It’s (almost) New Year’s Eve, and you know what that means: all kinds of combat sports shenanigans courtesy of Rizin Fighting Federation. Viewers will get to enjoy the finals of the promotion’s Bantamweight Grand Prix, a Lightweight title defense, and a mixed-rules bout between one of Japan’s best young fighters and an MMA legend TONIGHT (Weds., Dec. 30, 2021).
Three months after the quarterfinals, Hiromasa Ogikubo vs. Naoki Inoue and Kai Asakura vs. Kenta Takizawa determine the Bantamweight GP finalist. In other noteworthy action, Roberto “Satoshi” de Souza defends his Lightweight belt against all-action Yusuke Yachi, Mikuru Asakura looks for revenge against Yutaka Saito, and Tenshin Nasukawa takes on Takanori Gomi in a “special standing bout rules” clash.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE coverage of RIZIN 33 below, starting with the LIVENow broadcast at 11:30 PM ET. We’ll have quick results throughout, plus round-by-round coverage that includes the GP semifinals and picks back up with Nasukawa vs. Gomi.
“RIZIN 33” Quick Results:
Kai Asakura vs. Hiromasa Ogikubo — Ogikubo def. Asakura by unanimous decision
Roberto Satoshi Souza vs. Yusuke Yachi — Souza def. Yachi by submission (triangle choke) at 3:30 of Round Two
Yutaka Saito vs. Mikuru Asakura — Asakura def. Saito by unanimous decision
Tenshin Nasukawa vs. Takanori Gomi — Draw
RENA vs. Si Woo Park — Park def. RENA by unanimous decision
Ayaka Hamasaki vs. Seika Izawa — Izawa def. Hamasaki by TKO (elbows and punches) at 2:50 of Round Two
Koji Takeda vs. Beynoah — Takeda def. Beynoah by submission (armbar) at 4:12 of Round Two
Kyohei Hagiwara vs. Hiroaki Suzuki — Hagiwara def. Suzuki by unanimous decision
Shoma Shibisai vs Hideki Sekine — Sekine def. Shibisai by TKO (punches) at 2:09 of Round Two
KOUZI vs YA-MAN — YA-MAN def. KOUZI by majority decision
Shibatar vs. Yuta Kubo — Shibatar def. Kubo by submission (flying armbar) at 3:35 of Round One
Shinobu Ota vs. Kazuma Sone — Ota def. Sone by TKO (soccer kicks and stomps) at 3:55 of Round Two
Yuki Motoya vs Kintaro — Motoya def. Kintaro by unanimous decision
Hiromasa Ogikubo vs. Naoki Inoue — Ogikubo def. Inoue by unanimous decision
Kai Asakura vs. Kenta Takizawa — Asakura def. Takizawa by unanimous decision
Kota Miura def. YUSHI by TKO (punch) at 3:00 of Round One
“RIZIN 33” Round-by-Round Coverage:
RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Final: Kai Asakura vs. Hiromasa Ogikubo
Round one: They meet in the center. Low kick exchanges. Ogikubo busy with those low kicks, fakes a shot. One minute in. He tries to charge after avoiding a head kick. Uppercut from Asakura. Flying knee attempt, eats a body kick. Left hook around the guard. More Ogikubo leg kicks. Asakura trying to jab. Starting to check the kicks. Ogikubo looks for a single-leg and completes it when Asakura tries to jump on a ninja choke. Two minutes to go.
Half guard for Ogikubo. Full mount now, dropping punches. Asakura tries to explode out, can’t. He gives up his back and stands, but Ogikubo remains attacked a minute in. Nice double-leg, Asakura pops right back up. Knees to the thigh from Ogikubo. Shoulder strike. Big first round for Ogikubo.
Round two: Ogikubo tries a switch kick. Another. Low kick and body kick. Asakura pops him with a pair of jabs. Left hook a minute in. Clean jab. 3-2 from Ogikubo in return. Counter hook by Asakura and Ogikubo responds with a single-leg attempt two minutes in. Asakura slips out and looks to open up on the ropes. Solid overhand right lands for Ogikubo. He shoots a double. Asakura separates with just under two minutes to go.
