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RIZIN 12 Recap: Hard-fought submissions, big knockouts, and another quality RIZIN event

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RIZIN 12 just concluded live from Nagoya, and they’ve delivered yet again.

It was a twelve fight card, made up of five kickboxing bouts and seven mixed martial arts bouts. What we saw was a night that featured not one lackluster fight, some wild finishes, and a crazy main event.

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Similar to what was done for RIZIN 11, let’s do a full recap of the card – from top to bottom.

Luiz Gustavo vs. Yusuke Yachi

Luiz Gustavo floors Yusuke Yachi with a right-uppercut. © RIZIN FF

The main event was a banger in the lightweight division.

The promotion’s premier lightweight, KRAZY BEE’s Yusuke Yachi, took on an unknown Brazilian in the form of Luiz “Killer” Gustavo, a protégé of the legendary Wanderlei Silva.

Yachi entered the night on a tear. six-straight wins, 5-0 in RIZIN, recent finishes over the likes of Satoru Kitaoka, Takanori Gomi, and Daron Cruickshank. He has been killing it, and riding the biggest wave of momentum he has ever encountered.

Opposite him, “Killer” Gustavo came in undefeated at 8-0 whilst fighting lackluster opposition. That coupled with the fact this fight was on short-notice, he was a deserved underdog.

In by far the 22-year-old’s biggest fight ever, Gustavo showcased that Chute Boxe lineage and started blasting the favorite with shots early. As he showed shades of “The Axe Murderer,” the Andre Dida product opened up a scary cut on Yachi before knocking him unconscious with a vicious shovel-hook of sorts in round two.

Nagoya turned into Upset City for a few moments as Luiz “Killer” Gustavo earned his ninth pro win, fourth via knockout. The hot-streak of Yachi comes to an end, but the KRAZY BEE product is sure to come back better than ever following his second knockout loss.

In a situation all too similar to Wanderlei Silva vs. Kazushi Sakuraba I in 2001, the Brazilian traveled to Japan and KO’d a Japanese superstar. Beyond intrigued to see where both men go from here.

Yuki Motoya vs. Kazuma Sone

Yuki Motoya locks in the fight-ending RNC. © RIZIN FF

Bad blood boiled over in the co-main event.

Yuki Motoya entered the night with two-straight wins, with the most recent coming five and a half weeks ago. He took on fellow RIZIN veteran Je Hoon Moon at DEEP 84 Impact, the final show at the famed Differ Ariake arena. A brawl ensued early, but Motoya was eventually able to secure a mounted triangle and force the stoppage due to ground-and-pound from the position.

Kazuma Sone on the other hand? He entered the contest with three-straight wins, and a Shooto Pacific Rim Championship to his name. He was incredibly vocal regarding his opinions on Motoya pre-fight, though.  And those ‘opinions’ were not good.

Kazuma Sone utilized a lot of wrestling in round one, but he consistently found himself in a tight guillotine choke courtesy of Motoya. The choke was constantly defended well, though. But, in round two, Sone continued to keep his neck a little too out in the open. This eventually allowed the DEEP veteran to sink in a rear naked choke for the tap late in round two.

That was a wrap as Yuki Motoya earns the seventh submission win of his 21-5 career. Ironically enough, Kazuma Sone continues to struggle with his submission defense, as he loses his seventh career fight via submission, falling to 23-16-1 in the process.

In his past fifteen bouts, Motoya has lost to one man. And that man might just be the best fighter on the RIZIN roster; Kyoji Horiguchi. He has won three-straight since the defeat.

Kiichi Kunimoto vs. Ryuichiro Sumimura

“Strasser” sleeps Sumimura with the arm-triangle. © RIZIN FF

In the fight that earned the top spot on my Five Must-Watch Fights of RIZIN 12 piece, we saw a nasty first-round finish.

“Strasser” Kiichi entered the night 1-0 in RIZIN following a five-fight run in the UFC. Coming into the show, Kunimoto was very vocal about believing his opponent had no ground game. But, he insisted that would not matter, saying he will stand with him, knock him out, and show him the difference between a world-class fighter and a regional fighter.

Ryuichiro Sumimura didn’t even take the time to refute the criticisms of Kunimoto. Instead? He warned him that no ground game would be needed once his fists met the chin of “Strasser.” He was riding high on a six-fight win streak that included stoppage victories over the likes of Ken Hasegawa and Rio Date.

What we saw was incredibly easy work for Kiichi Kunimoto. Almost shockingly easy. He got the early takedown, and remained on top through the entirety of round one, constantly looking to set-up an arm triangle.

