Rizin is making its big return this weekend in many forms. Not only are they running a double bill, but they are also returning to Fite and terrestrial PPV for international audiences. Super Rizin and Rizin 38 will both be going down at the Saitama Super Arena For better or for worse, we have the return of Floyd Mayweather to do his exhibition boxing tour, Kyoji Horiguchi returning to fight in the main event, and a bizarre freakshow boxing fight. There’s a little bit for everybody and we’ll look at a few of the potentially memorable fights from both shows.
Floyd Mayweather vs Mikuru Asakura
Floyd Mayweather (50-0) once again makes his return to Rizin to fleece… I mean…. continue his international boxing exhibition in the promotion. Mayweather’s first exhibition happened at Rizin’s New Year’s Eve show in 2018 where he made quick work of Tenshin Nasukawa. He returns now to face Mikuru Asakura, one of the most popular fighters in Japan.
The novelty of this fight is significantly less than the Tenshin bout. That was the first exhibition Mayweather had post-pro boxing retirement. Tenshin was also the number one kickboxer in the world. Mikuru is not at all known for his striking prowess. He has some exciting finishes in Rizin, but this is not MMA.
Mikuru Asakura (16-3 MMA) is is the most popular fighter in the promotion. With a presence on Youtube as well as having his own top-rated MMA show on ABEMA TV, Asakura is making his first foray into the world of boxing. Mainly a striker, we’ll have to see how good he fares when he can only rely on that offense. Asakura even suggested they do the fight in MMA gloves which Mayweather immediately scoffed at.
This fight will be entirely decided by how long it goes by Floyd. There is no science or deep analysis to be made. It will be either another easy win for Floyd or just go the distance to a no-contest. Next, please.
Kouzi vs Jizzy
Kouzi (31-16-2, 1NC, 10 KO in kickboxing) is one of the most accomplished kickboxers from Japan. While his Rizin career hasn’t been particularly positive, he still is one of the most popular fighters on the roster. Known for having a granite chin, he is a hard guy to put down.
Jizzy (debut) is Floyd Mayweather’s bodyguard….. that’s all I got.
I have no idea what to write. Just enjoy the sheer absurdity of this matchup.
Juri Ohara vs Luiz Gustavo
Juri Ohara (31-17-3) has been on an incredible 8-fight win streak and is looking to continue his undefeated streak in Rizin with this fight. He is also the Deep lightweight champion and has many finishes by soccer kicks, stomps, and upkicks. He is a very violent fighter and his insistence to make his fights into brawls sometimes costs him the win. But that is what makes him an entertaining fighter.
Luiz Gustavo (11-2) made his fight return this year after a two-plus year layoff due to the pandemic. He rematched Yusuke Yachi at Rizin Trigger 3rd where he finished Yachi again in the second round. Gustavo has the nickname “Killer” and for good reason. He has finished all of his in brutal fashion. His striking is fierce, powerful, and scary.
There is absolutely no way this fight can or should go to the judges. Both are fan favorites who win their fights in exciting fashion and this fight will hopefully set the pace as a great opener for Rizin 38 following the shenanigans of Mayweather/Asakura. I expect both of these fighters to come out strong and swinging in the first. Gustavo will have to contend with Ohara’s reach and range. Ohara will have to be wary of Gustavo’s power and pressure.
Kyoji Horiguchi vs Kintaro
Kyoji Horiguchi (29-5) one time held the Bellator and Rizin bantamweight championships simultaneously. Though he lost the Bellator belt to Sergio Pettis, he is still the Rizin champion. For the first time ever in his career, Horiguchi is on a two-fight losing streak.
Kintaro (14-11-2) has been a mainstay in Rizin due to his popularity outside the organization. The Osaka fighter like Horiguchi is on a two-fight losing for the first time.
These fighters could not be more diametrically opposed. Horiguchi has a karate background and likes to counter-punch and mix in grappling. Kintaro is a brawler and rarely ever wants the fight to go to the ground (unless he is knocking someone out). The key to this match will be where Horiguchi is at this point as a fighter. He got knocked out cold by Pettis and Patchy Mix backpacked him in his most recent fight. If Horiguchi has lost steps and speed as a fighter, he could be knocked out by Kintaro. If he still has speed and unorthodox offense, he will be able to get a win against Kintaro.
Check out previous coverage of Super Rizin and Rizin 38 including the initial fight announcements, more fight announcements,
Super Rizin Full Card
Floyd Mayweather vs Mikuru Asakura (exhibition boxoing match)
Kouzi vs Jizzy (special rules boxing match)
Nadaka Yoshinari vs Bandasak (kickboxing)
Kota Miura vs Bunchuai Phonsungnoen
Rizin 38 Full Card
Kyoji Horiguchi vs Kintaro (non-title match)
Seika Izawa vs Anastasiya Svetkivska (AW GP Semi-finals)
Ayaka Hamasaki vs Si Woo Park (AW GP Semi-finals)
Soo Chul Kim vs Hiromasa Ougikubo
Shoma Shibisai vs Callyu Gibran
Kyohei Hagiwara vs Chihiro Suzuki
Juri Ohara vs Luiz Gustavo
You can see Super Rizin & Rizin 38 through DirecTV and other PPV providers. As well both shows are available individually on Fite here and here.