Rizin 41 will be the promotion’s first show of 2023 and it’s not their best star-studded lineup. If however, you are a fan of kickboxing and Osaka fighters, this will be your jam. In a main event that is filled with hatred and disrespect, former K-1 kickboxers Kouzi and Ryusei Ashizawa will face off in a kickboxing match. In the co-main event, a very high-level featherweight match will see Azerbijan’s Vugar Karamov take on former UFC fighter Yoshinori Horie. The rest of the card will feature some interesting MMA bouts as well as kickboxing bouts. Let’s look at some of the notable fights that will go down this Saturday.
Kouzi vs Ryusei Ashizawa
The trash talk and vitriol between these two former K-1 fighters have been extremely high. At a press conference to announce the match officially, these two brawled as if the fight was supposed to be happening that moment.
Kouzi got the biggest (literally) win of his Rizin tenure when he beat Floyd Mayweather’s bodyguard, Jizzy, in a boxing match. This happened despite being outweighed by over 20 lbs. The crowd will be overwhelmingly on the side of Kouzi as the fans of Osaka will even travel to Tokyo to watch him fight.
Ryusei Ashizawa is making his Rizin debut but was a mainstay in K-1. Like Kouzi, he isn’t a knockout artist but has the ability to weather the storm and make comebacks in his fights.
Vugar Karamov vs Yoshinori Horie
Vugar Karamov (17-4) has become one of the international regulars for Rizin. He has dominated almost of all matches. His sole loss in the promotion may have been a win had he not gotten a penalty card for multiple rule infractions. He brings a strong grappling background and uses his takedowns to tire his opponents.
Yoshinori Horie (12-4) has been a dominant force in all his Rizin matches. He has precise, crisp, and strong striking, and defends properly if the fight becomes a brawl. He also has great grappling and stamina to go the distance if necessary. Don’t let his two knockout losses think he has a weak chin.
Strasser Kiichi vs Keita Nakamura
In one of the rare welterweight matches, this could be categorized as a dream match.
Both fighters are UFC veterans who found some degree of success in the promotion.
Strasser Kiichi (20-10-2) is an Osakan native who made a big splash in Rizin, then went to Bellator where he hoped to encounter higher-level competition. While he was not successful in his Bellator excursion, he returned to Rizin and has amassed a record of 3-1 in the promotion. Kiichi is a strong grappler who finishes his fights with a choke variation.
Keita Nakamura (35-11-2) is also an accomplished MMA fighter who has finished most of his fights by submission. He is a former Sengoku, Deep, and Shooto champion. He has only been finished twice in his career and has the ability to weather even the toughest of storms to get a comeback win.
The winner of this match would undoubtedly make them the #1 welterweight in Japan.
Rizin 41 will be available on Fite.TV on Saturday, April 1 at 1am EST/11pm PST.
Follow along with MMASucka as we provide Rizin 41 Results throughout the card.
MAIN CARD (FITE – 1 a.m. EST/11 p.m. PST)
Ryusei Ashizawa def. Kouzi via split decision (kickboxing)
Vugar Karamov def. Yoshinori Horie via submission (rear-naked choke) in Round 2
Keita Nakamura def. Strasser Kiichi via KO (punches) in Round 2
Makoto Shinryu def. Daichi Kitakata via submission (arm-triangle choke) in Round 2
Kyohei Hagiwara def. Kyle Aguon via unanimous decision
Koichi Ishizuka def. Kintaro via split decision
Kyung Pyo Kim def. Sho Patrick Usami via submission (rear-naked choke) in 3:33 of Round 1
Mehman Mamedov def. Yusaku Nakamura via KO (punches) in 0:23 of Round 1
Shun def. Motoki via TKO (punch) in 1:37 of Round 1 (kickboxing)
Sota “Cerberus” Kimura def. Shingeki no Yuki via TKO (body punch) in 1:32 of Round 3 (kickboxing)
Asatoro def. Shin Sakurai via unanimous decision (kickboxing)
Daichi Akahira def. Yuto Oiwa via TKO (punch) in 2:47 of Round 1