Jiri Prochazka is the first-ever Rizin Fighting Federation light heavyweight champion.
The inaugural 205-pound title was put on the line in the main event of Rizin 15 in Yokohama, Japan, on Sunday, and Prochazka captured it by avenging a loss to Muhammed Lawal.
“King Mo”, who stopped Prochazka in the first round when they met in 2015, stood and traded with Prochazka for the first couple of rounds, but slowed down drastically in the third round. An exhausted Lawal was no match for Prochazka and he eventually slumped to the canvas after being hurt by a barrage of the Czech’s shots.
Prochazka improved to 24-3-1 in MMA with the win, going 18-1-1 over his last 20 bouts.
Jiří Procházka (24-3-1) is RIZIN's first light heavyweight champ, as he overwhelms a gassed King Mo in round three. "Denisa" avenges his last loss and boosts his win streak to eight. The Czech owns 23 finishes, 21 by knockout. #RIZIN15 #RIZINFF #RIZIN2019 pic.twitter.com/7xkhZGx2db— Kyle Johnson (@VonPreux) April 21, 2019
In the co-main event, undefeated sensation Tenshin Nasukawa took on Fritz Biagtan, who had Manny Pacquiao ringside to support him, in a kickboxing match. Less than six weeks after scoring an incredible cartwheel kick knockout in Japan, Nasukawa dropped Biagtan twice in the third round, landing vicious knees and punches, to improve to 30-0 as a kickboxer.
Nguyen had a good start, taking Horiguchi’s back in the first seconds of the match, but once Horiguchi got out of there, it was a fast-paced striking contest that came to an end as soon as the bantamweight king connected his hands.
Horiguchi dropped Nguyen with a right hand. As soon as Nguyen got back up, Horiguchi hurt him again with another punch. Nguyen went back on his feet one more time, but Horiguchi trapped him in the corner and continue to unload until referee Jason Herzog saved him form more punishment.
Kyoji Horiguchi (27-2) ratchets his reign of terror to 12 straight bouts, brutalizing Ben Nguyen in less than three minutes! Now 9-0 in RIZIN with seven finishes, the JMMA king owns 14 knockouts. #RIZIN15 #RIZINFF #RIZIN2019 pic.twitter.com/ScxEmIHAZJ— Kyle Johnson (@VonPreux) April 21, 2019
Horiguchi, 27-2 as a mixed martial artist, now holds a 9-0 record under the Rizin banner. After the bout, Rizin president Nobuyuki Sakakibara entered the ring to announce that Horiguchi is now expected to challenge Darrion Caldwell for the Bellator bantamweight title in New York. Horiguchi won Rizin’s inaugural title with a submission victory over Caldwell in December.
In a battle of generations, 70-fight veteran Satoru Kitaoka forced jiu-jitsu ace Roberto Satoshi to go past the the three-minute mark for the first time in his MMA career, and gave him a big cut over the left eye in the opening round.
Satoshi finally took the fight to the ground in the second round, forcing Kitaoka to escape from an armbar attempt before scoring a surprising TKO finish, knocking Kitaoka down with a 12-punch combination and landing a couple more to finish the fight. Satoshi now holds a perfect 8-0 record with eight stoppages.
Brazilian legend Wanderlei Silva, who flew to Japan countless times to win inside the PRIDE ring, had a disappointing night in Yokohama cornering his Evolucao Thai teammates Christiano Frohlich and Luiz Gustavo.
The first to enter the ring was Gustavo, who was coming off an impressive knockout over Yusuke Yachi in his promotional debut last August. At Rizin 15, though, he dropped a decision to Japanese lightweight Mikuru Asakura, who improved to 4-0 under the company banner.
Later in the card, Swedish light heavyweight Karl Albrektsson used his wrestling to win a decision against Frohlich. Winner of three straight over the last 11 months, Albrektsson put himself in a good position to challenge Jiri Prochazka for the Rizin title next. The 25-year-old Swedish hasn’t lost since a 2017 bout with Prochazka.
In the first fight of the night, 25-year-old Japanese prospect Kanako Murata returned eight months after submitting Angela Magana with a Von Flue choke at Rizin 12 to put Saray Orozco out cold with the same choke and improve to 9-1 in MMA.
Complete Rizin 15 results can be seen below.
Jiri Prochazka def. Muhammed Lawal via third-round TKO
Kyoji Horiguchi def. Ben Nguyen via first-round TKO
Roberto Satoshi def. Satoru Kitaoka via second-round TKO
Karl Albrektsson def. Christiano Frohlich via unanimous decision
Rena Kubota def. Samantha Jean-Francois via unanimous decision
Mikuru Asakura def. Luiz Gustavo via unanimous decision
Kana Watanabe def. Justyna Haba via unanimous decision
Damien Brown def. Koji Takeda via unanimous decision
Manel Kape def. Seiichiro Ito via second-round TKO
Kanako Murata def. Saray Orozco via second-round technical submission (Von Flue choke)
Tenshin Nasukawa def. Fritz Biagtan via third-round TKO
Thalisson Ferreira def. Taiga Kawabe via second-round TKO