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RIZIN 25: Asakura vs. Saito preview

Japan’s premier org has a solid action-forward card planned as they warm their engine for their annual year-end extravaganza.

RIZIN is back, although without most of the pomp and ceremony that their larger events are known for. This week’s event has a title fight, a grappling demonstration planned featuring Roberto Satoshi Souza, Misaki Akita and Kleber Koike Erbst, and a lot more kickboxing. Even without the wild atmosphere of the big shows, it should be a very fun card filled with great matchups.

But the real meat on this bone is the main event between Mikuru Asakura (13-1) Yutaka Saito (18-4, 2 draws). Saito is a former Shooto champ, taking the title from Caol Uno and putting up a great run of success after. But he’s most well known for his performance in his last fight for RIZIN, where he brought out the blockbuster on Majima. The Asakura name is already synonymous with violence. All told, their fight is one of the most intense matchups Sakakibara could assemble.

Hiromasa Ogikubo (20-5, 2 draws) came close to winning The Ultimate Fighter, but has gone on to 5-2 tear after exiting the show—with his only losses being to Kai Asakura and Kyoji Horiguchi on god mode. Now the hardened grappler meets dangerous finisher Kenta Takizawa (11-5), a guy that’s always packing that dynamite. It’s very likely that the winner here could fight for the title next against the winner of the upcoming Asakura/Horiguchi rematch in December.

Pancrase vet Daichi Kitakaka (20-9, 1 draw) is another great pickup for RIZIN, with his penchant for finishes and ability to take a lot of punishment. He’s got a date with Tatsuki Saomoto (15-2), another underrated talent who pulled off a pretty fantastic finish his last time out.

Weigh-in results are as follows:

Mikuru Asakura (65.75kg) vs Yutaka Saito (65.75kg) - RIZIN featherweight (146lb) title fight
Hiromasa Ougikubo (60.80kg) vs Kenta Takizawa (60.70kg) - Bantamweight (134lb)
Ryuichiro Sumimura (76.70kg) vs ‘Let’s’ Gota Yamashita (76.70kg) - Welterweight (169lb)
Tatsuki Saomoto (56.70kg) vs Daichi Kitakata (56.60kg) Flyweight (126lb)
Yojiro Uchimura (65.90kg) vs Kyohei Hagiwara (65.80kg) - Featherweight, unified rules MMA
Taiga (60.50kg) vs Yuma Yamahata (60.45kg) - Kickboxing
Hidenori Ebara (81.25kg) vs Isami Sano (81.90kg) - Kickboxing
Kotetsu Boku (65.85kg) vs Rikuto Shirakawa (65.75kg) - Featherweight, unified rules MMA
Jin Mandokoro (52.80kg) vs Syuto Sato (53.00kg) - Kickboxing
Yuma Yamaguchi (62.70kg) vs Shohei Asahara (62.75kg) - Kickboxing

RIZIN 25 takes place Friday night into Saturday morning starting at 1:00 am Eastern/10:00 pm (Friday) Pacific, and is available for purchase from RIZIN’s proprietary PPV site.

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