A champion of DEEP, Sumimura did a good job defending early. But with ten seconds remaining in the first round, Kunimoto finally got what he was looking for. Sleeping the streaking striker with the arm triangle at the buzzer.

As he improves to 20-7-2, “Strasser” picks up the tenth submission win of his career. Because of this, Sumimura falls to 13-7, picking up only his second loss by way of submission.

Kaitlin Young vs. KING Reina

Kaitlin Young kicks KING Reina. © RIZIN FF

Currently a match-maker for Invicta Fighting Championship, “The Striking Viking” Kaitlin Young returned to mixed martial arts competition for the first time in four years to take on 22-year-old superstar “King” Reina Miura.

Despite being out of action for years, Young has been putting in work during that time in the striking arts. Mainly muay thai and kickboxing. Opposite her was KING Reina, a grappler with a judo background. Making this, in some ways, a prime striker vs. grappler match-up.

The fight played out as such. Kaitlin Young was on-point with her striking early, testing the chin of Miura immediately. Down the stretch we saw her create some welts on the legs of her opponent with heavy leg kicks.

And this, basically, is the story of the fight. KING Reina has a few moments of dominance on the ground where she had opportunities to lock in chokes, but Young defended well and consistently got back to her feet.

It was a really stellar striking display from Kaitlin Young. Having not tasted victory in MMA since January of 2012, Kaitlin Young takes the clear unanimous decision and appears to have not skipped a beat.

“The Striking Viking” improves to 8-9-1 nearly eleven years after the famous Miesha Tate headkick KO win, KING Reina falls to 9-2, losing her last two RIZIN bouts.

Taiki Naito vs. Hannya Hashimoto

Taiki Naito batters the leg of Hannya Hashimoto. © RIZIN FF

A veteran of Shoot Boxing, and a former foe of 16-year-old Tenshin Nasukawa, slick striker Taiki Naito took on Ganryujima veteran Hannya Hashimoto.

After a stunning knockdown courtesy of a big punch from Hashimoto in round one, Naito began to starch the opposition.

Taiki Naito, the favorite, battered the lead leg of Hashimoto in round two. Scoring three knockdowns in rapid succession for the TKO victory. He is hoping to get that Nasukawa rematch very soon.

Tenshin Nasukawa Speaks

Tenshin Nasukawa speaks to Nagoya crowd. © RIZIN FF

Not a ton to talk about here. Tenshin Nasukawa is excited for the upcoming RIZIN KICK Tournament as he confirms his inclusion. But, we at MMASucka did exactly this weeks ago!


Was thankfully very short!

Wanderlei Silva Speaks

Wanderlei Silva speaks to Nagoya crowd. © RIZIN FF

Ahead of cornering Luiz Gustavo in the aforementioned main event, “The Axe Murderer” Wanderlei Silva took to the ring to say a few words at RIZIN 12.

In a bit of a nostalgia trip, this included a traditional RIZIN entrance as well. Lasers, a light show, and most importantly; SANDSTORM!

The legendary Silva revealed that he hopes to fight in RIZIN this year. Most likely at RIZIN 14 in December for the organization’s NYE show.

“The Axe Murderer” then went to the commentary table to talk with Frank Trigg and Joe Ferraro about the night’s main event.

Mikuru Asakura vs. Hatsu Hioki

Mikuru Asakura lands fight-ending headkick on Hatsu Hioki. © RIZIN FF

Irrefutably one of the most intriguing fights on the card, it was youth vs. experience.

Young up-and-comer, and veteran of The Outsider, Mikuru Asakura gets a big jump in competition as he faces a veteran grappler in the form of Hatsu Hioki.

Hatsu Hioki gets to fight a motivated young lion who has never fought anyone remotely close to the quality of himself, and Mikuru Asakura gets to fight a big name Japanese veteran with multiple (T)KO losses on his resume.

Would it be the submissions of Hioki, or the power of Asakura?

It didn’t take long to find out. with a similar style to his brother Kai, Mikuru Asakura stiffened Hatsu Hioki late in round one with left-high kick for the KO win. The two-division The Outsider Champion improves to 7-1 with six wins coming in the first round. Fifteen year veteran Hatsu Hioki falls to 29-12-2.

Prior to 2015, Hioki had never been knocked out. Since then, he has fought six times – going 2-4 in that span. All four of those defeats have come via knockout, this includes three-straight via first-round KO for the 35-year-old pioneer.

