TOKYO – February 2nd, RIZIN CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara, held a press conference and announced updates about RIZIN TRIGGER 2nd & RIZIN Landmark Vol. 2 – the promotion’s first two events of the year. RIZIN TRIGGER 2nd 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 February 23rd (Wed) at the Ecopa Arena
CEO Sakakibara announced all eight battle cards had been decided this time. This time, a total of 8 cards, including 3 kick cards and 5 MMA cards, including local Shizuoka players, have been announced. At this press conference, CEO Sakakibara explained the philosophy and concept of “RIZIN TRIGGER” again.
“‘RIZIN TRIGGER’ is a place for regeneration, a place for returning to the origin, a place for new regeneration, a place for restarting. It is a new trigger that can be a trigger to improve your life. The title has such a meaning as to restart the career. The rest is a place to discover and train new players, so there are still many talented players and hungry players in Japan, so those players I want to make it a place for excavation and training. And regional revitalization. It is a place for announcements of athletes who are practicing rooted in the region, and I hope it will be an opportunity to revitalize the region. Please understand that the concept is in “RIZIN TRIGGER” and feel it.”
Akira Okada (16-8-4, 1-0 RIZIN FF) vs Takumi Suzuki (10-6, 0-0 RIZIN FF) 71kg MMA Okada is a 11-year JMMA mainstay, competing across Shooto and Pancrase, and has faced familiar names such as Tyson Nobumitsu, Satoru Kitaoka, Kazuki Tokudome, Akihiro Gono, and Koshi Matsumoto. He is riding a 3-fight win streak with 2 victories by KO, and winning his RIZIN debut via North South Choke against DEEP Interim Welterweight Champion Daichi Abe. Suzuki is a Bonsai Gym product, and is 5-2 in his last 7 bouts stretching back to September 2019 – notably defeating Satoru Kitaoka just 4 months ago at DEEP 104 with a dramatic 3rd round KO. He also holds a win over reigning RIZIN Featherweight Champion, Juntaro Ushiku.
Katsushi Kojima (12-5-1, 0-0 RIZIN FF) vs Kouki Nakagawa (7-2, 0-0 RIZIN FF) 66kg MMA Having competed across Fighting Nexus, DEEP, Pancrase and currently Grachan, Kojima looks to throw his name in the hat in RIZIN’s ever-growing featherweight division. With 9 of his 12 wins coming by finish, and only 6 of his 18 pro bouts going the distance, there’s no doubt that the 33-year-old will bring action to the ring. 3 of his 5 first round finishes came during his 6-1-1 run in his last 8 bouts. Nakagawa is the 15th Amateur Shooto Kansai Championship semifinalist. Ever since turning pro, he put together a 7-0 run with 2 submissions, mainly competing in GLADIATOR against fighters with far more experience. Shockingly, he has lost his last 2 bouts, dropping a unanimous decision to Raiki Endo in his Pancrase debut, and another decision against Shoichi Tomita last month.
Kohei Tokeshi (6-8, 0-1 RIZIN FF) vs Harry Stallone (2-4, 0-0 RIZIN FF) 73kg MMA Tokeshi is a Lethwei and Muay Thai professional who has main evented several events in 2021. His last MMA bout was in April 2017, where he was stopped by Kazuma Maruyama in the 1st round at Pancrase 286. He has faced fellow RIZIN veterans Suguru Nii and Takahiro Ashida – both of whom competed at the recent RIZIN.31 event. Although he lost his RIZIN debut against DEEP Interim Lightweight Champion Juri Ohara, he has been training hard and is motivated to capture his first MMA victory in 5 years. Stallone is no stranger to facing veterans early on in his MMA career – having faced opponents with a combined record of 34-31-5 in just 6 fights. The 29-year-old Brazilian has bounced between featherweight and lightweight, even taking on RIZIN’s Featherweight Champion Juntaro Ushiku in his 2nd pro bout.
