RIZIN returns this week live from Nagoya, Japan with a quality card that’s going under the radar packed with some excellent talent.
Top billing goes to atomweight queen Ayaka Hamasaki (21-3) defending her belt against Kanna Asakura (18-4) in a very compelling rematch. In their initial 2018 encounter, Hamasaki proved to be too much for the younger upstart, utilizing her striking and excellent submission game to submit the spry wrestler. Hamasaki’s gone 4-1 since their first fight, with a decision loss to Seo Hee Ham, who promptly vacated the belt. That led to Hamasaki reclaiming the belt after a win last New Year’s Eve against Miyuu Yamamoto for the then-vacant title. Hamasaki may be the absolute best submission fighter under 115lbs in any women’s division right now, and still has the power to turn a fight around with one or two well-placed punches - even at age 38.
Asakura has remained very active since that loss, going 5-1 with wins against Alesha Zappitella and Ai Shimizu and a decision loss to Miyuu Yamamoto. She remains an offensively-minded wrestler with a good takedown game, but her striking is still somewhat rudimentary and her submission defense better be on point for this one.
Roberto Satoshi (government name Roberto de Souza, 10-1) has transitioned seamlessly with his BJJ credentials and world of expertise to the MMA arena, and he’ll have another quality opponent to face this time around against Kazuki Tokudome (20-10, 1 draw). Satoshi had a great performance in his last fight against Killer Bee standout Yusuke Yachi, and works with a lot more caution with his striking defense. Curiously enough, his only loss is to Johnny Case, who is joining Showtime Joe Ferrara on commentary for this one.
For his part, Tokudome is an experienced MMA grappler that just came off a stint over at ONE Championship. He’s currently got back to back wins over Adrian Pang (eye injury) and Johnny Nuñez (decision).
Karelin lift enthusiast Koji Takeda (11-1) is back for more (seriously, he’s so good at this), as he meets former Pancrase lightweight king Takasuke “Da Jaguar“ Kume (24-6, 3 draws). This has Fight of the Night potential, because Takeda is a powerhouse and Kume is utterly ferocious. Koji brings athleticism and tenacity while Kume throws all his weight into his big punches and has a ton of submission savvy.
Former KSW champ Kleber Koike Erbst (26-5, 1 draw) will also be returning to action after making a splash in his RIZIN debut with his remarkable submission win over Kyle Aguon. He’s got back to back wins, both of them via D’Arce choke - and he can make it three if he plays it right. It may not be easy, though. He’ll be up against Kazumasa Majima (14-2), who has 11 submission wins, four of them rear naked chokes. This is a wonderful submission grappler matchup, and Erbst does have some striking chops and variety while Majima has some power in his hands. This is another bit of perfect matchmaking.
Other bouts include DEEP vet Yuki Ito (6-1) meeting former Pancrase fighter Kohei Sugiyama (10-5), and Shooto Watanabe (21-5, 6 draws) vs Takumi Taramu 12-2, 1 draw. While Watanabe is literally named after the Shooto organization itself, he’s never actually fought for them. Curiously enough, Shooto (the promotion) is where Tiramu has had most of his fights. Both are very athletic opportunists that love to mix it up and have a handful of submission victories on their records.
Finally, former Pancrase tournament champ, one-time UFC talent, and promising prospect Yoshinori Horie (9-3) meets striking threat Tetsuya Seki (13-6, 1 draw).
Weigh-in results are as follows:
Ayaka Hamasaki (107.5) vs. Kanna Asakura (107.2) - Super atomweight title fight
Roberto de Souza (155.9) vs. Kazuki Tokudome (156.4)
Koji Takeda (156) vs. Takasuke Kume (156.5)
Kleber Koike Erbst (145.1) vs. Kazumasa Majima (145.5)
Tsuyoshi Sudario (254.4) vs. Kazushi Miyamoto (247.6)
Tetsuya Seki (145.3) vs. Yoshinori Horie (145.5)
Kazuma Sone (134.3) vs. Hiroki Yamashita (134.1)
Shooto Watanabe (133.4) vs. Takumi Tamaru (134.4)
Yutaro Muramoto (125.5) vs. Seigo Yamamoto (125.2)
Kohei Sugiyama (125.3) vs. Yuki Ito (124.5)
Shuto Sato vs Masayoshi Kunimoto - Kickboxing bout
Riki Sakurai vs Riku Yoshida - Kickboxing bout
Ryota Naito vs Hiroji Kinjo - Kickboxing bout
RIZIN 27 starts Saturday night into Sunday morning starting at midnight EST, streaming live exclusively on Live Now for $24.99.