Super RIZIN & RIZIN 38 Preview

Jizzy, Floyd Mayweather, Nobuyuki Sakakibara, Mikuru Asakura, and Kouzi pose at an outdoor RIZIN press conference.
Floyd Mayweather and Mikuru Asakura will be the biggest attraction from the busy evening of fights in Saitama, Japan (AbemaTV Inc.)

This weekend’s RIZIN programming offers a tale of two different types of fight events.

On Sunday afternoon in Japan (and late Saturday night in the U.S.), the promotion will kick off their evening of programming with “Super RIZIN” from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The card will be a change of pace from their usual event, as it is just four fights that will take place in varying and sometimes odd rulesets.

Most notably, famous professional boxer Floyd Mayweather will return to the promotion to face viral MMA fighter Mikuru Asakura in an exhibition boxing bout.

After that event, the promotion will return to its numbered series, hosting RIZIN 38 on Sunday night. The card is shorter than most events they have put on this year but is certainly one of the stronger lineups as well.

The show includes the continuation of their Super Atomweight Grand Prix and Hiromasa Ougikubo’s first appearance since winning a bantamweight tournament last year.

In what is the biggest return of the night, RIZIN Bantamweight Champion Kyoji Horiguchi will fight in Japan for the first time since late 2020, facing Kintaro in the main event of the night.

Here’s a preview of everything that is set to go down in Japan this weekend.

Click here to skip to a preview of the main card.

Super RIZIN (11:00PM EDT / 12:00PM JST) (FITE / PPV)

Bout 1: Kota Miura (1-0) vs. Bunchuai Phonsungnoen (0-0) (150 lbs) (MMA Bout)

The evening will kick off with RIZIN’s brief “Super RIZIN” event. Many wondered what this card was attempting to do, as the booking is quite different from most RIZIN events and notably takes place during the afternoon in Japan. When Knockdown News recently asked RIZIN’s Shingo Kashiwagi about the event, he said: “It’s trying to [give] a taste of what the Japanese combat sports scene is like to the international audience.”

The card will take place during the late-night hours in the U.S., and will be available to view on traditional pay-per-view along with FITE.

In the first of four varying rulesets featured on this card, Kota Miura will take on Bunchuai Phonsungnoen.

Miura is the son of legendary footballer Kazuyoshi Miura. However, he has not just gained notoriety through that avenue. More recently, Miura has also become a popular name on the social media site TikTok, with numerous videos of him gaining millions of views.

He made his debut on New Year’s Eve last year, defeating YUSHI in the first round with strikes. His return has been long-awaited since, with two different bookings falling through in recent months.

Phonsungnoen will be making his MMA debut. He has experience as a boxer, having attained four wins through seven pro fights. His last boxing appearance was in July when he suffered a finish loss to Song Chang-ho.

Bout 2: Yoshinari Nadaka vs. Bandasak (117 lbs) (Kickboxing Bout)

Muay Thai fighter Yoshinari Nadaka will return in the next fight against Bandasak. While this fight is listed under RIZIN’s kickboxing rules, it is noted that elbows will also be allowed.

Nadaka has become one of RIZIN’s developing names in recent years. He debuted for the promotion in 2020 and has since scored five victories under their banner. He has remained active outside of the promotion as well, notably appearing in Battle of Muay Thai (BOM) numerous times.

Bout 3: Kouzi vs. Jizzy (Custom Standing Bout Rules)

In what is the weirdest bout of the evening, kickboxer Kouzi will face Floyd Mayweather’s bodyguard, Jizzy.

Mayweather’s bodyguard goes by Ray Sadeghi, or the stage name Jizzy Mack. However, for this fight, he is being billed solely as Jizzy. This fight was made after what looked to be a choreographed feud started between the fighters. Jizzy gave an interview to Abema TV a few weeks back, where he called out how Kouzi used cut-outs of Mayweather’s face to mock rival Tenshin Nasukawa in 2020. For whatever reason, this justified a fight between the two.

