RIZIN.26 will be taking place on December 31st (Thur) at the Saitama Super Arena. RIZIN continues to deliver the tradition of hosting MMA events on New Year’s Eve. RIZIN 26 will be streamed internationally with English commentary provided by play by play commentator Joe Ferraro and color commentator Frank Trigg.
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Official weigh-in results and fighter quotes:
Opening fight – 51kg
Sakura / 52.70kg ＋ 1.7kg ＊penalty and conditions will be announced later
– This opportunity is still unreal to me but now that it’s confirmed I need to focus on this upcoming fight and use this fight for a good cause
– My opponent is a good striker. I have been training striking for about a year now but she’s been training standup for over 10 years. I hope that I will be able to take her down
– I know people will say it’s too early for me to be fighting on such a stage but I want to use this opportunity to put spotlight on DEEP JEWELS
Eru Takebayashi / 50.60kg
– Combat Karate throws with no ground
– I will be able to win if the fight doesn’t go to the ground
– I’ve been training grapplers so I will be ready for submission attempts
– I hope to be able to showcase my striking skills
Fight #1 – 120kg
Minowaman / 82.70kg
– Opening scenes are very important in any kind of entertainment. I look to take that responsibility in the first round
– SSA defines NYE to me. It’s been 11 years since my last NYE. It has a special place for me
– I’ve studied my opponent and have some ideas on what I want to do. If I fight my fight I will be able to fight well
– Weight is just a number and doesn’t represent true strength
Tsuyoshi Sudario / 114.65kg
– I have been training hard for this fight, and for a long period of time so I feel more than ready to fight.
– Minowaman can be tricky but I’ve studied him enough to a point where I don’t see any threat from him
– I have been lifting weights and training as a full time MMA fighter so I have put on weight than my last fight, and I feel much stronger, quicker, and more confident than my last fight.
– I also think that weight is just a number but me and Minowaman are just too different with physical strengths
– I have been working on some submission skills and I have gotten much more comfortable with striking so I am very excited to showcase what I have been working on
– I’ve been sparring with 3 partners who weigh around 90kgs at the same time
– Enson helps me with technical skills and is very helpful to build my mindset
Fight #2 – 63kg
Taiyo Nakahara / 62.30kg
– Joined the Sayama Dojo about 6 months ago. I felt I needed to learn from him because of his philosophy towards MMA.
– I don’t feel that this blank will affect me. I have been training the same as I would be fighting.
– Japanese MMA left a bad taste in my mouth 10 years ago so I decided to not compete here for a while but after fighting all over Asia I realized that I loved Japanese MMA. I think RIZIN is a great platform and has the appeals for any fighter so I am honored for this opportunity.
Kazuma Kuramoto / 62.75kg
– I have been working on my throws and have many variations ready for my RIZIN debut
– I think my throws deliver as much damage as striking, plus I have my ground and pound that follows
Fight #3 – No limit – Rules and Mr. X will be revealed in the pre fight video before the walkout.
Shibatar / 92.60kg
– My youtube account has been going through the roof thanks to RIZIN and my name is constantly on Yahoo news. I think I’m the main event at the moment
– I was supposed to fight Kouzi and fight on live television but he ran from me so I’m kind of disappointed
– My plan is to fight fighters with a name and will gather attention. I don’t think Kouzi will be around for a long time
– I hear that Peter Aerts is in Tokyo. Is he Mr. X? If that’s the case, I think the fans will witness a beautiful highlight reel finish. Of me getting knocked the f**k out. So I don’t think Mr. X is Peter Aerts. I hope not.
– People think I’m a prowrestler, but I really don’t consider myself a prowrestler.
– RIZIN gave me an offer for ratings. I don’t understand why they won’t put me on the live portion of the event.
– I think all fighters should appreciate me getting on the card. I’m going to bring all the attention to the event, I’m going to deliver ratings for RIZIN, and that will reflect in fighter pay later on. I’m getting everybody paid. X / made weight
Fight #4 – 49kg
Kanna Asakura / 48.95kg
– I have put on about 2 kg of muscle so I have to cut more weight than normal but all of that is well planned out and I am feeling great
– My opponent has much better wrestling credentials and if I fight her there I will not be able to win but this is an MMA fight so I will utilize everything to get the win.
