RIZIN closed the year with a highly-anticipated rematch between bantamweight greats Kai Asakura and Kyoji Horiguchi at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan, with the former RIZIN and Bellator champion aiming to reclaim one of his belts and avenge a non-title 2019 loss to Asakura.
He did it in impressive fashion.
Horiguchi aimed for Asakura’s left leg since the start, hurting his leg midway through round one. Asakura attempted a jumping knee and ate a right hand. Horiguchi immediately followed with a couple more short right hands that dropped Asakura, attacking with a ferocious ground and pound until the referee decided he had seen enough.
pic.twitter.com/PlR7QoFtw0— Streetfight Banned-cho (@streetfitebncho) December 31, 2020
Mikuru Asakura wins one for the family
Asakura’s brother Mikuru Asakura fought in the second-to-last MMA bout of the card, but came out victorious against Satoshi Yamasu.
Both Japanese talents traded on the feet for the first minutes before an accidental eye poke caused a halt in the action. The fight resumed seconds later, and Asakura wasted no time landing a heavy left hand followed by a head kick and a short right that dropped the former DEEP champion, forcing the referee to stop the fight.
Asakura returned to the winning column five weeks after dropping an unanimous decision to Yutaka Saito for the featherweight throne at RIZIN 25, and vowed to win the 145-pound title in 2021.
pic.twitter.com/suoF5aRJN0— Streetfight Banned-cho (@streetfitebncho) December 31, 2020
Tenshin Nasukawa moves to 38-0
The co-main event featured undefeated kickboxing superstar Tenshin Nasukawa opposite 158-fight veteran Kumandoi Phetjaroenvit in a 125-pound clash, and cruised for three rounds.
Both fighters started trading leg kicks, but it was a left hand that dropped Phetjaroenvit in the second stanza, albeit the referee didn’t consider it a knockdown. Nasukawa began to work on the body in the second half of the fight, rocking Phetjaroenvit with a left hook in the third, but his 38th victory in kickboxing came via unanimous decision.
Tenshin Nasukawa concludes the year with a dominant three-round performance over a game Kumandoi. Takeru eyeing the fight ringside, but no fight announcement yet again. pic.twitter.com/E6NUuTB7lK— Beyond Kickboxing (@Beyond_Kick) December 31, 2020
Gomi guts it out in boxing match with Tanaka
An initially tentative boxing match between JMMA legend Takanori Gomi and kickboxer Koji Tanaka turned into slugfest broken only by Gomi’s flagging cardio. Despite several “accidental” headlocks and one takedown, Gomi gutted it out with a pesky jab and went toe-to-toe with Tanaka, who got tougher as the fight went into deep waters. In the end, Gomi took home the majority decision to pick up his second win after a six-fight skid.
Hamasaki shocks Yamamoto with rarely-used choke
Ayaka Hamasaki captured the vacant atomweight title with a crafty first-round submission of Miyuu Yamamoto.
As Yamamoto seized a leg for an early takedown, Hamasaki countered with a kimura. She then used the hold to set up a little-used scissor choke, giving Hamasaki the unenviable choice of choosing whether to go unconscious or suffer damage to her arm.
pic.twitter.com/RsLaOGGPbH— Streetfight Banned-cho (@streetfitebncho) December 31, 2020
The early portion of the card featured a number of slick finishes, including veteran Hideo Tokoro spoiling the MMA debut of Olympic silver medalist wrestler Shinobu Ota with a second-round armbar and Kazuma Kuramoto getting the job done with soccer kicks against Taiyo Nakahara.
Hideo Tokoro #RIZIN26 pic.twitter.com/9Q1htDAdwo— Streetfight Banned-cho (@streetfitebncho) December 31, 2020
pic.twitter.com/6ThpUdGEkb— Streetfight Banned-cho (@streetfitebncho) December 31, 2020
Check the complete RIZIN 26 results below.
Kai Asakura def. Kyoji Horiguchi via TKO (strikes) – Round 1Tenshin Nasukawa def. Kumandoi Phetjaroenvit via unanimous decision [kickboxing]Mikuru Asakura def. Satoshi Yamasu via TKO (strikes) – Round 1Takanori Gomi def. Koji Tanaka via majority decisionAyaka Hamasaki def. Miyuu Yamamoto via submission (scissor choke) – Round 1Naoki Inoue def. Yuki Motoyo via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1Kleber Koike def. Kyle Aguon via submission (D’Arce choke) – Round 1Kyohei Hagiwara def. Ren Hiramoto via TKO (corner stoppage) – Round 2Hideo Tokoro def. Shinobu Ota via submission (armbar) – Round 2 Yoshinari Nadaka def. Petmalai Phetjaroenvit via TKO (strikes) – Round 1Ulka Sasaki def. Kenta Takizawa via unanimous decisionKanna Asakura def. Ai Shimizu via unanimous decision Shibatar def. Hiroya via submission (armbar) – Round 2Kazuma Kuramoto def. Taiyo Nakahara via KO (strikes) – Round 1Tsuyoshi Sudario def. Ikuhisa Minowa via TKO (strikes) – Round 1Sakura Mori def. Eru Takebayashi via submission (armbar) – Round 1