Rizin 19

Photo credit to Tapology

Rizin 19 Recap

Rizin 19 went on Saturday, October 12th and was an action-packed event with big finishes abounding. All quarterfinal fights in the Rizin lightweight grand prix ended in the first round. Four men now stand poised to win this grand prix with the desire of winning two fights in three days to get it done. Contenders solidified their positions at the top of the hierarchy ahead of things getting booked for Rizin’s big end of the year cards around New Year’s Eve. Reigning champions also reasserted who they were to the fas. Here are all the major highlights from Rizin 19 at Edion Arena in Osaka, Japan.

Kickboxing part one

Seiki Ueyama vs Taisei Umei saw Umei push the pace early with a variety of kicks and boxing combos in the first round. Umei landed some swift body kicks and a question mark kick to the head to close out the round. Ueyama turned things around in the second and began to put a ton of pressure on Umei. A lot of leg kicks while mixing in close quarters punches proved quite fruitful for Ueyama. Both men came out realizing the third was likely the crucial, bout deciding round. The two exchanged flurries right away but eventually, Ueyama started to dictate the pace en route to a decision win.

Hiroya Kawabe vs Takuma Konishi saw both come out hard early but a left hand down the middle changed everything. Kawabe got dropped from that unch and tried to rally back. Alas Konishi threw a high knee up the middle, Kawabe ate it hard, and the bout was called. It was a huge KO win for Konishi and the other Kawabe brother’s fortunes didn’t end up being much better at Rizin 19.

Kickboxing part two

Taiju Shiratori vs Taiga Kawabe saw Shiratori using his reach well early on. He seemed to be gauging distance well and timed the entries of Kawabe’s forward charges for counter striking. A combo of punches dropped Taiga and he was playing catch up with Shiratori for the remainder of the first. The second round saw Taiaga get knocked down early but he was still undeterred. Shiratori still kept putting it on Taiga with a variety of boxing combos, teeps, and knees mixed in for good measure.

Taiga put down Shiratori in the third with an overhand left. He finally figured out the range in the third round and started pouring on strikes steadily. Taiga tried to pour it on right up until the closing bell. Despite the late rally in the third frame, it still wasn’t enough as Shiratori won via unanimous decision.

Rizin lightweight grand prix pt #1

Tofiq Musaev vs Damien Brown saw Musaev come out with some kicks from the onset. Brown keeps trying o encroach forward but Musaev”s kicking game is keeping Brown at a comfortable distance. Musaev secures a nice trip takedown, drops Brown briefly with a later leg kick, and then also stumbles him with a high kick. Follow up punches wrapped up this fight in the first round in the favour of Musaev who advances further in the grand prix.

Luiz Gustavo vs Hiroto Uesako was another grand pix fight that ended by first-round stoppage. Uesako took the center right away. He was looking to initiate the forward pressure against his aggressive opponent but Gustavo eventually began piecing up Ueasko with boxing combos. A cut emerged on Uesako’s head and the fight was called in favor of Gustavo who advances to the semi-finals of the tournament.

Rizin lightweight grand prix pt #2

Patricky Pitbull vs Tatsuya Kawajiri was another explosive affair at 155 lbs. Kawajiri was going for takedowns with dogged determination but Pitbull stuffed couple of them. Then Patricky threw up a lightning-quick jumping knee and Kawajiri hit the mat. Tatsuya Kawajiri was holding onto a single leg an refused to let it go as Pitbull rained down punches on his end. Eventually, the ref called it because Kawajiri was not intelligently defending himself. Patricky Pitbull wins via TKO in the firs frame and also moves on in the Rizin lightweight grand prix.

Johnny Case vs Roberto de Souza was the last remaining quarterfinal bout in the Rizin lightweight grand prix. Case stuffed a takedown attempt from de Souza and ended up in his guard for a bit. De Souza went for an omoplata but the scramble resulted in both gettng back to a kickboxing position. He looked to shoot for another takedown but Case caught him with an uppercut as he shot in. De Souza immediately began favouring his eye, rolled over, and seemed to tap on the mat. Case landed a follow-up soccer kick and the ref waved off the action. Another first-round TKO in the tournament and Johnny Case is the final semi-finalist.

