TOKYO – June 1 st, RIZIN announced 5 matchups for the upcoming RIZIN.28 card, featuring the Lightweight title match and reigning Featherweight Champion Saito in a non-title bout. A recap is available at the following link: Yogibo presents RIZIN.28 / 追加対戦カード発表記者会見 2021/06/01.
The long awaited return of the 2019 Lightweight Grand Prix Champion, Tofiq Musaev (18-3) will be realized at RIZIN.28, when he faces surging contender Roberto Satoshi Souza (11-1). Musaev returns after an 18-month layoff due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict in September last year. Tofiq carries a perfect 5-0 RIZIN record with 3 TKO victories, while Souza boasts a 4-1 record with 4 stoppages, scoring his first submission in RIZIN (7th in career) against Kazuki Tokudome at RIZIN.27 in March. The winner will be crowned RIZIN’s inaugural Lightweight Champion.
RIZIN’s newly crowned Featherweight Champion Yutaka Saito (19-4-2) squares off in a non-title affair against Musaev’s stablemate, Vugar Karamov (15-3). Saito claimed the title in a back-and-forth battle that saw all 3 judges give him the nod against Mikuru Asakura – who was yet to taste defeat in the RIZIN ring. Vugar Karamov defeated Kyle Aguon at RIZIN.21, and is likewise coming off a long layoff due to the aforementioned circumstances that kept the Grand Prix champion sidelined.
Tsuyoshi Sudario (3-0) takes a step up in competition as he faces Shoma Shibisai (6-2, 1NC), whose last outing produced a leglock submission win against fan-favorite Sergey Shemetov at Bellator 237. Shibsai’s first RIZIN victory came at RIZIN.19, where he tapped Chang Hee Kim with a kimura in just 69 seconds. Sudario himself last competed at RIZIN.27, earning a spectacular 8 second knockout against Kazushi Miyamoto. Shibisai carries an astounding career average victory time of 57 seconds, and is easily the most dangerous test of Sudario’s career thus far. Not only do both fighters score lightning fast stoppages; neither of them have gone the distance in a combined 13 professional bouts. This fight will determine the future heavyweight star of Japanese MMA.
The RISE Welterweight (148lb) Kickboxing Champion Beynoah (17-3, 9 KOs) makes the leap of faith in his MMA debut against former DEEP Champion, Satoshi Yamasu (11-6). Yamasu is just 2 fights removed from his championship status, dropping a majority decision at DEEP 97 Impact last September, and coming up short in his RIZIN debut against Mikuru Asakura at RIZIN.26 on New Year’s Eve. Yamasu holds a brace of wins against fellow RIZIN featherweight and former DEEP champion, Takahiro Ashida, and will be by far the more experienced fighter.
Accompanying the fight announcements, significant rule changes were also announced. Previously, elbows to the face were only allowed when both parties agreed to that ruleset, however, it has been determined that elbows to the face are now standardized in the rules – with no restriction to the angle of the elbow strike. This means that 12-6 elbows will still be legal (granted that they land on legal areas of the body). Additionally, vaseline was prohibited in RIZIN, but\ vaseline will be applied by the officials before the fight and in between rounds.
“Hi everybody. This is Tofiq Musaev. I am happy to be back in Japan. I promise that I will become the RIZIN Champion, so look forward to the fight. I will see you all at the Tokyo Dome.”
“I am relieved that my fight has been confirmed with Keramov. I’ve been training hard for this fight and I will
step into the ring at 100% to show respect to Keramov who came all this way to Japan under strict protocols. I want to put on an exciting fight that people will remember.”
“I made headlines for something I am not proud of in my last fight so I plan to follow the rules and impress in this fight. Shibisasi is the toughest opponent yet and has much more experience than me. I will go in there and try to take his head off knowing that he might take mine. I want to shed some light to such dark times and give people hope through my fight.”
“I’m the RISE Welterweight Champion Black Panther Baynoah. I am very grateful to Sakakibara and everybody who worked hard to get me on such a prestigious event. I will be jumping into hostile territory but my mind is clear and set for one thing – to create chaos. I will use everything I worked on through Karate and will make both Kyokushin, RISE and my hometown proud with my performance at the Tokyo Dome. You can tell my opponent is educated and intelligent just by listening to his comment, which I couldn’t understand much because of the big words. I’m sure he will use that brain to come up with a strategy against me but I will go in there without one and show my karate style.”
Roberto Satoshi Souza
“I want to show everybody a good fight. I want to show everybody that I’m not just a Jiu Jitsu fighter anymore and I’m a MMA fighter. I really want to keep the RIZIN belt in Japan. That is my biggest focus.”
“Hello everybody. I am very happy to be able to fight in Japan once again. This will not be a title fight but I will beat the current Champion and prove that I am the deserve to be the real Champion”
“I’m very grateful to get such an opportunity to fight at the Tokyo Dome. My opponent has so much potential and he will be the toughest opponent yet. With that being said I will enforce my fight style in the fight and show the appeal of heavyweight fights. This fight at the Tokyo Dome will determine the future of Japan’s heavyweight division. “
“I’m sure you’ve all forgotten about me, but I am the Dominator. My real job requires me to work on weekdays so I do apologize for not being there at the press conference today. So this opportunity randomly fell into my lap and now I’m fighting at the Tokyo Dome, although I’m not worthy to fight at such a prestigious venue, I have been given this opportunity to fight an MMA debutant kickboxer, yes you heard me right – they offered a former Champion to fight a MMA debutant. But thanks to the lack of risk management and literacy from the matchmaking team I have been given a golden opportunity. I am truly honored to be a part of the return of MMA at the Tokyo Dome. Beynoah, making his MMA debut has picked me, an experienced former Champion who is a weight class lower than him which I don’t what to think of in terms of a risk taker or a conservative pansy. But hey, let’s bite down and throw some heavy exchanges (which means I will most likely lose.”
120kg RIZIN MMA Rules – Tsuyoshi Sudario vs Shoma Shibisai
73kg RIZIN MMA Rules – Satoshi Yamasu vs Black Panther Beynoah
71kg RIZIN MMA Rules – Tofiq Musaev vs Roberto Satoshi Souza
66kg RIZIN MMA Rules – Mikuru Asakura vs Kleber Koike
66kg RIZIN MMA Rules – Yutaka Saito vs Vugar Karamov
61kg RIZIN MMA Rules – Kai Asakura vs Shooto Watanabe
61kg RIZIN MMA Rules – Shintaro Ishiwatari vs Naoki Inoue
61kg RIZIN MMA Rules – Hiromasa Ougikubo vs Kenta Takizawa
61kg RIZIN MMA Rules – Yuki Motoya vs Ryo Okada
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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