– I feel that I set a bad example with my fight against Miyuu Yamamoto and learned a lot from it. Ai fights like Miyuu so I will not make the same mistake
Ai Shimizu / 48.75kg
– My last fight I headed into the fight injured and wasn’t happy with my performance
– I am fully recovered and have been training very hard so I feel better than ever
– Kanna Asakura has the experience for MMA and knows how to utilize her wrestling during the fight. I didn’t do anything after graduating college so I think our wrestling is at the same level
– I am the heavy underdog in this fight but I know I worked hard enough to pull off the upset
Fight #5 – 61kg
Ulka Sasaki / 60.75kg
– I am a lot calmer than I expected I would be.
– Weight cut is good and I’m on point
– I know that I can beat my opponent if I can perform at 100%
Kenta Takizawa / 60.95kg
– Weight cut is going great. Having such a quick turnaround helped me keep my weight low
– I have been working on movements specifically for Ulka. His wrestling is pretty basic so I think he will be easier to handle
– I was too conservative in my last fight. This time I need to be aggressive and take the risks to finish the fight
– I hope to finish him with my style
– I’m working with a friend of mine on a project to motivate kids who refuse to go to school due to bullying, I want to show them how important it is to challenge and fight for the things you love.
Fight #6 – 50kg
Nadaka Yoshinari / 49.90kg
– My opponent is the 7 channel champion and they are known to have aggressive fighters. I know he’s going to come in to fight me but I would like to outclass him with speed and show a dominant performance.
– When I fight in Thailand I fight for points, but in Japan I will fight to finish
– I would like to leave a bigger impression than Tenshin with my performance
Phetmalai Phetjaroenvit / 49.95kg
– This is my first time in Japan. I am very happy to be here
– Yochinari has fought in Thailand several time and he is very famous. He skills are amazing and I think he is a fantastic fighter
– He moves a lot, and I move a lot, so I think this will be a very fun, fast fight
– I think speed will be key in this 3-round fight
– I like to use my knees and elbows
– I have trained hard for this fight and I would like to show my combinations during this fight
Fight #7 – 61kg
Hideo Tokoro / 60.70kg
– It’s been a while I have competed in an MMA fight so just small things remind me on how long I have been away from MMA. I’ve missed these days of not partying at the end of the year.
– I’ve been fighting for over 20 years so I’m not too worried about ring rust
– My opponent is an elite wrestler and I will have no chance if I tried to wrestle him. My mind is set to go in there and do my thing, fight my fight
– My mindset for recent fights, heading into a fight I’ve go in there thinking “this will be my last fight”, but for this one, I’ve decided to go in there with a mindset of “this will be the beginning”
– I know that my opponent is an elite athlete with astonishing accomplishments but I really don’t want to lose to a MMA debutant. I will go in there and do everything I can to grab that win
– Watch me be Hidoe Tokoro in the ring.
– Many people label this fight as “Ota’s MMA debut”, but for me this is “Tokoro’s MMA return”.
Shinobu Ota / 60.90kg
– I’m used to same day weigh in so weighing in the day before my fight is very nice
– I’ve been training with Shinya Aoki and other top notch grapplers for my grappling
– If things go as planned I am very confident that I can beat my opponent
– Any fighter who gets knocked out due to suplex are careless so I’m not thinking about throws too much
– This fight is to show people my process of transitioning to MMA
– I’ve practiced in the ring a few times but I haven’t been working too much specifically for the ring.
Fight #8 – 68kg
Kyohei Hagiwara / 68.0kg
– My condition is great. Probably the best ever. I just want to smack that kid around as soon as possible
– The kid needs to learn how to behave and I can’t wait to teach him a lesson
– It irritates me that he’s taking MMA lightly. I went through some grueling wrestling training when I made my transition from striking to MMA
– I will not finish this fight quickly. I will use all the time I can to beat him up, slice him up and punish him as long as I can.
– NYE is a celebration for combat sports in Japan. I’m happy to be participating in such festivity.
