Rizin 35 announces a trifecta of title fights

Rizin CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara, held a recent press conference and announced updates about Rizin 35.

CEO Sakakibara announced a multitude of intriguing bouts for this event. Rizin 35 will be held at the Musashino Mori Sports Plaza in Osaka.

Rizin 35

Juntaro Ushiku (c) (21-8-1, 1-0 RIZIN FF) vs Yutaka Saito (20-6-2, 3-2 RIZIN FF) 66kg MMA 

Reigning RIZIN & DEEP Featherweight Champion Juntaro Ushiku is 9-1 in his last 10 bouts dating back to November 2018, avenging his sole loss against current contender Daisuke Nakamura. He won the DEEP title from Satoshi Yamasu at DEEP 97 after a 3-0 stretch in the promotion. He captured the RIZIN title at RIZIN.31 last October after catching Saito with a well-timed knee. One that caused a cut which led to the stoppage.

Saito is the former Shooto Featherweight Champion, and is 4-2 in his last 6 fights. He was on a 4-fight win streak, with 3 victories coming in the RIZIN ring. Where he captured the inaugural Featherweight title against fan-favorite Mikuru Asakura at RIZIN.25 last November. He is now looking to snap a 2-fight skid in his 3rd title match. Saito has never lost 3 fights in a row in his career. Meanwhile Ushiku has won both of the rematches he’s had in his career. 

Rizin super atomweight title rematch

Ayaka Hamasaki (c) (23-4, 9-2 RIZIN FF) vs Seika Izawa (5-0, 1-0 RIZIN FF) 49kg MMA 

The two-time Super Atomweight Champion was handily defeated in their previous meeting at Rizin 33. Suffering just her second loss in RIZIN and the 4th overall in her career. Scoring 4 straight wins following her split decision loss to Seo Hee Ham at RIZIN.20, reclaiming her title and making one defense. Her non-title bout potentially signaled a changing of the guard at 49kg.

Now, she will rematch undefeated 24-year-old DEEP JEWELS Strawweight Champion Seika Izawa. Izawa is 5-0 in MMA and 4-0 in grappling matches, most notably defeating veterans Mika Nagano and Emi Tomimatsu at DEEP JEWELS 34 by submission in under 5 minutes combined. Will Izawa produce another dominant showing against an all-time great, or can the veteran adapt and use her experience to overcome the new generation of Japanese MMA? 

Rizin FF lightweight title fight

Roberto Satoshi Souza (c) (13-1, 6-1 RIZIN FF) vs Johnny Case (27-7-1, 3-1 RIZIN FF) 71kg MMA

The reigning and defending RIZIN Lightweight Champion solidified himself as the bonafide #1 fighter at 71kg when he met Lightweight Grand Prix Champion Tofiq Musayev at RIZIN’s historical Tokyo Dome event – RIZIN.28. In what was the first MMA event at the legendary venue since 2003, Souza captured the vacant crown just 72 seconds into the bout with his patented submission skills, snapping Musayev’s 7 year, 14-fight win streak.

The victory was Souza’s 12th 1st round finish (out of 13 total wins). In his 3rd RIZIN appearance, he faced UFC veteran Johnny Case in the Lightweight Grand Prix Quarterfinals, losing in just 75 seconds via TKO. Now, 4 wins and 2 title fights later, Souza looks unstoppable and wants to avenge the sole loss of his career.

Meanwhile, Case has not seen action in MMA since his Grand Prix semifinal showdown with eventual winner, Tofiq Musayev. Since then, he has scored 3 KO/TKO wins in the boxing ring, with his latest win coming last month. It remains to be seen how the time away from the sport will affect Johnny’s performance in the ring. As well as how much Souza truly has grown since his loss at RIZIN.19 in October of 2019.

Rizin 35
Photo via Rizin PR on Twitter
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Dylan Bowker
I've been enamored with combat sports for as long as I can remember. I've hosted MMA talk shows Lights Out and Pure Fight Radio with featured guests like Jens Pulver, Roy Nelson, Miesha Tate, Mark Coleman, and more. I've been an MMA broadcaster for XFFC as well as BTC and have done play by play commentary on live pay per view on GFL as well as FITE TV. I've provided written, audio, and video content covering some of the biggest MMA promotions like Rumble in the Cage, Unified MMA, and King of the Cage. I've worked as a sports entertainment personality for over five years and given play-by-play or featured promotions of KSW, ONE Championship, TKO, and Invicta FC. My work can be found in the USA Today Sports affiliate MMA Torch, Cageside Press, MMA Sucka, and Liberty Multimedia.