Mayweather Destroys Asakura, Horiguchi Chokes Out ‘Kintaro’ in Rizin Doubleheader

It took a little over two rounds for Mikuru Asakura to learn the same lesson his countryman and Rizin FF stablemate Tenshin Nasukawa did back on New Year’s Eve 2018: An exhibition against Floyd Mayweather is exactly as serious as you want to make it.

In the main event of the Super Rizin card that formed half of a doubleheader with Rizin 38 on Saturday at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, the undefeated boxing legend was content to move and trade jabs and three-quarter-speed body shots with the Rizin featherweight contender for most of the first round. Late in that round, Asakura dialed up the intensity, leading to some awkward collisions and a clean head shot or two landed on Mayweather. At that point, Mayweather flipped a switch, stinging Asakura with several hard shots before the round expired.

Round 2 opened up with both men looking to score, and Mayweather made things look like child’s play. After several unblocked head shots, the 45-year-old great finished things with a final left to the face that dropped Asakura to his seat in a daze as the round expired, prompting referee Kenny Bayless to call a halt to the proceedings. Asakura’s MMA record remains unchanged at 16-3; Mayweather remains a perfect 50-0 as a professional boxer, even as he continues to extend his lifetime earnings with another exhibition win.

Horiguchi Chokes Out ‘Kintaro’

Kyoji Horiguchi may have had a rough patch in Bellator MMA over the last year, but he served notice to Rizin’s bantamweights that he is still the man to beat.

Horiguchi (29-5) bounced back from back-to-back losses against Sergio Pettis and Patrick Mix in the Bellator cage with a win over Yuto Hokamura in the Rizin 38 headliner on Saturday night. He may have reestablished his supremacy over the division with the second-round submission of “Kintaro,” but the win was not without adversity.

The opening round saw Hokamura drop Horiguchi with a clean left hand while countering a flying knee, a favor that Horiguchi returned with a knockdown of his own later in the round. Horiguchi landed a sensational double-leg takedown early in Round 2, and from there he really went to work. He moved to half guard, set up and arm-triangle choke and applied a crushing squeeze. After a few tense seconds of struggle, Horiguchi insisted to referee Masato Fukuda that Hokamura was unconscious, and it proved to be true, as the champion jumped up to celebrate while his fallen opponent was attended by medical staff and cornermen.

Super Atomweight Semifinals: Izawa Taps out Svetkivska

A thrown-together matchup ended in a rousing fight, as Rizin super atomweight champ Seika Izawa met Anastasia Svetkivska—who lost to Rena Kubota in the quarterfinals but replaced her when Kubota withdrew with an injury—in the first tournament semifinal. The Ukrainian’s advantages in height and reach availed her little on the feet, as Izawa changed levels within the first 30 seconds and took her down with ease. Izawa went to work immediately, but Svetkivska survived and then some, wrapping the champ up in her spidery guard and keeping her on the defensive with constant positional changes and submission attempts. By the end of the round Svetkivska was the clear aggressor despite having spent nearly the entire five minutes on her back. They picked up right where they left off in Round 2, going to the mat right away and engaging in a furious series of scrambles and transitions. Late in the round, Izawa held Svetkivska in a loose triangle, then transitioned to an armbar at the 10-second warning, cranking for the tap just moments before the bell. The finish came officially at 4:56, leaving Izawa undefeated at 8-0, while Svetkivska falls to 2-2 but may actually have elevated her stock in defeat. With the win, Izawa is set for a finals rematch with Si Woo Park, who earned her berth immediately prior.

