Rizin held its annual New Year’s Eve card from the Saitama Super Arena headlined by Manel Kape taking on Kai Asakura for the vacant Rizin bantamweight title.
Asakura was considered the favorite heading into the fight after defeating former champion Kyoji Horiguchi in a non-title fight last August at 1:07. They were set for a rematch on Tuesday’s card with the title being defended but Horiguchi suffered an injury and had to withdraw from the fight while also vacating his championship.
It was Kape’s night though, stopping Asakura 38 seconds into the second round and laying claim to the championship.
Former UFC fighter Seo Hee Ham became the promotion’s new women’s Super Atomweight champion by earning a split decision over the incumbent Ayaka Hamasaki.
The card also saw several fighters representing Bellator, including Patricky ‘Pitbull’ Freire as he met Tofiq Musaev in the final of Rizin’s Lightweight Grand Prix.
Both had their semi-final fights earlier in the evening with Freire stopping Luiz Gustavo in twenty-eight seconds of the first round. Musaev didn’t need much longer stopping Johnny Case in 2:46.
Jiri Prochazka successfully defended his light heavyweight with a knockout of C.B. Dollaway on the preliminary portion. It was Prochazka’s tenth consecutive win and eight straight stoppage victory. He became Rizin’s inaugural light heavyweight champion in April avenging a 2015 loss to Muhammed ‘King Mo’ Lawal with a third-round TKO.
Below are the full results:
*Manel Kape def. Kai Asakura by TKO at 0:38 of Round 2 to become the Rizin bantamweight champion
*Seo Hee Ham def. Ayaka Hamasaki by split decision to win the Super Atomweight title
*Mikuru Asakura def. John Teixeira by unanimous decision
*Rena Kubota def. Lindsey VanZandt by TKO due to a corner stoppage at 4:42 of Round 3
*Tofiq Musaev def. Patricky ‘Pitbull’ Freire by unanimous decision in the final of their Lightweight Grand Prix
*Jiri Prochazka def. C.B. Dollaway by KO at 1:55 to retain the Rizin light heavyweight title
*Simon Biyong def. Vitaly Shemetov by TKO at 0:58 of Round 2
*Hiromasa Ogikubo def. Shintaro Ishiwatari by split decision
*Jake Heun def. Satoshi Ishii by TKO at 1:12 of Round 1
*Patrick Mix def. Yuki Motoya by guillotine at 1:36 of Round 1
*Miyuu Yamamoto def. Suwanan Boonsorn by unanimous decision
*Patricky Freire def. Luiz Gustavo by TKO at 0:28 of Round 1
*Tofiq Musaev def. Johnny Case by TKO at 2:46 of Round 1