Daisuke Endo (18-12-2, 0-0 RIZIN FF) vs Hikaru Yoshino (10-2, 0-0 RIZIN FF) 62kg MMA Endo is a 15-year JMMA veteran, having faced Takeya Mizugaki, Shoko Sato, Kintaro, Kenji Kato and Takafumi Otsuka. The 39-year-old has also enjoyed a brief foray into the kickboxing world, putting together a 1-2-2 record in Krush. Despite coming off of a 2 and ½ year layoff, Endo has won his last 3 bouts all under the DEEP banner. Yoshino is the Shooto Tokai 5th Amateur Championship Bantamweight Champion, defeating RIZIN alum Seigo Yamamoto in the semifinals and ending with a perfect 4-0 amateur record. Carrying a stellar 10-2 record, Yoshino is a top prospect at the age of 25. After losing his 2nd pro bout, he put together a 9-1 run – only losing via split decision at the end of 2019. He currently rides a 2-fight win streak, defeating Kotetsu Hara (who also features on this card) 7 months ago.
- Takuma Uchiyama (2-3, 0-0 RIZIN FF) vs Kotetsu Hara (2-1, 0-0 RIZIN FF) 61kg MMA
- Katsutoshi Sasada vs Mountain Ryugo 100kg Kickboxing
- Yudai Ito vs Momoto 60kg Kickboxing
- Masanari vs Taiki Matsui 58kg Kickboxing
- Taiki vs Kota Nakagawa
“I am grateful for everybody involved to make this fight happen so that I can knock this weakling out cold. And Suzuki, thank you for coming all the way out here to be knocked out cold. Please don’t worry, I will make it quick. I will be traveling outside of the Tokyo area to fight but I hope to put on a good fight with all the local fighters. I think he has stamina and is well rounded but he will be going to sleep during the fight so it doesn’t matter.”
“I am truly grateful for this opportunity and to the people who made this happen. I train in the suburbs of Yamanashi prefecture and I have been working hard to try to bring MMA to my hometown. I hope to show that there are still great fighters outside of the major cities through this big opportunity. I’m a striker and will put on an exciting fight. I’m going to go in there and look for the knockout.”
“I know life always gives you challenges. Things have never been easy. I haven’t forgotten the loss from Okinawa. I’ve asked Ohara to train me the day I lost to him. I have been training hard and know I’m much better. I will put in everything I have in this fight. I want to lighten up the gloomy Japanese public through RIZIN TRIGGER. I just released a biography and I hope I can sell out the 1000 books I printed. I will use all the revenue to build schools in Myanmar.”
“Meeting martial arts has changed my life. My personality, the way of thinking, how to interact with = people, humbleness and much more. I want to show the beauty of martial arts to as many people as I can. I took this fight to show my students my side as a fighter and not a trainer. I would like to show the wisdom of a veteran fighter.”
“I believe I got this opportunity because of the gym’s name value. I know that Satoshi and Kleber are getting all the attention so I would like to use this opportunity to prove my abilities. I will show a
different style of Bonsai member in this fight.”
“I will show you everything that Bonsai has taught me so look forward to my fight. I know I’m on this card because it’s my hometown. I want to put on a good performance to be called back. Akira says he will knock me out cold but I will make him roll in pain with a body shot. I haven’t seen too much of Akira’s fights but he is strong and tough. Kleber told me yesterday to say ‘I’m going to challenge the Champion’ but I train with Satoshi-sensei every day. I want to become the gatekeeper to stand in front of those who want to challenge Satoshi sensei. Beating Kitaoka was a great confidence boost for me, but Akira is also a great threat and the biggest challenge for me. I would like to face him with confidence and overcome this strong opponent.”
“I think I got this opportunity because of my gym’s name. Everybody thinks Bonsai is just Satoshi and Kleber but I want to prove that there are many talented fighters at Bonsai. I’ve trained at several gyms for a while so I would like to show you a different style than a regular Bonsai fighter.”
