Finally, after weeks of solely the Tenshin vs. Mayweather bout being announced for RIZIN 14, the Japanese-based promotion has began announcing other fights for the should-be-stacked New Years Eve show.
In a fight between the two best atomweights in the world, young prospect Kanna Asakura will face former Invicta title-holder Ayaka Hamasaki. And in what will be the final fight of Kazuyuki Miyata’s storied career, he takes on young gun Erson Yamamoto.
RIZIN CEO, Nobuyuki Sakakibara, announced the bouts late Wednesday night.
— NOBUYUKI SAKAKIBARA (@nobu_sakakibara) November 22, 2018
Kanna Asakura vs. Ayaka Hamasaki
At just 21-years-old, it is wild to see how great of a fighter Kanna Asakura (13-2) is this early into her career. Fighting out Chiba, Japan, Kanna has used her wrestling-based attack to win eight-straight. Six of those eight come inside the RIZIN ring, with the other two taking place in DEEP JEWELS.
After defeating Saori Ishioka in DEEP last year, Asakura earned her spot in the 2017 RIZIN Super Atomweight Grand-Prix. Here she picked up dominant wins over Sylwia Juskiewicz, Maria Oliveira, and RENA to be crowned Grand-Prix Champion. Since the first-round win over RENA in December, Asakura has defeated Canada’s Melissa Karagianis and RENA once again at RIZIN 11. She is one of the most tenured fighters in RIZIN history with a record of 6-1 in the promotion.
Opposite her, former Invicta Atomweight Champion; Ayaka Hamasaki (16-2) of Tokyo. The 36-year-old judoka has carved out a fantastic MMA career for herself as one of the best to ever do it at women’s atomweight.
Hamasaki is undefeated at 105-lbs, with both of her career losses coming in risky match-ups where she moved up a division to strawweight. After her second career loss back in 2017, Hamasaki signed with RIZIN and faced Alyssa Garcia at RIZIN 10 in a rumored retirement bout. The veteran outpointed the hard-nosed Josh Barnett pupil before returning to the ring at RIZIN 13 in September. Here she defeated DEEP JEWELS title-holder Mina Kurobe with ease in round one.
Now, at RIZIN 14, it’s the best of all time against arguably the greatest prospect the atomweight division has ever seen. And it is a fight we at MMASucka have been calling to see for some time now.
Kazuyuki Miyata vs. Erson Yamamoto
It’s not entirely evident when you look at him and the great shape he has consistently stayed in over the years, but Kazuyuki Miyata (15-9) is 42-years-old. Before turning 43 just one month after RIZIN 14, Miyata has confirmed that this bout will be his last. The near 15-year MMA veteran fittingly goes by the moniker of “Little Hercules.” He competed in freestyle wrestling for Japan at the 2000 Summer Olympic Games, four years later he made the transition to mixed martial arts.
Despite never earning a championship throughout his career, “Little Hercules” has consistently fought some of the very best. From Royler Gracie, Genki Sudo, and KID Yamamoto to Joachim Hansen, Luiz Firmino, and Takafumi Otsuka, he has never had it easy. Following a three-fight win streak from 2012 to 2014, Miyata left the sport for two years, signing with RIZIN and defeating kickboxing legend Andy Souwer by way of submission back in 2016. Now, after another two years away, he looks to have similar success against a young, hungry wrestler.
Erson Yamamoto (2-3) is a member of the legendary Yamamoto Family. Son of Miyuu, nephew to KID and Seiko, and grandson of Ikuei, the KRAZY BEE prospect is just 22-years-old and has been fed to the lions since turning pro back in 2015.
Due to being born into an elite wrestling family, Erson Yamamoto began wrestling at the age of 3 and went on to win the 69kg division at the 2013 FILA Cadet World Championships. Two years later he signed with RIZIN Fighting Federation backed by a lot of hype. Since his debut, he has exchanged wins and losses. It is worth noting that those losses are against fantastic competition in the form of Manel Kape, Hideo Tokoro, and Kron Gracie. All under the RIZIN banner. His sole RIZIN win came against Kizaemon Saiga in 2016 before competing in King of the Cage and defeating Jesse Rogge last year.
This will be Erson Yamamoto’s first fight since the tragic death of his uncle as he faces a man his uncle fought and beat twelve years ago.
RIZIN 14 is slated to take place on December 31, 2018 at the Saitama Super Arena. The main event will feature a boxing exhibition between Floyd Mayweather and Japanese phenom Tenshin Nasukawa.
The show will likely break multiple records for RIZIN Fighting Federation, including gate and attendance.