RIZIN 36 Preview

Ren Hiramoto during a RIZIN photoshoot.
Ren Hiramoto will headline RIZIN 36 this weekend (RIZIN FF)

RIZIN will make its return this weekend, holding its first event in nearly two months. They’ll head to the Okinawa Arena in Okinawa, Japan on Saturday night for a card that has seen some late changes.

RIZIN’s card this weekend will be headlined by Ren Hiramoto and Hiroaki Suzuki. That wasn’t the original main event, but it was put into that spot after former bantamweight champion Kai Asakura was forced out of his bout against Yang Ji-yong.

This change was a big hit to the lineup, as Asakura is one of the most popular names in the promotion currently.

But the show must, and will, go on. RIZIN has a total of 13 bouts scheduled for this weekend that is still expected to take place. Here’s a preview of it all.

Main Card (12:00AM EDT / 1:00PM JST) (RIZIN Stream Pass)

Bout 1: Tanner Lourenco (1-0) vs. ORIHEY (1-0) (157 lbs) (MMA Bout)

Tanner Lourenco will return for his second RIZIN bout on Saturday night, facing ORIHEY.

Lourenco made waves at RIZIN’s first Okinawa event with his pro debut win over Shinya Kumazawa. The victory saw Lourenco choke out Kumazawa with his own gi, providing a moment you rarely see in modern MMA.

ORIHEY will be making his RIZIN debut in this bout. He won his pro debut earlier this year, submitting Minechika Matsumoto on a regional card.

Bout 2: Hirokatsu Miyagi vs. Tomoki Yoshino (160 lbs) (Kickboxing Bout)

In the first of just two kickboxing bouts on this card, Hirokatsu Miyagi and Tomoki Yoshino will battle.

Miyagi won his RIZIN debut last year, stopping Lopez Satsuma in the first round with punches. He has taken another loss since then, dropping a decision in March against Takafumi Morita on a RISE Kickboxing card.

Yoshino will be making his first RIZIN appearance this weekend. He has competed in notable promotions before like REBELS and KNOCK OUT. He is coming off a recent finish win from January.

Bout 3: NISSE (4-5) vs. Moeri Suda (5-3) (108 lbs) (MMA Bout)

Returning for her second RIZIN fight, Okinawa’s NISSE will face Moeri Suda.

NISSE won her first RIZIN appearance last year, handing Aira Koga her first loss with a split decision result. She suffered defeat in her last fight, getting submitted by Miki Motono on a DEEP Jewels card recently.

Suda, also a vet of DEEP Jewels, will be making her first RIZIN appearance. She came up short in a DEEP Jewels title fight two months back, getting submitted by Saori Oshima.

Before that defeat, Suda had a strong five-fight winning streak going in the promotion.

Bout 4: Yuki Ito (10-3) vs. Yuichi Miyagi (17-11-1) (126 lbs) (MMA Bout)

A series of flyweight bouts this weekend will kick off with a fight between Yuki Ito and Yuichi Miyagi.

Since the start of 2021, Ito has earned four wins and two losses. However, through two RIZIN appearances, he has yet to lose under their promotional banner. His last fight for the promotion was at RIZIN 31 last year when he stopped Yusaku Nakamura in the first round. He has taken a win and a loss since then.

Miyagi won his first RIZIN appearance in dramatic fashion last year, putting away Tomohiro Adaniya in just 47 seconds with a knee. That win came amid an overall struggle in his record, as he has won just two of his last five bouts. He enters this weekend after taking a loss in his last outing.

Bout 5: Yutaro Muramoto (8-6-2) vs. Shinichi Kojima (14-6-5) (126 lbs) (MMA Bout)

Shinichi Kojima will make his return to competition this weekend when he faces Yutaro Muramoto.

Kojima has been out of the cage since 2015. That is a longer absence from competition than most returning names. His last fight was a victory against Tatsuya So on a VTJ card. Before then, he had a brief stint in the early days of ONE Championship.

Muramoto will be fighting to bounce back from a recent loss. He suffered defeat at RIZIN 34 in March, dropping a decision to Pancrase vet Daichi Kitakata.

Bout 6: Yamato Fujita (8-4) vs. Tatsuya So (18-18-4) (126 lbs) (MMA Bout)

Searching for his first RIZIN win, Tatsuya So will face promotional newcomer Yamato Fujita this weekend.

So was unsuccessful in his RIZIN debut last year, losing on scorecards to Haruo Ochi. Previous experience in his career comes from fights in Pancrase, where he has been particularly successful since 2017.

Fujita is coming from another notable regional promotion in DEEP Impact. He had a six-fight winning streak snapped in his last fight, as he lost an interim title bout against Makoto Takahashi via submission.

Bout 7: TAIGA vs. Soichiro Arata (134 lbs) (Kickboxing Bout)

RIZIN kickboxing vet TAIGA will return against Soichiro Arata.

