Rizin Fighting Federation

Rizin 33 Fight Card Announced

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At today’s press conference, Nobuyuki Sakakibara has announced matchups for New Year Eve’s event, Rizin 33. Due to Japan’s Covid restrictions, foreign fighters are prohibited from entering the country, so the event held at the Saitama Super Arena will focus on Japanese competitors. 

Lightweight Title Match

As for now, there will be at least one title bout, as Roberto de Souza will be defending the lightweight title against Yusuke Yachi. ‘Satoshi’ lost only once in his MMA career, when he was TKO’d by Johnny Case at Rizin 19. He has 12 wins, with every one of them coming before the end of the second round. De Souza will be looking to continue his 8 fights winning streak and to end this year as a champion. Yachi will be hoping to continue his 2 fight winning streak and to dethrone the Brazilian champion.  

Other matchups

After his loss to de Souza’s Team Bonsai’s teammate, Kleber Koike Erbst due to a triangle choke, Mikuru Asakura had come back to the winning column by defeating Kyohei Hagiwara in October at the premiere Rizin Landmark event. Now the older Asakura brother will have a rematch with former featherweight champion, Yutaka Saito. Their last meeting took place in November of 2020 at Rizin 25 and ended with Asakura winning by unanimous decision.   

In the super atomweight division in a nontitle matchup, the champion Ayaka Hamasaki will square off with Seike Izawa, who has 4 wins and never felt the bitter taste of defeat. And at lightweight, Koji Takeda will fight Bey Noah.

Bantamweight Grand Prix 

It was announced earlier, that the bantamweight Grand Prix will have it semi-final and final at the NYE, and that Hiromasa Ougikubo will face Naoki Inoue and Kai Asakura will take on Kenta Takizawa with winners meeting later in the evening. 

As the former champion of the bantamweight division, Asakura is the favourite to win the whole tournament. In his Rizin tenure, he has been beaten only two times by Kyoji Horiguchi and Manel Kape. Takakizwa has won only two out of five his fights for Rizin, and he will be looking for an upset. 

In another semifinal matchup, UFC veteran Inoue will meet Ougikubo. Inoue has a 17 – 2 record, with both losses coming outside of Japan, meaning that he’s undefeated in his home country. Ougikubo is a veteran of the Japanese fight circuit, who has fought for Shooto, Vale Tudo Japan, and finally, Rizin stacking up a 23 – 5 – 2 record. 

With the semifinals and finals taking place on the same event, there will be an alternate bout between Yuki Motoya and Yuto Hokamura, with the winner obtaining the chance to potentially step in and replace an injured participant.  

Rizin 33 fight card: 

For Rizin lightweight title: Roberto Souza (c) vs. Yusuke Yachi 

Yutaka Saito vs. Mikuru Asakura 

Kyohei Hagiwara vs. Hiroaki Suzuki 

Ayaka Hamasaki vs. Seika Izawa

Koji Takeda vs. Beynoah 

Shoma Shibisai vs. Hideki Sekine 

Bantamweight Grand Prix semi-final Hiromasa Ougikubo vs. Naoki Inoue 

Bantamweight Grand Prix semi-final: Kai Asakura vs. Kenta Takizawa 

Bantamweight Grand Prix alternate bout: Yuki Motoya vs. Yuto Hokamura

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