RIZIN 11 was live from the iconic Saitama Super Arena on Sunday, 29 July.
The card was stacked with backstories that made the matches emotional. Kanna’s dominant win over Rena, Kyoji’s and Ogikubo’s action-packed rematch and Gomi’s lightning knockout of Melvin Guillard gave pride to Japanese MMA.
Kanna Asakura made a clean sweep in her rematch with Rena Kubota. Kanna played an incredibly intelligent game of power shoots, takedowns from different angles, and dominant work on the ground.
Rena showed that she had improved her MMA skills by defending many takedowns and escaping submission attempts. Kanna didn’t let Rena employ her striking and she took home her sixth win in just 12 months.
The phenomenal Kyoji Horiguchi rematched his former Shooto nemesis Hiromasa Ogikubo in a delightful action-packed 15 minutes. Kyoji showed off his incredible footwork, striking and ability to escape bad situations. Ogikubo played exactly the right game of shoots and level drops, landing many takedowns. It was not enough to even come close to finishing Kyoji, but it was enough to last. Kyoji’s hand was raised once again, extending his win streak to 10.
Jiří Procházka and Bruno Cappelozza swung baseball bats at each other’s faces. The behemoths both scored knockdowns, and it seemed that Cappelozza was delivering the higher output. But Prochazka who saw the holes and went in with a fantastic string of sluggers that had Cappelozza counting sheep.
Takanori Gomi got a huge victory in front of his home crowd fans when he traded hands with Melvin Guillard. Guillard got the first knockdown and then took out Gomi’s knee. Gomi wobbled up and assaulted Guillard with a combination the dropped him to the canvas. Gomi’s post fight celebration lasted longer than the entire fight, and the audience loved it.
Diego Brandão made a terrific debut in Rizin with a fast finish of Satoru Kitaoka. Of course grappler Kitaoka went for the shoot, and was able to pull Brandao into his guard. But Kitaoka latched onto a leg and wouldn’t let it go so Brandao punched him until he was out cold. Brandao earned the TKO in round one.
Shoma Shibisai versus Unurjargal Boldpurev was not a match to write home about. Shibisai had nothing impressive. Boldpurev played a lay and pray game and from top position earned the decision.
RIZIN built up high emotions for the match between Saori Ishioka and Miyuu Yamamoto which carried over into the ring. A nice surprise was Yamamoto’s improved punching which got the “oohs” and Ishioka’s rubber guard which got the “ahs”. After three rounds, Yamamoto got the split decision, but it could have gone either way with Ishioka’s submission attempts.
Tadaaki Yamamoto “Onibozu” came out and immediately left hooked Topnoi Tiger Muay Thai to the canvas. His great experience helped him recover quickly and he returned the favor with a left straight knockdown of his own. Onibozu scrambled away as Topnoi came after him with soccer kicks, but Topnoi got the knockdown in the corner and bounced his head off the bumper for the first round TKO.
In the opening fight, Daron Cruickshank and Tom Santos engaged in a predicted striking battle. Cruickshank put some massive heat on Santos, who responded with good leg kicks, but his output was nowhere close. In the final round, Cruickshank did a backflip axe kick, landed in side control, mounted, and opened up Santos with elbows that forced him to tap.
RIZIN 11 Results
Women’s 49kg Catchweight
Kanna Asakura def Rena Kubota
Kyoji Horiguchi def Hiromasa Ogikubo
Jiří Procházka def Bruno Cappelozza
Takanori Gomi def Melvin Guillard
Diego Brandão def Satoru Kitaoka
Unurgarjal Boldpurev def Shoma Shibisai
Kaito Ono defeats Yoshiya Uzatsuyo
Women’s 49kg catchweight
Miyuu Yamamoto def Saori Ishioka
Topnoi Tiger Muay Thai def Tadaaki Yamamoto
Daron Cruickshank def Tom Santos