RIZIN 30 has its first set of fights which include an unexpected rematch featuring two champions along with the next round of the 135-pound Grand Prix.
The next RIZIN event will take place on September 19 within the Saitama Super Arena. On Tuesday the promotion revealed the first five fights.
As announced during the intermission at RIZIN 29, reigning super atomweight queen, Ayaka Hamasaki (22-3), will make her return. The big question after that boiled down to who it would come against.
115-pound strawweight Queen of Pancrase, Emi Fujino (25-11) made her appearance at the Tuesday press conference to the surprise of many. Shortly after, it was revealed that the MMA pioneer was making her RIZIN debut. In doing so, she’ll rematch her good friend in Hamasaki in what will also be her debut at 108-pounds. The pair first met in 2012 where Hamasaki won via unanimous decision. The fight will be a non-title contest.
“Hello RIZIN fans, this is Fujino, the Pancrase strawweight champ,” Fujino said at the presser. “I’ve fought Hamasaki back in 2012, and we’ve trained together after. I’ve always wanted to face a tough opponent so this is good. I can see myself winning and she’s smaller so I will dominate.
“This is my first time dropping down to atomweight but I have plenty of time to prepare, and I think I recover a lot so I will have the advantage the day of the fight.”
Hamasaki most recently defended her title in a rematch with Kanna Asakura at RIZIN 27 where she won a tight split judges’ call. Fujino, on the other hand, hasn’t fought since winning her Pancrase crown in December 2019.
“I’ve fought Fujino before and beat her by decision,” Hamasaki said. “I’m happy to rematch her again. I appreciate her coming down to atomweight. I don’t plan to be friendly. I will finish the fight.
“We’ve trained together and we are friends, but I’m excited to get a fight and I will not hold back. We’ve trained together but there are many things I haven’t shown her. It should be a fun fight”
The theme of the next round of the bantamweight tournament as addressed by RIZIN President Nobuyuki Sakakibara is “freshness.” Meaning no rematches were made. The four quarterfinal matchups can be seen below.
- Super atomweight – 108lbs, non-title: (C)Ayaka Hamasaki vs. Emi Fujino
- Bantamweight – 135lbs, Grand Prix Quarter-Final: Naoki Inoue vs. Kintaro
- Bantamweight, Grand Prix Quarter-Final: Kai Asakura vs. Alan Yamaniha
- Bantamweight, Grand Prix Quarter-Final: Hiromasa Ougikubo vs. Takafumi Otsuka
- Bantamweight, Grand Prix Quarter-Final: Yuki Motoya vs. Kenta Takizawa
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