RIZIN closed the year with a highly-anticipated rematch between bantamweight greats Kai Asakura and Kyoji Horiguchi at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan, with the former RIZIN and Bellator champion aiming to reclaim one of his belts and avenge a non-title 2019 loss to Asakura.
He did it in impressive fashion.
Horiguchi aimed for Asakura’s left leg since the start, hurting his leg midway through round one. Asakura attempted a jumping knee and ate a right hand. Horiguchi immediately followed with a couple more short right hands that dropped Asakura, attacking with a ferocious ground and pound until the referee decided he had seen enough.
Mikuru Asakura wins one for the family
Both Japanese talents traded on the feet for the first minutes before an accidental eye poke caused a halt in the action. The fight resumed seconds later, and Asakura wasted no time landing a heavy left hand followed by a head kick and a short right that dropped the former DEEP champion, forcing the referee to stop the fight.
Asakura returned to the winning column five weeks after dropping an unanimous decision to Yutaka Saito for the featherweight throne at RIZIN 25, and vowed to win the 145-pound title in 2021.
Tenshin Nasukawa moves to 38-0
The co-main event featured undefeated kickboxing superstar Tenshin Nasukawa opposite 158-fight veteran Kumandoi Phetjaroenvit in a 125-pound clash, and cruised for three rounds.
Both fighters started trading leg kicks, but it was a left hand that dropped Phetjaroenvit in the second stanza, albeit the referee didn’t consider it a knockdown. Nasukawa began to work on the body in the second half of the fight, rocking Phetjaroenvit with a left hook in the third, but his 38th victory in kickboxing came via unanimous decision.
Tenshin Nasukawa concludes the year with a dominant three-round performance over a game Kumandoi. Takeru eyeing the fight ringside, but no fight announcement yet again. pic.twitter.com/E6NUuTB7lK— Beyond Kickboxing (@Beyond_Kick) December 31, 2020
Gomi guts it out in boxing match with Tanaka
An initially tentative boxing match between JMMA legend Takanori Gomi and kickboxer Koji Tanaka turned into slugfest broken only by Gomi’s flagging cardio. Despite several “accidental” headlocks and one takedown, Gomi gutted it out with a pesky jab and went toe-to-toe with Tanaka, who got tougher as the fight went into deep waters. In the end, Gomi took home the majority decision to pick up his second win after a six-fight skid.
Hamasaki shocks Yamamoto with rarely-used choke
As Yamamoto seized a leg for an early takedown, Hamasaki countered with a kimura. She then used the hold to set up a little-used scissor choke, giving Hamasaki the unenviable choice of choosing whether to go unconscious or suffer damage to her arm.
The early portion of the card featured a number of slick finishes, including veteran Hideo Tokoro spoiling the MMA debut of Olympic silver medalist wrestler Shinobu Ota with a second-round armbar and Kazuma Kuramoto getting the job done with soccer kicks against Taiyo Nakahara.
Check the complete RIZIN 26 results below.
Kyoji Horiguchi def. Kai Asakura via TKO (strikes) - Round 1
Tenshin Nasukawa def. Kumandoi Phetjaroenvit via unanimous decision [kickboxing]
Mikuru Asakura def. Satoshi Yamasu via TKO (strikes) - Round 1
Takanori Gomi def. Koji Tanaka via majority decision
Ayaka Hamasaki def. Miyuu Yamamoto via submission (scissor choke) - Round 1
Naoki Inoue def. Yuki Motoyo via submission (rear-naked choke) - Round 1
Kleber Koike def. Kyle Aguon via submission (D’Arce choke) - Round 1
Kyohei Hagiwara def. Ren Hiramoto via TKO (corner stoppage) - Round 2
Hideo Tokoro def. Shinobu Ota via submission (armbar) - Round 2
Yoshinari Nadaka def. Petmalai Phetjaroenvit via TKO (strikes) - Round 1U
lka Sasaki def. Kenta Takizawa via unanimous decision
Kanna Asakura def. Ai Shimizu via unanimous decision
Shibatar def. Hiroya via submission (armbar) - Round 2
Kazuma Kuramoto def. Taiyo Nakahara via KO (strikes) - Round 1
Tsuyoshi Sudario def. Ikuhisa Minowa via TKO (strikes) - Round 1
Sakura Mori def. Eru Takebayashi via submission (armbar) - Round 1