RIZIN made their second appearance in Yokohama this Sunday. The card had tons of action, so let’s look at how it went down.
Bout 1: Thalison Ferreira (14-2) vs. Taiga (19-7-1) (134 lbs) (Kickboxing Rules)
After RIZIN’s traditional show opening where every fighter was introduced, we had our first fight. The first bout on the card was a kickboxing battle between Thalison Ferreira and Taiga. Taiga has fought in RIZIN before, fighting to a draw at RIZIN 13. Thalison Ferreira had a very intense and long walkout. Both guys were fighting at a fast tempo throughout the first round. Ferreira kept trying for a spinning back fist. With under 20 seconds left in the round, Ferreira was hit with a knee to the body, causing a knockdown. He barely escaped the round. His team was very late for leaving the ring after the first round. Taiga was dropped at the start of round two from an overhand right but recovered. Another overhand that was landed maybe a minute later took Taiga down once again. Ferreira saw red at this point and was fully on the offense. Taiga went down after a jab with under 30 seconds left, causing the referee to end the bout.
Bout 2: Kanako Murata (8-1) vs. Saray Orozco (4-2) (126 lbs) (Elbows Allowed)
The second bout was Kanako Murata filling in for Shinju Nozawa-Auclair, facing Saray Orozco. Early in the fight Murata took it to the ground, landing a takedown. They got back up after Murata landed some strikes on the ground. Murata did another takedown and started trying for a guillotine. In general, Murata had the upper hand on the ground, but wasn’t completely dominant. After Murata picked up Orozco and put her down, she put in a von flue choke, which made the fight end via referee stoppage. As usual for Murata, she threw around her cornermen and cornerwomen after the bout.
Bout 3: Seiichiro Ito (12-2-2) vs. Manel Kape (12-4) (128 lbs) (Elbows Allowed)
In the next fight, longtime ZST fighter Seiichiro Ito fought Manel Kape. Kape had a new look, wearing long pants and shoes in the ring. Within the first minute of the bout, Ito was hit in the groin with a shoe. Kape landed a good takedown in the second minute. Ito had a takedown attempt denied near the end of the round. Kape started to amp up his striking in the second round. There we many moments where Ito was in full defensive mode. From punches to spinning back fists, to grounded knees, Kape was hitting all of his spots in the second round. With a minute left, the referee stepped in to end the fight, giving Kape the stoppage victory. After the fight he dedicated the fight to his mother.
Bout 4: Koji Takeda (8-0) vs. Damien Brown (18-12) (157 lbs) (Elbows Allowed)
After his successful performance at New Year’s Eve, Damien Brown returned to face Koji Takeda. The first round was only stand-up, with Damien Brown having a great round. In-between rounds, Yusuke Yachi was spotted in the crowd. Takeda held onto Brown’s back for a portion of the second round. After an amazing scramble, they went back to kickboxing. Brown seemed to be more dominant in the striking. Takanori Gomi was spotted in the crowd during the second break. Early in the final round, there was a pause due to Brown getting poked in the eye. Takeda was completely defensive in the closing minutes of the fight. This became the first fight of the night to go it’s scheduled distance, with Brown winning via unanimous decision.
Bout 5: Kana Watanabe (6-0-1) vs. Justyna Zofia Haba (1-0) (126 lbs) (Elbows Allowed)
It was a battle of undefeated fighters in the next match when Kana Watanabe battled Justyna Zofia Haba. After a few minutes of stand-up, Watanabe did a trip to take it to the ground. Watanabe landed some forearms on the ground before the round ended. Kana Asakura and KING Reina were shown on the broadcast in-between rounds. In the second round there was a stoppage for Watanabe’s nose to be checked by a doctor. Miyuu Yamamoto and AI Shimizu were seen in the crowd before the third round started. From the ground, Watanabe was landing tons of strikes in the final round. Her nose was bleeding quite a bit during this. The fight went the distance, with the final round being the most dominant for Watanabe. The judges gave Watanabe the nod via unanimous decision.
