Kota Miura might be one of the more interesting low-key things happening in RIZIN right now. While his entrance into the promotion came with a strongly marketed gimmick, we’ll now get to see if he has the skills to back it up.
Miura joined RIZIN last year to make his pro debut. He, himself, isn’t too famous. But his father, Kazuyoshi Miura, is a big name. Known as “King Kazu,” his father has competed as a professional footballer for numerous decades. He’s known to be the oldest pro player still competing currently.
So that’s why he joined RIZIN. That sounds like it has the makings to be a gimmicky short run in the promotion, but that could certainly not be the case – especially after we saw him fight for the first time.
We have seen many times how someone took a shot at MMA after earning fame from another avenue. In RIZIN, sumo wrestlers, pro wrestlers, and others have given the sport a try. This can also be observed in the UFC through CM Punk’s two-night run in recent years.
More often than not, these runs don’t go so well. Turns out, you can’t just choose anyone to have a successful career in MMA, even if they showed excellence in their previous pursuit.
But Miura might be something different. When he made his debut on New Year’s Eve, he looked to be a sharp fighter who clearly already had quite a bit of training behind him. He made quick work of fellow pro debutant YUSHI, who got stopped in the first round with a slick series of strikes.
It’s obviously hard to already say how good Miura is. The truth is we only saw him for three minutes last year against a name that looked to be of a similar or lower skill level.
We’ll get a much better look at his ceiling next month at the RIZIN “LANDMARK” card. He’s already getting quite the step-up in competition, as he will face 13-fight vet Felipe Masoni.
Masoni will be fighting for the first time since 2019 and is on a two-fight losing streak. However, he’s still incredibly experienced as a fighter. This is realistically a lot for Miura to handle early in his career.
A win for Miura next month would show that he is a serious prospect at featherweight. Can he pull it off?
Horiguchi Makes Early Exit From Bellator GP
Kyoji Horiguchi’s run in the Bellator Bantamweight Grand Prix had a sudden conclusion last weekend when he lost a unanimous decision to Patchy Mix.
To be completely honest, this was not the best performance by Horiguchi. If you watched the fight, I likely don’t have to tell you that. Mix had his number on the ground, and Horiguchi’s moments on the feet weren’t enough for him to take a significant number of rounds.
While the fight was not an incredible showing by Horiguchi, I suggest that people don’t write him off because of it. This was the same person that we saw have a really solid performance against Sergio Pettis just four months back. While he did lose that fight, it’s worth noting that he had success in the earlier rounds of the bout and looked really solid.
I personally also believe that people undervalue Mix. His sole pro loss came in 2020 in a fight against Juan Archuleta. He’s got quick wins over names like Yuki Motoya, Ricky Bandejas, and James Gallagher. A loss to Mix doesn’t feel like a reason for someone to panic.
I have zero clue what’s next for Horiguchi. By the looks of it, the championship picture in Bellator is locked up for the next year or so while this tournament plays out. Whatever he does next, it will be interesting to see how he performs.
Other Notes From The Week
- LDH Entertainment’s “POUND STORM” event took place Sunday. There are some interesting results on this card.
- Veteran Nobumitsu Tyson handed Sho Patrick Usami his first pro loss, defeating him via unanimous decision.
- Rinya Nakamura prevailed in a massive step-up, defeating 30-fight vet Aleandro Caetano.
- I put together a quick results list for anyone who wants it. GONG has a detailed write-up on the event, but you will have to translate it.
- If you’re interested… More fights for “THE MATCH 2022” were unveiled. Just like the Tenshin Nasukawa vs. Takeru matchup, the card in general is following a RISE Kickboxing vs. K-1 Japan theme.
- Pancrase has an event scheduled for Friday. It’s a long and stacked lineup, just like the show they held last month. You can view the full card here. I’ll make sure to recap the highlights next week in this article!
- Here’s your international JMMA report for the week:
- Kyoji Horiguchi was eliminated in the quarter-finals of the Bellator Bantamweight Grand Prix this weekend. The two-time RIZIN champ lost a unanimous decision to Patchy Mix.
- Jarred Brooks kept his ONE run undefeated with a quick submission win against Bokang Masunyane. No doubt in my mind that a title bout is next for him.
- Namiki Kawahara, Yosuke Saruta and Ayaka Miura came up short against their respective opponents at ONE. Masakazu Imanari was also beat by Mikey Musumeci in a grappling exhibition.
- More details on ONE can be read here.
- Former RIZIN Bantamweight Champion Manel Kape was pulled from Saturday’s UFC card. In a now-deleted Twitter statement, he said a drug test for “long term metabolite of DHCMT, called M3.” It has not been confirmed yet if that is the reason he was off the card, and we don’t know yet if any sanctions will keep him out of the cage.
- And Tofiq Musayev didn’t make his Bellator debut this weekend. Opponent Zach Zane was pulled from the matchup early last week.
- THIS WEEK:
- Flyweight super-prospect Tatsuro Taira will make his UFC debut on Saturday night against Carlos Candelario. At just 22 years old, Taira has 10 wins as a pro.
- Shooto Japan veteran Ryoji Kudo is part of the 2022 PFL Featherweight Season. He’s set to begin his run on Thursday against Brendan Loughnane.
- Competing for the first time in over a year, veteran Emi Tomimatsu is scheduled to meet Yuko Kiryu at the DEEP Impact card on May 29th. More info on that event can be read here.
- I was on the “We Are RIZIN” podcast this week to discuss the RIZIN “TRIGGER” card from earlier this week.