April Fools is a day for laughs but Rizin kickboxer Kouzi was not laughing after his loss at Rizin 41. The former K-1 kickboxer lost a split decision to Ryusei Ashizawa (25-13-1) in his hometown of Osaka in a kickboxing match. Kouzi retires with a kickboxing record of 31-18-2, 1 NC, and 10 knockouts.
In the first round, Ashizawa spent a lot of time backstepping and circling the ring. He used kicks and teeps to keep Kouzi from getting in close. Perhaps the most impactful part of the round, Ashizawa parried some offense from Kouzi and was able to deliver a flurry of offense in return.
In the second round, Ashizawa turned up the aggression keeping Kouzi at bay with kicks and counter punches, and a well-placed spinning back fist. In this round as well, Ashizawa delivered a number of standing knee strikes to Kouzi’s midsection that were slowing him down.
In the third round, Ashizawa mixed up his offense with punches and even more, standing knee strikes to Kouzi. One of his punches opened a cut on Kouzi’s right eye. No matter anytime Kouzi tried to attack Ashizawa, he was able to block or avoid any significant damage and strikes.
During the post-fight press conference, Kouzi said “I know the consequences of talking big and losing. It’s fitting that someone like me retires on April Fool’s Day.” He thanked his fans and sponsors all those who supported him over the years from his time in K-1 to signing with Rizin.
Ashizawa after getting the win said he was done with “stupid kickboxing” and was going to make the transition to MMA.
In the MMA c0-main event, Azerbaijan’s Vugar Karamov (18-4) continued his winning streak by submitting former UFC fighter Yoshinori Horie (12-4). This was the first time Horie has been submitted in his pro career. Karamov dominated the two rounds it lasted till he was able to snatch a rear-naked choke on a standing Horie.
CFFC flyweight champion Makoto Shinryu (16-1-1) made his return to the promotion submitting former Pancrase strawweight champion Daichi Kitakata (20-12-1) in the second round.
Former UFC welterweights Keita Nakamura (36-11-2) and Strasser Kiichi (20-11-2) met each other in a dream match. The match ended with Nakamura knocking out the hometown hero Strasser Kiichi in the second round.
You can see the full results here.