“I have always fought thinking about returning home safely. But in this fight, I will not hold back and fight with everything I have. I got the offer from RIZIN and now is the time to separate the men with the boys. I feel bad for my opponent. I apologize in advance for beating you so badly..”
“I don’t think the Bantamweight GP had the best fighters in Japan. I will go out there and show you that there are still unknown prospects out there. TRIGGER is a place that provides us prospects the opportunity to shine. I’ve gone through a unique career to get here. I fought in smaller events so people might take me lightly but I want to show that I’m good and I have what it takes to compete with the best.”
“I am Hara, from Ishiwatari’s Youtube channel. I have been training in martial arts from a very young age and would like to show my potential in this fight. I think there were many fake fighters participating in last year’s Bantamweight GP so I will win this fight and continue to prove that those fakers didn’t deserve a spot in the tournament. I will put on a performance that will keep people anticipated in my future.”
RIZIN TRIGGER 2nd – Ecopa Arena, February 23rd
Kleber Koike vs Ulka Sasaki [66kg – RIZIN MMA rules]
Kenji Kato vs Kazuma Kuramoto [61kg – RIZIN MMA rules]
Suguru Nii vs Sora Yamamoto [66kg – RIZIN MMA rules]
Akira Okada vs Takumi Suzuki [71kg – RIZIN MMA rules]
Katsushi Kojima vs Kouki Nakagawa [66kg – RIZIN MMA rules]
Kohei Tokeshi vs Harry Stallone [73kg – RIZIN MMA rules]
Hikaru Yoshino vs Daisuke Endo [62kg – RIZIN MMA rules]
Takuma Uchiyama vs Kotetsu Hara [61kg – RIZIN MMA rules]
Katsutoshi Sasada vs Mountain Ryugo [100kg – RIZIN Kickboxing rules]
Yudai Ito vs Momosho [60kg – RIZIN Kickboxing rules]
Taiki vs Hiroshi Nakagawa [59kg – RIZIN Kickboxing rules]
Masanari vs Taiki Matsui [58kg – RIZIN Kickboxing rules]
When asked by a reporter whether RIZIN Landmark Vol.2 would be in a cage or not, CEO Sakakibara said, “I basically want to do it in a cage, but I haven’t finished verifying whether the cage will fit in the venue. I went to the factory the other day with the newly installed cage, but due to the adjustment of the size problem, the final adjustment is basically done on the assumption that it will be done with the cage.” Whether it will be a ring or a cage will be announced at any time as soon as it is decided! Don’t miss out on future information!
Chihiro Suzuki (6-3, 1-1 RIZIN FF) vs Ren Hiramoto (0-1, 0-1 RIZIN FF) 66kg MMA The main event 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 RIZIN debut, 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 picked right back up at RIZIN TRIGGER 1, where he defeated surging contender Sora Yamamoto via unanimous decision. Yamamoto, a PFC champion who was riding a 5-fight win streak, was a huge test for Suzuki, who now looks to steal the thunder from Hiramoto. Hiramoto holds a multitude of amateur kickboxing titles, but twice finished as a runner-up in professional tournaments. He was ranked as a top-10 featherweight for 2 years until transitioning to MMA in 2020, where he made his MMA & RIZIN debut against fan favorite, Kyohei Hagiwara. Since then, he has been training at Roufusport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. Applying his kickboxing pedigree to his MMA training at a world-renowned gym should yield excellent results for the young fighter, and matching up with a fellow kickboxing mixed martial artist promises to be a solid test at this stage of his career.
Uoi Fullswing (23-10-5, 2-1 RIZIN FF) vs Kuya Ito (10-8-1, 0-1 RIZIN FF) 61kg MMA After snapping the longest losing skid of his career at RIZIN TRIGGER 1st against Shian with the 2nd soccer kick finish of his RIZIN career last November, ‘Fullswing’ is looking to get back to winning ways. 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. Fullswing has never won by submission, and as his namesake indicates – he is a slugger by nature. The former GRACHAN Bantamweight Champion is coming off a 7-3 streak in his last 10 bouts, stretching back to 2017. His last bout was a quick submission loss against 52-fight veteran Motonobu Tezuka where he lost his title just 2 months ago. Like Uoi, Ito has also never won by submission, and it will be interesting to see how he will handle Uoi’s power, as 4 of his 8 losses have come by way of KO/TKO.
