RIZIN TRIGGER 3rd & RIZIN.35 each set with additional bouts. International fighters return to RIZIN, as Vugar Karamov faces Pancrase Interim Champion Taichi Nakajima, unbeaten Rihards Bigis takes on Shoma Shibisai, and Spike Carlyle squares off against former DEEP Champion Koji Takeda.
TOKYO – March 22nd, RIZIN CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara, held a press conference and announced updates about RIZIN TRIGGER 3rd & RIZIN.35 - the promotion’s fourth and fifth events of the year.
CEO Sakakibara announced more bouts for the promotion’s 4th and 5th events. ”Starting April, we hope to bring in more international fighters to boost the roster. Still many restrictions but slowly want to add more international fighters. RIZIN 35 public weigh-ins will be held at the RIZIN TRIGGER event.”.
RIZIN 35 Poster
Takahiro Ashida (24-11-2, 1-1 RIZIN FF) vs Kyle Aguon (13-10, 0-2 RIZIN FF) 66kg MMA
The former DEEP Featherweight Champion Ashida holds 13 stoppage wins. Ashida made his RIZIN debut at RIZIN.24 against surging contender Kyohei Hagiwara, where he won via 1st round submission, but was defeated by long-time veteran Masanori Kanehara at RIZIN.31 last October. He is 3-1 in his last 4 bouts since losing his title to Satoshi ‘Dominator’ Yamasu at DEEP 86 Impact in October 2018. Kyle Aguon has already faced some of the division’s toughest competition in just 2 bouts, losing against Vugar Karamov at RIZIN.21 and Kleber Koike at RIZIN.26. Just before his RIZIN debut, he fought to a split decision loss in a title fight for the Pancrase Featherweight strap against Isao Kobayashi at Pancrase 309 in October 2019. He looks to snap a 3-fight skid, and having only lost to the division’s elite, a win would certainly keep him on the books for another top contender fight.
“I'm excited to be fighting an international opponent. It motivates me to put in a better performance.”
“I'm grateful to RIZIN for another chance. The pandemic has been hard on all of us but I want to put on a show to inspire the people. Ashida is a good fighter but won’t be a problem for me. We’ll put on a show.”
Vugar Karamov (15-4, 1-1 RIZIN FF) vs Taichi Nakajima (15-11-1, 0-0 RIZIN FF) 66kg MMA
Tofiq Musayev’s stablemate Karamov made his promotional debut at RIZIN.21 where he defeated Kyle Aguon by only the 2nd decision victory in his career, and had to wait nearly 16 months due to the pandemic before his next bout in RIZIN. A true well-rounded finisher, he has won 6 bouts by KO/TKO and 6 bouts by submission. He lost a split decision to then-champion, Yutaka Saito, which was a closely contested bout that saw the referee give Karamov a yellow card due to persistent infringements and fouls. Although it was a non-title bout, the competitiveness elevated the Azerbaijani fighter’s profile in the division. With just one loss in the last 8 years and an 11-1 record in that time, Karamov remains a top contender in RIZIN’s ever-growing featherweight division. Taichi Nakajima is the reigning Pancrase Interim Bantamweight Champion, winning the title just 4 months ago, and had been coming off a decision loss for the Pancrase Featherweight Championship against Isao Kobayashi in May of last year. Currently on a 3-1 stretch in his last 4 bouts, the 33-year-old has scored impressive victories over current UFC top-10 ranked featherweight Dan Ige, and current RIZIN contender Yoshinori Horie.
“I'm glad to be fighting in Japan again. My opponent has fought my teammate in the past, so I know him well. I’ll show you a fun fight with him.”
“Im very excited to be fighting on this stage. I will show you the strengths and greatness of Pancrase..”
