RIZIN Fighting Federation has continued to announce bouts for their August 18 show in Nagoya, Japan with the addition Ayaka Hamasaki, Justin Scoggins, and more.
In the latest batch of announcements for RIZIN 18, the promotion has announced some returning fan-favorites, as well as some brand new promotional signings.
The new bouts include the return of RIZIN champ Ayaka Hamasaki, DEEP champ Haruo Ochi, and UFC veteran Justin Scoggins. DEEP champion Victory Henry and UFC veteran Jarred Brooks are among the multiple new signings. Check out the bout announcements below!
Ayaka Hamasaki (18-2) vs. Suwanan Boonsorn (3-1)
A former Invicta FC champion, Ayaka Hamasaki is the current RIZIN atomweight champion and widely-regarded as the best atomweight fighter on planet earth. Her two career losses came whilst moving up to the strawweight division against Claudia Gadelha and Livia Renata Souza. Since heading exclusively to Japan in mid-2018, Hamasaki has won four-straight. This includes wins over Alyssa Garcia, DEEP JEWELS champion Mina Kurobe, RIZIN Grand-Prix champion Kanna Asakura, and Invicta FC champion Jinh Yu Frey. On August 18, for the first time in her career, Ayaka Hamasaki faces a Thai.
Not unfamiliar with holding gold, Suwanan Boonsorn is the current Full Metal Dojo atomweight champion, earning the title with a quick submission win against Invicta vet Loma Lookboonmee in 2018. In March of this year, “Pocket Rocket” (often referred to as Amp The Rocket) competed in Japan for the very first time. Boonsorn took on a red-hot Emi Sato at DEEP JEWELS 23 and choked her out in 33-seconds. With three professional wins, and all three of those bouts ending by way of submission, Boonsorn is a very rare fighter in terms of typical athletes from Thailand, as she specializes in grappling and not muay thai. Now, on August 18, she has the biggest opportunity of her career when she faces Ayaka Hamasaki.
Victor Henry (18-4) vs. Trent Girdham (11-2)
Fighting out of Josh Barnett’s UWF USA, Victor Henry is riding a six-fight win streak as he heads into his highly-anticipated RIZIN debut. Back in May, “La Mangosta” faced defending bantamweight champion Yuki Motoya at DEEP 88 Impact. On this night, Motoya was unbeaten in his last five. This included wins over Justin Scoggins and Kazuma Sone in RIZIN and DEEP wins over Je Hoon Moon and Makota Kamaya. Destined for greatness, the former Pancrase title-challenger Henry defeated Motoya by way of unanimous champion. Not only did he become the DEEP bantamweight king, he also defeated Motoya which is something only Kyoji Horiguchi had been able to do in the six years prior.
During his current win streak, Henry has competed all over the world. Picking up a win over Anderson dos Santos at a King of the Cage show in Ontario, California, finishing RIZIN vet Takafumi Otsuka in Tokyo, Japan under the DEEP banner, beating unbeaten prospect Kyler Phillips in Burbank at a California Xtreme Fighting show, dominating Denis Lavrentyev at a RCC show in Ekaterinburg, Russia, and, of course, defeating Motoya in the aforementioned title fight in Tokyo, Japan. The 32-year-old Henry has competed once since winning the DEEP championship. He returned to RCC and stopped the powerhouse Nikita Chistyakov in Chelyabinsk, Russia back in May.
Though he fights out of Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket, Thailand, the 21-year-old prospect Trent Girdham is a proud Australian at heart. The flashy prospect has won two-straight in the UAE Warrios promotion out of Abu Dhabi. Both of those wins were late finishes. Girdham took out Fabio Mello back in May with a third-round body shot, and earlier this month he submitted Hamza Bougamza in round two.
In November of 2018, “Nino Loco” travelled to Japan and was unsuccessful in his Shoot Boxing bout against ONE Championship’s Kenta Yamada. Three weeks prior to this, Girdham was in China and defeated Yong E under the Wu Lin Feng banner. If his name sounds familiar to you, however, it is probably because of his three-fight stint in Absolute Championship Berkut where Girdham amassed a record of 1-2 between December of 2017 and June of 2018.
Kazuma Sone (23-18-1) vs. Justin Scoggins (11-6)
Fighting out of Shimura Dojo in Nagoya, Japan, Kazuma Sone will certainly be the crowd favorite at RIZIN 18 next month.
A former Shooto Pacific Rim champion and Tenkaichi title-holder, Sone has had many impressive runs throughout his MMA career. He is a rather unimpressive 3-3 in his last six, however; it was during a six-month span in 2017/2018 that he won both of his aforementioned titles. Sone became the Shooto Pacific Rim champion by defeating recent RIZIN addition Mamoru “Full-Swing” Uoi. The win over Uoi granted him a shot in RIZIN, but he would lose that promotional debut to Yuki Motoya at RIZIN 12.
That loss has since been followed up by two straight knockout losses, including the loss of his Shooto title via knockout in the final second of the opening round against Ryo Okada. Originally, Sone was expected to face Erson Yamamoto at RIZIN 18. But plans have changed for undisclosed reasons.
