Roberto Satoshi made a statement in his return to the rings in the main event of RIZIN 22 in Yokohama, Japan, on Sunday.
The jiu-jitsu star, the only non-Japanese fighter competing in the company’s first card back since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country earlier this year, was looking to rebound from a first-round loss to Johnny Case in Oct. 2019, and did so with a dominating performance over Yusuke Yachi.
After a brief moment of feeling out process on the feet, Satoshi shot for a takedown and landed Yachi on the ground, quickly getting the mount. The Brazilian, who described himself as a “cocky blue belt on the feet,” rained down more than 70 punches in a minute before the referee mercifully stopped the bout.
Former RIZIN and Invicta FC atomweight queen Ayaka Hamasaki also returned to the winning column with a finish in Japan.
The 38-year-old fighter, who had a perfect 5-0 record under the RIZIN banner before dropping a split decision to Seo Hee Ham in December, used her grappling skills to tap DEEP Jewels titleholder Tomo Maesawa with a kimura in the second round, improving to 20-3 as a professional.
Kanna Asakura, who once challenged for the RIZIN atomweight gold, displayed a one-side destruction on Mizuki Furuse. The 22-year-old talent wasted no time as soon as they hit the ground, landing punches until the referee Minoru Toyonaga decided he had seen enough.
UFC veteran Naoki Inoue kept his winning streak going Sunday in Japan, stopping Shuto Watanabe’s eight-fight unbeaten run in less than two minutes, by defending a takedown and immediately transitioning to take him out with a rear-naked choke. Inoue, who went 1-1 inside the octagon with a victory over Carls John de Tomas followed by a defeat to Matt Schnell, has now won three in a row.
Three more matchups — with a trio of knockouts — completed the card. Tetsuya Seki stopped Kouya Kanda in the second, Kyohei Hagiwara scored his first MMA win with a third-round finish over Rikuto Shirakawa, and Kenji Kato bounced back from his RIZIN debut setback by handing Edson Yamamoto a first-round loss.
RIZIN returns Monday with its 23rd edition headlined by Hiromasa Ougikubo vs. Kai Asakura for the bantamweight title, a belt that became vacant after Manel Kape signed with the UFC.