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RIZIN adds four fights to New Year’s Eve show, including Mikuru Asakura

Mikuru Asakura (red gloves) holds wins over the likes of John Teixeira (blue gloves) and Hatsu Hioki
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

RIZIN 26’s New Year’s Eve card now includes a total of 12 matchups with the addition of four fights officially announced by the company Thursday, including the return of Mikuru Asakura and the debut of former KSW titleholder Kleber Koike. The event goes down Dec. 31 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

Asakura (13-2, 1 NC)—the older brother of RIZIN 26 headliner and bantamweight champion Kai Asakura—makes a quick turnaround five weeks after a decision defeat to now-champion Yutaka Saito, facing former DEEP featherweight beltholder Satoshi Yamasu (11-5). Both fighters were on eight-fight winning streaks prior to their recent setbacks.

Koike (25-5-1) won KSW featherweight gold back in 2017, and joins RIZIN after a recent first-round submission win at ONE. Victorious over the likes of Miguel Torres and Yusuke Yachi throughout his MMA career, Koike will face one-time Pancrase title contender Kyle Aguon (13-9), who looks to score his first RIZIN victory after dropping a decision to Vugar Kyaramov in his debut earlier this year.

RIZIN 26 will be headlined by a highly-anticipated rematch between Kai Asakura and Kyoji Horiguchi for the bantamweight throne. The Dec. 31 event will also feature a 63-kg catchweight bout between Kazuma Kuramoto (7-1) and Taiyo Nakahara (15-8), and Nakada Yoshinari vs. Phetmalai Phetjaroenvit under kickboxing rules.

Kai Asakura vs. Kyoji Horiguchi - for bantamweight title
Ayaka Hamasaki battles Miyuu Yamamoto - for super atomweight title
Shinobu Ota vs. Hideo Tokoro
Ikuhisa Minowa vs. Sudario Tsuyoshi
Mikuru Asakura vs. Satoshi Yamasu
Kleber Koike vs. Kyle Aguon
Kanna Asakura vs. Ai Shimizu
Naoki Inoue vs. Yuki Motoya
Kyohei Hagiwara vs. Ren Hiramoto
Ulka Sasaki vs. Kenta Takizawa
Kazuma Kuramoto vs. Taiyo Nakahara
Nakada Yoshinari vs. Phetmalai Phetjaroenvit - kickboxing