On Tuesday, Dec. 31, Rizin Fighting Federation visited the Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo, Japan for its 20th numbered event.
Rizin 20 featured three title showdowns, a one-night lightweight tournament, two kickboxing affairs, and plenty of additional star power.
The Rizin bantamweight title was up for grabs between contenders Kai Asakura and Manel Kape. The 26-year-old Asakura was already a rising star within the promotion before he stunned Kyoji Horiguchi with a 68-second knockout in a non-title affair in August. He has since added a 54-second finish of Ulka Sasaki to his resume. In addition, he’s already eked out a split verdict over his upcoming opponent. Kape has gone 3-1 since his previous loss to Asakura, and all three of his wins in this stretch have come via stoppage.
The women’s atomweight title was on the line when champion Ayaka Hamasaki collided with challenger Seo Hee Ham. These two ladies have been at the top of the division for quite some time, and they’ve even battled each other on two previous occasions. In their first encounter, which took place in late 2010, Hamasaki decisioned her South Korean foe. In a rematch exactly one year later, Ham only lasted a round. Since their last fight, Hamasaki has gone 13-2 and captured additional gold with Invicta FC and Rizin. Ham has posted a 12-3 mark in the years that followed, but her losses came in an ill-advised move to strawweight for a stint in the UFC.
Rizin and Bellator had hoped to book a battle of champions in the light-heavyweight division between Rizin’s Jiří Procházka and Bellator’s Ryan Bader, but the fight did not come to fruition. Instead, Procházka defended his crown against C.B. Dollaway, who recently requested his release from the UFC while serving a two-year suspension from the USADA.
The one-night tournament showcases Bellator’s Patricky “Pitbull” Freire and Rizin’s Johnny Case. Pitbull met 10-1 upstart Luiz Gustavo in the semifinals. Case drew the 16-3 Tofiq Musaev for his first fight of the evening.
The 2018 year-end show featured kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in a modified-rules bout against legendary boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. This year, Nasukawa got a more traditional kickboxing match against Rui Ebata. In other kickboxing action, Taiga Kawabe squared off with Taiju Shiratori.
The stacked lineup also featured such notable names as John “Macapá” Teixeira, Lindsey VanZandt, Rena Kubota, Satoshi Ishii, Shintaro Ishiwatari, Hiromasa Ogikubo and Miyuu Yamamoto.
The festivities kicked off at 1 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Dec. 31. The event aired live on Combat Press via Fite TV pay-per-view stream.
Manel Kape def. Kai Asakura by TKO (punches). Round 2, 0:38 – for bantamweight title
Kickboxing: Tenshin Nasukawa def. Rui Ebata by TKO (three knockdowns). Round 1
Seo Hee Ham def. Ayaka Hamasaki by split decision – for atomweight title
Mikuru Asakura def. John Teixeira by unanimous decision
Rena Kubota def. Lindsey VanZandt by TKO (corner stoppage). Round 3, 4:42
Tofiq Musayev def. Patricky “Pitbull” Freire by unanimous decision – lightweight grand prix final
Jiří Procházka def. C.B. Dollaway by knockout (punches). Round 1, 1:55 – for light heavyweight title
Simon Biyong def. Vitaly Shemetov by submission (punches). Round 2, 0:58
Hiromasa Ogikubo def. Shintaro Ishiwatari by split decision
Jake Heun def. Satoshi Ishii by TKO (punches). Round 1, 1:12
Patrick Mix def. Yuki Motoya by submission (guillotine choke). Round 1, 1:36
Kickboxing: Taiju Shiratori def. Taiga Kawabe by TKO (cut). Round 2, 3:00
Miyuu Yamamoto def. Suwanan Boonsorn by unanimous decision
Patricky “Pitbull” Freire def. Luiz Gustavo by knockout (strikes). Round 1, 0:28 – lightweight grand prix semifinal
Tofiq Musayev def. Johnny Case by TKO (punches). Round 1, 2:46 – lightweight grand prix semifinal
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.