International restrictions are beginning to loosen in Japan and RIZIN Fighting Federation is taking full advantage of it in the month of April.
The promotion held a press conference Thursday (March 10, 2022) to announce the first six bouts for their two April events as RIZIN Trigger 3rd and RIZIN 35 will go back-to-back on Apr. 16 and 17 at the Musashino Mori Sports Arena — max capacity 10,000. The big numbered event on the 17th will feature three big-time title fight rematches inside the ring.
Making his return to action for the first time since 2019 in a losing effort against Tofiq Musayev, former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veteran Johnny Case will challenge Roberto “Satoshi” de Souza.
Case and Satoshi first met in Oct. 2019 when Case handed Satoshi what is still the only blemish on his otherwise perfect 13-1 record. Satoshi has won four fights since the encounter with all ending via finish (one TKO, three submissions).
The featherweight title will also be up for grabs when Yutaka Saito looks for redemption against Juntaro Ushiku who claimed the title in his promotional debut last October. Saito would drop the strap to his successor at RIZIN 31 when he was split open by a pinpoint knee strike. The laceration was so gruesome that the in-ring doctors said if the cut had extended any further, Saito’s whole eyeball could have fallen out of the socket. Also the Deep featherweight champion, Ushiku defended that title when earning a split decision over Kouya Kanda in Dec. 2021.
Last but certainly not least of the three title tilts is the super atomweight showdown between Ayaka Hamasaki and Seika Izawa. On New Year’s Eve 2021, Izawa pulled off one of the greatest upsets in MMA history when TKOing Hamasaki with ground and pound in round two of their non-title affair.
Widely considered the greatest atomweight of all time, Hamasaki, 39, entered the bout with over a decade of experience and a 23-3 record. Izawa, 24, was making her promotional debut in just her second career fight south of 115-pounds after capturing strawweight gold in Deep Jewels. She went pro 14 months prior to facing Hamasaki and only did so due to the pandemic shutting down judo tournaments. Now 5-0, Izawa is hoping to officially become champion while Hamasaki intends on proving the result was a fluke and that she’s still the best in the world.
Those won’t be the only rematches though as RIZIN Trigger 3rd will deliver the intrigue inside the cage. It’s the return of the violent Wanderlei Silva protege Luiz Gustavo who attempts to once again best Yusuke Yachi. Yuto “Kintaro” Hokamura vs. Kazuma Kuramoto and Masanori Kanehara vs. Kazumasa Majima make up the rest of the announced bouts.
RIZIN Trigger 3rd - Apr. 16, 2022
- Lightweight - 155lbs: Luiz Gustavo vs. Yusuke Yachi
- Bantamweight - 135lbs: Yuto “Kintaro” Hokamura vs. Kazuma Kuramoto
- Featherweight - 145lbs: Masanori Kanehara vs. Kazumasa Majima
RIZIN 35 - Apr. 17, 2022
- Super atomweight - 108lbs: (C)Ayaka Hamasaki vs. Seika Izawa
- Featherweight: (C)Juntaro Ushiku vs. Yutaka Saito
- Lightweight: (C)Roberto “Satoshi” de Souza vs. Johnny Case
Which title fight are you most excited for?
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Hamasaki vs. Izawa 2
Ushiku vs. Saito 2
Satoshi vs. Case 2