Rizin 27 Preview: Hamasaki & Asakura Meet Again in Title Rematch

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Rizin’s first show of 2021 looks to be a show that will be all fireworks on paper. What was initially supposed to be their Tokyo Dome show, Rizin 27 will be going down at the Nippon Gaishi Hall in Nagoya, Japan. There will be a total of 14 fights (10 MMA & 4 kickboxing). Rizin is always a spectacle to watch and we will take a look at some of the notable fights on the card.

Tsuyoshi Sudario vs Kazushi Miyamoto

Tsuyoshi Sudario continues he’s streak as the pro wrestler killer with this fight at Rizin 27. Photo courtesy of RIZIN FF.

Here is your requisite heavyweight/freakshow/potential meme fight of the night.
Tsuyoshi Sudario (2-0), former sumo now training under Enson Inoue, has made a successful transition to MMA. However, it should be noted the competition he has faced. His first MMA fight was against a debuting pro wrestler. His second was a weight mismatch when he defeated Minowaman. Sudario will take on his third pro wrestler in this match. Despite only having two matches, Sudario has shown that he has heavy hands and heavier leg kicks. His grappling has yet to be showcased but he assuredly will have the stand-up advantage in this fight.

 Kazushi Miyamoto (debut), 42, is a former pro wrestler from All Japan Pro Wrestling. He is a powerlifter and has been training at Tsuyoshi Kosaka’s gym ALLIANCE. This is his first pro fight and, quite honestly, the odds are not in his favor. If he’s going to win this he’s going to need to pick his shots incrementally and smartly. He might even want to try to draw out the fight longer since Sudario has never been tested beyond the first round.

Kleber Koike vs. Kazumasa Majima

Two accomplished MMA grapplers will maybe get to see who’s the superior submission artist at Rizin 27. Photo courtesy of RIZIN FF.

This is an intriguing fight with two strong submission artists who can get the submission from almost any position.

Kleber Koike (26-5-1) is from the Bonsai Jiu-Jitsu Gym run by the de Souza brothers (we’ll be talking about Roberto later). The former KSW featherweight champion made a thunderous debut in Rizin when he became the first person to finish Kyle Augon by a D’arce choke in the first round. Koike has 22 submission wins. Kleber is a master of the chokehold and if your neck is exposed for a second, he can easily get on a D’arce, rear naked, or triangle.

Majima (14-2) is also a grappler. A welder by trade, he trains at the Mouri Dojo. The Rebel FC featherweight champion didn’t have such an auspicious Rizin debut as he was brutally knocked out by now Rizin featherweight champion Yutaka Saito. In fairness, Majima did win the first round after successfully taking down Saito and holding a dominant position for most of the 5 minutes. Interestingly, Majima has never been submitted in an MMA match while Kleber has been submitted once.

This match could be a grappling stalemate. It could entirely be decided on the feet, in which case, I would have to give the edge to Kleber. If it does go to the ground, I expect it to be an exciting scramble.

Roberto Souza vs Kazuki Tokudome

Former Quintet teammates will clash in this fight at Rizin 27. Photo courtesy of Rizin FF.

We have an interesting match here. These two fighters were once on the same team in a Quintet tournament match.

Roberto “Satoshi” de Souza (10-1), despite being one of the best grapplers in the world, has finished all his fights by KO/TKO in RIZIN. As a pure MMA fighter, he has improved leaps and bounds from his debut. Once having awkward striking, he has become more composed and precise in his stand-up. He will have the grappling advantage and can possibly get his first submission win against Tokudome.

Kazuki Tokudome (20-10) is a fighter who has seemingly been around forever. The former King of Pancrase Lightweight Champion has wins over Satoru Kitaoka, J.J. Ambrose, and Johnny Nunez. Tokudome has heavy hands and will have the striking advantage over de Souza.

Ayaka Hamasaki vs. Kanna Asakura

Rizin 27 main event will feature Ayaka Hamasaki defending the Super Atomweight title against Kanna Asakura in a rematch. Photo courtesy of RIZIN FF.

Two of the best atomweights in the world meet again.

Ayaka Hamasaki (21-3) is a two-time Rizin super Atomweight Champion, recently regaining the vacant title with a win over Miyuu Yamamoto. Hamasaki is an accomplished grappler and has submitted numerous opponents. That includes her opponent Asakura by armbar at Rizin 14.

Kanna Asakura (18-4) will get another chance at championship gold with this fight. She beat Ai Shimizu to earn her title shot, but the question is, will she come prepared for Hamasaki? She was outworked and out grappled in their first fight. Asakura’s striking has improved since she started in Rizin and that is where she might have the advantage.

Rizin 27 will air live on Live-Now with English commentary Sunday, March 21 at 1 AM EST. You can buy the show here for $24.99

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Andrew has been a long time MMA and pro wrestling fan. When he isn't writing about MMA, he is usually training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, playing video games, or going bar hopping (he only drinks on days that end in "y"). He also co-hosts the RIZIN focused podcast "We are RIZIN" which you can listen to on Soundcloud & Stitcher.

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