2023 is in full swing.
RIZIN 41 marks the first RIZIN event of the year on April 1, 2023, but before it goes down, Bellator kicks off its Lightweight title tournament on March 10, 2023, with Bellator 292 in San Jose, California.
Former RIZIN Lightweight Grand Prix title winner, Tofiq Musayev, wasted no time becoming an instant player in the Bellator ranks. Starching Sydney Outlaw in 27 seconds in his promotional debut last year (July 2022). Still seeking a title shot in his new home, Musayev will first have to get through Alexandr Shabliy in the opening round of his next tournament adventure.
One of the young rising stars of RIZIN 41 is Sho Patrick Usami. The lightweight slugger has been perfect in the RIZIN ring thus far, scoring epic knockout wins over Shinji Sasaki in his debut, and most recently a sensational sleeper of BeyNoah at RIZIN 40 on New Year’s Eve. His upcoming appearance against Kyung-Po Kim will mark the third straight RIZIN event that he’s fought on.
Headling RIZIN 41 will be a kickboxing grudge match. RIZIN 40 was quite the party and one of its non-fight-related standouts came from newcomer, Ryusei Ashizawa, who sang his way to the ring and set up his bout with Koji “Kouzi” Tanaka. Ashizawa and Kouzi have already had some interesting back-and-forths in the build-up to their match, including a running kick to the gut from Ashizawa at a press conference. Ashizawa expects to retire Kouzi and then make his debut in mixed martial arts (MMA).
Watch the full episode in the video embedded above or you can listen on Spotify.