clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

RIZIN 24 preview: Tenshin Nasukawa highlights another Saitama show

Half kickboxing, half MMA. Don’t worry, there’s a lot to enjoy.

Legend FC 10: Yusuke Kawanago — Photo by Anton Tabuena

RIZIN day is here, although you’d be forgiven for having totally forgotten. The big-time Japanese org hasn’t made much noise for this one, and it has plenty for fans of combat. Half MMA and half kickboxing, this could end up being a real crowd-pleaser.

We should also mention recent rule changes in which a fighter can now wear wrestling shoes, but cannot strike with his legs if they choose to do so. That includes knees.

Most anticipated should be the bout between Tenshin Nasukawa and Koji Tanaka, considering Nasukawa’s standing in kickboxing and his undeniably otherworldly highlight reel. How much of a challenge can Tanaka be for him? Well, we’ll find out when they clash at the top of the card.

First up, we’ve got firebrand Yuto Hokamura (13-8, 2 draws) vs Kenta Takizawa (10-5), in a battle between former Pancrase bantamweight title challengers. Then there’s more bantamweight action as current champ Kai Asakura (15-2) meets Shoji Maruyama (18-12, 1 draw). Only drawback here is that it’s not a title bout for whatever reason, but should be a banger regardless.

We’ve seen Asakura commit to amazing acts of violence, eventually dispatching the then-unstoppable Kyoji Horiguchi. Since then, he broke Ulka Sasaki’s jaw and suffered a brutal loss to current UFC talent Manel Kape. He roared back to snag the title in showstopping effort against Hiromasa Ogikubo.

Maruyama has been mostly a Pancrase and DEEP competitor and a wildman. His fight against Doo Ho Choi was one of the wilder ones of 2013. You may also remember the time he fought Jose Aldo. Might this be a walkover for Asakura, who is at his peak? Or can the old-time actually pull off an upset?

RIZIN darling Rena Kubota (10-3) is in another great matchup, this time against veteran Emi Tomimatsu (15-16). Purely an action fight more than anything, Kubota will be bringing her shootfight expertise and great striking against a fighter that’s been losing more than she’s been winning but remains unquestionably tough.

World-travelled and battle tested Satoru Kitaoka (42-20, 10 draws) has also been on a bit of a rough stretch, takes on former Pancrase lightweight champ and tenacious finisher Takasuke Kume (23-6, 3 draws).

Renegade Yusuke Yachi (21-10) comes off his loss to Roberto Satoshi to meet DEEP vet Juri Ohara (26-18, 3 draws). Finally, wrestling dynamo Koji Takeda (10-1) meets hard-hitting Yuki Kawana (16-4, 5 draws).

Weigh-in results:

Catchweight (kickboxing): Tenshin Nasukawa (58.5kgs) vs. Koji Tanaka (58.5kgs)

Bantamweight: Kai Asakura (60.75kgs) vs. Shoji Maruyama (60.85kgs)

Lightweight: Koji Takeda (70.8kgs) vs. Yuki Kawana (70.8kgs)

Lightweight: Takasuke Kume (71kgs) vs. Satoru Kitaoka (70.85kgs)

Catchweight (kickboxing): Yuki Kitagawa (59.95kgs) vs. Taishi Hiratsuka (60kgs)

Bantamweight: Kenta Takizawa (60.8kgs) vs. Yuto Hokamura (60.95kgs)

Strawweight: Rena Kubota (52.85kgs) vs. Emi Tomimatsu (52.2kgs)

Featherweight: Takahiro Ashida (65.9kgs) vs. Kyohei Hagiwara (65.95kgs)

Heavyweight: Tsuyoshi Sudario (112.85kgs) vs. Dylan James (107.65kgs)

Catchweight (kickboxing): Mutsuki Ebata (55kgs) vs. Rasta (54.95kgs)

Lightweight: Yusuke Yachi (70.85kgs) vs. Juri Ohara (70.7kgs) Lightweight

RIZIN 24 starts Saturday night into Sunday morning at 3:00am EST.