Super Atomweight Semifinals: Park Batters Hamasaki

In the first grand prix semifinal, Si Woo Park (9-4) used speed, power and excellent takedown defense to bust up Ayaka Hamasaki (24-6) on the way to a unanimous decision. A tense first round was characterized by Hamasaki’s attempts to bring the fight to the ground, which were unsuccessful outside of a few brief moments, in contrast to Park’s quick counter punching and effective low kicks. The same dynamic held true in Round 2, but the momentum seemed to be swinging gradually in favor of the Korean, especially after a flurry before the bell that left Hamasaki stumbling. There was no question of momentum in the final round, however, as Park dropped Hamasaki with a big right cross in the first minute. Hamasaki scrambled to her feet immediately, but the slow-motion rout was on: Park eluded Hamasaki with increasing ease, while smashing her lead leg and damaging one arm with strikes. The “Korean Queen Bee” will carry a four-fight win streak into the tournament final, while longtime atomweight queen and pound-for-pound stalwart Hamasaki finds herself at age 40 on a 1-3 stretch in her last four.

Who Upsets Ougikubo

In his Rizin debut, Road FC two-division champion Soo Chul Kim announced himself as an immediate person of interest, defeating Rizin bantamweight tournament winner Hiromasa Ougikubo. After a back-and-forth first frame, Kim nearly shocked the world in Round 2, as he staggered Ougikubo badly with punches, then followed up with a soccer kick and a series of knees to the head that had the referee watching closely. Ougikubo survived, but with his face swelling badly enough to warrant a visit from the ringside physician, he had his work cut out for him. The rest of the round was largely Kim’s as well, as he took Ougikubo down twice, stayed busy on the ground and gave Ougikubo little chance to get off any offense of his own. The final frame offered more of the same, as Kim was simply too big, too strong and too good for the long-time Japanese standout. After being awarded the decision win, Kim (18-6-1; 1-0 Rizin) finds himself in line for a possible fight with Kai Asakura for supremacy in his new promotion; Ougikubo falls to 25-6-2 and sees a five-fight win streak snapped in defeat.

Shibisai Makes Quick Work of “Callyugibrain”

In the lone heavyweight bout of the evening, Shoma Shibisai made things look easy against Callyugibrainn Marinho Borges de Oliveira. A few early punch exchanges were inconclusive, but Shibisai soon changed levels for a takedown, and once he brought the Brazilian to the canvas, the rest was academic. Shibisai took his foe’s back within seconds, cinched up a rear-naked choke against almost no resistance, and “Callyugibrainn” was tapping the mat almost immediately. The quick finish gives Shibisai (9-3, 1 NC; 5-2 Rizin) his second straight victory inside the distance; de Oliveira falls to 5-2.

Suzuki Strangles Hagiwara

Chihiro Suzuki took the path of least resistance, exploiting Kyohei Hagiwara’s deficiencies on the ground en route to a second-round submission win in their featherweight feature. A spirited first round featured some sharp kicks by both men, including calf kicks from Hagiwara that had Suzuki looking compromised almost immediately. However, once they hit the mat in the middle of the round, Suzuki began to take control, and a belly-to-back suplex in the closing seconds set the tone for the remainder of the fight. Suzuki took Hagiwara down quickly in Round 2, and after a series of grappling exchanges, took his opponent’s back and applied a rear-naked choke. Hagiwara was tapping within seconds, and referee Tomoki Matsumiya jumped in for the stop at 2 minutes, 14 seconds. With the win, his third straight since dropping his Rizin debut a year ago, Suzuki goes to 8-3 overall; Hagiwara (6-7) suffers his third consecutive loss.

Dos Santos Swarms on Ohara

Returning to action after over two years away from the ring, Luiz Gustavo Felix dos Santos made up for lost time, needing just 83 seconds to leave Juri Ohara prone on the canvas in the lightweight opener. Dos Santos came forward immediately with his customary aggression, and after some early attempts to force a more measured striking battle, Ohara made the fateful choice to oblige him. From there, the end was not long in coming, as dos Santos rocked Ohara with a sweeping right hook reminiscent of his idol, Wanderlei Silva, then followed up with a torrent of lefts and rights until Ohara was on the floor and referee Minoru Tonoyaga was forced to intervene. The quick and brutal stoppage leaves the 26-year-old “Killer” at 11-2 overall, 3-2 in Rizin, and gets him back on track after his New Year’s Eve 2019 loss to Patricky Freire and subsequent lengthy layoff.

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