RIZIN wrapped up it’s action-packed summer of shows on Sunday, with RIZIN 18. The show had many of it’s big names like Kyoji Horiguchi, Kanna Asakura and Ayaka Hamasaki along with many other big names. The show also had a big focus on kickboxing, with many bouts under the ruleset throughout the show. In the promotions return to Nagoya, the show had lots of big matches. Follow along throughout the evening (or morning, depending on what timezone you’re in) for updates.
All MMA fights on this card have elbows allowed in them, as opposed to previous cards which had some fights without elbows allowed.
Bout 1: Uchu Sakurai (4-1) vs. Ryuji Horio (19-9-2) (Kickboxing Rules) (126 lbs)
Before the first fight, RIZIN had their usual fighter introductions. There was no large pyro since they’re in a venue with no real stage. Just like last time RIZIN was in Nagoya, there was a visible amount of empty seats in the venue. The first fight on the card was a kickboxing match between Uchu Sakurai and Ryuji Horio. It’s worth noting that Sakurai is 16 years old. Sakurai was getting most of the offence in through the first round. Horio was rocked in the end of the round, getting hit with a combination of strikes which made him stay put in guard until the round ended. He was hit with a knee to the head, then hit with punches after. Horio had a better second round, putting Sakurai in a corner and throwing lots of punches. There was a pause in the third round as seemingly Sakurai’s mouthguard wasn’t put back in in-between rounds. Sakurai was put in the corner and getting absolutely pummeled. He was given a standing 10 count with 30 seconds left. Sensing blood in the water, Horio kept coming forward. He couldn’t land another knockdown before the fight ran out of time. All three judges gave the fight to Ryuji Horio, earning his 20th professional win.
Bout 2: Kazuki Osaki (24-5-2 1 NC) vs. Shota Takiya (32-13) (Kickboxing Rules) (117 lbs)
The second match was a kickboxing battle, with two experienced kickboxers in Kazuki Osaki and Shota Takiya facing off. Takiya is apparently a big Dragon Ball fan, wanting to be a real-life Goku. Osaki was coming into this fight with more of a muay thai stance, versus the karate stance of Takiya. Both guys started really trading hard punches as the first round was in its final minute. Whenever they clinched up, Osaki would try to throw Takiya down. As the second round was concluding, Takiya was dropped by a combination of punches. He got back up and had an intense exchange with Osaki as the round ended. Takiya was completely defensive in the final round, with Osaki teeing off. Osaki was dropped yet again, this time in the final round from a right hook. Going to decision, Kazuki Osaki took the unanimous decision victory.
Bout 3: Tabatha Watkins (3-2) vs. AI (3-0) (MMA Rules) (108 lbs)
In the first MMA fight of the night, Krazy Bee prospect AI faced Tabatha Watkins. In the first minute of the fight, AI landed a takedown. Watkins put in an armbar which was very tight. AI stood up and started landing stomps to the head while in the move. AI eventually got out of the armbar, and tried landing strikes from above. On the ground in the second round, Watkins put in another armbar which was tight. There was a hand motion from AI which made it look like she tapped. Although it was either never seen, or it was just not considered a tap. AI got out of it, and almost found herself in a triangle choke but escaped it and moved into a north south. From that position, AI landed knees to the head. In side position, AI did knees to the mid-section. She also threw elbows to the body. Before the final round, Kanako Murata was spotted in the crowd. In the final round, AI had Watkins on the ground and threw strikes from above. AI dove down into side position again, throwing knees to the head. She threw tons of elbows to the head. Watkins started to bleed heavily. AI started to throw hammerfist punches, with it looking scary for Watkins for a second. The fight went the distance. While Watkins had two rounds with near finished, AI did a lot of damage in the final round, which is important since RIZIN doesn’t use the 10 point must system, but instead scores a fight altogether. The decision was unanimous, with all three judges giving AI the win.
Bout 4: Yutaro Muramoto (6-4-2) vs. Takaki Soya (10-4-1) (MMA Rules) (130 lbs)
The next fight had the RIZIN debut of Yutaro Muramoto versus Takaki Soya, who got a brutal victory two shows ago. Right off the bat, Muramoto tried for a jumping knee. It missed, making them go to the ground for a few moments before returning to stand-up. Muramoto had a takedown blocked by Soya. Muramoto was dropped by a right hook when they were trading punches halfway through the round. The fight went to the ground, with Muramoto landing punches from top position. In-between rounds, Yuki Motoya was spotted in the crowd. They traded punches in the second round, with Soya landing real good punches. After he strung together enough strikes, the referee stepped in and ended the fight. Another impressive win from Soya comes this summer.