Jab exchange. Shovel hook by Asakura and Ogikubo tries a reactive shot. One minute to go. Heavy three-piece lands for Ogikubo. Counter left hook, low kick exchange. Big flurry low-high and he slams Asakura to the mat. Knees from the front headlock. Soccer kick attempt, heavy punches, back take. What an effort so far from Ogikubo.
Round three: Solid jab by Asakura after taking some more low kicks. Looking aggressive, eats a right hand. Snap kick to the body. Short right from Ogikubo a minute in. He fires a double-leg, strong defense from Asakura. More heavy blows by Ogikubo as they separate. Asakura denies a single-leg, gets hauled to the corner on the re-shoot. They separate, another right by Ogikubo. He shoots a single, switches to a double, can’t complete it. Level change with two minutes to go.
Big left hook by Ogikubo on the break, then a 1-2. Asakura falls well short with a knee. Another double-leg attempt from Ogikubo. Nearly takes the back standing before they split. Asakura knee, Ogikubo left hook. One minute to go. Another shot from Ogikubo. Asakura nearly soccer kicks him in the face on the way up. Trading head, another Ogikubo level change. Asakura blasts him with a left hook, then slips. That should be revenge for Ogikubo.
Final result: Ogikubo def. Asakura by unanimous decision
RIZIN Lightweight Championship: Roberto Satoshi Souza vs. Yusuke Yachi
Round one: Both try to rush out with jumping kicks. Right hand from Souza. Another right hand into a takedown. Already in low mount in the corner, dropping punches. Threatening a guillotine, switches to an attempted back take. Yachi scrambles to his feet, gets wrenched back down. Both hooks in. Yachi tries to peel off the hooks and leaves his neck exposed, but manages to scramble into top position. Souza grabs a single-leg as Yachi tries to separate and puts him on his seat. Two minutes in. Yachi stands, knees the body in the clinch. Souza takes him back down, lands a hard knee to the body as Yachi stands. Two minutes to go.
Now Yachi hits a surprise outside trip into guard. Souza sets up a triangle and uses it to sweep into half guard. Looking for a guillotine setup. He uses it to pass to mount and drop shots. Yachi surviving, eats elbows. Big lead for Souza.
Round two: Body kick lands for Yachi, who gets taken down seconds later. Souza’s nose bleeding quite a bit. On top in half guard, goes for the front headlock again. Yachi gets to turtle, then surrenders butterfly guard a minute in. Solid elbows by Souza. Two minutes in. Half guard. Looking to isolate the left arm for a kimura. He takes the back from there with two minutes to go.
Yachi slips out the back door but his arm’s in peril. Souza wraps up a triangle armbar and there’s the tap.
Final result: Souza def. Yachi by submission (triangle armbar)
Bantamweight: Yutaka Saito vs. Mikuru Asakura
Round one: Saito orthodox, Asakura southpaw. Wide kick to the knee from Asakura. One minute in. Both men very tentative so far. Counter right hook appears to land for Asakura. Both men yet to commit two minutes in. Saito shoots as I type that. Pressing Asakura against the ropes and corner, throwing knees. Two minutes to go.
Saito trying to get an angle for a trip. Ref separates them. Asakura takes a low blow. Saito left hook. Clinch to end the round. Saito ahead, though he hasn’t really taken over.
Round two: Asakura tries a high knee early on. One minute in, no real action yet. Again, as I type that, Saito shoots a double. Back to that clinch position again in the corner. Two minutes in. Saito has most of a body lock, can’t really do anything with it so far. Ref splits them up. There’s a heavy body shot from Asakura, first real punch of the fight for him. Two minutes to go.
Saito fakes a shot. Asakura stings him with a check hook coming in and looks to bomb away. Saito shoots, gets muscled to his back by a whizzer. Asakura on top in half guard. One minute to go. Saito holding on, closes up his guard. Asakura takes the lead.
Round three: Saito fires a high kick, eats a heavy knee in return. Left hook from Saito. Asakura with a long-distance knee-tap that he completes in the corner. Saito makes it back to his feet and gets back to that familiar position of pressing Asakura against the turnbuckle. Now it’s Saito taking a shot to the ghoulies. He shoots when they resume and nearly gets tossed out the ring by Asakura’s whizzer. Body kick from Asakura. Two minutes to go.
