Rizin 43 Results and Review, Foray into Hokkaido Produces Sensational Event!

Rizin’s inaugural Hokkaido event was a memorable one, for all the right reasons. Fans were treated to a sensational event. Match after match the fighters put on a show, bringing the entertainment in their own unique way. Rizin 43 was a firm reminder of everything the org has come to represent and will go down in the history books as an event that delivered!

The hype is definitely flowing ahead of their star studded Super Rizin, Rizin Vs Bellator 2 event, coming live from Saitama Super Arena July 30th.


Kleber Koike Erbst submitted Chihiro Suzuki by Armbar, 2:59 R1 (ruled a no contest as Erbst missed weight)

In the main event Featherweight Champion, supreme grappler Erbst faced off against savvy striker Chihiro Suzuki. With both having skillets skewed in opposite directions the first moments of the match were critical. Suzuki used feints to draw a reaction in order to counter. Stunning Erbst as he closed the distance Suzuki threw a combination. With his back near the ropes however Erbst was able to gain a bodylock and, as Suzuki’s head passed through the ropes the BJJ expert stepped over for mount. Hauling his adversary out of the ropes Erbst solidified position and got down to business. It was clear Suzuki was out of his depth on the canvas. Attempting to keep his arms safe yet trying to fight back the writing was on the wall for the kickboxer. Isolating an arm, Erbst stepped his legs over the head while maintaining mount to pull off a low risk armbar tap out at 2:59 of the opening round.

In a bout that was destined to be quick the firm favourite pulled through. Typically a scale fail in Japan leads to a bout cancellation and, in the case of a title match, the belt given to the fighter that successfully weighed in. Contracts are not dismissed lightly and should the fight happen, the winner is predetermined. Erbst was lucky and owes Suzuki a lot for accepting the bout. The former champion apologised for the weight miss while still declaring himself champion, asking to officially fight for the belt in the next match. Should Sakakibara agree it will be challenging to find a suitable opponent for the dominant Erbst.


Yusuke Yachi submitted Zach Zane by rear-naked choke, 2:50 R1

Yachi was able to dictate the match from the get-go. In a grappling heavy affair Yachi was one step ahead of Zane. Securing back control Yachi was able to hoist Zane into the air and dump him on the canvas. The American was game, returning to his feet and continuously searching for a chance to turn the tide. His opportunity did not arise as Zane fell victim to a rear naked choke at 2:50 of the first round.

With a much needed win, Yachi takes another step back up the ladder in a stacked division. Whether the crowd pleaser can make another title run remains to be seen. For the moment he can simply sit back and enjoy the victory.


Mikio Ueda defeated Hideki Sekine by referee stoppage, high kick, 0:22 R1

The “big boys” collided in a clash of styles as BJJ black belt Hideki “Shrek” Sekine locked horns with Kyokushin Karate champion Mikio Ueda. “Shrek” stormed forward fearlessly into the fire, hoping to catch hold of his opponent and work his way to the mat. It was not to be, however, as Ueda proved fast and agile for his size. Cutting angles he made “Shrek” pay, first with a massive knee caught the head, and then a monstrous high kick that landed flush. The referee stepped in as Sekine wobbled and swayed before falling to the canvas. After a disappointing debut, Ueda showcased the sharp, slick striking he is known for, achieving the impressive stoppage at just 22 seconds of the opening round.


Hiroaki Suzuki defeated Taisei Nishitani by TKO, ground and pound, 0:56 R1

The intimidating Karate striker Hiroaki Suzuki brings “Ichigeki” 1 strike Knockout power to the table. Battle tested MMA fighter Taisei Nishitani was not intimidated as he pressed forward to grappling range, scoring abrief takedown. With ever improving groundwork Suzuki fought back to his feet while simultaneously protecting his neck from chokes. As the fighters disengaged Nishitani went for an ill advised jumping knee. An overhand counter from Suzuki shot Nishitani out of the air. As he fell to the ground stunned Suzuki finished the job with cold precision and power, hammering Nishitani on the ground until the referee jumped in. Ever evolving as a mixed martial artist Suzuki is coming into his own as a fighter. With the phenomenal finish the striking powerhouse sent a message to the division that he is not to be taken lightly.


