First round of fights announced for RIZIN 21

Naoki Inoue makes his RIZIN debut on 22 February. Photo: Akihito Tatematsu.

RIZIN 21 will take place at the Hamamatsu Arena on 22 February. The promotion has announced a number of new signing and matchups for its first event of the year.

UFC veteran and former Sengoku featherweight champion Masanori Kanehara (27-13-5) will make his RIZIN debut after nearly 22 months away from competition.

He takes on Victor Henry (19-4), who he defeated via foot lock at Quintet Fight Night in Tokyo back in 2018.

Henry is riding a seven-fight winning streak that dates back almost exactly two years, collecting the DEEP bantamweight championship against RIZIN regular Yuki Motoya.

Also announced for RIZIN 21 is Naoki Inoue (12-2), who squares off against Trent Girdham (12-3). The two young prospects bring a classic grappler vs striker match-up to the Hamamatsu Arena.

Inoue went 1-1 in his stint with the UFC and is looking to announce himself to the Japanese fans once again after going 9-0 in DEEP’s flyweight division.

Despite Girdham’s pedigree as a striker (winning a boxing match just three months ago), he showed his mettle as a grappler, going over 12 minutes with Victor Henry before succumbing to a tight reverse triangle choke.

Vugar Keramov (14-3) brings his 10-fight win streak against Kyle Aguon (13-8) in a featherweight bout.

Rounding out the Bantamweight matchups, Kenji Katoh (10-6) will fight Kintaro (12-8-2). Katoh is 7-2 in his last nine fights with four of those coming by knockout.

Sekine to RIZIN

For ONE Championship title heavyweight title contender Hideki Sekine (7-3) started his career 7-0 before falling to Brandon Vera for the ONE Championship Heavyweight title.

After two more losses, he returns to action against DEEP Openweight Champion, Roque Martinez (14-5-2). Martinez recently defended his title against Seigo Mizuguchi, finishing the challenger via knockout in round two.

Hideki Sekine RIZIN 21
Hideki Sekine faced Brandon Vera for ONE’s heavyweight title. Photo: ONE Championship.

In the main event, recent YouTube sensation Mikuru Asakura (12-1) has a quick turnaround, putting his seven-fight win streak on the line against Daniel Salas (16-6-1).

RIZIN 21 includes:

Mikuru Asakura vs Daniel Salas
Vugar Keramov vs Kyle Aguon
Victor Henry vs Masanori Kanehara
Trent Girdham vs Naoki Inoue
Kintaro vs Kenji Kato
Roque Martinez vs Hideki Sekine
Marcos de Souza vs Falco Neto


Kenichi Takeuchi vs Naoya Kousuke
Jitukata vs Ryo Sakai
Masaji Tozuka vs Masahiro Ozawa
Henry Cejas vs SEIDO


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