Shoma Shibisai (7-3, 2-2 RIZIN FF) vs Rihards Bigis (9-0, 0-0 RIZIN FF) 120kg MMA
Coming into his 5th bout in RIZIN, Shibisai’s career has been action packed. After making his debut in 2012, he took a 3-year hiatus before storming the JMMA heavyweight gates. Shibsai’s first RIZIN victory came at RIZIN.19, where he tapped Chang Hee Kim with a kimura in just 69 seconds. Ahead of his bout with Tsuyoshi Sudario, Shibisai carried an astounding career average victory time of 57 seconds; his 3rd round submission victory over Sudario pushed it to 2:29. After a shock defeat at the hands of Hideki ‘Shrek’ Sekine on the New Year’s Eve show, Shibisai looks to get back to winning ways. Bigis is the former FREON Heavyweight Champion - the top promotion in his native Latvia. He carries a perfect 9-0 record into his RIZIN debut, with 7 stoppages and an average finish time of 1:15. Not only do both fighters score lightning fast stoppages; they have only gone the distance twice in a combined 19 professional bouts. The judges will not be needed for this heavyweight tilt.
“It looks like my opponent likes violence and is very aggressive. He’s undefeated and that motivates me. I’ll put on a good fight for my return to RIZIN.”
“I grew up watching PRIDE and wanted to be a PRIDE fighter. I respect Shoma Shibisai but it won’t be easy for him. I'm undefeated and will smash everybody in my way.”
Tsuyoshi Kosaka (29-21-2, 1-2 RIZIN FF) vs Mikio Ueda (0-0, 0-0 RIZIN FF) 120kg MMA
‘TK’ will be stepping into the RIZIN ring for the 4th time, having competed in the promotion’s first ever bout on December 29th, 2015, where he defeated James Thompson by a 2nd round TKO. He then faced Baruto in the 2016 Openweight Grand Prix Quarterfinals, where he dropped a decision, and then returned for RIZIN’s 2017 New Year show, facing Croatian legend Mirko Cro Cop. His last bout was in January 2020 at HEAT 46. Kosaka welcomes Mikio Ueda to the world of MMA. Ueda is the 12th World Open Karate Championship winner, winning the tournament at 24 years of age back in 2019. He also participated in the 100-man kumite last year, with the doctor intervening after the 60th match. He announced his willingness to compete in MMA last September, and joined BRAVE gym the following month.
“It’s been a while. I kicked off RIZIN’s very first fight back in 2015. I’ve witnessed RIZIN grow throughout the years. Watching it first hand, made me want to have my very first fight in RIZIN, and call it, then commit to growing the younger generation. This will be my last fight. But I don’t plan on being an easy stepping stone. I will throw him down the cliff, and wait for him to climb back up.”
“I made my transition last year and I’m grateful to be given such an opportunity so quickly. I will show my dedication and mental strength I built through Kyokushin. I respect Kosaka a lot, and will face him with respect.”
Koji Takeda (13-2, 3-2 RIZIN FF) vs Spike Carlyle (13-3, 0-0 RIZIN FF) 71kg MMA
Former DEEP Lightweight Champion Takeda makes his 6th appearance under Japan’s premier banner. With a hat trick of wins over newly promoted DEEP Lightweight champion Juri Ohara and a win over fellow domestic champion in Pancrase’s Takasuke Kume at RIZIN.27, the 26 year old is firmly at the top of the division. He scored his first finish in RIZIN at RIZIN.33 against Beynoah with a 2nd round armbar. Now, he faces his 2nd international opponent in Spike Carlyle. ‘The Alpha Ginger’ is riding a 4-fight win streak, including an incredible come-from-behind finish with just 2 minutes against Dan Moret at Bellator 272 last December in his promotional debut. He enjoyed a 3-fight stint in the UFC, scoring an 85-second stoppage in his debut. With 12 stoppages (6 by KO/TKO, 6 by submission) in 13 wins, and never being stopped himself, he is an exciting addition to RIZIN’s lightweight division. This will be a true clash of styles in RIZIN’s biggest event so far this year.
“I asked for an international opponent and I’m grateful I got it. Spike looks like he’s got a good fight style and this will be an exciting fight. I also stopped tanning.”
“I'm excited to be able to finally fight in Japan. I hope you enjoy my style and character. My opponent Koji and I have a style that will make for an explosive fight. I can’t wait to see you guys.”