Roque Martinez vs. Samurai Mark Hunt

Roque Martinez and Kiyoshi Kuwabara exchange shots. © RIZIN FF

Representing Guam and the United States, former DEEP Megaton Champion and PXC veteran Roque Martinez put his seven-fight win streak on the line against Kiyoshi Kuwabara – better known as “Samurai Mark Hunt.”

We saw a wild one-round scrap between two big boys.

Kuwabara ate everything Martinez threw at him and wasn’t afraid to fire back. But eventually, the beating of a bloody Kuwabara become too much as the referee stepped in to stop the fight. To his credit, the wild man refused to hit the canvas and lost by way of rare standing TKO.

As he improves to 12-3-2, Martinez has won eight-straight – two-straight in RIZIN. As he loses the wild brawl, “Samurai Mark Hunt” now sits at .500 with a record of 11-11.

A well-rounded heavyweight, despite his physique, Martinez seems to have good striking, good submissions, and good cardio. Very curious to see what RIZIN has in store for him. Seeing Kuwabara’s entrance was genuinely a funny sight. As he entered to John Cena’s WWE theme, and it was wonderful.

Kaito vs. Sho Ogawa

Kaito kicks Sho Ogawa. © RIZIN FF

Better known as “The Prince of Kickboxing,” Kaito returned to the RIZIN ring after making his debut two weeks ago. The Shoot Boxing Super Lightweight Champion faced a man who idolized Ernesto Hoost growing up, a WBC Muay Thai Champion, a HOOST CUP WINNER; Sho Ogawa.

Kaito showcased his signature beautiful technique throughout three rounds to sweep Ogawa on the scorecards.

Sho Ogawa put up a great fight, though. As he stayed in it and fired back throughout the contest. He just wasn’t quite as sharp as Kaito.

Kanako Murata vs. Angela Magana

Kanako Murata punches Angela Magana. © RIZIN FF

After a few weeks of petty, childish trash talk, Angela Magana made her RIZIN Fighting Federation debut against accomplished amateur wrestler Kanako Murata.

The two-time world champ wrestler Murata thoroughly dominated the UFC veteran for one and a half rounds with her spectacular wrestling base before eventually tapping Magana with a Von Flue choke in round two.

Having every reason in the world to be confident in her stellar wrestling, the work Murata has been putting into her striking game overseas is showing dividends. As her boxing already looks much-improved standing.

Her potential is off the charts as Kanako Murata improves to 8-1 following four-straight wins, two-straight via domination & submission in RIZIN. After talk of her wanting to compete in the 2020 Olympics as a wrestler, repping Puerto Rico, Angela Magana falls to 11-10 with an abysmal seven-straight losses.

Kanna Asakura Speaks

Kanna Asakura speaks to Nagoya crowd. © RIZIN FF

But she doesn’t say much! Basically came to say hello and leave. Sweet overalls, though.

Ryuki vs. Naoya

Ryuki punches Naoya. © RIZIN FF

Undefeated 22-year-old sensation Ryuki dominated a tough Naoya for three rounds enroute to a unanimous decision win.

He showed incredible technique, looked supremely comfortable in there, and had a refreshing… ‘swag’ in there as he mostly styled on a very hard-nosed Naoya. The last time Naoya rocked blue hair in the ring, he won a world title. So, due to superstition, he was sure to rock it again for his RIZIN debut. It wasn’t quite the same good luck charm as it once was.

Shintaro Matsukura vs. Takahiro Okuyama

Shintaro Matsukura lands vicious right-hand bomb on Takahiro Okuyama. © RIZIN FF

Some phenomenal violence in this one courtesy of a former K-1 Champion; Shintaro Matsukura. Who fittingly came out using the Mortal Kombat theme.

After a fun opening round, Matsukura annihilated Shoot Boxing alum Takahiro Okuyama with two-straight right-hand bombs. It was shocking to see Okuyama get up following the first one, as he was very clearly out on the mat for at least a couple seconds after being folded by Matsukura.

Takiya Shota vs. Syuto Sato

Takiya Shota puts the pressure on Syuto Sato. © RIZIN FF

The show opened up with a fun one. Takiya Shota has one goal in life – to be a real life Goku. And he made that obvious with his entrance theme, and ring gear. Any fans of Dragonball would appreciate and root for this man.

He and Syuto Sato opened the show in style in a three round war. A great kickboxing battle that eventually saw IRL Goku get the nod by way of unanimous decision as he closed the fight looking strong.


Once again, a fantastic show. A must-watch! Do so here! If you don’t have five or so hours to spare, just check out the results.

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