Kickboxing: Hiroki Suzuki defeated Genji Umeno by KO, jumping knee, 2:34 R1

Range was vital for renowned strikers Umeno and Suzuki. Thai boxer Umeno wanted to be on the outside racking up kicks or body to body scoring with elbows. Suzuki typically seeks the midrange blasting with loaded hooks and knees. Throughout the first, Umeno implemented his strategy perfectly as he snapped kicks to calf, thigh and body. A frustrated Suzuki was left struggling to get his game going.

Making the adjustments needed in the 2nd round Suzuki refused to let Umeno get comfortable. Umeno’s kicks were now being met with punches, as soon as he was in punching range Suzuki fired. Umeno was still very much in control of the kicking range and effective with elbows when opportunity arose. Out of nowhere a picture perfect jumping knee counter to Umeno’s punches hit the chin with pinpoint accuracy. The Thai Boxing legend lights went out instantly in a highlight reel finish.  Suzuki walked off the second he landed, knowing the strike was flawless. 

The loss will be a bitter pill to swallow for fan favourite Umeno, who was ahead in the bout before getting caught. Suzuki chalks up another fantastic finish and enstablishes himself as a “must watch” fighter on the Rizin roster!


Kickboxing: Minoru Kimura defeated Daryl Lokoku by KO, left hook, 1:08 R1.

When opponents taste the power of Kimura their game can change suddenly. Lokuku kept his hands glued to his head as Kimura tried to blast his way through to the chin. The Congo native defended well but could not mount any offence. Switching to the same leaping forward left hook Kimura went to the body, landing just enough to stun Lokuku who momentarily dropped his guard. The follow up blow to the chin was dynamite and Lokuku was out cold while still standing. As he slowly fell face first, a smiling Kimura teed off with a few more heavy blows. Lokuku was unconscious on the canvas for considerable time.

Kimura continues to be one one of the hardest hitters in the sport. Introducing himself to the Rizin audience in emphatic fashion all eyes will be on the ferocious Kickboxers next steps.


Yuta Kubo defeated Takeaki “Karate” Kinoshita by split decision

Respectful of each others firepower both southpaws were a little tentative as they tested the waters in the opening stanza. A typically slow starter who takes time to get a read on opponents, Kubo was content to stay long, establish the jab and go high with the rear kicks. Owner of an 100% finishing rate Kinoshita attempted to leap in and land with a long hook while also searching for the HL reel head kick KO. A takedown from Kinoshita changed the battleground. Decorated Kickboxing champion Kubo proved competent on the ground, retrieving guard and working to his feet. Heavy low kicks from Kubo were taking their toll on “Karate” who got buckled by a rear straight from Kubo as the round ended.

Continuing where he left off, Kubo was growing in confidence and finding his openings. A straight right, left hook, left body kick combination hurt “Karate” who paid Kubo back, wobbling the Kickboxing technician! Straight lefts and low kicks added up and, by the conclusion of the 2nd, “Karate” was slowing down while Kubo grew stronger.

With attacks coming that little bit slower in the 3rd “Karate” was grazed by a soccer kick and left gasping for air after kicks and knees to the body. There was no quit in Kinoshita though, digging deep her hustled a much needed takedown in the 3rd round to spend the majority of the round on top.

The late takedown made the fight a close one to score, 2 of the 3 judges leant towards the damage Kubo was able to inflict. The dissenting judge likely felt the late takedown and ground control carried Kinoshita ahead in the scoring. Kubo plans to continue challenging himself in MMA, while he has made significant improvements he still has some way to go before challenging the divisions elite. With the right match making he has shown that he can be an exciting fighter to watch.


Saori Oshima submitted Haruka Hasegawa by scarf hold armbar, 1:16 R1

Giving up 18cm in height and 21.5cm of reach, Saori Oshima also weighed in at her regular weight, about 10lbs below the limit. With a reputation for slick striking and solid takedown defence many believed that Haruka “Salt” Hasegawa would pose a lot of problems for the Rizin veteran.