More body kick attempts. Saito falling short with his punches. Single-leg attempt, back to the corner spot. Asakura swings on the exit. One minute to go. Counter knee by Asakura, then a sprawl into top position. Half guard for Asakura. Nice grounded knees to the head to cap things off. Asakura got his revenge.
Final result: Asakura def. Saito by unanimous decision
“Special Rules” Catchweight Bout: Tenshin Nasukawa vs. Takanori Gomi
Round one: Pawing at each other with jabs. Looping left from Nasukawa. Chopping left lands, good body shots. Hard left downstairs. One minute in. Clean right hook. Massive speed edge for Nasukawa, as expected. clinch. Body shot. Corkscrew uppercut misses with a minute to go. Gomi content with the occasional looping punch. Lengthy flurry by Nasukawa in return. Continuing to sharpshoot. 10-9 Nasukawa.
Round two: Decent right shovel hook connects for Gomi. Nasukawa comes back to the body. Brief clinch, low-high flurry and body shot from Nasukawa. Gomi with a couple of straight rights. Eats counters in return. 2-3 from Gomi, his best of the fight. Another looping left connects and he follows with a double-leg. Another nice combo from Gomi. One minute to go. 1-2 met by a Nasukawa two-piece. Nasukawa doublw jab. Loading up a bit. Gomi rips some bombs. 10-9 Gomi?
Final result: Draw
ROUND-BY-ROUND WILL RESUME
RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Semifinal Reserve Bout: Yuki Motoya vs Kintaro
Round one: Motoya on the front foot. Low kick connects. Kintaro with a heavy left hand in combination. Body shot a minute in. Step-in knee. Solid inside low kick, then a head kick and combination. Motoya lands a leg kick and both whiff on flurries. Counter left by Kintaro. Check right hook rattles Motoya, who comes back with three consecutive kicks and shoots. Two minutes to go.
Motoya manages to pull Kintaro away from the corner and take the back. Not a great angle, only one hook. Kintaro scrambles into top half guard. He soccer kicks his way out of an omoplata, then lets Motoya up with a minute to go. Motoya body kick. Kintaro looks for a counter. Kintaro in the lead.
Round two: Kintaro now advancing. Hard lead left, eats a knee inside. Heavy knee of his own in return. Motoya with a solid combo a minute in. Low kick lands. Kintaro two-piece, Motoya left hook. Motoya rushes in and shoots, grabbing a body lock. Two minutes in. Kintaro stuck on his rear. Slick back take by Motoya with two minutes to go.
Both hooks in for Motoya. Hand fighting. Kintaro scrambles free before long. One minute to go. Motoya low kick, Kintaro looks for a head kick. Knee attempt from Kintaro, then a clean counter left. Right hook soon after. Kintaro still comfortably ahead.
Round three: Motoya opens with low kicks. Body kick met by counters. More kicks from Motoya. Kintaro with a heavy right hook a minute in. Motoya takes a low blow. Motoya kicks, Kintaro punches. Counter hook lands for Kintaro. Two minutes in. Head kick attempt. Jab connects. Two minutes to go.
Kintaro still firing head kicks. Straight left lands. Clean jab. Motoya sticking to his own kicks but just not doing that well. He tries a looping hook with a minute to go. Straight right connects. More Motoya kicks, decent left hook. Kintaro comes back swinging, lands a heavy left in a flurry. Kintaro deserves the win.
Final result: Motoya def. Kintaro by unanimous decision
RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Semifinal: Hiromasa Ogikubo vs. Naoki Inoue
Round one: Inoue pushing forward early. Low kick exchange. Ogikubo switching stance, eats a jab. Solid right hand from Inoue. 1-2 a minute in. He takes a low blow soon after. Staying very busy with his hands as Ogikubo tries to chip away with kicks. Nice cut kick by Inoue two minutes in. Body kick behind it. Solid rights from Inoue, who counters a takedown into mount. Good punches as Ogikubo tries to threaten a leg. Now half guard, heavy elbows. Ogikubo trying to get deep half guard. Two minutes to go.