Kanna Asakura (18-6, 9-5 RIZIN FF) vs SARAMI (16-12, 0-0 RIZIN FF) 49kg MMA
2017 Super Atomweight Grand Prix Champion Kanna Asakura has experienced ups and downs in her RIZIN career. From losing her debut, to firing off 6-straight wins (where she scored an upset win over RENA in the Grand Prix finals), to 2 failed title challenges against Ayaka Hamasaki, the 24-year-old has earned a wealth of experience in her young career. She has faced the old guard, and served as a gatekeeper against the next generation. She now faces the Shooto Atomweight Champion Satomi Takano, aka ‘SARAMI’. The 31-year-old captured the title in her last bout against Mina Kurobe nearly 5 months ago. She is 5-1 in her last 6 bouts, and has challenged for the DEEP Jewels Featherweight (105lbs) and DEEP Jewels Atomweight (104lbs) titles.
“It’s been a while since my last fight. I'm on a 2 fight losing streak right now and let many people down. This is not an easy fight for me so I will keep pushing myself and challenging myself so I appreciate your support.”
“I never imagined myself fighting in RIZIN a year ago. I’ve been having frat training and I feel like a better fighter now. 2022 will be my year so look forward to me this year.”
Yuki Motoya (29-10 1NC, 6-5 1NC RIZIN FF) vs Alan ‘Hiro’ Yamaniha (19-9-4, 2-1 RIZIN FF) 61kg MMA
Two-weight DEEP Champion Yuki Motoya had a busy 2021, going 3-1 and going to the Grand Prix 2nd round, along with earning an alternate bout on New Year’s Eve at RIZIN.33, defeating Kintaro via unanimous decision. He also defeated eventual Grand Prix Champion Hiromasa Ougikubo’s teammate and Shooto Champion Ryo Okada in the opening round in what was perhaps his best performance in the RIZIN ring. Yamaniha is coming into his 4th RIZIN bout and is 5-1 in his last 6 bouts. He defeated GRACHAN Champion and surging bantamweight Motonobu Tezuka via 2nd round submission at RIZIN.34 earlier this month, avenging a loss from earlier in his career in the process. The two veterans loom near the top end of the division, and a win for either of them will push them that much closer to the top.
RIZIN.35 Confirmed Bouts
RIZIN.35 - Musashino Mori Sports Plaza, April 17th
Shoma Shibisai vs Rihards Bigis [120kg - RIZIN MMA rules]
Tsuyoshi Kosaka vs Mikio Ueda [120kg - RIZIN MMA rules]
Roberto Satoshi Souza (c) vs Johnny Case [71kg - RIZIN MMA rules]
Koji Takeda vs Spike Carlyle [71kg - RIZIN MMA rules]
Juntaro Ushiku (c) vs Yutaka Saito [66kg - RIZIN MMA rules]
Takahiro Ashida vs Kyle Aguon [66kg - RIZIN MMA rules]
Vugar Karamov vs Taichi Nakajima [66kg - RIZIN MMA rules]
Ayaka Hamasaki (c) vs Seika Izawa [49kg - RIZIN MMA rules]
Kanna Asakura vs SARAMI [49kg - RIZIN MMA rules]
RIZIN.35 Doors are expected to open at 12:30PM with the Opening Ceremony at 2:00PM on April 17th (Sun) at the Maruzen Intec Arena. Broadcasting and streaming partners will be announced soon.
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RIZIN TRIGGER 3rd & RIZIN.35 each set with 3 MMA bouts for April 16th and 17th in Tokyo's Musashino Mori Sports Plaza. 3 Championship rematches set for back-to-back extravaganza. - RIZIN FIGHTING FEDERATION オフィシャルサイト
RIZIN TRIGGER 3rd & RIZIN.35 each set with 3 MMA bouts for April 16th and 17th in Tokyo's Musashino Mori Sports Plaza. 3 Championship rematches set for back-to-back extravaganza. Souza looks to avenge sole defeat against Case, Ushiku defends title...jp.rizinff.com