– He’s been barking a lot and promoting the fight for me, and I am ready to take all of the hype
Ren Hiramoto / 67.80kg
– It doesn’t matter if it’s MMA or kickboxing. I’m here to show Ren Hiramoto
– Training grappling has showed me how to use my body better and it has reflected into my striking so I feel like a much better fighter overall
– Hiramoto’s kicks are amateur and it won’t land on me. He should be ashamed of himself. He won’t be able take a single leg kick from me
– My trash talk has no intentions of the mental game. I’m just saying what I feel
– I’m going to beat the crap out of Mikuru Asakura soon. But he’s pathetic so he might lose his next fight won’t even be worthy to fight at that point
– I plan to take over RIZIN and everything it has built in the past 5 years
– I was meant for combat sports
Fight #9 – 67kg
Kyle Aguon / 66.50kg
– I feel truly blessed to be able to fight on the same card with my loved one. Both fighting on a world class platform with worldclass opponents. Being able to share the moment from cutting weight, recovering, the walkout, winning and losing it doesn’t matter. I feel truly blessed.
– My opponent has great jiu jitsu but I have world class jiu jitsu partners in guam so I’m not too worried about his skills. I think the one who stops moving will lose in this fight.
– I plan to win and corner my wife who fights later on the card
Kleber Koike / 66.75kg
– I have had great training. I needed to be careful with the covid situation but have been training with a solid team. I could not have done it without my team and family’s support
– I have been working a lot on my standup so I am confident
– Kyle has good boxing and wrestling. But I do not feel that he is a threat. I have been training a long time preparing for a fight
– I know I will get my opportunity against Mikuru Asakura so I’m just going to continue to beat anybody who they put me against until I get that opportunity
– I want an immediate title fight. I don’t care who it is, Saito, Asakura, no problem
– I have been waiting for this opportunity for 15 years. To fight on New Year’s Eve. I will take this opportunity to the fullest
Fight #10 – 61kg
Yuki Motoya / 60.95kg
– I feel great weight is coming off good
– Ever since relocating to Tokyo, I have been getting better quality training and my overall skills are getting better
– My opponent fights at a high pace and is very well rounded
– I would like to make a point by beating my opponent at every aspect of the fight
– I’m not focused outside of RIZIN right now, I want to go after the RIZIN belt
Naoki Inoue / 60.35kg
– Motoya is an extremely well rounded fighter, kind of like me but I feel that my striking is better
– My sister has been giving me advise for this fight. We communicate by email. I can’t reveal what we talk about
– I really look forward in facing the winner of the title fight happening on the same night
Fight #11 – 49kg
Ayaka Hamasaki / 48.95kg
– Everything is as normal weight cut is good, training went well
– Miyuu is a top level wrestler so I have things ready for when/if she takes me down, and have been working on my striking to avoid that situation
– She’s quick and strong so I might not be able to avoid be taken down
– I think I am a better striker than Miyuu so I think I can take advantage there
– I really want to show my fights to the Japanese people in Japan
– I look to raise the value of the RIZIN brand
– Winning the RIZIN belt is my priority and I do look forward in tough competition after winning this fight
– I look forward to my visit to Disney Sea after this fight
Miyuu Yamamoto / 48.55kg
– I hope we can bring some attention to the women’s division by putting on a great performance.
– I wasn’t expecting to fight this year so I am very happy to be fighting on NYE, especially with my husband.
– I have worked a lot on raising my basic skills during the lockdown so I think you can expect a different me
Fight #12 – Gomi 78kg / Kouzi 65kg – After renegotiations, fight will be held under 3 x 3 minute rounds with 12oz gloves. Punches only with backfist blows. 3 knockdown system. Decision will be made by judges if the fight does not have a clear winner after 3 rounds.
Takanori Gomi / 78.00kg
– I had no plans of fighting nor attending this NYE event but I got a sudden offer a few weeks ago. Times are tough for everybody with the pandemic and I wanted to give people the entertainment.
– Right now with the international boarders closed, Japanese fighters are forced to face tough domestic competition which leads to boring fights. I plan to put on exciting fights for the people.
– I am in love with my dogs, just got a second puppy. I care for them more than anything.
I’m upset that SSA won’t allow me to bring them into the arena.
– I’m perplexed with Kouzi’s manners towards an elderly person. His comments and actions as a martial artist are unacceptable. I would be lying if I didn’t say I’m livid with this kid. Promotion or not, there should always be respect and a line that you should not cross
– 12 oz gloves may make it hard to knock out my opponent I would prefer 10 oz gloves, but maybe it’s for my own good
– If it goes to distance, I consider it a loss for me
Kouzi / 65.00kg
– The rules are set and I have nothing to say. Both parties agreed to certain conditions so no excuses from here on. I’m just going in there to punch his head off to win.
