On Sunday April 16th, 2017 RIZIN will be celebrating the spring spirit not only with Japan’s symbolic cherry blossoms, but with a stunning fight card which surprisingly features 4 woman fights.
Recently announced free agent Anthony Birchak (13-3) has found a new home in Japan, and will be moving up a weight class to challenge fellow UFC veteran and Japanese MMA legend Tatsuya Kawajiri (35-11-2) in a Featherweight (145lbs) bout. Fan favorite and always entertaining Lightweight (155lbs) Daron Cruickshank (18-9-1NC) battles Japanese prospect Yusuke Yachi (16-6) in a should be fun scrap. Heavyweight legend “The Texas Crazy Horse” Heat Herring (28-15-1NC) will be making his second appearance in the ring since he last lost a close decision on December 29th 2016, when stepping up to a short notice in order to fill in the Grand Prix after a 8 year hiatus will be fighting against Olympic gold medalist Satoshi Ishii (14-7-1), who is looking to snap a 3 fight skid. After making his electrifying MMA debut, and requesting a fight just 2 days later, Kickboxing superstar, 19 year old Tenshin Nasukawa (18-0 Kick boxing / 2-0 MMA) will step out of his comfort zone once again, looking to extend his 2-0 MMA record against Italy’s hard hitting pitbull, Franchesco Ghigliotti (26-12-2 kick boxing / 0-0) in a Flyweight (125lbs) bout.
3 matchups were announced for the woman’s bout featuring the teenage Kanna Asakura (6-2) taking on Amateur MMA world champion Alexandra Toncheva (8-0 AMMA) from Bulgaria. Japanese woman’s MMA pioneer, and now a mother Saori Ishioka (14-10) will be fighting Swiss Karate practitioner Bestare Kicaj (2-0), both fights are scheduled at Atom weight (105lbs). Lastly, highly noticed German pro-wrestler Jazzy Garbert (1-0) will be making her RIZIN debut against Reina Miura AKA King Reina (2-0) at a 198lb catch weight fight. Jazzy Gabert caught immediate attention when she interrupted woman’s Heavyweight icon Gabi Garcia’s (4-0) winning speech to challenge her and since then the heavyweights have taken their beef to social network. King Reina is coming off of an impressive win over Invicta and UFC veteran Shayna Baszler, and won her ticket to the RIZIN ring.
Rena Kubota (3-0) will be participating in the April event, but her opponent has yet to be announced.
Previously announced in the Main Event newly signed prize Kyoji Horiguchi (18-2) faces Yuki Motoya (18-4) to determine the top Japanese Flyweight at 128lb catch weight. Horiguchi has won his last 3 bouts (all in the UFC) and has not lost since April 25th, 2015 while Motoya is widely considered Japan’s top flyweight and finally gets his chance to prove that on April 16th.
Additionally, Rizin FF announced there will be both men’s and women’s grand prix events in 2017 with the first rounds beginning in October. RENA will be participating in the woman’s GP and the weight will be at her weight class.
Doors open at 1:30PM with Opening Ceremony at 3:00PM on Sunday April 16th at the Yokohama Arena. International tickets can be purchased at https://intl.stubhub.com/rizin-2017-in-yokohama-tickets/ev159372.