A draw was done live in the ring between the participants to determine how the brackets would shake out. Gustavo vs Pitbull and Musaev vs Case were the semi-final bouts announced for Rizin’s December 29th card.

Other MMA highlights

Shoma Shibisai vs Chang Hee Kim saw both men try to jockey for position early. Shibisai clinched up, Kim subsequently got a body lock, and this position would lead to the fight-ending sequence. Shibisai looked for a kimura from that body lock position around the waist. Things got to the mat and Shibisai eventually elicited a tap from Kim at 1:09 of round one.

Keita Nakamura vs Marcos Yoshio de Souza saw an early scramble where Nakamura ended up in De Souza’s guard. Both got back to their feet De Souza was then dropped with big punches as well as follow up ground and pound. De Souza stood back up only to be dropped another time. His cornermen threw in the towel, for him, the ref waved off the action, and Nakamura scored the authoritative TKO win.

Rena’s return and a Contender crowned

Rena Kubota vs Alexandra Alvare Carlos marked the return of one of Rizin’s great young stars. Rena suffered a defeat in Bellator MMA during her last fight but got back to the win column here. Alvare is pieced up with punches from out of the gate and Rena drops her hard in the corner to warrant a ref stoppage. Rena Kubota back at it with an emphatic TKO victory to the delight of the fans present at Rizin 19.

Seo Hee Ham vs Miyuu Yamamoto saw both feinting a lot early on looking for the other to commit on something and make a mistake. Yamamoto kept going for takedown after takedown on her opponent. Ham seemed to ave unassailably solid takedown defense as Yamamoto was never really able to get in a position of significant top control for a meaningful period of time. Yamamoto wasn’t advancing position at certain junctures and the ref would have to stand the two up due to inactivity. Ham really began pumping the jab int he second round and a good left hand opened up Yamamoto.

Yamamoto kept pressing forward looking for that takedown but when she threw a kick on Ham, she ended up on her back. Ham began to rain down ground and pound from this position with Yamamoto just holding onto a single leg/ not intelligently defending herself. The ref waved off the action for the second-round TKO win. Ham’s victory seems to have lined her up for a fight with reigning atomweight champion Ayaka Hamasaki. The two have a history as Hamaskai has gone 2-0 over Ham during a pair of bouts the two had in the Jewels promotion. Hamasaki and Ham pose in the ring with one another as a fight seems to loom for the end of the calendar year.

Rizin 19 Co-Main

Kai Asakura vs Ulka Sasaki saw Asakura drop Sasaki early on with a right hook. Knees landed on the grounded opponent afterwards. Subsequent soccer kicks with ground and pound punches also being rained down on Sasaki. Sasaki is bleeding a considerable amount from the mouth and the referee breaks up the action. The doctor checks on things and the action is waved off as Sasaki looks to have a broken jaw.

Asakura finishes with style points and maitains the momentum he had from has huge upset win over Kyoji Horiguchi. A rematch with Horiguchi for the Rizin belt should happen on one of the end of the year cards.

Rizin 19 Main Event

Jiri Prochazka vs Fabio Maldonado was a catchweight bout featuring a reigning Rizin champion. Despite the belt not being on the line in this fight, Prochazka got a win over a veteran light-heavyweight and reaffirmed his status as a 205 lb-er on the rise. Maldonado got the jab going early while Prochazka figured out his range. Maldonado backed up by a multi-punch combo from the Rizin light-heavyweight champion. Prochazka began peppering the body of Maldonado and dropped the veteran pugilist with a big right hook.

The fight ends thereafter and yet another first-round finish has taken place at Rizin 19. Jiri Prochazka indicated an interest in getting a fight on one of those end of the year cards. There have been rumblings of him fighting Bellator light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader but time will tell. Rizin 19 replays are available via FITE TV and all associated broadcast partners.