Bout 6: Mikuru Asakura (9-1) vs. Luiz Gustavo (9-0) (150 lbs) (No Elbows Allowed)
In what is a great fight to have before intermission, Luiz Gustavo fought Mikuru Asakura. Gustavo landed a hard kick to the head early into the fight. Asakura landed a takedown shortly after. They were stood up after nothing happened on the ground. The referee stopped the fight after Asakura claimed an eye poke. After a doctor extensively checked him out the fight resumed. Back on the ground, Gustavo put in a guillotine but was broken as they almost fully got out of the ring. At the start of the second round, Asakura did a good kick to the ribs. Gustavo jumped into a takedown after trying to do a kick. When back on their feet, Asakura and Gustavo got into a swinging battle. Gustavo got dropped from a right hand but recovered and was taken down moments later. Gustavo got fully out of the ring while Asakura was on top, forcing a break. This caused Gustavo to be given a yellow card. The final minute was more powerful strikes from both fighters. In the third round Gustavo started to bleed from the left eye. The final round was the most intense as both guys were swinging for the fences. Asakura did a takedown with over a minute left, but Gustavo backed out of the ring again. Both fighters survived all three rounds. The judges gave Mikuru Asakura the unanimous win.
Bout 7: RENA (7-2) vs. Samantha Jean-Francois (4-5) (112 lbs) (Elbows Allowed)
After the first intermission ended, RENA faced Samantha Jean-Francois in a match that was originally scheduled for New Year’s Eve. This time around RENA was able to survive the weight cut, so the fight went through. Francois was wearing wrestling shoes for this match. After clinching for a little in the first, RENA threw Francois onto the ground, but got immediately reversed. Francois did a trip shortly after, with RENA attempting an armbar from the bottom position. Francois escaped the armbar, going back into a standing clinch in the corner. RENA tried for a judo throw, but Francois sort of collapsed on her and assumed top position on the ground. Francois tried for a rear naked choke but couldn’t find it as the round ended. RENA landed some good stand-up shots at the start of the second, but was taken down shortly after. RENA tried for an armbar and got slammed by Francois but kept ahold of the move. They found themselves in a stalemate as RENA stood up and Francois stayed on the ground. RENA dove down for a punch, but stood back up shortly after. The referee stood Francois up this time. Francois landed another takedown but RENA reversed it using momentum. From top mount, RENA started to land strikes. After some hammer fist strikes, RENA tried for more submission moves. The round ended in this position. In RENA’s corner, she got her coach to slap her in the face with both hands before the final round started. In the final round, Francois landed a takedown but RENA fought her way into the top position. They got stood up after being in that position for a few minutes. RENA defended a takedown successfully in the final minute, taking top position once again from it. In a north south position, RENA landed some knee strikes to the head. The fight went the full distance. All three judges gave RENA the victory.
Bout 8: Karl Albrektsson (8-2) vs. Christiano Frolich (10-4) (205 lbs) (Elbows Allowed)
In a Light Heavyweight bout, Karl Albrektsson fought Christiano Frolich next. Albrektsson had a huge height advantage over Frolich. In the first minute, Albrektsson landed a left kick to the body that dropped Frohlich and echoed throughout the building. That exchange brought the fight to the ground. Albrektsson was dominant with strikes on the ground. Albrektsson was dropped by punches in the final ten seconds, possibly being saved by the bell. The second round had an emphasis on kickboxing. In the first minute of the final round, Albrektsson landed a takedown that almost made Frohlich fall out of the ring. Despite landing this, since they went out of the ring he lost the position. Albrektsson got a top position on the ground and landed tons of strikes. The fight went the distance, with Albrektsson winning via scorecards.
