RIZIN 2017 IN YOKOHAMA – 04/16/2017: ZST Champ Ito and Kizaemon Saiga added

Kizaemon Saiga, Nobuyuki Sakakibara and Seiichiro Ito

At the press conference held last week in Tokyo, RIZIN head Nobuyuki Sakakibara said, “I actually wanted to do this fight between Kizaemon (Saiga) and (Seiichiro) Ito on New Year’s Eve. Kizaemon hasn’t had the opportunity to fight in a place where his ability can be measured. I am sure he felt the same way. This time, he is fighting ZST champion so this will be one of the measurements to determine his ability.”

Ito is a 23-year old with pr MMA record of 11-1-2.

But all of his fights were in ZST with an exception of his most recent fight which took place in Grandslam 5.

In the Japanese MMA, ZST is considered to be notch below Shooto, Pancrase and DEEP. Grandslam is an independent small show promoted by Reversal Gym Yokohama Ground Slam, the team Ito is associated with.

This basically means, Ito is not one of Japan’s top fliyweights but certainly one of the good looking young flyweight talents.

So, this fight is taking place at the right timing because RIZIN is looking to host GP at 125 lbs & under sometime in the near future. Sakakibara shared his thoughts on the RIZIN’s flyweight division, “I am thinking (Tatsumitsu) Wada (DEEP flyweight champion), and also I have spoken with Shooto’s (Kazuhiro) Sakamoto (Sustain head) and I believe there are more than few good young fighters. I am also personally interested in (Hiromasa) Ogikubo because with Horiguchi and him, we can come up with a good promotion. At the flyweight division, we can create many topics, just with only Japanese fighters.”

Obviously, Sakakibara has realized, in the Japanese MMA, 125 lbs & under is the division with full of talents. However, he still hasn’t made a decision on when this flyweight GP is going to take place though. In fact Sakakibara sounded like the flyweight GP maybe pushed back to next year,  “If we are doing men’s GP this year, either at Kron Gracie’s weight class or the flyweight, is what I am thinking now. By end of March, I would like to come up with the decision on GP. If we can’t do the flyweight GP this year, I think it will happen next year.”

Sunday, April 16th, 2017
At Yokohama Arena, Kanagawa, Japan
Doors Open – 13:30
Fight Starts – 15:00

Confirmed Cards (Subject to Change):

Men’s 49 Kg & Under Bout 10 min / 1R, 5 min / 2R
Kyoji Horiguchi (Japan / ATT) vs Yuki Motoya (Japan / CB IMPACT)

Women’s 49 Kg & Under Bout 5 mim / 3R
RENA (Japan / Cesar Gym) vs Dora Perjes (Hungary / Bardosi Martial Arts Acade)

Men’s Featherweight (65.8 kg) But 10 min / 1R, 5 min / 2R
Tatsuya Kawajiri (Japan / T-BLOOD) vs Anthony Birchak (10th Planet Tucson)

Men’s Flyweight (56.7 kg) Bout 3 min / 3R
Teshin Nasukawa (Japan / Team Tenshin) vs Francesco Ghigliotti (Italy / Sempre Avanti)

120 kg & Under Bout 10 min / 1R, 5 min / 2R
Satoshi Ishii (Japan / Independent) vs Heath Herring (USA / Las Vegas Combat Club)

Men’s Lightweight (79.3 Kg) Bout 10 min / 1R, 5 min / 2R
Yusuke Yachi (Japan / KRAZY BEE) vs Daron Cruickshank (USA / Michigan Top Team)

Women’s 90 Kg & Under bout 5 min / 3R
KING Reina (Japan / Reversal Gym Tachikawa ALPHA) vs Jazzy Gabert (Germany / Independent)

Women’s 48 Kg & Under Bout 5 min / 3R
Kanna Asakura (Japan / Paraestra Matsudo) vs Alesander Tochevea (Bulgaria / Desant MMA & astos BJJ Varna)

Women’s 48 Kg & Under Bout 5 min / 3R
Saori Ishioka (Japan / Zendo-kai) vs Bestare Kicaj (Switzerland / 360 Martial Arts)

Men’s 58 Kg & Under Bout 10 min / 1R, 5 min / 5R
Kizaemon Saiga (Japan / Me, We) vs Seiichiro Ito (Japan / Reversal Gym Yokohama Ground Slam)


report by Shu Hirata
photo courtesy of Bout Review (www.boutreview.com)