RIZIN 30 delivers war, history, and thrilling quarterfinals topped by a Kai Asakura triumph

RIZIN 30 has officially come and gone… but not without leaving fans with plenty of great memories and moments from top to bottom.

Enter Panchan

The action began frantically as history was made by talented strikers Panchan Rina and Momoka Mandokoro. The duo participated in the very first female kickboxing bout in RIZIN history and left it all on the line for their new audience.

Ultimately, the unbeaten now 12-0 Panchan kept to her dominant ways as she utilized her superior distance management en route to the victory — commonplace in Panchan performances. Momoka made her lengthy adversary work to get her hand raised, however, as the 4-foot-9 aggressor managed to get inside and initiate several fun exchanges in the phone booth.

In theory, it could be a smart choice for RIZIN to continue forth with women’s kickboxing — or more specifically the superstar in the making that is Panchan. Hardcore fans have fantasized about the possibility of a fight with her and Rena Kubota since Panchan burst onto the scene. The likelihood of that just doesn’t feel strong considering the current weight difference along with Panchan’s dedication to mastering her primary craft before even pondering an MMA transition.

A fight between the two would be a guaranteed eye-catcher. But for all we know, we may very well have seen the last of Kubota in the ring. Time will tell.

Ice, ice, baby

38-year old 34-fight veteran Shoji Maruyama returned to the RIZIN ring for the first time since his rough debut opposite Kai Asakura a year ago. In doing so, the Deep staple wasted no time whatsoever getting the job done.

Though admittedly, his opponent, Chihiro Suzuki gift-wrapped him a highlight-reel knockout as he came bounding across the ring guns blazing to absorb some nuke-like punches from the “Samurai”. The fight only lasted 20 seconds and was one hell of a way for a true veteran to get his first promotional victory.

Spoiler alert

Right when we thought he was done, Yusuke Yachi turns things around and gets back on a winning streak, and prevents Koji Takeda from getting the first crack at new champion Roberto “Satoshi” de Souza.

In typical Yachi fashion, he started things off with a flying knee that connected. From there, he managed to edge out and avoid any problematic positions against the young and talented Deep lightweight titleholder.

It feels weird to say Yachi is probably now deserving of the next title shot but he beat the guy who should have had it in his clutches as is. The last time Yachi stepped into the ring with “Satoshi,” things did not play out in his favor. Maybe things can be different a second time around? Perhaps on New Year’s Eve…?

Friends who beat the ever-loving sh*t out of each other

A nine-year-old rematch, close friends, champion vs. champion, pioneers, a divisional (and promotional) debut, an all-time great… The Ayaka Hamasaki vs. Emi Fujino rematch had it all.

In the fight itself, however, we simply and brutally got fisticuff violence. The two staunch grapplers completely ignored their typical strengths and traded leather for the entirety of their allotted 15 minutes.

Fujino continued her trend of throwing a whopping zero kicks as she saw minimal in return from Hamasaki. The rematch was a gritty boxing match that saw the absurdly tough 40-year old strawweight Queen of Pancrase take her damage to dish out her own.

The reigning super atomweight champion in Hamasaki just did too much early on for Fujino’s late power-boost to matter. These ladies know each other so well that it’s almost fair to assume they just agreed to throw down and have fun on the feet in this one. Still, a shame we didn’t get to see at least a little bit of grappling brilliance on either end.

Fujino rightfully earned a massive platform like this with the career she’s had and it would be great to see her stick around south of 115-pounds in RIZIN. Depending on exactly what she plans to do in the immediate future — after letting her face heal — that Pancrase crown will need defending.

Hamasaki, on the other hand, continues to solidify herself as the atomweight GOAT and take out all comers. She has already run out of challengers which is what led to this rematch in the first place. Now, another friend vs. friend matchup with the aforementioned Kubota is all that remains but just doesn’t seem too likely from one of the two’s ends… we know who’s who in this equation.

Until the wave of new blood circulating in Deep Jewels makes their presence felt, Hamasaki might just have to continue with some of these fun fantasy-type bouts. Or maybe a vacation or two back to the states might be in the cards…?

Off to the semis

The 16-man bantamweight Grand Prix has been whittled down to four remaining combatants — none of which feel like all too much of a surprise.

That doesn’t mean the wins came easy as the favored likes of Naoki Inoue, Hiromasa Ougikubo, and Kai Asakura all battled through very determined opponents to secure their spots. Not many expected them to have as difficult of times as they did despite pulling through which made the fights all the better leaving no shortage of action.

And then there was Kenta Takizawa — the undeniable dark horse in perhaps the entire tournament.

Takizawa entered the Grand Prix on a two-fight skid and found himself matched with the iconic Masakazu Imanari. Being the dangerous striker he’s always been, this left him in a clear clash of styles.

Excitement be damned, Takizawa’s fight IQ shined through on his path to a victory against Imanari by avoiding him at all costs. In his RIZIN 30 matchup with yet another superior grappler, he didn’t quite need to do the same as a sneaky left hook found its home on Yuki Motoya’s chin. Shortly after, Motoya was literally exiting the ring on autopilot.

How the fighters will be matched for the semifinals remains to be seen. All we know is that this is where things get really exciting as any way that you mix and match, fireworks can be expected.

All RIZIN 30 fight results can be seen below.

  • Bantamweight – 135lbs: Kai Asakura def. Alan Yamaniha via unanimous decision
  • Bantamweight: Naoki Inoue def. “Kintaro” Yuto Hokamura via unanimous decision
  • Bantamweight: Hiromasa Ougikubo def. Takafumi Otsuka via unanimous decision
  • Bantamweight: Kenta Takizawa def. Yuki Motoya via TKO (Punches) at 2:27
  • Super Atomweight – 108lbs: Ayaka Hamasaki def. Emi Fujino via unanimous decision
  • Lightweight – 155lbs: Yusuke Yachi def. Koji Takeda via unanimous decision
  • Featherweight – 145lbs: Yoshinori Horie def. Ulka Sasaki via unanimous decision
  • Featherweight: Shinobu Ota def. Yuta Kubo via unanimous decision
  • Featherweight: Shoji Maruyama def. Chihiro Suzuki via first-round knockout (Punches) at 0:20
  • Kickboxing: Atomweight – 102lbs: Panchan Rina def. Momoka Mandokoro via unanimous decision

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