Rizin has a knack of finding talented, diverse and exciting fighters. Matching them up perfectly for guaranteed “edge of your seat” entertainment. Rizin 27 continued the trend with a variety of sensational submission and striking finishes and back and forth wars. Personalities, styles, and story-lines shone through as each warrior pulled out the stops.
In the main event, Kanna Asakura received her second chance at dethroning the Atomweight Queen Ayaka Hamasaki. Asakura was submitted by Hamasaki 3 years ago and was not given much of a chance in the rematch. For Hamasaki, she dropped a razor thin split decision to Seo Hee Ham last outing. After sudden and surprising exit from Rizin by Ham, Hamasaki reclaimed the belt, although not the way she would have wanted. Both fighters entered with something to prove.
Ayaka Hamasaki defeated Kanna Asakura (Split Decision, 2-1)
Hamazaki positively blitzed Asakura as the bell sounded to start the Atomweight title match. Showing no respect for her opponents striking, the champion threw a barrage of non stop punches to the challengers face. Asakura was driven back by Hamasaki’s onslaught. Briefly knocked down to all 4’s, Asaskura still fearlessly returned fire! Hamasaki hits a perfect Okuri Ashi Harai outside trip and held the Paraestra Matsudo wrestler in the corner. Absorbing punches and knees to the head Asakura managed to clasp the waist and take the champion for a ride. As she was dumped to the ground Hamasaki expertly twisted to go body down and stood back up. Hamasaki dropped a few gears late in the round, slowing down she pawed at her nose which may have been broken. Asakura sported some considerable swelling under her eye and on her face as the round closed.
An opportunistic leg grab takedown gave Hamasaki top position in the 2nd. Taking side control parallels of their former encounter came to mind, where Asakura succumbed to an armbar submission. Showing her grit and determination the challenger resisted the submission attempts, got in on a leg and used her wrestling backbone to reverse the roles. The champion threatened from guard but Asakura was wise to the set ups, keeping her elbows in. The AACC representative kicked out to get back to the feet but was lifted, rotated and dropped into the corner. The challenger continued to stage a comeback, hammering away from mount as the round closed.
Knowing that the fight hung in the balance and a mistake would prove costly, both fighters were measured with their strikes. Like the previous rounds, when Hamasaki found her mark she landed cleaner and with more starch. There was not much between them though, and it was Asakura driving her fatigued opponent back with combinations. The challenger took back control but Hamasaki worked for a straight arm lock from the position as the competitive fight came to a close..
In the end the judges were swayed by the finishing attempts and damage of Hamasaki, who retained her Atomweight title by split decision. For Asakura she performed leagues above her first encounter and still has a lot of time to develop.
Roberto Satoshi Souza defeated Kazuki Tokudome (Sub, Triangle Choke, 3:02, R1)
Every time Kazuki Tokudome fights he faces a bit of a dilemma. Possessing heavy hands and solid striking he also owns an equally aggressive and skilled ground game. Against submission master Roberto Satoshi Souza, Tokodome made the wrong choice, instinctively hitting a Kosoto gake takedown he went from the frying pan into the fire. Demonstrating his world class submission acumen Souza locked up a slick triangle choke for the tap at 3:02 of the 1st round.
Koji Takeda defeated Takasuke “Da Jaguar” Kume (Unanimous Dec, 3-0)
In the 1st round the DEEP and Pancrase champions were eager to test each others chins. Takasuke “Da Jaguar” Kume moved well and sought to keep the fight standing while Koji Takeda looked to implement his world class wrestling. Kume, known for his heavy base, was immovable, resulting in Takeda forfeiting wrestling in favor of stand up striking. On the feet defense was thrown out the window as they traded blow for blow. “Da Jaguar” was the slicker striker, using angles as Takeda planted and swung for the fences.
Takeda picked up the pace and methodically landed blows in the 2nd stanza. Kume pulled off the takedowns but the scrambling of the DEEP champion was exceptional as he instantly popped back up. A right hand from Kume is met with a furious exchange with both fighters refusing to give an inch. A shovel right caught Kume mid kick and off balance, propelling him to the canvas. Stoic and undamaged, the Pancrase champion got back to his feet unfazed. Takeda was opportunistic with his attacks while Kume pushed the pace. As the fighters continued to collide in brutal exchanges there was a sense that the tide was turning towards Takeda, who used sheer will and determination to claw ahead.
