This Sunday on April 21, the MMA community will be treated to the first RIZIN event of 2019 and it looks to be a good one. On Wednesday, the organization revealed the card’s official bout order which also provided news of some changes to what we were originally expecting.
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- Main event: Poirier vs. McGregor 2
- Co-main event: Hooker vs. Chandler
Upon initial announcement, a fun flyweight bout was set between the returning fan favorite, Shinju Nozawa-Auclair, and the promotional debutant, Mexico’s Saray Orozco (4-2).
However, due to an ankle injury, Nozawa-Auclair has been forced out of the bout and filling in for her will be the highly touted prospect, Kanako Murata (8-1).
— RIZIN FF OFFICIAL (@rizin_PR) April 17, 2019
“I’m incredibly frustrated at the situation but I have to accept that this is outside of my control and make peace with the circumstances,” Auclair said via press release. “I have previously fought with torn ligaments in my elbow and although I was able to overcome the injury during the fight, I ended up causing further damage to my body forcing me to the sidelines for a whole year and doubling my original recovery time. As to not make the same mistake twice, myself and my team, under medical guidance have chosen to pull out of this fight with deep regret. To my opponent Saray, I am extremely sorry. To anyone who this may disappoint, please forgive me. Thank you for understanding!”
For Murata, this will be her first bout since August 2018 when she picked up a dominant win over the experienced Angela Magana at RIZIN 12 as she would score the second round submission win via Von Flue choke. The win extended the wrestling standout’s current streak to four straight.
Following the win, Murata was set to make her US debut as she had signed with Invicta FC where she was to face off against Sharon Jacobson at Invicta FC 33 in December. Unfortunately for Murata, she would suffer an injury herself that caused her to put the debut on hold.
Now set to get back in the ring in her home country, she’s excited for the opportunity to compete again.
“I will be taking the spot for the injured Shinju Auclair and fight Saray Orozco,” Murata said via press release. “I’ve been in situations where I have been injured before the fight and my opponent being injured and left without a fight, so I understand both fighters’ feelings. I will do my best to be able to put on a great fight for everybody! Please come see me fight at the Yokohama Arena!”
As for the card’s official bout order, RIZIN 15 will be headlined by the inaugural light heavyweight title rematch that features Bellator’s Muhammad ‘King Mo’ Lawal once again taking on the red-hot Jiri Prochazka. Lawal is the last man to defeat Prochazka who has won seven fights since then. Six of which have ended by knockout.
- Light heavyweight – 205lbs: (C) – Muhammad Lawal vs Jiri Prochazka
- Catchweight – 130lbs: KB – Tenshin Nasukawa vs Fritz Biagtan
- Bantamweight – 132lbs: Kyoji Horiguchi vs Ben Nguyen
- Lightweight – 157lbs: Satoru Kitaoka vs Roberto Satoshi Souza
- Light heavyweight: Karl Albrektsson vs Christiano Frohlich
- Catchweight – 112lbs: Rena Kubota vs Samantha Jean-Francois
- Catchweight – 150lbs: Mikuru Asakura vs Luiz Gustavo
- Flyweight – 126lbs: Kana Watanabe vs Justyna Haba
- Lightweight: Damien Brown vs Koji Takeda
- Catchweight – 128lbs: Manel Kape vs Seiichiro Ito
- Flyweight: Kanako Murata vs Saray Orozco
- Catchweight – 134lbs: KB – Taiga Kawabe vs Thallison Ferreira
Drake Riggs is an MMA writer based out of Brush Prairie, Washington, USA who specializes in feature pieces, the women's fight scene, lists, news coverage, and rankings. He has been a passionate fan of MMA ever since 2009. Drake has most notably written for BJPenn.com, FanSided, The Body Lock, South China Morning Post, MyMMANews, Cageside Press, Sherdog, The Scrap, and MMA Today. He has also written for and created video content for RT Sport. As for other sports, Drake is a longtime fan of the NFL's Green Bay Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars.You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @DrakeRiggs_ . Also check out all of his video content on YouTube at: "Drake Riggs" where he uploads fighter interviews, podshows, and various other types of content.