightweights previously met in 2018, when Gustavo scored a finish victory over Yachi. This win was Yachi’s first defeat in RIZIN and kicked off a few unsuccessful years for him in the promotion.
Yachi claimed he re-invented himself in 2021 after suffering five losses through six fights in RIZIN. As part of what he dubbed his “sequel,” Yachi scored wins over Yuki Kawana and Koji Takeda last year.
Yachi took a loss on New Year’s Eve in 2021, losing to current RIZIN Lightweight Champion Roberto Satoshi Souza.
Sekine Stops Former Sumo Wrestler Takakenshin
Veteran heavyweight Hideki Sekine spoiled the MMA debut of former sumo wrestler Takakenshin, finishing him in the second round with strikes.
Sekine was able to finish the fight against Takakenshin with a series of hard ground and pound shots in the second frame.
Sekine poured on damage to a tired Takakenshin in the second round, scoring with punches, elbows, and knees. Flattened out on the ground, the former sumo wrestler consumed a large volume of strikes.
Sekine closed out the fight with two brutal soccer kicks to the head of Takakenshin, causing him to shell up and making the referee step in.
Sekine was coming off his first RIZIN victory, which came on New Year’s Eve against Shoma Shibisai.
Takakenshin was fighting for the first time since a career in sumo. He retired from sumo last year after the Japan Sumo Association registered a drug test on him that found cannabis.
Veteran Kanehara Finishes Majima Late
Veteran Masanori Kanehara picked up his second consecutive RIZIN victory on Saturday, stopping Kazumasa Majima in the third round with ground and pound shots.
Kanehara looked to stop the fight with an arm triangle choke before the finish, moving into side control while applying the submission. He eventually gave up on this choke and took the back of Majima with ground and pound shots to end the fight.
Kanehara’s previous bout was a stoppage win against Takahiro Ashida at RIZIN 31.
Majima has now lost three consecutive bouts in RIZIN. Previous bouts came against bigger names in Yutaka Saito and Kleber Koike.
Soya Continues Success In Return
Takaki Soya picked up a win in his return fight, securing a second-round finish win over Nobuyoshi Nakatsukasa.
Soya knocked Nakatsukasa down in the second round with a lunging jab. He followed up with brutal ground and pound, throwing punches and even a soccer kick before the referee stepped in to end the fight.
Soya had previously earned two wins in RIZIN, defeating Namiki Kawahara and Yutaro Muramoto in 2019. He was out of the cage in 2020 and 2021 due to a variety of struggles outside of the cage.
Nakatsukasa was making his first appearance for RIZIN. He was coming off two consecutive finish wins on the regional scene.
Sudo Prevails In Close Fight Against Watanabe
Takuma Sudo prevailed in a step-up fight Saturday, defeating veteran Shooto Watanabe via split decision after a close battle.
The fight extended Sudo’s undefeated record to six consecutive victories and saw him go the distance for the first time as a pro. Known as “The Leg Hunter,” his five previous wins came via leg-based submissions.
The fight was close in the first and second rounds both on the feet and on the ground. Watanabe had more control in these earlier rounds when in grappling exchanges.
Sudo’s best round was the last, as he was able to spend a large portion of the frame holding a leg of Watanabe and attempting submissions.
Sudo’s prior fights as a pro took place on smaller stages like regional promotion Fighting NEXUS.
Watanabe, a RIZIN vet, was coming off a submission win he scored against Koki Naito in October 2021.
ONE Vet Eto Stops Saika
Former ONE Championship fighter Kimihiro Eto picked up a win in his RIZIN debut, finishing Tatsuya Saika late in the second round to close out a strong performance.
Eto controlled the fight by taking things to the ground early and doing damage with strikes. The fight came to an end in the final minute of the second round, as a fast pace of strikes from Eto forced the referee to step in.
Eto is now on a two-fight winning streak, with his previous appearance being a decision win in Shooto Japan last year.
Saika’s previous fight was a loss to Takasuke Kume in a Pancrase title fight.
Bogdanove Stops Izumi To End Dominant Performance
Grant Bogdanove had a dominant performance on the ground for his third pro victory, defeating Takeshi Izumi on Saturday night.
Bogdanove finished Izumi in the third round with a series of elbows and punches to the head from full mount. This came after a near one-sided battle through three rounds, with Bogdanove earning takedowns and out-grappling Izumi.
Bogdanove made his RIZIN debut last year, submitting pro wrestler Keisuke Okuda in the second minute of a fight.
Izumi, a fighter with a wrestling background, was making his pro debut on Saturday.
Otani Wins In Hectic Kickboxing Battle
The card kicked off with a hectic kickboxing fight that saw four knockdowns in just one round. Shoji Otani picked up a first-round finish win against Rikiya, scoring three knockdowns within a minute to finish the fight.
Otani got hurt early, getting dropped by Rikiya first. He rallied back just moments later, dropping Rikiya in three different instances with a right cross punch.
The fight was both fighters’ first appearance in RIZIN.
Main Card (1:00AM EDT / 2:00PM JST) (Live-Now / RIZIN Live)
Bout 8: Luiz Gustavo def. Yusuke Yachi via TKO, Strikes (RD 2) (MMA Bout)
Bout 7: Hideki Sekine def. Takakenshin via TKO, Strikes (RD 2) (MMA Bout)
Bout 6: Masanori Kanehara def. Kazumasa Majima via TKO, Strikes (RD 3) (MMA Bout)
Bout 5: Takaki Soya def. Nobuyoshi Nakatsukasa via TKO, Strikes (RD 2) (MMA Bout)
Bout 4: Takuma Sudo def. Shooto Watanabe via Decision, Split (MMA Bout)
Bout 3: Kimihiro Eto def. Tatsuya Saika via TKO, Strikes (RD 2) (MMA Bout)
Bout 2: Grant Bogdanove def. Takeshi Izumi via TKO, Strikes (RD 3) (MMA Bout)
Bout 1: Shoji Otani def. Rikiya via TKO, Strikes (RD 1) (Kickboxing Bout)