RIZIN FF’s yearly traditional of a stacked New Year’s Eve show continues this month, with RIZIN 26 set to go down at the fabled Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
Headlining the festivities will be a highly anticipated rematch between Kyoji Horiguchi and Kai Asakura.
The pair first fought last August, at RIZIN 18, and it was Asakura who came out on top, blitzing Horiguchi early and taking a KO win in just over a minute. That was a non-title fight, but Horiguchi would vacate both his RIZIN and Bellator bantamweight titles months later. He hasn’t fought since then.
Asakura followed up his win over the former UFC title challenger by breaking Ulka Sasaki’s jaw. After that win he was KO’d by recent UFC singing Manel Kape. Since then Asakura has looked unstoppable with three straight finishes, including two via soccer kicks, in 2020. He earned the RIZIN bantamweight title with a win over Hiromasa Ougikubo in August. He’ll defend that title against Horiguchi.
The co-main is a kickboxing bout featuring the immensely popular, and undefeated, Tenshin Nasukawa, who will look to add more clips to his already incredible highlight reel versus Kumandoi Phetjaroenvit. Bangkok’s Phetjaroenvit is a 2018 WBC Muay Thai world champion.
Also on the card former Invicta atomweight champion Ayaka Hamasaki will face Miyuu Yamamoto for the vacant RIZIN atomweight title.
The card also sees a return to action for the legendary Ikuhisa ‘Minowaman’ Minowa. The 44-year-old Minowaman is a veteran of PRIDE and K-1 and memorable battles versus Mirko Cro Cop, Phil Baroni, Kazushi Sakauraba, Wanderlei Silva and much of the who’s who of early 2000s Japanese MMA.
The 65-43-8 Minowaman will fight the 1-0 Tsuyoshi Sudario, a 23-year-old who finds his way to MMA via the sport of sumo.
Popular former UFC fighter Takanori Gomi will also be on the card in a “special standing bout rules” fight versus Koji Tanaka.
Full card (12:00AM ET, December 31st on live-now.com):
Bantamweight championship: Kai Asakura vs. Kyoji Horiguchi
Kickboxing: Tenshin Nasukawa vs. Kumandoi Phetjaroenvit
Catchweight (150 lbs): Mikuru Asakura vs. Satoshi Yamasu
Special rules bout “standing only”: Takanori Gomi vs. Koji Tanaka
Atomweight championship: Ayaka Hamasaki vs. Miyuu Yamamoto
Bantamweight: Yuki Motoyo vs. Naoki Inoue
Catchweight (148 lbs): Kyle Aguon vs. Kleber Koike
Catchweight (150 lbs): Kyohei Hagiwara vs. Ren Hiramoto
Bantamweight: Hideo Tokoro vs. Shinobu Ota
Kickboxing: Yoshinari Nadaka vs. Petmalai Phetjaroenvit
Bantamweight: Ulka Sasaki vs. Kenta Takizawa
Atomweight: Kanna Asakura vs. Ai Shimizu
Catchweight (139 lbs): Taiyo Nakahara vs. Kazuma Kuramoto
Heavyweight: Ikuhisa Minowa vs. Tsuyoshi Sudario
Strawweight: Sakura Mori vs. Eru Takebayashi
About the author