This weekend will be TAIGA’s 10th appearance in RIZIN. While he struggled during earlier years with the promotion, his last three appearances have resulted in two wins and one draw. That one draw came earlier this year when he went three rounds against Ryo Takahashi.

This weekend is a big fight for Arata, as he mostly competes in lower-level promotions that are smaller than RIZIN. Recent fights have come in promotions like KNOCK OUT, Resistance, and REBELS.

Bout 8: Kohei Tokeshi (7-8) vs. Atsushi Kishimoto (7-6-2) (157 lbs) (MMA Bout)

Fighting with the goal of evening his pro record once again, Kohei Tokeshi will meet Atsushi Kishimoto this weekend.

Tokeshi lost his RIZIN debut last year, getting stopped in just over a minute by Juri Ohara. He bounced back from that defeat in February, beating low-level name Harry Stallone at “RIZIN TRIGGER 2nd.”

Kishimoto, a fighter that has a similar rough record, will be making his RIZIN debut. He has mostly fought in regional promotions DEEP Impact and Grachan since turning pro in 2017.

Bout 9: Shoji (19-16-1) vs. Yang Ji-yong (4-0) (146 lbs) (MMA Bout)

Stepping in on short notice, Shoji will face undefeated Korean prospect Yang Ji-yong this weekend.

News broke Thursday that Shoji would be taking this fight against Yang. The original plan was for Yang to headline the card against former RIZIN Bantamweight Champion Kai Asakura.

Shoji, a veteran of more than 30 fights, will be attempting to snap a losing streak. He has struggled in his last pair of RIZIN fights, getting stopped by Kyohei Hagiwara and Hiroaki Suzuki.

Yang is entering RIZIN with a strong record of four wins since turning pro in 2020. All of these wins have taken place on the Korean regional scene, and two of them have ended via stoppage.

Bout 10: Kyle Aguon (14-10) vs. Sora Yamamoto (15-6-2) (146 lbs) (MMA Bout)

Sora Yamamoto will look to keep a hot streak going when he faces Kyle Aguon on Saturday night.

Yamamoto is returning to RIZIN shortly after defending his Fighting NEXUS Featherweight Championship in May, submitting Jukiya in the second round with a rear naked choke. This victory only added to a strong run for Yamamoto, which includes two RIZIN victories from earlier this year.

Aguon picked up his first RIZIN win in April, earning a safe decision over Takahiro Ashida. This put an end to a three-fight losing streak for him that included two RIZIN losses in 2020.

Bout 11: Mitsuhisa Sunabe (29-10-4) vs. Nobuyoshi Nakatsukasa (7-4) (119 lbs) (MMA Bout)

Mitsuhisa Sunabe, a veteran of MMA, will fight in front of his home prefecture once again this weekend, facing Nobuyoshi Nakatsukasa at the 119-pound limit.

Sunabe fought at RIZIN’s debut Okinawa card last year against fellow veteran Yoshiro Maeda. He went three rounds against Maeda, suffering a unanimous decision loss in the end. The fight was his third consecutive defeat and kept him winless since 2018.

Nakatsukasa lost his RIZIN debut in April, getting stopped by the returning Takaki Soya with strikes.

Bout 12: Miyuu Yamamoto (6-6) vs. Saori Oshima (8-3) (108 lbs) (MMA Bout)

Saori Oshima will return for her second RIZIN appearance this weekend, facing veteran Miyuu Yamamoto at super atomweight.

Oshima had a big RIZIN debut in 2021, defeating Kanna Asakura in a split decision result. The win made a name for Oshima on a big stage during just the second year of her fighting as a pro in MMA.

Oshima has fought in DEEP Jewels twice since that 2021 victory, earning a win and a loss each. She submitted Moeri Suda in her last bout when she fought in May.

Yamamoto will be fighting for her first win since 2019. She headlined RIZIN’s last Okinawa card, suffering a finish loss against RENA in the second round of that bout. Nearly a year before then, she lost a title fight to Ayaka Hamasaki.

Bout 13: Hiroaki Suzuki (2-1) vs. Ren Hiramoto (0-2) (146 lbs) (MMA Bout)

Still hunting for his first MMA victory, Ren Hiramoto will face Hiroaki Suzuki in the final bout of the night.

This bout wasn’t initially scheduled to headline the card. However, after the departure of Kai Asakura from the lineup, this bout was moved up to main event status.

Hiramoto is a 24-year-old that transitioned from kickboxing to MMA in 2020. He has yet to find success through two fights in the sport, previously losing to Kyohei Hagiwara and Chihiro Suzuki.

Four months after his last loss, Hiramoto will return to face Suzuki.

Like Hiramoto, Suzuki also comes from a striking background but has focused on MMA in recent years. He joined the RIZIN roster last year following a Muay Thai stint with ONE Championship.

Suzuki has scored two wins and one loss since entering the promotion last year. His most recent victory came against veteran Shoji, who he stopped in just 72 seconds in March.

While it wasn’t originally the plan for this weekend, Hiramoto’s third go at MMA will be under a big spotlight in Okinawa.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s