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Preview: RIZIN 16 brings fireworks to Kobe, Japan

Japan’s biggest spectacle tones it down a bit, but keeps a lot of meat on the bone.

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Floyd Mayweather Jr. v Tenshin Nasukawa Media Availability & Workout Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

RIZIN action returns with another hybrid event skewing a little more heavily to the kickboxing crowd. Don’t let that get you down, as there’s a lot to enjoy and some seriously great MMA action as well.

Tenshin Nasukawa is continuing his reign over the Japanese kickboxing scene, and will be fighting Argentina’s Martin Blanco in the main event. The co-main is scheduled to be a hotly anticipated rematch between Invicta champion Jinh Yu Frey (8-3) and RIZIN champ Ayaka Hamasaki (17-2). The fight is for Hamasaki’s Super Atomweight (108lbs) belt, and should bring some closure to a fight that was going well until a controversial cut led to an anticlimactic ending.

This is perhaps the best women’s fight outside of the UFC or Invicta right now, and it’s between two great athletes with a lot of grit and strong grappling chops but can also strike. This should be worth the price of admission along with the main event.

Former title challenger and wrestler turned MMA wünderkind Kanna Asakura (14-3) fell short against Hamasaki, but will be taking on another crafty grappler in Miyuu Yamamoto (4-3). Big boys will be rounding out the card when former PXC talent Roque Martinez (13-4, 2 draws) meets former WSOF fighter Jake Heun (12-9).

Former UFC fighter Daron Cruickshank (22-11) still has a penchant for flashy moves and vicious finishes, and will be a stiff test for up and coming Azerbaijani Tofek Musaev (14-3). Musaev made an impression in his RIZIN debut with a violent stoppage, and will have a major feather in his cap with a win here.

Cruickshank’s teammate Tim Eschtruth (4-1) makes his RIZIN debut against son of Miyuu Yamamoto (and nephew of dearly departed Kid Yamamoto, RIP), Erson (2-4). Shooto veteran and devastating striker Mamoru Uoi (a.k.a. Fullswing) will be meeting hard-nosed Hawaiian Kana Hyatt (16-19).

You can always check out our Vivisection along with Zane Simon and Eddie Mercado. In fact, you really should, any chance you get.

And a bit of sizzle from the previous announcement vid for the event.

Full fight card is as follows:

Tenshin Nasukawa vs Martin Blanco - Kickboxing bout

Ayaka Hamasaki vs Jinh Yu Frey - 108lb Super Atomweight Championship

Miyuu Yamamoto vs Kanna Asakura - 108lb fight

Jake Heun vs Roque Martinez - Heavyweight

Topnoi Tiger Muay Thai vs Yusaku Nakamura - 130lb catchweight

Daron Cruickshank vs Tofik Musaev - 157lb catchweight

Mamoru Uoi vs Kana Hyatt - 134lb catchweight

Kunitaka Fujiwara vs Ryuji Horio - Kickboxing bout

Erson Yamamoto vs Tim Eschtruth - 134lb catchweight

Hiroto Yamaguchi vs Taiju Shiratori - Kickboxing bout

Takaki Soya vs Namiki Kawahara - 130lb catchweight

Itto Nakatake vs Ken Nakamura - Kickboxing bout

Seiki Ueyama vs Kengo - Kickboxing bout

Yuya Shibata vs Yuki Tanaka

RIZIN 16 takes place this Saturday night into Sunday morning at 12:20am EST, streaming exclusively on for $19.99.

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