10 Fights to Make Following RIZIN 13

Fights to make following RIZIN 13
Ayaka Hamasaki walks to the ring. (© RIZIN FF)

A typhoon didn’t prevent RIZIN 13 from having its show on Sunday morning. And once again, it came through. 12 fights, six finishes, some of them pretty crazy. With that show under our belt, it’s time to look ahead to RIZIN 14, set for December 31. Here are some MMA fights to make following RIZIN 13:

Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Tatsumitsu Wada

I recommended this match-up after RIZIN 11, and I stand by it after RIZIN 13. Horiguchi impressively dropped a close decision to Nasukawa in a kickboxing match, but that doesn’t mean he’s not been killing it in MMA. “Gooch” is still riding a 10-fight winning streak, and Wada appears to be one of few guys who could provide a worthy match-up in RIZIN. It’d make more sense to get Nasukawa more MMA experience before booking a rematch in Horiguchi’s domain.

Ayaka Hamasaki vs. Kanna Asakura

Hamasaki earned the crown of Japan’s #1-ranked atomweight with a beautiful kimura finish of Mina Kurobe. Now, it’s time to defend that reputation against one many feel could be the best atomweight in the world in Asakura. Hamasaki would mark the stiffest test of Asakura’s career, but it’s a test that Asakura could very well ace. Both ladies shine on the ground, though Hamasaki has the clear stand-up advantage, so it’d be interesting to see where she wants to keep it. Fans should hope the fight hits the mat, though. That’s where the real fun in this match-up lies.

Mirko Filipovic vs. Jiri Prochzaka/Josh Barnett

Both “Cro Cop” and Prochzaka emerged victorious at RIZIN 13. “Cro Cop” landed a vicious elbow that cut Roque Martinez’s forehead, forcing a stoppage. Prochzaka earned a standing TKO of Jake Heun, extending his winning streak to six. He’s now 16-1-1 in his last 18 bouts and has been calling for a “Cro Cop” fight. Filipovic might retire at RIZIN’s New Year’s Eve show, so it’s only a question of if he wants to go out fighting a prospect in Prochzaka or a fellow legend like Josh Barnett. “Cro Cop” vs. Prochzaka is the fight fans want to see, but “Cro Cop” vs. Barnett IV would be a special farewell bout. Who do you want “Cro Cop” to fight if this is indeed his retirement fight?

Daron Cruickshank vs. Luiz Gustavo

Cruickshank picked up arguably the biggest win of his career with a flying knee KO over Diego Brandao. Not only was it a devastating finish against a fellow UFC veteran and big name, it comes at a time when Cruickshank is renegotiating his contract or possibly testing free agency. Right now, there’s no telling what promotion he lands with, but let’s assume he sticks with RIZIN for the purposes of this article. Luiz Gustavo would be the fight. The Brazilian made his RIZIN debut with a huge upset KO over Yusuke Yachi at RIZIN 12. Yachi had been on a six-fight win streak, including one over Cruickshank. Gustavo vs. Cruickshank would be pure stand-up violence.

It’s also worth noting that UFC veteran Damien Brown has been clamoring to fight in RIZIN and called out Cruickshank on Twitter.

Bob Sapp vs. Baruto Kaito

RIZIN cards tend to feature at least one fun freakshow fight, right? Well, let this be RIZIN 14’s. Sapp snapped a 14-fight losing skid when he took a unanimous decision over Kintaro Osunaarrashi. RIZIN should bring back a blast from the past to be Sapp’s next opponent: 400-lb. sumo Baruto Kaito. Baruto hasn’t been seen in RIZIN since competing in its 2016 Heavyweight Grand Prix. He went 2-1 with wins over Kazuyuki Fujita and Tsuyoshi Kosaka. He was eliminated by “Cro Cop.” Book it, RIZIN.

Miyuu Yamamoto vs. Alyssa Garcia 

Yamamoto won a heart-warming unanimous decision win over Andy Nguyen at RIZIN 13. Her little brother, Norifumi “KID” Yamamoto, died less than two weeks before her fight. Yamamoto used that to fuel her to comfortably control Nguyen on the ground en route to a win in “KID’s” memory. Yamamoto broke down after the fight and let it all loose, and was one of the only fighters to get the mic at RIZIN 13 (due to the typhoon). Amazing stuff.

As for her next fight, let her and Garcia have a war at RIZIN 14. Both are extremely fun to watch on the ground, and are improving their stand-up skills. Garcia gave Hamasaki a run for her money at RIZIN 10, and is now on a two-fight win streak. She beat Miao Ding via armbar and then KO’d Satomi Takano with a left high kick.

This fight makes perfect sense, and it would be a lot of fun.

Kai Asakura vs. Manel Kape II

Both men won at RIZIN 13. Kape submitted Yusaku Nakamura while Asakura took a unanimous decision over Topnoi Tiger Muay Thai. They competed at RIZIN 10, where Asakura took a very close split decision over Kape. A rematch would make all the sense in the world. It’d promise to be a fun fight, just like their first one, especially with Kape feeling he owes Asakura one.

Diego Brandao vs. Yusuke Yachi

What do you get when you take two of the craziest fighters and pit them against each other? Pure mayhem. Brandao vs. Yachi would be a chaotic storm of non-stop action until one gets put to sleep.

Brandao is coming off a KO loss to Cruickshank, but had sparked out Satoru Kitaoka with ground and pound before that. Yachi is coming off a KO loss himself to Luiz Gustavo, but has finishes over Cruickshank, Takanori Gomi and Kitaoka.

Mina Kurobe vs. Rena Kubota

Kubota has only lost to Asakura in her MMA career thus far. Her and Kurobe remain two of Japan’s top atomweights. With the pair of them coming off losses, RIZIN should match them up to get one of them back in the win column. “RENA” has finished all but one of her MMA wins. Kurobe has only lost to stiff competition throughout her career: Hamasaki, Seo Hee Ham, Naho Sugiyama and Mei Yamaguchi. Kurobe vs. Kubota is the fight to make.

Jake Heun vs. Bruno Henrique Cappelozza

Heun came up short against top prospect Jiri Prochzaka at RIZIN 13. Cappelozza failed to snap Prochzaka’s win streak at RIZIN 11. Both Heun and Cappelozza remain finish-friendly heavyweights, so, someone would go down in this match-up. It’d be a fun fight for the fans and would set the tone of an event.

 

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