TOKYO – RIZIN CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara, held a press conference and announced updates about RIZIN TRIGGER 1 – the promotion’s 7th event of the year.
RIZIN TRIGGER 1 will be broadcasted LIVE on SkyperfectTV, streamed on RIZIN LIVE PPV and Exciting RIZIN with Japanese commentary. International PPV with English commentary will be available on LIVENow. Doors are expected to open at 12:30PM with the Opening Ceremony at 2:00PM on November 28th (Sun) at the Kobe World Memorial Hal
RIZIN CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara stated that the new RIZIN TRIGGER series will be a platform to provide opportunities to regional fighters, veterans to turn around their careers and also give regional fans the LIVE RIZIN event experience. One major aspect of the TRIGGER series will be that the fights will be held in a cage. “There are many fighters who are looking to compete overseas, where the cage is more common. We would like to provide opportunities to RIZIN fighters to be able to compete in both platforms to prepare themselves for higher competition. Our original cage is currently being built and hopefully it’s done on time.” said RIZIN boss before moving on to announcing 12 bouts for RIZIN’s first caged event.
Shoji Maruyama (19-14-1) makes his 3rd appearance under RIZIN and headlines his first event for the promotion. The inaugural Pancrase Lightweight Champion claimed his title at Pancrase 185 in 2008 with a head kick knockout. Interestingly, he was the opponent for Jose Aldo’s sole appearance in Japan back at Pancrase 179 in 2007, losing a unanimous decision. After moving over to DEEP and dropping down to featherweight, he rattled off 5 wins to earn a shot at the DEEP Featherweight title at DEEP 61 Impact against Kazunori Yokota. After coming up short, he took a 4-year hiatus before returning to action in GRACHAN in 2017. He put together a 3-1 record and then returned to DEEP, splitting his next 4 bouts 2-2 before facing current teammate Kai Asakura in his RIZIN debut at RIZIN.24 in September 2020. Despite losing a spot in the Japan Bantamweight Grand Prix to eventual quarterfinalist Yuki Motoya at the start of the year, he rebounded with a spectacular 20-second knockout over Chihiro Suzuki at RIZIN.30 just 2 months ago in his return to featherweight. Now, he finds himself taking on an opponent 12 years his junior, in Kyohei Hagiwara (4-4). Hagiwara had never gone to the judges until his biggest and most recent bout against Mikuru Asakura at RIZIN LANDMARK Vol.1. The bout just 5 weeks ago was by far the biggest of his career, as he headlined the card opposite of the featherweight title challenger. All 3 of his wins in RIZIN have come by knockout – most spectacularly at RIZIN 25 over Yojiro Uchimura with a brutal one-punch KO in 22 seconds. Hagiwara’s 4 fights in 144 days (from RIZIN.22 to RIZIN.26) stands as a record in RIZIN history.
The highest-profile bantamweight bout pits Grand Prix participant “Shian” Hiroki Yamashita (8-9) against Mamoru Uoi “Fullswing” (22-10-5). Shian is the former GRACHAN Bantamweight title challenger, and made his RIZIN debut in spectacular fashion, handing 45-fight veteran Kazuma Sone his fastest loss in his career, with a 27-second knockout. Having started his career in DEEP and Pancrase, he put together a 5-4 record before challenging for the Australian HEX Flyweight title in September 2019, losing out to TUF 24 contestant Charlie Alaniz. His last outing was a gritty performance against the 2017 Bantamweight Grand Prix Semifinalist and 2021 Japan Bantamweight GP quarterfinalist Takafumi Otsuka, where he was eliminated from the tournament after a unanimous decision loss. Fullswing is looking to snap a 4-fight skid – the longest of his career. Before his losing streak started, Uoi was enjoying the best run of his career, going 12-2-1 from June 2016 through June 2019, a period in which he challenged Kazuma Sone for the Shooto Bantamweight title. His previous 2 bouts in RIZIN were an emphatic soccer kick stoppage over journeyman Kana Hyatt at RIZIN.16, and a spirited performance against Yuki Motoya where he eventually was submitted at RIZIN.23. With the two fighters combining for 16 knockouts and neither fighter having ever won by submission, the fans can expect a barn burner from start to finish.
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The reigning ZST Flyweight Champion Tatsuki Saomoto (16-2) makes his 3rd straight RIZIN appearance, previously stopping former DEEP Flyweight Champion Yusaku Nakamura inside the first round at RIZIN.23 and shutting out Pancrase Strawweight Champion Daichi Kitakata at RIZIN.25. He is currently enjoying an 11-fight win streak that will have elapsed nearly 5 years to the day by the time he steps into the cage to face his opponent, Takashi Matsuba (12-4-1). Matsuba is the GRACHAN Flyweight Champion, and is 4-1 in his last 5 bouts. He returned to action after a 14 month layoff against Tomohiro Adaniya at the DEEP 100 Impact show last February, and is looking to get back to his winning ways when he takes on a fellow domestic champion.
