RIZIN Fighting Federation’s first event of the year is in the bag.
RIZIN returned to the Yokohama Arena where some of its biggest stars including Tenshin Nasakawa, Rena Kubota and Kyoji Horiguchi secured big wins.
In the main event Czech fighter Jiri Prochazka avenged his loss to Muhammed Lawal and claimed the inaugural RIZIN light heavyweight with a third round TKO.
The match up served up a thrilling end to the 12-fight card as both men stood and traded for the first two rounds, producing some solid moments. But as the match went on, Lawal was unable to match the pace of Prochazka.
It was at the three minute mark of the third round where the end finally came, as an exhausted King Mo slumped to the canvas after being caught with a flurry of the Prochazka’s shots.
Tenshin’s run continues
In the co-main event of RIZIN 15, Japanese kickboxing star Tenshin Nasukawa continued his unbeaten streak by defeating Fritz Aldin Biagtan in a kickboxing match.
Just six weeks ago, Nasukawa knocked out Federico Roma with an impressive cartwheel kick at Rise World Series, and last night he produced the goods once again. After some solid trades, Nasukawa dropped Biagtan twice in the third round with vicious knees and punches to earn the win and push his unbeaten record to 30-0 as a kickboxer.
RIZIN bantamweight king Kyoji Horiguchi put on an incredible performance, dropping former UFC flyweight Ben Nguyen several times before securing a first-round TKO.
Nguyen was eager to impress in his RIZIN debut and came out strong, securing Horiguchi’s back early in the fight round and landing some good shots of his own. As Horiguchi kicked into gear he showed again why he is one of the all time greats of the sport.
Horiguchi now has 12 back-to-back wins in MMA and is now looking ahead to a second fight with Darrion Caldwell for Bellator’s 135-pound title.
Further down the RIZIN 15 card UFC veteran Damien Brown made it 2-0 with RIZIN, defeating the previously undefeated Japanese prospect Koji Takeda. Brown was able to pick apart Takeda on the feet with both engaging in some fun scrambles.
Kitaoka falls short
Japanese veteran Satoru Kitaoka was hunting for a highlight-reel KO win for his 70th fight, but jiu-jitsu ace Roberto de Souza was not having any part of it.
In the second round Kitaoka looked in top form, throwing some solid jabs and looked to be in full control. He took the fight to the ground, but was unable to get a finish.
The Brazilian turned the tables and unleashed a devastating 12-punch combination that left the referee no other option than to call the fight off. De Souza now holds a perfect 8-0 record with eight stoppages.
Leading up to the event, RIZIN announced a further six shows in 2019.
Rizin 16 – 2 June – Kobe World Hall
Rizin 17 – 28 July – Saitama Arena
Rizin 18 – 18 August – Nagoya Gymnasium
Rizin 19 – October (Date/Place TBA)
Rizin 20 – 29 December – Saitama Arena
Rizin 21 – 31 December – Saitama Arena