Roberto Satoshi will defend his RIZIN lightweight championship for the first time against Yusuke Yachi at RIZIN 33, the company’s final card of the year, in Saitama, Japan, on Dec. 31, the promotion announced Thursday.
RIZIN 33 will also feature the semifinals and finals of the bantamweight grand prix, as well as atomweight champion Ayaka Hamasaki facing Seika Izawa in a non-title bout.
Satoshi (12-1) made short work of Tofiq Musayev to capture the 155-pound belt in June, tapping the grand prix winner with a triangle choke in just 72 seconds. Yachi (23-11) won decisions over Yuki Kawana and Koji Takeda to earn his shot at the gold.
Sources told MMA Fighting that RIZIN was looking to book Satoshi against a different opponent for the NYE show, but travel restrictions made it difficult for a challenger to enter Japan in time to face the Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace.
Hamasaki (23-3) makes her second straight non-title bout since winning the RIZIN belt in March. In her most recent appearance, the 39-year-old veteran defeated Emi Fujino via decision. Izawa (4-0), a RIZIN newcomer, is the current DEEP strawweight titleholder.
The RIZIN bantamweight grand prix semifinals will see Kai Asakura vs. Kenta Takizawa and Hiromasa Ougikubo vs. Naoki Inoue, and the winners will advance to the finals and clash later that night in Japan.
Check the complete RIZIN 33 card below.
- TBD vs. TBD [GP finals]
- Roberto Satoshi vs. Yusuke Yachi
- Mikuru Asakura vs. Yutaka Saito
- Ayaka Hamasaki vs. Seika Izawa
- Kyohei Hagiwara vs. Hiroaki Suzuki
- Koji Takeda vs. Noah Bey
- Shoma Shibisai vs. Hideki Sekine
- Kai Asakura vs Kenta Takizawa [GP semifinals]
- Hiromasa Ougikubo vs Naoki Inoue [GP semifinals]
- Yuki Motoya vs Kintaro [GP reserve bout]