The second featherweight bout of the night also looks to be packed full of action, as the KNOCK OUT 65kg Champion and Pancrase Flyweight Tournament Champion Chihiro Suzuki (5-3) welcomes Sora Yamamoto (12-5-2) to the RIZIN ring. Suzuki made his return to MMA after a 3-year hiatus to focus on his kickboxing career, scoring 10 victories – 8 by knockout. He claimed his aforementioned KNOCK OUT title, appropriately with a 42-second KO against Keijiro Miyakoshi. He is seeking to be the first Japanese fighter to hold a belt in MMA and kickboxing simultaneously. In his last outing, he obliged the fans and his opponent at RIZIN.30, Shoji, by throwing down from the first bell, and suffered a violent 20-second KO loss. His journey for a belt starts at RIZIN TRIGGER 1. Yamamoto is the 2017 PFC Featherweight Tournament Champion, and has gone 9-3-1 since winning his first title. He will put his 5-fight win streak on the line, and has shown a diverse skill set in each of those wins, with 2 submissions (both by armbar) and 2 knockouts; with 3 of those stoppages coming in the 1st round.
RIZIN’s first welterweight match in over a year will occur when 40-year-old former UFC veteran “Strasser” Kiichi Kunimoto (19-9-2) makes his first RIZIN appearance in over 3 years. He posted a 2-0 record in RIZIN with wins over Satoru Kitaoka and Ryuichiro Sumimura before competing in Bellator, where he failed to make an impact against top-ranked welterweights, Ed Ruth and Jason Jackson. The former HEAT Welterweight Champion and Pancrase title challenger is now 2-4 in his last 6 bouts. Takahiro Kawanaka (15-7) on the other hand, is on the come up, going 6-1 with 1 no contest in his last 7 bouts. He is coming off the biggest win of his career, stopping former Pancrase and GLADIATOR Welterweight Champion “Let’s” Gota Yamashita in just 50 seconds at GRACHAN 49 in August.
In what is shaping up to be a potential meeting down the line, another welterweight tilt has been set, as DEEP Welterweight Champion Ryuichiro Sumimura (18-7-1) takes on the undefeated Yusaku Kinoshita (4-0). Sumimura is a 12 year veteran in the sport, having competed in DEEP since 2012. He began his reign in July 2017, besting Ken Hasegawa in the 1st round to claim the Welterweight Tournament Championship, and has won 5 bouts as champion since then. In that time, he has only suffered 2 defeats – in his RIZIN debut against Strasser Kiichi, and at Bellator 237 Japan in 2019 against Jon Tuck. Kinoshita is a true prospect coming out of the Inagakigumi stable, racking up a perfect 9-0 record (5 amateur wins). Every single one of his bouts have ended by finish, with only 2 of them going past the first round. This bout is a definitive age versus youth, veteran versus prospect match up, and could very well be a passing of the torch at 77 kilograms.
50-fight veteran Makoto Kamaya (29-16-4) will compete on the biggest stage in his career thus far when he squares off
against Daiki “Lightyear” Tsubota (9-8-3). Having just challenged for the second title in his career 2 months ago against
Takeya Takemoto at GLADIATOR 015 in Osaka, he has faced many familiar faces to the RIZIN fans. With wins over Rikuto Shirakawa and Kazuma Sone, as well as losses to Yuki Motoya, Shoji and Takafumi Otsuka, he has faced his fair share of tough opponents. Lightyear is a former Demolition Bantamweight title challenger, and is 5-1 in his last 6 bouts, only losing to Shoot standout Takumi Tamaru. These two bantamweights are looking to climb the ladder in RIZIN’s deepest division.
Pro Wrestler turned mixed martial artist Keisuke Okuda (0-3) had an electric RIZIN debut last month against Shoot Boxing Champion and striking coach for RIZIN’s Lightweight Champion, Hiroaki Suzuki. Despite having a perfect 4-0 record in Ganryujima’s mixed rules competition, he is still searching for his first victory in MMA. That could change when he faces the young BJJ black belt, Grant Bogdanove (1-0). The two-time Quintet participant won his pro debut at DEEP Tokyo Impact 2021 in June over Kazuya Tanaka, using his ground game to take home a rear-naked choke just past 2 minutes of the first round.
The third and final bantamweight contest is between Kenji Kato (12-7) and Katsuya Fujiwara (0-0). Kato makes his 3rd appearance in RIZIN, and sits with a 1-1 record in the promotion, going 4-2 in his last 6 bouts overall. The current Shooto veteran has all of his finishes by knockout, with 4 of them in the first round.
Shoji: “I’ve been working hard to participate in RIZIN. And I am extremely proud that I will be headlining this event against a young prospect. Expect a kill or be killed fight on November 28th.”
Kyohei Hagiwara: “I have nothing but respect for Shoji, and he fought a fun fight in his last showing. But I will use him and his name as a stepping stone for my benefit. November 28th, everybody watch my fight, in my home region.”
Hiroki Yamashita “Shian”: “I lost my last fight against Otsuka, but I think Uoi’s style will do well against my style. I’m nothing but excited about this matchup. This will be about who hits harder. I hate being hit so I plan to push the pace and be the one landing more punches.”
