RIZIN 26 Fight Diary
The REAL Christmas Day 🎄 is JMMA New Year's 🍾
Just a few hours until the event is upon us, RIZIN 26, the yearly New Year’s Eve JMMA extravaganza. This year we got a little online drama in the lead up when Brian Campbell of the Morning Kombat show pissed all over the card and did some weird Ching Chong Karate Chop while talking about Kai Asakura. He then went on a Twitter blocking rampage, blocking anyone, including myself, even slightly critical of his weird racial shittery.
I first encountered Brian Campbell on his appearances on the MMA Beat, when Luke Thomas took over Ariel Helwani’s old MMA media panel show. (For my money, Helwani’s original MMA Beat was the best MMA show going and nothing available now really replicates or matches it.) Campbell was pretty annoying then, and Thomas just bullied the shit out of him (and poor lowly Danny Segura), but Campbell has grown on me a bit and I’ve come to appreciate his boxing analysis, though I could do without the constant dick jokes. He has the humor of a 12-year old, which was clear from his Charlie Chan act when talking about Asakura.
But, as I awoke this morning, apparently he has apologized and I find myself unblocked, so go with the JMMA Gods Brian Campbell, may you be baptized into the ways of the Sakuraba. RIZIN Never Die motherfuckers, HIYAAAAAA! (Update: with no other interactions at all, I was later re-blocked. 🤷♂️)
Away we go at RIZIN 26 with the first fight between a couple of literal high school girls. It’s a real life Battle Royale! Eat shit Campbell!
Sakura looks fucking terrified as she’s walking out, but quickly takes her opponent’s back and then seals the armbar victory. The result however is a no-contest on her record as she came in overweight - a considerably harsher penalty than the “more serious” North American fight orgs manage.
Now we weirdly have a little break before the opening ceremonies and the first “official” match of Minowaman vs. disgraced sumo Tsuyoshi Sudario. Minowaman “The Giant Killer” has been around fucking forever. I posted his Pride debut from 2003 the other day when he gets pounded on by Rampage Jackson. Sudario debuted more recently at Rizin 24 and beat up some pro-wrestler. Today he’s got a 30KG weight advantage on his opponent.
Sudario takes out the old man with the classic calf kick to hammerfist combo. Not a great look for Minowaman. In the next fight Kuruma Kuramoto finishes the fight with some soccer kicks.
A weird one coming up with Japanese youtuber Shibatar vs. X and we’re about to find out who X is. Turns out it’s real deal kickboxer Hiroya and Shibatar’s about to get royally fucked up…
Six plus minutes of comedic insanity later and it’s called a draw but Shibatar got a knock down and threatened an armbar. Shibatar did not get fucked up but likely won! Truly some wild NYE fun! (Later they change this to a Shibatar victory as Hiroya appeared to tap - he tapped.)
I was a bit dismissive of the Kanna Asakura vs. Ai fight in my preview and the fight itself is not changing my opinion. Asakura has clearly worked on her striking the last couple of fights, but there’s just nothing behind the punches.
Kenta Takizawa vs Ulka Sasaki is up next and this is the first legit fight I’m interested in tonight. It’s Takizawa’s third event in a row as he takes advantage of the COVID limitations and Sasaki’s first fight back since Kai Asakura destroyed his jaw. Ulka with the great walkout as usual. The first round is the most active of the event so far. Ulka has some chances to finish a choke in the second round but is unable. Takizawa comes back a bit in the third, but Ulka should take the decision.
Kickboxer / Muay Thai fighter Yoshinari Nadaka just destroys his opponent in the next fight. Kid is lethal. Watching him is almost painful for me. Intermission No. 1. Jeezus, we got like nine more fights.
Grizzled vet Hideo Tokoro vs. newbie Olympic silver medalist Shinobu Ota is next. Hard to know what to expect here, but I don’t expect much. Tokoro gets the armbar finish in the second. Debut fights on huge cards against vets are not easy. Ask Aaron Pico.
Another MMA debutante in the next fight, kickboxer Ren Hiramoto, is up against my favorite 2020 Rizin fighter Kyohei Hagiwara who has had some crazy fights in recent events. Hagiwara is all about the takedowns and dominates a sloppy first round. He finishes it quickly in the second, then does a Tito Ortiz style gravedigging, but more decapitation. He says,
And Kleber Koike Erbst grants my wish by sinking in a nasty choke against Miyuu Yamamoto’s husband (lucky bastard) Kyle Aguon, though Kyle showed more than Ren in the previous fight. He shouts at the camera as he puts Aguon to sleep.
My FoTN prediction is next with Naoki Inoue vs. Yuki Motoya. It’s a great showing with active striking and as soon as the fight goes to the ground Inoue sinks in the choke for the slick finish. That was great but too short for FoTN - I’ll give that to Sasaki v Takizawa so far. Intermission No. 2.
Top of the card time and we’re starting off with the least interesting of the bunch - the women’s super atomweight title fight between Ayaka Hamaskai and Miyuu Yamamoto. IMO at 46-year old! Miyuu is just not a threat, though it’s slightly possible she can lay and pray for 15 minutes.
Like a knife through butter Hamasaki gets the sub early in the first.
Next up we have a potential train wreck of a “special rules” match between aging MMA legend Takanori Gomi and just past prime kickboxer Kouzi. There’s no kicking, which is good for Gomi’s CTE, but I don’t have high hopes. People on Twitter seem to think he’s gonna win but I have to think that is a thick haze of nostalgia.
And surprise! Gomi wins an entertaining majority decision he probably deserves. Following the fight, the fighters excessively compliment each other’s balls, then Gomi said he had to go walk his dogs…
Mikuru Asakura had a fairly stunning loss at RIZIN 25 and he’s right back here for more. If he loses I’d say it’s pretty fucking bad for him. I don’t think he’ll lose but I didn’t think he’d lose his last fight either. I look forward to him crushing so I can tell the Reddit guy who was giving me shit about blowing off this fight to eat a dick. It ends up a brutal first round finish and I feel righteously correct in all things (except the awesome Gomi fight.)
Tenshin Nasakawa vs. Kumandoi Phetjaroenvit is next up and I really don’t know what to expect here. You gotta think Tenshin’s gonna crush, but there are doubts. Amazingly Takeru, the other Japanese kickboxing idol of Tenshin’s stature is ringside, possibly setting up some sort of callout situation for a big March event at Tokyo Dome.
Nope. Phetjaroenvit showed some gumption early but basically folded like a tent in the third. So what’s up with Takeru? Apparently nothing?
武尊 takeru @takerusegawaIf you can dream it, you can do it. https://t.co/wdMhMEB3H2
Main event time! The big one we’ve been waiting ages for. Stoked!
Well, the king is back. Kyoji Horiguchi reclaims his title in decisive fashion, hurting Asakura’s leg with repeated calf kicks and finishing with strikes. Some might say early stoppage but Kai was done. Great stuff. Great event. Great champion.
FoTN: Ulka v Takizawa
Surprisingly Awesome FoTN: Gomi v Koji
Other Surprisingly Awesome FoTN: Shibatar!
I think there’s a BKFC collaboration event with Full Metal Dojo in a couple days that sounds like just my kind of shit, but I also think I’ll take some time off writing these things for a while. You can check me out on Twitter during the event. Okay, nevermind, I guess they changed the date. That’ll do then. See you when I see you. ✌
Happy New Year!!!! 🍾🎆
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