Inoue continuing to drop elbows. Ogikubo finally manages to kick him away and stand. He tries a reactive shot, denies a trip. One minute to go. Long-range naked double-leg from Ogikubo allows Inoue to move right to his back. Both hooks in, hunting the RNC. Big early lead for Inoue.
Round two: They trade punches on the ropes around 20 seconds in. Ogikubo still leaning on the low kicks as Inoue pushes forward with punches. Slick knee by Inoue into a takedown, lands on top in half guard. One minute in. Side control soon after. Looking for mount, got it. Quick reset to spin them away from the ropes. Solid scramble and Ogikubo ends up on top in guard. Inoue sporting a cut above his left eye. Ogikubo unable to pass so far. Two minutes to go.
Now Ogikubo gets to half guard. Looking for an arm triangle setup. Inoue regains guard. Solid punches from Ogikubo and a knee on the way up, then it’s right to Inoue’s back from the front headlock with a minute to work. No dice on the neck crank. Great bounce-back round for Ogikubo; whoever excels in the third should take it.
Round three: Left hook lands for Ogikubo. Low kick exchange. Ogikubo tries a combo. Sharp 1-2 lands for Inoue. One minute in. Ogikubo fires a double-leg, then re-shoots. Jockeying for position. Inoue manages to defend and separate. Ogikubo really pressuring. Two minutes in. He manages to spin Inoue down into side control. Looking for the arm triangle. Two minutes to go.
A scramble ensues and Ogikubo jumps on his back. Both hooks in as Inoue fails to shuck him off. Ogikubo threatens a knee when Inoue gets a bit of space, then gets right back into back mount. He tries to wrap up the RNC in the waning seconds. Should be an Ogikubo victory.
Final result: Ogikubo def. Inoue by unanimous decision
RIZIN Bantamweight Grand Prix Semifinal: Kai Asakura vs. Kenta Takizawa
Round one: Asakura slowly advancing as Takizawa circles. Counter left hook to answer a Takizawa low kick. One minute in. Both tossing out kicks, neither committing. Asakura digs a right to the body while chucking them upstairs. Two minutes in. 1-2 blocked. Takizawa leg kick. Asakura tries a combo with an uppercut. Two minutes to go.
Same stalking/circling dynamic. Low-high left hooks from Asakura. Glancing head kick from Takizawa, wheel kick misses. Asakura comes back with a spinning back fist. One minute to go. Another wheel kick falls short for Takizawa. Low kick exchange. Asakura in the lead.
Round two: Solid 1-2 lands for Takizawa. Asakura tries a 2-3, eats a body kick. One minute in. Takizawa tries a spinning back kick. Very active with the kicks this round. Asakura right hand around the guard. Two minutes in. Looks for a 3-2 and uppercut. Both fire body kicks, Asakura lands a solid one. Spinning back kick by Takizawa with two minutes to go.
Asakura digs a left downstairs. Continuing to advance. Right cross upstairs. One minute to go. He checks a kick, lands a right cross behind a body kick. Low-high left hooks. Takizawa just misses with a heavy right, then Asakura does the same. Solid combo by Takizawa, his best work in a little while. Closer round, still leaning Asakura overall.
Round three: Heavy kicks from Takizawa to start. Left hook from Asakura splits the guard. Takizawa circling for the most part. One minute in. Takizawa just isn’t doing enough right now. Asakura looks for the body again, cracks him with a left hook and avoids the return fire. Two minutes in. Takizawa low kick. Sneaky body kick off a backstep. Lead-leg head kick. Two minutes to go.
Another Takizawa body kick, fires a spinning back kick behind it. Asakura with a right cross to the body. Takizawa 2-3, heavy trade in the pocket. Heavy left hook from Asakura sits Takizawa down, though he pops back up and starts pursuing. More left hooks by Asakura as Takizawa goes for it. One minute to go. Nice body shot from Takizawa. Takizawa throwing everything, walks into a 1-2 that nearly drops him again. They end the fight trading in the corner. Asakura should take it.
Final result: Asakura def. Takizawa by unanimous decision