Mamoru Uoi “Fullswing” “Thank you very much for booking me in the city I grew up in. I will put on a fight so that you all will become attached to Kobe city. I can become your personal guide of Kobe city so ask me anything if you are looking for something to do once you get to Kobe.”
Tatsuki Saomoto: “I’m relieved that I was able to fight again this year. Our team BRAVE has gone on a 4 fight losing streak but the Ace is here to save the day.”
Takashi Matsuba: “I will utilize this opportunity to leave a mark in RIZIN. I will work hard to become the key figure in RIZIN.”
Chihiro Suzuki: “I’ve changed everything in my training environment from that loss. I can only avenge that loss inside the ring. I will win.”
Sora Yamamoto: “I’m happy and nervous to be fightin in RIZIN, but I will dominate this fight and show my true skills. I will show the difference between a kickboxer trying MMA, and an MMA fighter who’s dedicated his life to MMA.”
“Strasser” Kiichi Kunimoto: “I’m excited to be fighting in the cage at a RIZIN event. RIZIN’s light divisions have become popular while I was gone but I came back to show you what the heavier division can do. I will show the difference in power and speed in the most internationally popular welterweight division.”
“I hope to put on a performance so that people will remember
my face and my name. RIZIN’s welterweight division isn’t too
active so I hope to be the key figure.”
Ryuchiro Sumimura: “My opponent is a young explosive prospect but I plan to pat his green ass and send him back home to where he came from.”
Yusaku Kinoshita: “I’m grateful for this opportunity. Sumimura was fighting at the top level since I was still an amateur. I know why I got the call. I will do my best to meet everybody’s expectations. I will show you a finish that you will never forget.”
Makoto Kamaya: “RIZIN is my major league of this sport. 20 years after graduating highschool I have finally realized my dream. I will do everything it takes to get the win in my dream stage.”
Daiki “Lightyear” Tsubota: “I’m very grateful to get the opportunity to compete in my hometown Kobe. I would like to take my fans and create a great atmosphere for RIZIN’s Kobe event. I hope everybody enjoys my fight.”
Keisuke Okuda: “This will be my first fight in RIZIN! RIZIN LANDMARK? I don’t remember fighting on that card so it doesn’t count! I’m fighting in Kobe? Kobe means DRAGON GATE! I’ll be fighting an American? I know English. Hey Referee, ask him God damn!”
Grant Bogdanove: “I’m grateful for the opportunity. RIZIN’s first event with the cage, I will promise to show you my Jiu Jitsu black belt technique. I will be ready for a great fight.”
Katsuya Fujiwara: “This is the biggest opportunity of my life and I will take it. I’ll win this and become famous”
Kenji Kato: “I’m excited to be back in RIZIN. I know why I am brought back. I am here to do one thing, and I ask to be the first fight of the night. I promise to pull the trigger on an explosive night of fights.”
Hiroto Ichimura: “My opponent has a big name as a former champion and I will go in there to take everything from him.”
Tepparith Joegym: “I will get a knockout!”
Tsubasa Morii: “I would like to use this opportunity to make my way up to the big show. I will be the next thing in the sport to pay attention.”
FUJIMON♡: “I am very grateful to be able to train full time as a professional fighter. I will dominate this fight and make him regret that he took this fight against me.”
Jin Mandokoro: “This will be my 3rd fight in RIZIN but I still haven’t been able to show you a knockout. I will put on a show that you won’t forget.”
Yu Hiramatsu: “I want to show that my Muay Thai style can be exciting and can take on kickboxing. I will put on a performance that will not disappoint those who believe in me.”
Momoka Mandokoro: “I will put on a performance that will leave an impact and have people remember my name.”
Miku: “Momoka has been competing at the top level since I started fighting as a professional. I think this will be a great challenge for me, but I think I am more marketable. I will take this opportunity to get the win.”
RIZIN TRIGGER 1, Kobe, November 28th
Shoji vs Kyohei Hagiwara – 66kg MMA Rules
Shian vs Uoi Fullswing – 61kg MMA Rules
Tatsuki Saomoto vs Takashi Matsuba – 57kg MMA Rules
Chihiro Suzuki vs Sora Yamamoto – 66kg MMA Rules
Strasser Kiichi vs Takahiro Kawanaka – 77kg MMA Rules
Ryuichiro Sumimura vs Yusaku Kinoshita – 77kg MMA Rules
Makoto Kamaya vs Daiki Tsubota – 61kg MMA Rules
Keisuke Okuda vs Grant Bogdanove – 73kg MMA Rules
Kenji Kato vs Katsuya Fujiwara – 61kg MMA Rules
Hiroto Ichimura vs Tepparith – 61kg Kickboxing Rules
Tsubasa Morii vs FUJIMON♡ – 55kg Kickboxing Rules
Jin Mandokoro vs Yu Hiramatsu – 53kg Kickboxing Rules
Momoka Mandokoro vs Miku – 46kg Kickboxing Rules
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, 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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