South Carolina’s Justin Scoggins has seemingly always had all the skills necessary to become a great in this sport, but, for one reason or another, he has been unable to put it all together. Now, all these years after being considered a 21-year-old mega-prospect, the 27-year-old “Tank” is looking to get his first win in RIZIN Fighting Federation.
The kempo karate specialist has a very fan-friendly fighting style, especially under the Japanese ruleset. Beginning in 2013 and ending in late 2018, Scoggins had amassed a 4-5 record in the UFC. This includes wins over Ray Borg and Josh Sampo. He left the UFC following three-straight losses after losing a controversial decision to Said Nurmagomedov last July. Prior to this bout, Scoggins was putting on a striking clinic against fellow RIZIN fighter and UFC veteran Ulka Sasaki before the Japanese grappler pulled the comeback with a second-round submission.
Joining the RIZIN ranks in late 2018, Scoggins took on then DEEP champion Yuki Motoya and was finished early with a rare teepee choke back at RIZIN 14. The American was slated to return at RIZIN 15 against Kai Asakura, but Scoggins was forced to withdraw due to a knee injury.
Haruo Ochi (19-7-2) vs. Jarred Brooks (14-2)
Training alongside the likes of former King of Pancrase Shintaro Ishiwatari, the 35-year-old Haruo Ochi has truly come into his own as a fighter in recent years. Standing just 5’3, Ochi has sought to make people understand that not only is men’s strawweight a legitimate combat sports division, but that it’s one of the very best. The Paraestra Ehime rep has won seven-straight in the past 24 months and shown no signs of slowing down in the process.
Winning the DEEP Strawweight Champion in 2017 at DEEP Impact 79 by submitting Kanta Sato, Ochi went on to successfully defend his strap in mid-2018 by dominating Yuya Shibata. After this bout, in the eyes of many, he was the number two male strawweight in the world. It was impossible to not give Mitsuhisa Sunabe the honor of being the best as the Pancrase champion was riding a ridiculous 16-fight win streak.
Thankfully for MMA fans, RIZIN fighting Federation exists. And back at their landmark RIZIN 13 show, the promotion went ahead and booked a streaking Sunabe against an unheralded and always underappreciated Ochi in a title vs. title bout. In round three, Ochi scored a legitimate knockout of the year contender to hand Sunabe his first defeat since 2011. Back in March, Ochi returned to the DEEP cage and defended his title yet again by dominating Namiki Kawahara.
A lot of people out there, for some reason, don’t give Jarred Brooks the credit he deserves as an MMA fighter. The highlight of his career to most is unfortunately the embarrassing self-knockout in his fight against Jose “Shorty” Torres back in 2018. Though this may be news to some, prior to joining the UFC, Brooks was legitimately one of the best strawweights on the planet before moving up a division and still finding some success in the UFC.
As an amateur, “The Monkey God” competed as high as bantamweight before turning pro and launching a win streak at flyweight. Despite being somewhat small for the 125-lb weight class, Brooks began his flyweight run with a record of 7-0, capping it off with a House of Fame title win over Abdiel Velasquez. In 2016, Brooks dropped down to the 115lb strawweight division and defeated Shooto veteran Junji Ito in Tokyo, Japan under the WSOF Global Championship banner. Then he travelled to Grozny, Russia and defeated fellow unbeaten prospect Chris Miah before returning to bantamweight for another two-fight stint.
At Pancrase 281, a strawweight Jarred Brooks knocked out a red-hot local prospect in Jun Nakamura to make it a ridiculous 5-0 in 2016. To no one’s surprise, this earned him a well-deserved contract with the UFC where he would debut ten months later. Of course, the UFC didn’t have a strawweight division for Brooks to dominate. So he was forced to permanently compete at flyweight. Following a successful debut, Brooks lost two-straight. This includes the aforementioned self-knockout against Torres. Something people tend to forget about that fight, however, is that despite Torres being one of the most highly-anticipated unbeaten newcomers in recent memory, Brooks was objectively beating “Shorty” before the unfortunate mishap. In September of 2018, Brooks defeated Roberto Sanchez in his final UFC fight before being one of the many purged during the thought-to-be cancellation of the stacked flyweight division. The American has not competed since, with two fights falling through due to opponent pull-outs. Thankfully, “The Monkey God” has found a home with RIZIN Fighting Federation.
RIZIN 18 is scheduled to take place on August 18, live from the Dolphins Arena in Nagoya, Japan. In the main event, RIZIN and Bellator bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi takes on local superstar Kai Asakura.
Also on the card; the return of Kanna Asakura and Manel Kape, the debuts of John Wayne Parr and Takeya Mizugaki, and more. Check out the updated fight card below.
Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Kai Asakura
Kanna Asakura vs. Alesha Zappitella
Takeya Mizugaki vs. Manel Kape
John Wayne Parr vs. Danilo Zanolini – Kickboxing
Hiroto Uesako vs. Yves Landu
Takaki Soya vs. Yutaro Muramoto
Ryuji Horio vs. Uchu Sakura – Kickboxing
Takiya Shota vs. Kazuki Osaki – Kickboxing
Ayaka Hamasaki vs. Suwanan Boonsorn
Kazuma Sone vs. Justin Scoggins
Haruo Ochi vs. Jarred Brooks
Victor Henry vs. Trent Girdham
*Bout order TBA