Kai Asakura vs. Kyoji Horiguchi won’t be the only championship fight to take place at RIZIN’s upcoming New Year’s Eve show. In fact, the Dec. 31 card at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, will feature a mix of new blood and veteran flavor.
The super atomweight belt will be on the line when Ayaka Hamasaki battles Miyuu Yamamoto for the vacant throne, the company announced Wednesday. Hamasaki (20-3) is a former Invicta FC and DEEP titleholder, and Yamamoto (6-4) gets her first shot at a MMA belt after defeating Suwanan Boonsorn at RIZIN’s past NYE show.
Shinobu Ota, who won captured a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics in greco-roman wrestling in Rio de Janeiro, makes his long-awaited MMA debut against 66-fight veteran Hideo Tokoro.
“I’m very excited and grateful to be able to perform in the platform I’ve been watching my entire life,” Ota stated in a release. “I hear many people saying I’m taking MMA lightly, but I am aware of that. But I have been training hard and there is a reason why I decided to make my debut. I have no plans to lose.”
Ikuhisa Minowa, also known as “Minowaman,” makes his first appearance in the RIZIN ring almost 27 years after his professional MMA debut. A veteran of PRIDE, UFC, Pancrase, Dream and many other promotions, “Minowaman” enters his 117th MMA bout when he takes on heavyweight Sudario Tsuyoshi (1-0). Tsuyoshi is a former sumo wrestler who needed one round to stop Dylan James in his RIZIN debut in September.
The card will also feature Kanna Asakura (17-4) vs. Ai Shimizu (5-0), Naoki Inoue (14-2) vs. Yuki Motoya (26-8, 1 NC), Kyohei Hagiwara (2-3) vs. Ren Hiramoto (0-0 in MMA, 11-4 in kickboxing), and Ulka Sasaki (22-8-2) vs. Kenta Takizawa (11-6). Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only 10,000 fans will be allowed inside the Saitama Super Arena.