Fresh off a first round knockout of RIZIN and Bellator champion Kyoji Horiguchi, Kai Asakura is making a fast turnaround for RIZIN 19.
The bantamweight fighter will take on former UFC veteran and crafty grappler Ulka Sasaki (22-7) on Saturday 12 October 12th at the Edion Arena in Osaka.
Asakura (13-1) shocked the MMA world last month after knocking out Horiguchi at RIZIN 18. Many believed RIZIN would book a rematch on NYE, but Asakura has decided to step up to the occasion once again and face the opponent he was supposed to face in April.
The pair were scheduled to fight each other in April, but that match was scrapped due to Ulka’s medical conditions.
Sasaki went on and face Shintaro Ishiwatari in July and lost due to a North-South Choke while Asakura took on Horiguchi and won via knockout.
RIZIN CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara said his quick return was due to several factors.
“This card has been very tough to put together since Horiguchi is still under suspension and Tenshin injured his hand,” Sakakibara said.
Asakura’s brother Mikuru Asakura was also offered the fight but has to pass due to injury.
“So I asked Kai Asakura to see if he could step up in an emergency situation and headline the October event, and he accepted.”
RIZIN 19 will also include kickboxing stars Seiki Ueyama (22-11) and Taisei Umei (7-6) fighting under kickboxing rules.
The event will also feature the opening bouts of RIZIN’s Lightweight Grand Prix, plus RIZIN light heavyweight champion Jiri Prochazka (24-3-1) and super atomweight contenders Ham Seo-Hee Ham (21-8) vs Miyuu Yamamoto (5-3).
RIZIN 19 confirmed fights:
Kai Asakura vs Ulka Sasaki
Jiri Prochazka vs Fabio Maldonado
Seo Hee Ham vs Miyuu Yamamoto
Marcos de Souza vs Keita Nakamura
Rena Kubota vs Shawna Ram
[Light weight GP first round matchups]
Tofiq Musaev vs Damien Brown
Johnny Case vs Roberto de Souza
Patricky Freire vs Tatsuya Kawajiri
Luiz Gustavo vs Hiroto Uesako
Seiki Ueyama vs Taisei Umei – Kickboxing