Kouzi, a former K-1 Japan kickboxer, has competed in odd fights for RIZIN before. On New Year’s Eve in 2020, he faced Takanori Gomi in a striking exhibition.

Bout 4: Floyd Mayweather vs. Mikuru Asakura (Exhibition Boxing)

The “Super RIZIN” portion of the card will conclude with a fight that will likely be the most talked about part of the night. Appearing in RIZIN for the second time, Floyd Mayweather will meet Mikuru Asakura in an exhibition boxing match.

Mayweather is an incredibly successful boxer, having retired from the sport in 2017 with an undefeated record of 50 wins. He has gone around the world in exhibition boxing bouts since then, facing athletes and celebrities alike.

Mayweather notably showed up in RIZIN in late 2018, that time facing kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in a three-round bout. That fight didn’t escape the first frame, as Mayweather scored three knockdowns and forced a finish.

While Asakura is not one of the best in-ring names with RIZIN, he is most certainly their top talent when judging by popularity. He has mainly gained this notoriety from his Youtube channel, which has 2.74 million subscribers currently. He is also the host of the reality TV fighting series “Breaking Down,” which sees amateur and entertainers compete in one-round fights.

Sunday’s card sees a clash of celebrities from two entirely different worlds. The amount of attention it gets in the markets it is targeted towards will be interesting to see. Also, the outcome of the fight – whether it will be an aggressive starching by Mayweather like his last appearance in the promotion, or a more conservative, exhibition-like fighting style from him – will be worth looking out for too.

RIZIN 38 (2:00AM EDT / 3:00PM JST) (FITE / RIZIN Live)

Seika Izawa sits on a padded floor inside an MMA gym.
Seika Izawa will compete in the co-main event of RIZIN 38, aiming to remain undefeated (RIZIN FF)

Bout 1: Juri Ohara (31-17-3) vs. Luiz Gustavo (11-2) (157 lbs) (MMA Bout)

After the conclusion of “Super RIZIN” and a hip-hop intermission show, RIZIN 38 will begin. The card will kick off at lightweight, where Juri Ohara and Luiz Gustavo will fight.

Gustavo made his return to RIZIN recently. He has been a fighter for the promotion since 2018 but didn’t fight for more than two years because of travel restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He finally broke that absence with an impressive victory in April, stopping Yusuke Yachi in the second round of a fight with strikes.

Gustavo will now aim to end the impressive run of Ohara.

Ohara has been unstoppable for the past few years. He is currently on an eight-fight winning streak that he has attained through appearances in RIZIN and DEEP Impact. His last RIZIN fight came in March when he broke the strong string of wins that Akria had put together.

Bout 2: Kyohei Hagiwara (6-6) vs. Chihiro Suzuki (7-3) (146 lbs) (MMA Bout)

Explosive featherweights Kyohei Hagiwara and Chihiro Suzuki will fight in the next bout.

Hagiwara, a RIZIN vet at this point, will be fighting to avoid falling into a three-fight losing streak. He has suffered two submission losses this year, losing to Satoshi Yamasu and Kleber Koike.

Suzuki has earned two wins and one loss since returning from kickboxing to MMA last year. He beat fellow former kickboxing Ren Hiramoto in his last appearance, overcoming him in March.

Bout 3: Shoma Shibisai (8-3) vs. Cally Gibrainn de Oliveira (5-1) (265 lbs) (MMA Bout)

In the sole heavyweight fight of the night, Shoma Shibisai and Cally Gibrainn de Oliveira will fight.

Shibisai is one of the few heavyweight vets in RIZIN. He has consistently been on their roster since 2019 and has scored four wins and one loss during that period. His last victory saw him put away Rihards Bigis in a minute-and-a-half with punches.

Gibbrain de Oliveira will be a familiar face to anyone who follows Japanese kickboxing or regional MMA. He has fought around the scene briefly in recent years, mostly proving to be successful in this time. He has notably fought for RISE Kickboxing twice this year, defeating Kenta Nanbara and MAX Yoshida.