Shoji Maruyama (19-15-1, 1-2 RIZIN FF) vs Hiroaki Suzuki (1-1, 1-1 RIZIN FF) 66kg MMA Shoji makes his 4th appearance under RIZIN. The inaugural Pancrase Lightweight Champion returned from his 4 year hiatus in 2017, and faced 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 2021, he rebounded with a spectacular 20-second knockout over Chihiro Suzuki at RIZIN.30 5 months ago in his return to featherweight, and now takes on another kickboxer turned mixed-martial artist in Bonsai’s Hiroaki Suzuki. Serving as Souza and Koike’s striking coach, the former SHOOT BOXING Champion has sharpened his tools on the ground with the jiu-jitsu specialists, and made his debut at RIZIN LANDMARK Vol.1 less than 6 months ago, scoring a spectacular stoppage over Keisuke Okuda. Despite a lackluster performance against the mercurial Kyohei Hagiwara, Suzuki finds himself once again facing an opponent with extreme upset potential.
“I also learned the toughness of MMA and I really want to put on a great fight. I hope to put on a fantastic fight and show what I’ve worked on… Let’s put on a good fight. I’m going to do what I always do and put on an exciting show. Look forward to my fight. Hiramoto’s got great technique and fights smart. I fight with instinct so it will be a fun fight. I gained a lot of confidence in my power in my last kickboxing fight.”
“I’m happy to get continuous offers from RIZIN. I feel that MMA is starting to pick up in Japan, and many fighters are visualizing bright futures. I will prepare to make sure I can perform with confidence in front of my opponent and the fans. I appreciate your support.”
“I have been a big fan of Suzuki for quite some time so I’m very excited to be able to fight him. Suzuki is a very dangerous striker so I will be careful not to let him land his strikes, especially his head kicks. I feel that he’s still not too comfortable with MMA so I would like to use my experience to fight with diversity and eventually finish him. I will finish up the fight camp strong and show everybody a great performance.”
“When I transitioned from K-1, I was trying too hard to look good and was putting on an act. The loss in my debut got me to throw away all of my status and I feel free. I’ve done all my talk, now it’s time to back it up. I will put on a great show. [Chihiro] You talk too long, shut up. Suzuki’s got no chance of beating me. This isn’t a sport, a fight is a fight and I plan to show that. If he rushes in with haymakers, a fighter needs to be able to deal with that. I’ve been working very hard to evolve so shut up and look forward to my fight. I believe my MMA striking is the best in the world. My opponents got power but he’s dumb.”
“I was supposed to fight on the first LANDMARK but was forced to withdraw due to getting COVID. This time I am well prepared to show my best performance in RIZIN. Fullswing fought my fellow GRACHAN fighter Shian and knocked him out in his fight. I’m not that easy to finish and I will fight to avenge my colleague. I’m looking to deliver fireworks to the people who buy the PPV so don’tmiss my fight.”
“I am extremely grateful to Shoji and all of those passionate people who made this fight possible on the RIZIN LANDMARK series. This event will be a PPV base event so I will not put on a crappy performance like last time and will make sure people get what they paid for. What I lost in the fight can only be redeemed in a fight. I will be the brightest shining fighter in this event. So Shoji, let’s BANG.”
RIZIN Landmark Vol. 2 – Discreet location, March 6th (Stream only)
Chihiro Suzuki vs Ren Hiramoto [66kg – RIZIN MMA rules]
Uoi Fullswing vs Kuya Ito [61kg – RIZIN MMA rules]
Shoji Maruyama vs Hiroaki Suzuki [66kg – RIZIN MMA 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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