Bout 9: Satoru Kitaoka (42-18-9) vs. Roberto Satoshi Souza (7-0) (156 lbs) (No Elbows Allowed)
Veteran JMMA fighter Satoru Kitaoka faced BJJ ace Roberto Satoshi Souza in the next bout. This was Kitaoka’s 70th pro MMA fight. After some striking, Kitaoka had a guillotine on that Souza rolled out of. Souza got a large cut on his head which cause a break in the bout. After a somewhat contained battle, both guys let their hands fly for a few seconds in the final minute. Kitaoka got a takedown early in the second. The fight was stopped once again, this time to look at a cut on Kitaoka’s head. The fight continued, with Souza landing some good combos of punches before Kitaoka shot for another takedown. Kitaoka tried for a leg lock on the ground (a move that got him put to sleep against Diego Brandao). Souza reversed the move into a rear naked choke and then a triangle choke. Kitaoka was able to escape the predicament. They were stood up after a bit of inactivity on the ground. They started to trade strikes, with Kitaoka being dropped after numerous strikes, and was hit a few more times before the referee dove in. Souza had an emotional speech after the fight, talking about how he watched PRIDE as a kid, and how this was a dream come true.
Bout 10: Kyoji Horiguchi (26-2) vs. Ben Nguyen (16-8) (132 lbs) (Elbows Allowed)
The first of three huge fights on the card was RIZIN’s star Kyoji Horiguchi facing Ben Nguyen. The crowd was very electric for this fight. Nguyen was wearing shoes in the ring. Right off the bat, Nguyen was the aggressor. He got onto Horiguchi’s back while he was standing, but was taken out of the position after Horiguchi spun. They clinched up against the ropes for a while. Horiguchi started to land some good hooks. Nguyen stopped being the fight who was pushing the pace as he stated getting tagged. Nguyen was dropped twice, and after being hit in the corner many times, the referee stepped in and concluded the bout. After the fight, Nobuyuki Sakakibara got in the ring and asked Horiguchi if he wants to fight on Bellator’s Madison Square Garden card. The implication was that Horiguchi would face Darrion Caldwell for his Bellator Championship.
Bout 11: Tenshin Nasukawa (29-0) vs. Fritz Biagtan (12-3) (130 lbs) (Kickboxing Rules)
After the second intermission ended, Manny Pacquiao came to the ring and thanked everyone for the opportunity to be here, and for his kickboxer Fritz Biagtan to fight Tenshin Nasukawa. He took a seat at ringside for the fight. The first round was very methodical, with both guys having a feeling out process. There was a pause due to Nasukawa getting un-intentionally hit in the groin. Biagtan was landing strikes in the second round, but it felt like Nasukawa was controlling the bout. In the final minute of the second round, there was a moment where Biagtan was spun into a corner and then hit a few times clean on the chin. In the final round, Nasukawa started to really egg on with strikes. He landed a knockdown after a knee to the body. With another knee only second laster, Nasukawa got a second knockdown and a victory. He did the Street Fighter “Hadouken” pose after winning.
Bout 12: King Mo (21-8) vs. Jiri Prochazka (23-3-1) (Light Heavyweight Title Match) (Elbows Allowed)
In the main event of RIZIN 15, Jiri Prochazka and King Mo fought to become the first ever RIZIN Light Heavyweight Champion. Like many people tonight, King Mo fought in shoes. Before the main event happened, the Czech Republic and United States National Anthems were played. Despite being a championship bout, it was only scheduled for three rounds. The first round of the fight felt very slow, and while Prochazka landed some, it wasn’t a huge round for him. There was a pause in the action when a doctor had to check on a cut around Prochazka’s left eye. Prochazka was more aggressive than King Mo in this round. With two minutes left in the final round, Prochazka started to land head strikes, dropping King Mo and eventually closing out the fight. Jiri Prochazka is RIZIN’s first Light Heavyweight Champion.
With RIZIN’s evening of fights concluded, we look to the future. RIZIN is scheduled to have their next event on June 2nd in Kobe, Japan, making it the promotion’s debut in the city. It will be in World Memorial Hall, a venue that has 8,000 seats in it. No fights are booked for the event yet, but once we edge closer to the date some bouts are eventually going to be announced.