RIZIN Trigger 2nd
The first JMMA event for the relocated Fight Pizza HQ
Man, the event hasn’t even started yet and I’m already sleepy. How do you guys do this? Yes, this is the first Fight Pizza RIZIN diary written outside of Japan, so I’ll be pulling an all-nighter (not likely) with the rest of you saps. Actually, I’ll probably just watch the first few fights then call it a night - it’s been a long and busy day dealing with move-related administrative bullshit. I can watch the rest in the morning. You don’t care about any of this however so let’s get to the fights...
Honestly, I have no idea who most of these dudes are and I’ve lived in Japan for the past 5 years and watched plenty (too much) MMA. Ah well, the first RIZIN Trigger event was celebrated as “the best event of the year” by hyperbolic dopes on Twitter, so let’s hope number two can live up to the lineage despite the lack of names.
Eh, what the fuck. Who is this Elliot Compton character? Where’s Joe? Same guy?
Last time for Trigger 1 we saw a stripped down version of RIZIN with less bell and whistles on the entrances, etc. Looking like the same tonight. Let’s just hope the fights provide the pyrotechnics. (I felt like a real dickhead writing that last sentence.)
We’re starting off with a run of kickboxing and the first fight isn’t bad as Momoto jabs Ito’s nose off and the doctor stops it early in the second round. Damien’s on the play-by-play and I’m not loving it in the early going. He needs to give a little more space to the action.
In the third fight, an 18-year old named Taiki Matsui is being groomed for victory against a construction worker with a 2-4 record. Matsui does a nice job and gets the win. We’ll probably see him again sometime soon. Maybe against Yoshinari Nadaka? Fattening for the kill.
The fifth fight is the first MMA bout and we get a Satoshi Souza sighting as one of the fighters is with his Bonsai MMA team. Satoshi’s man is not looking particularly good in the early going. Bonsai boy Uchiyama wins a split in a not great fight and I disagree with that decision.
Five fights in and I’m going to bed. I’ll watch the rest tomorrow. ✌️
I’m back! It’s snowing outside, I’ve got a coffee, and I’m ready for the sixth fight. In it, Kouki Nakagawa is fairly dominant but unable to get the finish. Nonetheless he looks like someone we might see again. On a side note I think Elliot is doing a pretty good job and might be a better color guy than Damien, who I still don’t love for play-by-play. Sorry Damien, give me Joe and Elliot next time. Or Joe Elliot.
Has there been a finish yet? Just the doctor’s stoppage, right? That was the nice thing about Trigger 1 as I recall, a bunch of wicked finishes. The guys ain’t doing it today. (We get a run of finishes after I write this.)
In the eighth fight we have some big old guy kickboxing so surely somebody will get knocked out. Sasada just getting worked by Ryugo in the first minute, including being dropped by a headkick; he falls again in the second minute and the ref calls it. Well, we knew that would be a finish before it even started, but the headkick was pretty sweet.
Next, two out-of-shape sub-.500 guys have a sloppy fight that the ref should have stopped much sooner than he did and we thankfully reach intermission of what is not a great event so far.
Satoshi Souza and his entire family enter the ring and his wife takes the mic and talks for a while (she has better Japanese than her husband). Sakakibara then creeps out Satoshi’s kid which seems sensible. Good instincts, kid! They finish off with calling for a title defense against an international fighter for an April fight. Pitbull? We can dream.
For the top four fights after the intermission it seems they are upping the production value as there’s some rapper with a Christmas sweater and a Lenne Hardt announcement. Has she just be sitting around the whole event? Was that taped? Weird. I’ve also heard of these guys. Anyway, Sora Yamamoto absolutely smokes Suguru Nii, lays an extra shot for good measure, and is allowed the mic afterwards. Nice victory for Yamamoto and we will no doubt see him again. Hopefully without that ref though; it seems RIZIN Trigger is not only for the regional fighters, but for regional refs as well, cause that guy was Herb Dean levels of shitty and indecisive.
Bonsai fighter Takumi Suzuki is up against vet Akira in the next fight and I’m not paying a ton of attention as Suzuki just seems to be hanging on from bottom position for the last several minutes. Suzuki is cut, but Shrek Sekine appears to be his cutman so I’m sure he’ll be fine. Kinda boring decision win for Akira.
Co-main up next features Kenji Kato against Kazauma Kuramoto. Kuramoto smothers Kato with his wrestling and ground strikes in the first round, eventually putting him out with a knee to the head. Nice active win and we’ll definitely see him back for a numbered event.
Finally we reach the main event of the evening and quite honestly the only fight I was at all curious about or looking forward to before the event. Ulka Sasaki is of course a UFC vet and Kleber Koike is the most dominant (and best) fighter in RIZIN’s featherweight division, despite the lack of a belt.
Ulka always has nice walkouts and even at low-fi Trigger manages something a little special with a couple rappers and an extended intro from Lenne.
Kleber looks like shit walking out. Like nervous and unhealthy. Are we about to see an upset?
Wow, yes! Ulka drops Koike in the first and connects a couple times on top of that, but also gets hit a few times as the two ground fighters swang and bang. Ulka got close, but couldn’t seal the deal. Was he too patient?
Koike trying everything he can to take the fight to the ground to start the second, but Ulka looking jacked at featherweight shrugs him off. Ulka can’t hold him off forever though and Koike shape shits like a some demon BJJ blob into a dominant position on Ulka’s back and secures the choke. Despite a strong start, Ulka taps. Well, no surprise with the result, but the path was a little more circuitous than anticipated.
Well, that’s it for RIZIN Trigger 2nd. Despite a couple of decent fights, it didn’t match up to the first installment. The main and co-main should be meaningful for future RIZIN matchmaking however, and a couple prospects showed up, so it’s not a total loss. In any event, I didn’t lose any sleep over it. Let’s hope for more from RIZIN Landmark 2 in a couple of weeks. Till then.
PS. I was under the impression Fight Circus 4 was like tomorrow or the next day but I just googled and apparently the time has changed? FMD is insanely poor at keeping interested people informed of their plans. It’s someday. Maybe I’ll post about it.
PSS. Check out the recent “Death Island” movie posts and look out for the first “The Most Dangerous Game” post next week. Here’s a YouTube playlist for “Death Island” and a letterboxd list of “The Most Dangerous Game” inspired flicks.
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