In typical RIZIN fashion the main event of the nearly 9 HOUR extravaganza certainly lived up to its hype! 

In what has become known as a promotion that is a throwback to PRIDE, and digs deep into its roots of ‘fighting with the WARRIOR SPIRIT’ over mere W’s and L’s on records, it always seems to produce something crazy or outstanding in the mix.

With many of the fights being outstanding even with so many on a card! This “warrior spirit” certainly flowed through the event, and the competitor’s took it literally.

Perhaps the 2 best fights of the evening were certainly the co-main and main events. And that’s saying a lot when you look at a 16 fight card that produced some crazy ko’s, fighters jumping the ring running out into the crowd celebrating, and others simply too exhausted to stand up and make it back to their corners after the 3rd round all bloody and battered.

For the main event was the 2 assumed toughest competitors in the world’s first Atom Weight World Grand Prix tournament. It featured Japanese fan favourite Rena (Queen) Kubota, taking on the former 3 time KOTC champion in Andy Nguyen who has been steadily making a solid name for herself over in Japan in her own right since last year.

The main event:

Rena came out to her traditional popular ‘japanese pop’ with her yellow pointing finger stick and traditional glitter red Nike and Beams outfit, and perhaps to be honest – smiles but certainly more serious than her usual ‘carefree’ persona.

Andy certainly won the walkout battle hands down, with a flashing lights cowboy hat , guitar and local baseball team jersey much to the locals delight. As she danced away and threw it all off bit by bit into a cheering crowd.

Her previous walkout and win is what made her popular for an overseas athlete in Japan in her original showing and she managed to top her last walkout!

So short of flying in on a jetpack I’m not sure how she will top her next one!

The fight (below) got off to a fast pace for the top 2 seeds ranked in the tournament. There was very little feeling out or sizing up eachother at all. A few nice punches thrown by each, a nice kick by Rena and Andy caught the second taking her down and before long a little scramble and Andy had the undefeated Rena in a backpack position with a full body triangle and was landing solid punches to the head looking for the finish!

Rena fought through the adversity however and eventually broke free. This is where the 19-0 kickboxer shootbox product went to work and landed punches in bunches after hitting a stinging punch to the head. Andy seemed to be moving and wearing it well and even kicked her back at one point until a devastating shot to the liver came out of a combo and it was over in an instant.

A great back and forth match, and I would not even be surprised if perhaps Andy Nguyen was to end up in a “special attraction match” or standby as a reserve for the tournament still if an injury occurs for the new years eve show as the crowd seemed to appreciate both athletes “WARRIOR SPIRIT”  a great deal even though the American was fighting a hometown girl.

 

 

Post fight interview:

 

In the CO-MAIN:

We saw two Japanese flyweight fighters, with the rising star “TENSHIN” (Tenshin Nasukawa) take on  Yamato Fujita.

There was definitely no stylish entrances for these two, unlike Andy Nguyen, Sakuraba or King Rena and her Giant wall teddy bear. But the excitement was definitely in the ring and every single second of it!

In what was expected to be a run through for the rising 19 year old TENSHIN, turned into an absolute war!

Although he took the decision victory, he showed he is not only still a young undefeated fighter on the rise, but also he showed the ability to dig deep and still not be afraid to show some flair and attempt risky high reward moves on a tough gritty fight.

A few low blows might set any family plans back a little. However the teen showed plenty of patience and poise, for someone who has only just finished high school and is already.  co main event for the largest promotion in his country.

I gave this, fight of the night but also additional credit to TENSHIN for showing a skillset well beyond the years of somone so young. He is certainly one to keep an eye on. But with that said it was very hard to pick given the sheer amount of fights on the card.

 

 

The final results are below, and for anyone interested. The event was sold out, and is expected to have an approximate viewing of 7.8- 8.2  million viewers in Japan free to air TV.

Another solid RIZIN show!

Fight Card
Weight ClassMethodRoundTimeNotes
Super Atomweight 49 kgJapan Rena Kubotadef.United States Andy NguyenKO (Punch to the Body)13:23Women’s Super Atomweight Grand-Prix 1st Round
Flyweight 57 kgJapanTenshin Nasukawadef.JapanYamato FujitaDecision (Unanimous)35:00
Grappling Match 84 kgJapanKazushi Sakurabavs.United States Frank ShamrockDraw110:00
Lightweight 70 kgJapan Akiyo Nishiuradef.Netherlands Andy SouwerDecision (Unanimous)215:00
Catchweight 75 kgJapan Reina Miuradef.United StatesCrystal StokesDecision (Unanimous)315:00
Catchweight 63 kgBrazilGabriel Oliveiradef.JapanTatsuya KawajiriKO (Knee)21:00
Bantamweight 61 kgJapanShintaro Ishiwataridef.RussiaAkhmed MusakaevDecision (Unanimous)315:00Bantamweight Grand-Prix 1st Round
Bantamweight 61 kgFrance Kevin Petshidef.South Korea Je Hoon MoonDecision (Split)315:00Bantamweight Grand-Prix 1st Round
Bantamweight 61 kgPortugal Manel Kapedef.Japan Erson YamamotoTKO (Head Kick and Punch)11:10Bantamweight Grand-Prix 1st Round
OpenweightGuamRoque Martinezdef.FranceJerome Le BannerSubmission (Scarf Hold Chest Choke)12:10
Super Atomweight 49 kgBrazil Maria Oliveiradef.United StatesAlyssa GarciaDecision (Unanimous)315:00Women’s Super Atomweight Grand-Prix 1st Round
Super Atomweight 49 kgJapanKanna Asakuradef.PolandSylwia JuśkiewiczDecision (Unanimous)315:00Women’s Super Atomweight Grand-Prix 1st Round
Super Atomweight 49 kgSpain Irene Cabello Riveradef.JapanMiyuu YamamotoSubmission (Armbar)27:25Women’s Super Atomweight Grand-Prix 1st Round
K-1 Catchweight 51 kgJapan Jin Mandokorodef.Japan Issei IshiiDecision (Unanimous)39:00
K-1 Catchweight 62 kgJapan Yuki (Mr. RISE)vs.JapanKurogi DarvishDraw (Majority)39:00
K-1 Catchweight 58 kgJapanYoshihisa Morimotodef.Japan Ryota RenseigymTKO (Punches)37:57