Bout 5: Justin Scoggins (11-6) vs. Kazuma Sone (23-18-1) (134 lbs)
In a clash between two fighters on a multiple fight losing streak, Justin Scoggins fought Kazuma Sone. Scoggins lost his RIZIN debut on New Year’s Eve, coming from the UFC before then. Sone has lost in Shooto, also losing in Nagoya last year at RIZIN 12. When they faced off in the ring before the fight started, Scoggins had his fists up and looked intense. The English commentary mentioned numerous times on the broadcast that a 135 pound tournament could happen soon. The first round of this fight had close stand-up action, with both fighters landing good shots. In the second round, Scoggins clipped Sone with a right hook. Sone gave up his back after coming forward trying something, but got back to stand-up. A big cut around Sone’s right eye opened up in the second round. In the third round, Scoggins was confident, taunting frequently. Scoggins dropped Sone again with punches. The fight went all three rounds, and while Sone stayed in it until the end, Scoggins was clearly the better fighter. All three judges gave the fight to Justin Scoggins, who was confident way before his name was called. Scoggins got his first win since 2016, and his first win in RIZIN.
Bout 6: Yves Landu (15-7) vs. Hiroto Uesako (17-7) (157 lbs)
Before the next fight, the broadcast told us that this was a qualifier for the RIZIN Lightweight GP. From France, Yves Landu face Hiroto Uesako, who has found success on the Japanese regional circuit. Landu had athletic tape around his left shoulder and arm. Landu slipped after throwing a punch, which made Uesako throw a knee. Landu scored a takedown, They got up and went into a clinch up against the ropes/corner. Uesako did a judo throw, then tried for a kick which Landu caught. On the ground, Lando threw a few elbows as the round ended. Before the second round, Roberto Satoshi Souza was shown in the audience. Landu had a good start to the second round, throwing tons of punches and kicks including a switch kick. His movement shows that he’s very light on his feet. Uesako took top position on the ground and held it for a large amount of the round. He threw tons of punches, with the referee eventually ending the bout. While the punches weren’t hard, Landu was stuck in his position for quite some time.
Bout 7: Jarred Brooks (14-2) vs. Haruo Ochi (19-7-2) (117 lbs)
Jarred Brooks, who has the nickname “The Monkey God,” came out with a monkey mask, throwing bananas into the crowd. In his RIZIN debut, he faced Haruo Ochi, who sent Mitsuhisa Sunabe into the shadow realm back in the Fall at RIZIN 13. Right off the bat, Brooks landed a takedown. The fighters clashed heads, which made Ochi’s forehead cut open horribly. The fight was ruled a no-contest, with both fighters being visibly frustrated with the outcome.
Bout 8: Alesha Zappitella (5-1 1 NC) vs. Kanna Asakura (14-4) (108 lbs)
In the final fight before the intermission, Kanna Asakura attempted to bounce back from her loss against Miyuu Yamamoto, facing Alesha Zappitella, who has fought in the American Women’s promotion Invicta many times. Tenshin Nasukawa was shown sitting at ringside for this fight. Early in the fight, Zappitella was throwing hard punches. Asakura tried for a takedown but it was stopped in the first minute. Asakura was coming in with good shots. While Zappatella did a good job at defending takedowns throughout the round, Asakura kept landing good shots. In the second round, Zappitella scored a takedown, although most of the round stayed in stand-up. Zappitella took down Asakura in the final round and threw a short flurry of punches. They were both landing solid punches in the final round. Zappitella was walking around the edges of the ring. Zappitella tried for a single leg takedown in the final seconds of the fight which was landed. Zappitella’s corner was very confident as the fight ended. The judges had a split decision, with the third and final judge giving the fight to Kanna Asakura. Nasukawa looked happy at ringside, which is fitting since it was also his birthday.
