MMASucka’s RIZIN 20 Staff Picks

RIZIN 20
Champion Ayaka Hamasaki (left) and challenger Seo Hee Ham (right) at weigh-ins ahead of their main card trilogy bout for the Super Atomweight title taking place Tuesday, December 31st from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan (photo credits to RIZIN Fighting Federation)

The final card for MMASucka staff picks of the year are here! 2019 will see its close with RIZIN 20 taking place tomorrow morning, December 31 from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. This New Years Eve event will begin at an early hour in North & South America of 1:00am ET (10:00pm PT (December 30)) live on pay-per-view. Make sure to check out our picks from Saturday night’s Bellator 237/Japan event.

You can purchase the pay-per-view through FITE TV for an incredible deal of just $20 U.S.D. with unlimited replays in the link immediately below. Capitalize on this great deal before the RIZIN 20 event begins!

The Fights

Our main event will be contested for the vacant bantamweight championship between Kai Asakura and Manel Kape. The two had previously faced off against one another in May of 2018 with Asakura take the close contest over Kape by split decision. Asakura’s 2019 has only seen two fights, but both have been memorable nonetheless. In one of the biggest upsets in MMA history, he would score a first-round knockout over RIZIN and Bellator king Kyoji Horiguchi. Proving the doubters wrong, Asakura would back up his performance two months later with a knockout over Ulka Sasaki. His opponent, Kape, has only suffered one loss to the aforementioned Sasaki since his fight with Asakura. Back-to-back knockouts over Seiichiro Ito and Takeya Mizugaki have propelled “Prodigio” to his first RIZIN title shot. Kape hopes to add upon his 93% finishing rate with a win in effort to avenge his prior Asakura loss.

Another title fight at RIZIN 20 is set on the main card between atomweight champion Ayaka Hamasaki and challenger Seo Hee Ham. The two will be meeting for the third time in mixed martial arts competition, Hamasaki taking both over Hee Ham by decision in 2010 and first-round stoppage in 2011. Both Hamasaki “Hamderlei Silva” will be in search of their sixth straight victory.

Other fighters counted in picks see older Asakura brother Mikuru, Osaka’s Rena Kubota, and 37-fight veteran Shintaro Ishiwatari. The winners of Tofiq Musayev versus Johnny Case and Patricky “Pitbull” Freire versus Luiz Gustavo will meet off in the RIZIN Lightweight Grand Prix finals later into the night (although this final fight will not be included for picks).

Check out the eight fights counted towards our MMASucka staff picks from RIZIN 20 further below.

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Staff Picks

Throughout the year, staff picks will be composed of four different MMA promotions: UFCBellatorONE, and RIZIN. Main cards will make up both UFC and Bellator picks, while the biggest fights to make up ONE and RIZIN events will be used. The WINNER of staff picks will have a choice between receiving a championship belt from ProAmBelts or a championship chain from Championship Chains. The 2018 winner was awarded to Michael DeSantis, compiling a record of 202-101.

Check out our MMASucka staff picks for RIZIN 20 below.


Staff Records after Bellator 237/Japan:

1. Michael DeSantis: 317-174
2. Connor Deitrich: 312-179
3. Ed Gallo: 306-181
4. Jeremy Brand: 291-199
5. Mike Skytte: 288-203
6. Mitchell Banuelos: 283-174
7. Matt Bricker: 280-199
8. Ash Camyab: 250-192
9. Frazer Krohn: 187-136
10. Ryan Hobbs: 177-136
11. Andrew Benjamin: 141-96
12. McKenzie Guardiero: 139-107
13. Tanner Russ: 119-66
14. Dan Rose: 112-63
15. Mike Lynch: 73-60


Johnny Case (27-6-1) vs. Tofiq Musayev (16-3)

Jeremy Brand: Case via Round 2 TKO
Mike Skytte: Musayev via UD
Michael DeSantis: Musayev via UD
Mitchell Banuelos: Case via UD
Ed Gallo: Musayev via Round 1 TKO
Matt Bricker: Case via Round 2 TKO
Connor Deitrich: Case via UD
Ash Camyab: Case via Round 1 TKO
Ryan Hobbs: Case via Round 2 TKO
Andrew Benjamin: Case via Round 2 SUB
Frazer Krohn: Case via UD
McKenzie Guardiero: Case via Round 1 TKO
Dan Rose: Case via Round 2 TKO
Mike Lynch: Case via Round 1 TKO

Staff picking Case: 11
Staff picking Musayev: 3


Patricky Freire (22-8) vs. Luiz Gustavo (10-1)

Jeremy Brand: Freire via Round 1 TKO
Mike Skytte: Freire via Round 2 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Freire via Round 1 TKO
Mitchell Banuelos: Gustavo via Round 2 TKO
Ed Gallo: Freire via Round 1 TKO
Matt Bricker: Freire via Round 1 TKO
Connor Deitrich: Freire via Round 2 TKO
Ash Camyab: Freire via Round 2 TKO
Ryan Hobbs: Freire via Round 2 TKO
Andrew Benjamin: Freire via Round 1 TKO
Frazer Krohn: Freire via Round 1 TKO
McKenzie Guardiero: Freire via Round 2 TKO
Dan Rose: Gustavo via Round 2 TKO
Mike Lynch: Freire via UD

Staff picking Freire: 12
Staff picking Gustavo: 2


Yuki Motoya (23-7, 1 NC) vs. Patrick Mix (12-0)