– I renegotiated with RIZIN for a clear decision after 3 rounds. I mean come on, I’m going up against a legend who’s much bigger than me.
– I wanted to fight with smaller gloves but RIZIN wouldn’t let me but it’s all good. I’m just going to punch his head in like a bobble head
– I think I’ve done my job leading up to the fight, so now I only have one more thing left to do
– I don’t want to praise my opponents before a fight, but Gomi is a true legend I grew up watching. But right now he’s nothing but an enemy.
– I’m glad that he’s all irritated, that’s my strategy. But I did show respect by not going full on trash talk. I know exactly what press conferences are for, and I put a lot of thought and effort into every press conference. If’s he’s all agitated by professional obligations, then be it, it is what it is.
– This will be my first NYE event. I have fantasized about this day for a while and I am very grateful for everybody who work hard to make this happen.
Fight #13 – 68kg
Mikuru Asakura / 68.00kg
– I want to finish my opponent in this fight. I want to avoid the fight going to distance
– I’ve thought that hold back on my explosiveness and aggression in return of calmness and preciseness was my strong point, but I have realized that the right combination of both is the best recipe for me. Expect a different Mikuru Asakura in this fight.
Satoshi Yamasu / 67.85kg
– I had to use my sick days to attend media day and weigh ins but it’s all good. I am grateful that my boss understands my second job
– My goal during the entire process of this fight is to get people to acknowledge the
DOMINATOR instead of me as Mikuru’s opponent
– I heard that he hand-picked me as an opponent and I will make him pay
– My strength cannot be identified until you actually face me in the ring. He can study me all he wants but no matter what he will be surprised
– I want to take the fight in a close ranged fight. Whoever lands first will win type fight
– My mind is programmed to kick any head that is close to the mat, so I will always be looking for that soccerball kick
– I’m doing this for myself I do this because I love it. I have no intentions on fighting for anybody or any entity. If people want to root for me, I am very grateful
– I had no idea that my nickname was called Dominator. I was embarrassed at first but now I have learned to live with it
Fight #14 – 57kg
Tenshin Nasukawa / 56.90kg
– My opponent is a very legitimate fighter. He hits hard and has lots of power in his strikes. His timing is spot on, very durable and agile compared to the Thai fighters I have faced in the past.
– With that said I want to show that I am in a different dimension than him
– My hair is inspired by Billy Irish
– This year COVID took the spotlight but lets all finish it off with a night where people won’t have to think about COVID. Finish off the year with Tenshin Nasukawa
Kumandoi Phetjaroenvit / 56.50kg
– I think Tenshin Nasukawa is a great fighter. His speed, technique is tremendous. But I feel that if I do my best I will be able to hold my own against him
– This will be my first time fighting under these rules so it will be a challenge for me.
Fighting 3 rounds means that I can go aggressively from the first round
– The rumors that I beat Rodtang is true. It was about 4-5 years ago at outside of the city. We fought 5 rounds and I beat him by decision.
– My biggest challenge will be that I only have 3 rounds to finish the fight
– Japan is very cold. So different from where I come from but I have been here for over 2 weeks now so I have gotten used to it
Fight #15 – 61kg
Kai Asakura / 60.75kg
– I’ve put on some muscle so adjusting my weight cut has been a challenge but I think I have it figured out
– Everything about me has gotten better and I want to show that in my fight. I will make a statement in this fight
– I’m not worried if Horiguchi is back 100% he can’t change his style that easily. I know what he’s capable of doing, I can adjust to any changes that he may bring to the fight
– I think this fight will be seen by many top fighters so this is a great opportunity for me to show what I can do
– I plan to defend my belt against Horiguchi and then go after the Bellator belt
Kyoji Horiguchi / 60.80kg
– I did what I could during quarantine. It worked out because I was able to fully adjust with my jet lag. Other than conditioning I was playing games on my cell phone and also looking at fishing gear online.
– I started sparring and training fully in July. I feel like I am close to 100%
– I’ve been adding new stuff to my original style during this period
– I never think about the fight until right before the fight so things are as usual. My absence from the ring really doesn’t affect me
– Once I take back my RIZIN belt, I feel obligated to take back my belt in Bellator. I feel terrible that I wasn’t able to defend it
– I think I may be weird but I feel no pressure, no concerns leading up to the fight
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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