As the final round commenced, a fired up Takeda shouted battle cries as he mustered everything he could into each confrontation. Kume had his chin tested but the rugged Pancrase Champion absorbed the shots and fired back. A pivitol combination from Takeda sent his foe reeling into the ropes, unloading with everything he had, th DEEP champion sought to finish. Kume resiliently absorbed the blows and returned to his feet where they continued their firefight. In the clinch Takeda unleashed his signature supplex but Kume showed once again his incredible durability. The remainder of the final round the warriors continued their crowd pleasing back and forth war. Kume right hands continued to bloody up Takeda’s eye but the DEEP champion was undeterred. After a scintillating dog fight the judges sided with the big moments from Takeda, who took the hard earned decision.
Kleber Koike Erbst defeated Kazumasu Majima (Sub, Triangle Choke, 3:02, R2)
Both submission specialists threw strikes as entries to the clinch. Kleber Koike Erbst hit a beautiful Koshi Guruma throw but overcorked it. Kazumasa Majima, with his grappling prowess controlled the momentum to ride out on top. The ground specialist stayed top heavy and shut down Koike’s submission set ups, something that spoke volumes. Unable to mount much offence Majima was nevertheless taking the fight to the Brazlilian born Japanese JuJitsu expert. The stand off continued throughout the round with Majima attempting to pass and advance and Koike defending and fishing for a submission.
Always on the attack the Koike went for the guillotine off a Majima takedown. Well versed on the mat the Mouri Dojo fighter moved to the correct side to relieve pressure and escape. As action moved back to the feet the Bonsai JuJitsu product lands a knee and Majima seized the leg for a takedown. It proved a costly mistake as Koike pushed his opponent away, fed an arm through and cinched a lightning quick textbook triangle choke. Already hitting the right angle Koike knew he had it, forcing a formidable ground fighter to tap at 3:02 of the 2nd round. All it takes is one mistake with Koike, who notched up his 23rd submission win. Majima, a prolific submission expert himself, suffered his first submission loss.
Tsuyoshi “Takanofuji Sanzo” Sudario defeated Kazushi Miyamoto (T/KO, 0:08, R1)
Finding opponents for a legitimate prospect like Tsuyoshi Sudario is tough. Japanese heavyweight fighters are few and far between, and lockdown regulations prevent international talent entering. 42 year old ex-pro wrestler Kazushi Miyamoto stepped up to the challenge, and regretted it instantly. Miyamoto bull rushed across the ring to engage the former Sumo wrestler who Pushed him to the ground. Miyamoto turned his back to stand and was caught by a devastating right hand from “Takanofuji Sanzo” that put him out cold on the canvas in just 8 seconds. Sudario soured the victory by continuously attacking his unconscious foe after the stoppage. Chaos ensued in the ring and corners had to be separated until they cooled off.
Rizin made a post event announcement that Sudario received a red card for attacking after the bout had ended and serious disregard for the referees instructions. Corner men from both camps were issued warnings.
Kickboxing: Taiga “Taiga” Kawabe defeated Kanta Motoyama (Unanimous Dec, 3-0)
Great head movement by Taiga who exchanged freely with the young late replacement. Both mirrored each other with lefts and rights but it was Taiga who moved off the center line and caught Motoyama clean at the end of combinations. Motoyama showed his heart and stepped up the frequency but still took an unhealthy amount of dynamite strikes from Taiga. After eating blow after blow from the heavy hitting veteran, unbelievably the 19 year old Motoyama managed to make it to the final bell. Impressive display of heart by the youngster but there was questioning the result. Taiga scored a dominant, unanimous decision over the late replacement Motoyama
Yoshinori “Rising Star” Horie defeated Tetsuya Seki (T/KO, 1:16, R3)
Horie found his rhythm instantly, bouncing in and out he timed overhand hooks and powerful outside leg kicks that racked up the damage. The rangy Seki could not get a read on the movement and timing and was largely a spectator for much of the round.
In the 2nd round and Horie continued to land with solid fundamentals, 1-2s, straights and rear leg kicks with pin point accuracy. Seki could not find much but when he landed it was with serious power, stunning Horie briefly against the ropes. Right straight, right kick worked for Horie as he worked the head, body, legs and calf. The damage to Seki’s legs visible he walked back to his corner when the round ended.