As the 1st round got underway Hasegawa let her hands go, firing off 1-2s as Oshima pressed forward and closed the distance. In the clinch Oshima let her Judo flow, O-Uchi and Ko-Uchi-Gari inside and outside trips were shut down by the tall Kickboxer. A beautiful Harai-Goshi “head and arm” style throw landed Oshima in Kesa-Gatame. From the scarf hold Oshima manipulated her opponent’s arm between her legs where she exerted considerable pressure for the tap. The relatively “old school” Ude-Garame armlock setup has seen a resurgence as of late with Oshima demonstrating a perfect example.


Suguru Nii defeated Tateo Iida by TKO, straight right and soccer kick, 2:32 R1

Tateo Iida controlled the real estate early, measuring distance with a solid jab and chopping with leg kicks that took Suguru Nii off his feet. Nii found an answer with lead hooks and swift straight right hands. Iida with hands by his side relied on timing and speed, baiting his adversary into initiating so that he could counter. The strategy backfired disastrously as Nii drove home a massive right hand knocking Iida’s mouthpiece out. As Iida wobbled a second punch, loaded with ill intent, sent him face first to the canvas. Nii got through a soccer kick to the head just before the referee could intervene, resulting in a scary knockout.

Post fight an emotional Nii spoke about his 10 year friendship and love for his opponent. The Judoka pointed out that they were both 32 years old and might not have so many more chances before thanking his opponent and vowing to continue training hard. Iida was taken out on a stretcher.


Tetsuya Seki defeated Raiki Endo by unanimous decision

Tetsuya Seki, who has a massive 12.5 cm height advantage played defence to Raiki Endo takedown as the opening frame got underway. At distance Seki was a threat, a right hand sat Endo down briefly before he popped back to his feet. Brawling his way into the clinch, Endo was unwavering and fearless, never taking a backward step. An enthralling contest of power in the pocket vs power at range played out. Endo, with an entertaining but risky style was constantly getting into and out of trouble. Just as the end was closing Endo landed winging hooks.  Seki stayed sharp though and, with an elbow and knee through the guard Seki tasted the canvas again as the round concluded.

In the 2nd round the battle of wills continued as both fighters were unwavering in their game plans. Seki threw pot-shots at range with a long jab and kicks while Endo kept presenting a moving target as he searched for takedowns and hooks. Seki broke through with elbows and knees in the clinch, dropping his foe again with a straight right. Endo fought fire with fire, having his best moments of the round near the end with some clubbing hooks. 

A rear hand right off the bat dropped Endo again, the brave fighter sprung up but was welcomed by an uppercut that had him in trouble against the ring. Seeking some respite to regain his wits, Endo clinched and hung tough. Dirty boxing from Seki, who was efficiently scoring with elbows and knees, was slowly breaking his durable opponent down. Seki could not miss with straight rights, and more flash knockdowns followed. Head movement and resolve were keeping Endo alive as Seki delivered barrages of lefts, rights, uppercuts and knees. Repeatedly visiting the canvas from uppercuts the ref watched closely as Endo took soccer kicks to the head. Avoiding the full brunt of the strikes and firing back just enough to stop the referee stepping in. The damage on Endo was mounting but his spirit never waned, enduring a beat down he finished the match on his feet still throwing wild hooks for the finish. 

The exhilarating fight went to the judges and the winner was never in doubt. Seki turned up the heat and went all out for the stoppage, claiming a clear cut decision. Endo can hold his head high with his performance.


Joji Goto submitted Trent “Aussie Cyclone” Girdham by modified twister, 2:34 R2

In his Rizin Kickboxing match Girdham was put out of commission early by a nasty calf kick. Writhing in pain from the abnormal damage the Australian returned to Rizin for a MMA showdown with Joji Goto. Teasing his opponent with a “Joji go to sleep” prediction the “Aussie Cyclone” carried a noticeable size advantage over Hokkaido native Goto.

As the bell sounded the fighters went straight into action. Trent Girdham caught a kick but ended up eating some heavy hands from Goto, balancing on 1 foot. Still holding the leg Girdham drove Goto to the ropes, getting caught in a ninja choke in the process. A takedown from Girdham released the hold and started a fast paced chain of chokes, escapes and scrambles. The “Aussie Cyclone” had faith in his chokes, cinching tight guillotines at every opportunity. Goto’s defence was on point as he maintained just enough air to survive some dicey moments. A thunderous left cross and Girdham collapsed to the canvas. The bell sounded just as Goto was on the cusp of victory.

