Manel Kape scored a shock win over Japanese frontrunner Kai Asakura in the main event of RIZIN 20 in Saitama, Japan on Tuesday, claiming the RIZIN bantamweight title that Asakura took from Kyoji Horiguchi in the process.
Kape dropped Asakura twice in quick succession before he landed several grounded strikes that prompted the referee to stop the contest. Following the stoppage, Kape immediately left the ring and celebrated with former foe and champion Horiguchi.
Kape did well to negate Asakura’s reach advantage in the first round. Just as Asakura seemed to grow in the exchanges, Kape finished the round out with a thudding spinning back fist that. The Angolan knockout artist’s pressure paid off early in the second as Asakura went twice with 30 seconds, with the stoppage coming shortly after.
And in a snap, the bantamweight division is upset again! Manel "Prodígio" Kape (15-4) rings in the New Year with a second-round knockout of Kai Asakura - his third such stoppage in a row! The Angolan incendiary is RIZIN's new champ! #RIZIN20 #RIZINFF pic.twitter.com/0yKjaG16AR— Kyle Johnson (@VonPreux) December 31, 2019
Tenshin Nasukawa remains unbeaten after a one-sided demolition of Rui Ebata in the co-main event of the evening. The undefeated kickboxing sensation swarmed his countryman from the first bell, forcing the referee to wave the contest off after he scored three knockdowns in the first stanza. (Read full summary)
Seo Hee Ham was crowned super atomweight champion following a closely contested three-round fight against defending champion Ayaka Hamasaki. The clash was the third meeting between arguably the best atomweight fighters in the world, with Ham taking victory for the first time in the series.
In some frantic exchanges in the first round, Ham landed the more damaging shots with her patented left hand. In the second round, although she was taken down, Ham attacked with triangles from the bottom and landed steady shots as Hamasaki looked to advance her position. Although Hamasaki put on a stronger display in the final round when she took up top position, former UFC fighter Ham was deemed the victor via split decision after three rounds of action.
Eight years removed from losing twice to atomweight's empress, Seo Hee Ham (23-8) usurps Ayaka Hamasaki by split decision! "Hamderlei" is now a two-promotion champ, boosting her win streak to six with moxie, boxing, and a near-miss triangle to eke her rival. #RIZIN20 #RIZINFF pic.twitter.com/prPUVowKwJ— Kyle Johnson (@VonPreux) December 31, 2019
Also on the card, Kai Asakura’s older brother, Mikuru, scored one of the biggest wins of his young career by claiming a unanimous decision win over Bellator veteran John Macapa. Asakura landed the cleaner shots in the striking exchanges, catching the Brazilian flush with a number of left straights over the 15-minute bout.
Mikuru Asakura (12-1, 1 NC) is the thinking man's OUTSIDER - always wielding greater craft and trickery than you would expect given his background, love of brawling and YouTube shenanigans. John Macapá is soundly outstruck. #RIZIN20 #RIZINFF pic.twitter.com/wVckEH1FfC— Kyle Johnson (@VonPreux) December 31, 2019
Rena got revenge for her submission loss to Lindsey VanZandt when she stopped the American in the final seconds of their rematch. Rena dominated the grappling exchanges, and after gaining mount in the final minutes, she rained down shots until VanZandt’s corner prompted the conclusion of the bout by throwing in the towel.
Shoot Boxing tsarina RENA (10-3) exacts revenge on Lindsey VanZandt, gutting out several grappling traps, returning fire, and bearing down late to end it with mounted strikes in the final minute! The winsome bodysnatcher owns eight finishes, six by strikes. #RIZIN20 #RIZINFF pic.twitter.com/lVMO6Pjuqx— Kyle Johnson (@VonPreux) December 31, 2019
Earlier in the night, Tofiq Musayev claimed the RIZIN lightweight grand prix title with wins over Patricky Pitbull and Johnny Case, improving to 5-0 with the promotion on the one-year anniversary of his promotional debut. (Read full summary)
Tofiq Musayev (18-3) is RIZIN's Lightweight GP champ, pushing through battles to win the war with an ever-aggressive Patricky "Pitbull!" The Azerbaijani leaves with his 14-fight tear intact behind rampant blitzes, crafty trips, and barbarous ground 'n pound. #RIZIN20 #RIZINFF pic.twitter.com/FVkNpRjFv8— Kyle Johnson (@VonPreux) December 31, 2019
Also in action, light-heavyweight champion Jiri Prozchaka defended his title with a first-round knockout of former UFC fighter, C.B. Dolloway. The Czech fighter caught Dolloway with a clean two-punch combination to finish his night in the first round. (Read full summary)
Check out the full RIZIN 20 results here.