Bout 9: Danilo Zanolini (41-12) vs. John Wayne Parr (99-33-1) (Kickboxing Rules) (165 lbs)
After the intermission, Tenshin Nasukawa came to the ring to speak. He talked about his September 16 fight in RISE, competing in the finals of a Grand Prix. He said he will return to RIZIN once the tournament is over. He also talked about how he is happy that it is his birthday. The next fight was a big one, as kickboxing legend John Wayne Parr looked for his 100th professional win against Danilo Zanolini. Parr walked out to Old Town Road. The first round had a ton of low kicks from both fighters. Parr got a cut on the left side of his head before round one ended. Zanolini was doing well throughout the first two rounds, although they could go either way. Zanolini was warned to not land elbows. Keeping a fast tempo through all three rounds, this fight was a close one to call. The fight went the distance, with both fighters putting on a close performance. The decision was a split decision, with Danilo Zanolini getting the win. John Wayne Parr was unable to earn his 100th pro career win.
Bout 10: Takeya Mizugaki (23-13-2) vs. Manel Kape (13-4) (MMA Rules) (134 lbs)
Shifting back to MMA for the rest of the night, the first match was Takeya Mizugaki versus Manel Kape. Mizugaki is a very experienced fighter, competing in the UFC up until 2017, being with them since 2011. Also, he competed in WEC from 2009 to 2010. Kape is a veteran of RIZIN, attempting to bounce back from a loss against Seiichiro Ito. Kape wore shoes and socks for this fight, making him the first person to do so on this show. After a minute of striking from both fighters, a pause came after Mizugaki was hit in the groin. Halfway through the round, Kape started to showboat, throwing slaps and fancy kicks behind the other leg. As the round ended, Kape did the pose that Tenshin Nasukawa often does. There were many times in the round where both fighters threw numerous punch combos. Just over a minute into the second round, Kape landed a right hook which gave him the win. He didn’t have to land another punch before the referee intervened. He mocked Nasukawa’s stance once again after the fight. After the fight, he called out Kyoji Horiguchi. Also, Kape claimed he is the most pretty boy fighter in Japan.
Bout 11: Trent Girdham (11-2) vs. Victor Henry (18-4) (MMA Rules) (134 lbs)
In the next fight, DEEP Bantamweight Champion Victor Henry challenged Trent Girdham. Both fighters made their RIZIN debut with this fight. There was a pause in the first round was Henry was kicked in the groin. With two minutes left in the round, Henry had Girdham retreating due to shots. A trip attempt by Girdham was defended, staying in standing clinch. Girdham threw down Henry and took his back. When they stood back up, Henry had a great combination of strikes and then scored a takedown as the round ended. Henry got hit in the groin again in the second round. Girdham was given another warning. A minute later it was Girdham who got hit with a low kick, cause another pause. Henry landed a takedown but Girdham reversed it. Girdham was in control for most of the time on the ground. Henry got a takedown as the second round closed out. Unfortunately, at the start of the final round, Girdham was hit in the round while throwing a spinning back kick. When they resumed, Henry took top position on the ground. Henry tried for a triangle choke on Girdham’s back, making him tap out. Right after he won, Victor Henry put on Zumba pants.
Bout 12: AMP The Rocket (3-1) vs. Ayaka Hamasaki (18-2) (MMA Rules) (108 lbs)
In the co-main event, Suwanan Boonsorn, also known as AMP The Rocket made her RIZIN debut against Ayaka Hamasaki. The commentary team said AMP has a muay thai record of 74-4. She came out sporting DEEP Jewels merch. Hamasaki has the RIZIN Super Atomweight Championship, although she is not defending it in this contest. Flowers were given to both fighters before the bout started. AMP landed a takedown in the first few seconds of the right. Hamasaki tried for a kimura while AMP was on her back. That didn’t work. AMP tried for a rear naked choke. It stayed on the chin of Hamasaki, never getting below that. AMP transitioned into a head and arm lock. Hamasaki was able to take mount, flipping around the position. Hamasaki put in an armbar, making AMP tap out in the first round.
Bout 13: Kai Asakura (12-1) vs. Kyoji Horiguchi (28-2) (MMA Rules) (134 lbs)
In the main event of the evening, Kai Asakura challenged the king of RIZIN, Kyoji Horiguchi. Mikuru Asakura, who won just a few weeks ago against Yusuke Yachi, was in the corner of his brother. In the first minute of the fight, Horiguchi was rocked by a right hook. Retreating, Horiguchi was hit with more punches, especially another right hook which dropped him and ended the fight. The crowd erupted, as this was a big upset. This ended Horiguchi’s 13 MMA fight winning streak, which goes into the last fights of his UFC run. The fight was not for Horiguchi’s RIZIN or Bellator Championships, but the victory certainly puts him in line for a shot.