The 2nd stanza saw both fighters exchanging back and forth with Girdham having no qualms about dropping to guard to set up a submission. In the end, after taking the Australian’s back Goto utilised aspects of the O-Tatsu guard to keep his foe locked down and unable to rotate to guard. Hooking an arm around his own head Goto torqued the body  a “twister” variation for the tap. Bringing a sensational bout to a definitive conclusion, Joji Goto made his Rizin debut in style!


Aoi Kuriyama defeated Marina Kumagai by KO, left hook, 2:48 R1

Aoi Kuriyama and Marina Kumagai were both content to trade on the feet early. Holding ground, Kumagai chipped away with jabs and low kicks, keeping her opponent on the outside. Kuriyama spotted a tendency for Kumagai to keep her head in exchanges and capitalised with an impeccably timed heavy left over the top of the taller lady’s jab. Kumagai had her strings cut as she collapsed to the canvas. Kuriyama impressed with a sensational 1 punch KO.


Kensei Yamakawa defeated Ryoga Hirano by TKO, 3 knockdown rule, 1:22 R2

Southpaw Yamakawa was consistent early in the first round landing accurate jabs and left kicks before pulling back out of range. Ryoga Hirano was stacking combinations in close, throwing everything with fight-ending intentions. A blistering right hand to the chin sent Yamanaka to the canvas for a count. Throwing caution to the wind both swing wild to end an exciting round.

Resetting and returning to a more disciplined technical fight, Yamanaka measured range and countered well as the 2nd stanza commenced. A counter right hand behind the ear put Hirano on rubbery legs stumbling to the ground. Hirano made the mistake of trying to “get one back” and paid the price as he hit the canvas again courtesy of a left straight. A final barrage dropped Hirano one more time for the stoppage midway through the 2nd.


Preliminary matches

Mixed-rules bout: Toshiki Watanabe submitted Kento Azumi by kneebar, 1:07 R1

Round 1 got underway as Kento Azumi started strong, executing a head and arm throw to side control.  Active from bottom Toshiki Watanabe managed to fend off most of the ground and pound coming his way. As Asumi stood over his opponent looking to kick or stomp, Watanabe isolated a leg and worked an angle to get the extension on a kneebar. The lock went on deep and Azumi could not relieve the pressure, tapping just over 1 minute into the bout. 

Mixed-rules bout: Suguru Hayasaka submitted Daiki Maruyama by head and arm choke, 3:33 R1

After some difficulties against the ropes, Daiki Murayama scored a Takedown but elected to not engage with the more competent grappler. In the striking exchanges, Suguru Hayasaka caught a partially landed high kick and took the fight to the ground in ½ guard. From there he worked a head and arm choke. Murayama exploded, rotating to escape but Hayasaka sunk the choke deeper. Murayama was out cold in fraction of a second after the choke was applied. Impressive grappling from Hayasaka.

Kickboxing bout: Aito Tanimura defeated Ryuya Koide by TKO, 0:55 R1

A firefight got the round started with Aito Tanimura coming out the aggressor against southpaw Ryuya Koide. Fighting off the ropes Tanimura threw a spinning kick followed by a right hook. Koide saw the set up and delivered a crushing left hand counter over the top for the KO!

Kickboxing bout: Shoki Hoshikubo vs. Kazuyuki Furukawa ruled a no contest

With hands down Shoki Hoshikubo threw everything with full force, overwhelming Kazuyuki Furukawa early with 1-2s and spinning kicks. Late in the 1st the unconventional Furukawa got through with looping right hands and knees. Storming forward a rear right dropped Hoshikubo for a 10 count with 20 seconds left in the 2nd stanza. The 3rd was Furukawa’s best round as he chipped away with lead hooks and his go-to overhand right. A right knee took the wind from Hoshikubo’s  sails as his opponent refused to back down. Hoshikubo marched forward the whole fight but the knockdown and cleaner, harder blows sealed the deal for Hoshikubo. Despite winning 3-0 on the scorecards Hoshikubo was 1.6kg over the contracted weight and the bout was ruled a no contest.






About the Author

Peter Leghorn
Writer and photographer sharing my passion for Martial Arts.

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)