YOKOHAMA (Thu, March 16, 2017)– On Sunday April 16th, 2017 RIZIN will be celebrating the spring spirit not only with Japan’s symbolic cherry blossoms, but with a stunning fight card which surprisingly features 4 woman fights.

Recently announced free agent Anthony Birchak (13-3) has found a new home in Japan, and will be moving up a weight class to challenge fellow UFC veteran and Japanese MMA legend Tatsuya Kawajiri (35-11-2) in a Featherweight (145lbs) bout. Fan favorite and always entertaining Lightweight (155lbs) Daron Cruickshank (18-9-1NC) battles Japanese prospect Yusuke Yachi (16-6) in a should be fun scrap. Heavyweight legend “The Texas Crazy Horse” Heat Herring (28-15-1NC) will be making his second appearance in the ring since he last lost a close decision on December 29th 2016, when stepping up to a short notice in order to fill in the Grand Prix after a 8 year hiatus will be fighting against Olympic gold medalist Satoshi Ishii (14-7-1), who is looking to snap a 3 fight skid. After making his electrifying MMA debut, and requesting a fight just 2 days later, Kickboxing superstar, 19 year old Tenshin Nasukawa (18-0 Kick boxing / 2-0 MMA) will step out of his comfort zone once again, looking to extend his 2-0 MMA record against Italy’s hard hitting pitbull, Franchesco Ghigliotti (26-12-2 kick boxing / 0-0) in a Flyweight (125lbs) bout.

3 matchups were announced for the woman’s bout featuring the teenage Kanna Asakura (6-2) taking on Amateur MMA world champion Alexandra Toncheva (8-0 AMMA) from Bulgaria. Japanese woman’s MMA pioneer, and now a mother Saori Ishioka (14-10) will be fighting Swiss Karate practitioner Bestare Kicaj (2-0), both fights are scheduled at Atom weight (105lbs). Lastly, highly noticed German pro-wrestler Jazzy Garbert (1-0) will be making her RIZIN debut against Reina Miura AKA King Reina (2-0) at a 198lb catch weight fight. Jazzy Gabert caught immediate attention when she interrupted woman’s Heavyweight icon Gabi Garcia’s (4-0) winning speech to challenge her and since then the heavyweights have taken their beef to social network. King Reina is coming off of an impressive win over Invicta and UFC veteran Shayna Baszler, and won her ticket to the RIZIN ring.

Rena Kubota (3-0) will be participating in the April event her opponent is Dora Perjes.

Previously announced in the Main Event newly signed prize Kyoji Horiguchi (18-2) faces Yuki Motoya (18-4) to determine the top Japanese Flyweight at 128lb catch weight. Horiguchi has won his last 3 bouts (all in the UFC) and has not lost since April 25th, 2015 while Motoya is widely considered Japan’s top flyweight and finally gets his chance to prove that on April 16th.

Additionally, Rizin FF announced there will be both men’s and women’s grand prix events in 2017 with the first rounds beginning in October. RENA will be participating in the woman’s GP and the weight will be at her weight class.

Doors open at 1:30PM with Opening Ceremony at 3:00PM on Sunday April 16th at the Yokohama Arena. International tickets can be purchased here.

Rizin FF announces 2 additional bouts for “RIZIN 2017 in YOKOHAMA ~ SAKURA”

Kizaemon Saiga to face Seiichiro Ito

At today’s Rizin FF press conference it was announced that Kizaemon Saiga (3-2) will face Seiichiro Ito (11-1) in a flyweight contest. Saiga fights out of Reversal Gym Shinjuku Me, WE and is coming off of a win in his last Rizin FF contest via brutal TKO. The current ZST Flyweight champion fights out of Reversal Gym Yokohama Ground Slam locally. Ito is well known to Japanese fans and has the edge in total bouts & victories but this will be only his 3rd bout outside of the ZST organization and one has to wonder if that will affect him in this matchup.

During the press conference, Saiga described Ito as a “Mini Tokoro” which made Ito flattered, saying that he will take that as a compliment since Tokoro is the fighter who Ito has looked up his entire career. Ito described Saiga as being physically strong, due to the fact that he trains with Tokoro on a regular basis and knows it’s not easy to sweep Tokoro like Saiga did in their previous matchup.

Ito is entering the RIZIN ring as a ZST champion to make a statement, and Saiga will face him to prove everybody that he belongs in the RIZIN ring. Saiga stated that he is confident of being the best striker in the Flywieght division and hopes that Ito is not looking to hug and hump. Ito responded by saying that grappling is not all about lay and pray, there are definitely ways to display entertaining ground skills which he is going to show during the fight.

Either way this should deliver a solid fight between 2 fighters with significant accomplishments in respected fields. Expect a high paced fun scrap and an exciting scramble when it hits the ground.

Rena Kubota gets an opponent

Previously announced for Sunday April 16th Rizin FF in Yokohama was the participation of Rena Kubota (3-0) at 49kg catch weight but no opponent was confirmed at that earlier time. That has changed. Stepping into the ring across from the undefeated Kubota will be Budapest, Hungary’s Dora Perjes (7-1). Perjes fights out of Bardosi Martial Arts and brings 7 submission wins and a 100% submission finish rate into this bout. Her last bout was a defeat, after reeling off 7 straight wins to start her career, so she will be looking to make a solid comeback and statement in her first Rizin FF bout. Kubota fights out of Caesar Gym/AACC and is no stranger herself to the submission game with 2 of her 3 wins coming via submission including a stunning flying armbar.
Doors open at 1:30PM with Opening Ceremony at 3:00PM on Sunday April 16th at the Yokohama Arena.


Horiguchi vs Motoya
RIZIN Special One Match
(RIZIN MMA Rules -58.0kg)
Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Yuki Motoya
Kawajiri vs. Anthony
RIZIN Special One Match
(RIZIN MMA Rules -65.8kg Elbow Allowed)
Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Anthony Birchak
Saiga vs. Ito
RIZIN Special One Match
(RIZIN MMA Rules -58.0kg)
Kizaemon Saiga vs. Seiichiro Ito
Ishii vs. Heath
RIZIN Special One Match
(RIZIN MMA Rules -120.0kg Elbow Allowed)
Satoshi Ishii vs. Heath Herring
Tachi vs. Daron
RIZIN Special One Match
(RIZIN MMA Rules -70.3kg)
Yusuke Yachi vs. Daron Cruickshank
Nasukawa vs. Ghigliotti
RIZIN Special One Match
(RIZIN MMA Special Rules 3min. 3R -56.7kg)
Tenshin Nasukawa vs. Francesco Ghigliotti
RIZIN Special One Match
(RIZIN Woman MMA Rules -48.0kg)
RENA vs. Dora Perjes
Ishioka vs. Bestare
RIZIN Special One Match
(RIZIN Woman MMA Rules -48.0kg)
Saori Ishioka vs. Bestare Kicaj
RIZIN Special One Match
(RIZIN Woman MMA Rules -48.0kg)
Kanna Asakura vs. Aleksandra Toncheva
KING Reina vs. Jazzy
RIZIN Special One Match
(RIZIN Woman MMA Rules -90.0kg)
King Reina vs. Jazzy Gabert

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