Bout 4: Kim Soo-chul (17-6-1) vs. Hiromasa Ougikubo (25-5-2) (134 lbs) (MMA Bout)

2021 RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix winner Hiromasa Ougikubo will make his first appearance of the year on Sunday night, facing talented Korean opponent Kim Soo-chul.

Ougikubo ended up being one of the bigger storylines of 2021. He scored four wins within the year to take the top spot in the promotion’s 16-man bantamweight tourney. This included scoring two high-profile victories on New Year’s Eve alone, overcoming Naoki Inoue and Kai Asakura. While he was somewhat of an underdog in this bracket, he ended up being the biggest headline to come out of the promotion’s New Year’s Eve card that year.

He now appears in 2022 for the first time, meeting Kim.

Kim is a successful talent coming out of Korea. He has appeared in RIZIN before, beating Maike Linhares on a card in 2015. He started his reign as Road FC Featherweight Champion earlier this year, earning a finish victory against Park Hae-jin to take the belt.

Further Reading: Ougikubo’s One Big Goal

Bout 5: Ayaka Hamasaki (24-5) vs. Park Si-woo (8-4) (RIZIN Super Atomweight Grand Prix Semi-Final)

Finalists in the RIZIN Super Atomweight Grand Prix will be decided on Sunday night. The winners will move on to compete in the grand finals on New Year’s Eve.

In the first of two bracket matchups, former titleholder Ayaka Hamasaki will take on Park Si-woo.

Hamasaki is using this bracket as a quest to earn a third fight against current divisional champ Seika Izawa, whom she lost to twice over the past year. She started this campaign in July, going the distance against veteran Jessica Aguilar for a decision win.

Park has become somewhat of a dark horse in the bracket, coming off a successful first-round win over the significantly more experienced Kanna Asakura. This only followed up on momentum she has earned in recent months, which includes a late 2021 win against RENA.

Further Reading: Ayaka Hamasaki Is Near Earning Trilogy Against Seika Izawa Amid Fast-Paced RIZIN Booking

Bout 6: Seika Izawa (7-0) vs. Anastasiya Svetkivska (2-1) (RIZIN Super Atomweight Grand Prix Semi-Final)

Undefeated RIZIN Super Atomweight Champion Seika Izawa will aim to continue her bracket run against short-notice opponent Anastasiya Svetkivska.

Izawa was originally meant to face RENA in the semi-finals. However, after an injury pulled RENA from the tournament. Svetkivska was subbed in.

Svetkivska appeared in the quarter-finals of the tournament, where she lost to RENA. Despite losing, the matchup showed her toughness as a fighter through all three rounds.

Izawa’s record could improve to a flawless eight wins with a successful performance this weekend. Two of those victories came against Ayaka Hamasaki, who she beat on New Year’s Eve 2021, and again in April.

Izawa was the sole fighter in the quarter-finals of the RIZIN Super Atomweight Grand Prix to score a finish, submitting Laura Fontoura with a front choke in the first round.

Bout 7: Kyoji Horiguchi (29-5) vs. Kintaro (14-11-2) (134 lbs) (MMA Bout)

The card is scheduled to wrap up with the return to Kyoji Horiguchi. He will face off at bantamweight against Kintaro.

Sunday will be Horiguchi’s first appearance in RIZIN since New Year’s Eve 2020 when he beat Kai Asakura to earn the promotion’s bantamweight belt. Despite his absence from the promotion as of late, he is still recognized as that champion.

Horiguchi has spent recent months in U.S. promotion Bellator. He aimed to regain the promotion’s bantamweight belt in late 2021 with a fight against Sergio Pettis. That bout didn’t go his way, as he suffered a fourth-round spinning back fist stoppage.

Horiguchi took another loss in his last fight, dropping a five-round unanimous decision to Patchy Mix in the opening round of the promotion’s bantamweight grand prix.

Kintaro will also be fighting with the goal of snapping a skid. He took two losses last year, losing to Naoki Inoue and Yuki Motoya at bantamweight.

Horiguchi is expected to return to Bellator following this weekend’s bout. But before he does that, he will look to get back some momentum in front of a supportive crowd.

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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