RIZIN has announced several notable fights, as well as goals and expectations for 2019.
The promotion is gearing up for a big 2019 and is setting out to increase overseas presence, host events overseas and become an internationally renowned stage for martial arts.
To kick things off, the promotion has revealed a handful of fascinating bouts for RIZIN 15 at a press conference today. The event will take place on April 21 at the Yokohama Arena, in Yokohama, Japan.
RIZIN 15 scheduled bouts
- Muhammed Lawal vs. Jiri Prochazka II
- Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Ben Nguyen
- Mikuru Asakura vs. Luiz Gustavo
- Ulka Sasaki vs. Kai Asakura
- Koji Takeda vs. TBA
Muhammad Lawal vs. Jiri Prochazka II
Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal and Jiri Prochazka will be competing for the inaugural Light Heavyweight Championship at RIZIN 15.
Prochazka joined RIZIN in late 2015 to compete in the RIZIN World Grand Prix. He would eventually meet “King Mo” in the final of the grand prix and suffer his only defeat in the last five years. Since losing to Lawal, Prochazka has yet to be beaten in seven fights. The 26-year-old most recently defeated Brandon Halsey at RIZIN 14. By defeating “King Mo” in this rematch, Prochazka may finally garner the respect he deserves.
“King Mo” desperately needs another win. After defeating Prochazka in 2015, he returned to Bellator where he won only two of his five fights with the promotion in the last couple of years. After beating Quinton Jackson at Bellator 175, Lawal then was stopped by Ryan Bader in 15 seconds at Bellator 199 and Liam McGeary in the third round of a fight at Bellator 213 in December.
Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Ben Nguyen
This bantamweight matchup between Kyoji Horiguchi and Ben Nguyen is a non-title fight, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting.
Horiguchi is undefeated in mixed martial arts since April 2015 and has now racked up 11 consecutive victories. One of the very best fighters out there in the smaller weight classes today, Horiguchi proved his class by submitting Darrion Caldwell in the third round at RIZIN 14 after the Bellator fighter dominated him for most of the contest.
The Japanese mixed martial artist will be facing Ben Nguyen, who recently parted ways with the UFC. Competing with the UFC since May 2015, Nguyen managed four wins in seven contests. He steps into the RIZIN ring after back-to-back defeats to Wilson Reis and Jussier Formiga.
Koji Takeda enters RIZIN
RIZIN 15 will also feature the newly-crowned DEEP lightweight champion, Koji Takeda. At the age of 23, Takeda has compiled an impressive undefeated resume after eight contests. He recently captured the DEEP Lightweight Championship by defeating Satoru Kitaoka in October 2018. Takeda’s opponent is yet to be announced.
Stay tuned for more information regarding RIZIN 15.
Jake Nichols is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief. Previously, he was the MMA Editor at RealSport.