Jeremy Brand: Mix via Round 2 TKO
Mike Skytte: Motoya via UD
Michael DeSantis: Mix via UD
Mitchell Banuelos: Mix via UD
Ed Gallo: Motoya via UD
Matt Bricker: Mix via UD
Connor Deitrich: Mix via UD
Ash Camyab: Mix via UD
Ryan Hobbs: Mix via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Mix via Round 2 SUB
Frazer Krohn: Mix via UD
McKenzie Guardiero: Mix via UD
Dan Rose: Mix via Round 2 SUB
Mike Lynch: Mix via UD

Staff picking Motoya: 2
Staff picking Mix: 12


Shintaro Ishiwatari (26-7-4) vs. Hiromasa Ogikubo (19-4-2)

Jeremy Brand: Ishiwatari via UD
Mike Skytte: Ishiwatari via UD
Michael DeSantis: Ishiwatari via UD
Mitchell Banuelos: Ogikubo via UD
Ed Gallo: Ogikubo via UD
Matt Bricker: Ishiwatari via UD
Connor Deitrich: Ogikubo via UD
Ash Camyab: Ogikubo via Round 2 SUB
Ryan Hobbs: Ogikubo via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Ogikubo via SD
Frazer Krohn: Ogikubo via SD
McKenzie Guardiero: Ogikubo via UD
Dan Rose: Ishiwatari via UD
Mike Lynch: Ishiwatari via SD

Staff picking Ishiwatari: 6
Staff picking Ogikubo: 8


Lindsey VanZandt (7-2) vs. Rena Kubota (9-3)

Jeremy Brand: Rena via UD
Mike Skytte: Rena via Round 2 TKO
Michael DeSantis: VanZandt via Round 2 SUB
Mitchell Banuelos: Rena via UD
Ed Gallo: Rena via Round 2 TKO
Matt Bricker: VanZandt via UD
Connor Deitrich: Rena via Round 2 TKO
Ash Camyab: VanZandt via UD
Ryan Hobbs: Rena via UD
Andrew Benjamin: VanZandt via Round 1 SUB
Frazer Krohn: Rena via SD
McKenzie Guardiero: VanZandt via UD
Dan Rose: VanZandt via UD
Mike Lynch: VanZandt via Round 2 SUB

Staff picking VanZandt: 7
Staff picking Kubota: 7


Mikuru Asakura (11-1, 1 NC) vs. John Teixeira (23-4-2)

Jeremy Brand: Asakura via UD
Mike Skytte: Asakura via UD
Michael DeSantis: Asakura via UD
Mitchell Banuelos: Asakura via UD
Ed Gallo: Asakura via Round 1 TKO
Matt Bricker: Asakura via UD
Connor Deitrich: Asakura via UD
Ash Camyab: Asakura via UD
Ryan Hobbs: Teixeira via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Asakura via Round 2 TKO
Frazer Krohn: Teixeira via UD
McKenzie Guardiero: Teixeira via UD
Dan Rose: Asakura via Round 1 SUB
Mike Lynch: Asakura via UD

Staff picking Asakura: 11
Staff picking Teixeira: 3


Ayaka Hamasaki (19-2) vs. Seo Hee Ham (22-8)

Jeremy Brand: Hee Ham via UD
Mike Skytte: Hee Ham via Round 2 TKO
Michael DeSantis: Hamasaki via UD
Mitchell Banuelos: Hee Ham via UD
Ed Gallo: Hee Ham via UD
Matt Bricker: Hee Ham via UD
Connor Deitrich: Hee Ham via Round 2 TKO
Ash Camyab: Hamasaki via Round 2 TKO
Ryan Hobbs: Hamasaki via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Hamasaki via Round 1 SUB
Frazer Krohn: Hee Ham via UD
McKenzie Guardiero: Hee Ham via Round 1 TKO
Dan Rose: Hamasaki via Round 1 TKO
Mike Lynch: Hamasaki via Round 2 TKO

Staff picking Hamasaki: 6
Staff picking Hee Ham: 8


Kai Asakura (14-1) vs. Manel Kape (14-4)

Jeremy Brand: Asakura via Round 2 TKO
Mike Skytte: Kape via UD
Michael DeSantis: Asakura via UD
Mitchell Banuelos: Kape via UD
Ed Gallo: Asakura via UD
Matt Bricker: Kape via UD
Connor Deitrich: Kape via UD
Ash Camyab: Asakura via Round 2 TKO
Ryan Hobbs: Kape via UD
Andrew Benjamin: Kape via UD
Frazer Krohn: Asakura via UD
McKenzie Guardiero: Kape via Round 2 TKO
Dan Rose: Asakura via Round 1 TKO
Mike Lynch: Asakura via Round 1 TKO

Staff picking Asakura: 7
Staff picking Kape: 7

RIZIN 20 FEATURED IMAGE:

RIZIN 20
Champion Ayaka Hamasaki (left) and challenger Seo Hee Ham (right) at weigh-ins ahead of their main card trilogy bout for the Super Atomweight title taking place Tuesday, December 31st from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan (photo credits to RIZIN Fighting Federation)
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Wesley Riddle is a 25-year-old writer out of Harrisonburg, Virginia and a recent graduate from Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia, having obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Health and Physical Education. Watching the draw between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard from 2011 sparked his interest in the sport of mixed martial arts. He created "All That MMA" on Twitter, which came to birth in December of 2013. He would join with MMASucka in the later quarter of 2016. Some of Riddle's hobbies include music, playing golf, watching horror movies, and working with non-profit organizations throughout his community. You can follow him on Twitter at @AllThatMMA or @WesleyRiddleMMA, and on Instagram @WesleyRiddle.

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