In 3rd round Horie took center right away. Seki stepped the volume up, knowing that he had to go for broke if he wanted to secure victory. Horie saw the opening as Seki threw. Slipped his head off center Horie delivered a picture perfect right hand that sent Seki tumbling to the canvas. The impressive sequence signaled the end at 1:16 of the round.
Hiroki “Shian” Yamashita Defeated Kazuma Sone (T/KO, 0:27, R1)
Kazuma Sone wildly rushed in and caught Hiroki “Shian” Yamashita with a clipping hook. Yamashita made an angle and proceeded to blitz Sone as he was trapped in the corner. With a flush left hook finding Sone’s chin, “Shian” put the veteran down to claim a TKO stoppage in only 27 seconds of the opening frame.
Shooto Watanabe defeated Takumi Tamaru (Sub, Rear Naked Choke/ Neck Crank, 4:13, R1)
With legendary fight IQ, Takumi Tamaru is well-versed in all aspects of MMA and incredibly effective at fighting his fight. Coming in as the underdog, expert back taker and rear naked choke specialist Shooto Watanabe scored the first takedown. Tamaru implemented a dynamic guard, creating distance to land blows before reversing. A scramble ensued and Tamura took back mount where he threatened with Rear Naked Chokes. Watanabe held on until the round expired.
With the striking advantage Tamaru was keen to keep action on the feet as the 2nd round got underway. His volume created opportunities however, and Watanabe is very adept at capitalizing. Seizing a leg mid kick, the wily grappler took Tamaru’s back and took fight to his realm. Slowly but surely breaking down the defense, Watanabe sunk in a constrictive Rear Naked Choke/ Neck Crank combination for the submission at 4:13 of. round 2
Yutaro Muramoto defeated Seigo Yamamoto (T/KO, 2:37, R1)
Yutaro Muramoto looked considerably smaller than his counterpart Seigo Yamamoto but that did not stop him initiating the exchanges. Bounching back and forth arms down Muramoto covered distance quick and hit with precision and power. Yamamoto could not get the timing with his knees to catch his speedy opponent, electing to launch them into the air instead. A beautiful counter by Muramoto knocked the airborne Yamamoto out cold as he came back down to the canvas hard on his back. Muramoto’s highlight reel finish came at 2:37 of the first.
Kickboxing: Shuto Sato drew Masayoshi Kunimoto (Majority Draw)
In a evenly matched Kickboxing bout Shuto Sato squared off against Masayoshi Kunimoto. The crisp accuracy of Shootboxer Sato was on display early as he threw with volume and variety. Finding his rhythm late, Thai Boxer Kinjo scored the heavy blows, breaking down the legs as bout progressed. The judges were torn between the combination work and activity of Sato and power and accuracy of Kunimoto. 2 judges ruled the bout a draw with the dissenting judge believing Kunimoto had done enough
Riki Sakurai vs Riku Yoshida ended in a No Contest (Sakurai failed to make weight)
Riki Sakurai welcomed MMA fighter Riku Yoshida to Kickboxing with a brutal battering. Yoshida hit the canvas twice early in the 1st before being saved by the ref as he took serious damage trading with the explosive brawler. As Sakurai did not make weight, however, the bout was determined a No Contest. Failing to make weight in Japan often results in severe penalties, Sakurai faced a point deduction every round, a percentage loss of fight purse and, should he win, it would be determined NC.
Kickboxing: Ryota Naito defeated Hiroki Kinjo (Unanimous Dec, 3-0)
Both Kickboxers left it all in the ring as they went toe to toe over 3 gruelling rounds. Ryota Naito and Hiroki Kinjo blasted each other with thunderous shots in an evenly matched, wildly entertaining affair. Naito slowly crept ahead as the match progressed, with superior timing and ring generalship. He drove Kinjo back, inflicting more damage to take an unanimous decision victory
Yuki Ito defeated Kohei Sugiyama (T/KO, 0:33 R1)
Yuki Ito is another of the “badboy” brawlers who transitioned from The Outsider org to face, and beat, high level competition. Also known as a finisher, opponent Kohei Sugiyama has handled himself well against some great featherweights. Sugiyama was testing the waters while Ito was not playing around. A slip from Sugiyama and Ito pounced, landing a monstrous right hand. Sugiyama appeared to recover but the referee, looking out for the fighters, had already made the call. The bout lasted 33 seconds.