Although Japan shutting down its borders again has limited their options to locally-based talent, Rizin will still be pushing through with the country’s tradition of hosting huge combat sports events on New Year’s Eve.
The event will have quality bouts between some of Japan’s top MMA stars, including a lightweight title bout between Roberto Souza and Yusuke Yachi, and a bantamweight grand prix that features Kai Asakura, Naoki Inoue and others. Typical NYE events still have freakshow-type bouts based more on spectacle than sport though, and that’s exactly what Rizin just announced Saturday afternoon.
Following the news of the much anticipated kickboxing mega-fight between Takeru and Tenshin in June, it was revealed that the latter will apparently have one more fight before that. Former PRIDE and current RIZIN head Nobuyuki Sakakibara announced a short notice boxing match between Tenshin Nasukawa and Takanori Gomi for New Year’s Eve.
Additional fight announcement for RIZIN.33
Tenshin Nasukawa vs. Takanori Gomi#RIZIN #RIZIN33 pic.twitter.com/xiUMSiUCrP
— RIZIN FF English (@rizin_English) December 25, 2021
Not only was this announced just six days before the event, there are also massive disparities in age and weight between the two.
Kickboxing superstar Nasukawa is 23-years-old and typically weighs around 127 lbs. On the other hand, the former PRIDE champ and UFC vet in Gomi is already 43-years-old, and gone are the days where he used to make 155 lbs. Gomi weighed 172 lbs for last year’s RIZIN NYE event, where he won another “special rules” bout over Koji Tanaka.
This Tenshin vs Gomi bout is branded as another “special standing bout rules,” and will actually be a two-round exhibition boxing match.
To add to the weirdness of this all, Gomi revealed that as part of his conditions to accept this short notice contest, he asked to also be booked for the massive June event that will have Tenshin vs Takeru.
The bout will also close out Tenshin’s Rizin career. Nasukawa, who infamously got fed to Floyd Mayweather in 2018’s year ender, will reportedly move to boxing full-time after his kickboxing super-fight against Takeru.
Gomi “I don’t even know why I’m here. Considering the weight and such this is so unrealistic. I was thinking as I trained fighters, I might actually still have a shot vs fighters my own weight, but that was difficult”
— Karaev Paul (@Karaev_Fan) December 25, 2021
TENSHIN THE LAST DANCE IN RIZIN pic.twitter.com/oogilrS8Fg
— 那須川 天心 (@TeppenTenshin) December 25, 2021
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