On Sunday, Sept. 25, former Pride Fighting Championship boss Noboyuki Sakakibara brought Rizin Fighting Federation back to the Saitama Super Arena in Japan for the Rizin Fighting World Grand Prix 2016: 1st Round.

In the main event of the evening, one of the best grapplers in the world, Kron Gracie, returned to Rizin for his third professional MMA fight. The multiple-time BJJ world champion has earned first-round submission victories in first two fights. Gracie faced his toughest opponent to date, the Japanese MMA legend Hideo Tokoro, when he returned to the ring after submitting rising prospect Erson Yamamoto in his most recent outing. Tokoro has won 33 fights including 19 submissions and 5 knockouts in his 16-year career. Tokoro was successful in his Rizin debut when he locked up an armbar on the former K-1 veteran Kizaemon Saiga in the promotion’s inaugural event.

In the co-main event of the evening, multiple-time freestyle wrestling world champion Miyu Yamamoto made the move to MMA just like her son, Erson, did on the last Rizin show. Yamamoto is the sister of one of Japan’s biggest MMA stars, Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto. She made her debut at the age of 42. Yamamoto will fought one of Japan’s most popular female combat sports stars, Rena Kubota. She returned to Rizin for her second professional MMA bout after a successful Shootboxing career that features wins over UFC veteran Seo Hee Ham and top-10 atomweight Mei Yamaguchi. Rena won her MMA debut against Jleana Valentino with a flying armbar on last year’s Rizin card on New Year’s Eve.

In the opening round of the 2016 Rizin World Grand Prix, Pride openweight grand prix winner Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic submitted former K-1 kickboxer and ROAD FC veteran Hyun Man Myung. Japanese MMA mainstay Kazuyuki Fujita took on one of Sumo’s fastest rising stars, Baruto Kaito. Jiri Prochazka returned to Rizin against Lebanese heavyweight Mark Tanios. Unbeaten prospects Valentin Moldavsky and Karl Albrektsson battle for positioning in the field of 16. Former Greco-Roman wrestling world champion Amir Aliakbari defeated Jungle Fight 100-kilogram champion Joao Almeida. Lithuanian prospect Teodoras Aukstuolis lost against KSW veteran Szymon Bajor.

In the rest of the evening’s action, kickboxing legend Andy Souwer returned to Rizin for his second MMA rules bout against UFC veteran Daron Cruickshank. Current top-10 featherweight kickboxer “Minoru” Kimura made his MMA debut against Pride and EliteXC veteran Charles “Felony” Bennett (formerly Krazy Horse). Former K-1 veteran Kizaemon Saiga fought 20-year-old Erson Yamamoto in a battle of young Japanese prospects. Multiple-time Japanese national wrestling champion Kanako Murata dominated rising Combate Americas prospect Kyra Batara. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion Gabi Garcia fought the previously undefeated Destanie Yarbrough.

The event aired live at 2 a.m. ET on Combat PressEversportTV and Sky Perfect PPV.

FULL RESULTS
Kron Gracie def. Hideo Tokoro by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1
Rena Kubota def. Miyu Yamamoto by submission (modified guillotine choke). Round 1
Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic def. Hyun Man Myung by submission (arm-triangle choke). Round 1 – openweight grand prix first round
Baruto Kaito def. Kazuyuki Fujita by unanimous decision – openweight grand prix first round
Daron Cruickshank def. Andy Souwer by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1
Erson Yamamoto def. Kizaemon Saiga by split decision
Jiri Prochazka def. Mark Tanios by unanimous decision – openweight grand prix first round
Valentin Moldavsky def. Karl Albrektsson by unanimous decision – openweight grand prix first round
Amir Aliakbari def. Joao Almeida by TKO (punches). Round 1 – openweight grand prix first round
Szymon Bajor def. Teodoras Aukstuolis by unanimous decision – openweight grand prix first round
Charles Bennett def. Minoru Kimura by TKO (punches). Round 1, 0:07
Kanako Murata def. Kyra Batara by unanimous decision
Gabi Garcia def. Destanie Yarbrough by submission (keylock). Round 1

About The Author

Zach Aittama
Staff Writer

Zach Aittama became a fan of martial arts at an early age. Hooked on the sport after one experience, Zach started training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai as a teenager. Watching the sport only increased his interest, building a fascination for combat sports around the globe. Years of training and two amateur bouts later, Zach continues to train while working and attending school. Zach started writing for Fight Sport Asia in 2014 and joined the Combat Press staff in July of 2015.

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