Finally, the MMA world has gotten confirmation that RIZIN 21 will be on FITE TV and available internationally through the service.
“Why is this news? RIZIN is always on FITE TV!”
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Fair point. But for about a week recently, the future between RIZIN and FITE seemed uncertain. Reports coming out of Japan suggested that RIZIN wanted nothing to do with FITE and was in search of a new international broadcasting partner. With less than a week remaining before RIZIN 21 during this period of uncertainty, there was also reputable sources claiming RIZIN 21 would not air internationally and would only be watchable in Japan.
Days later, it was announced that both parties had made a new deal. FITE would continue to host RIZIN for the time being, including a late addition to their live event library in the form of RIZIN 21. With this new deal, it seems as though FITE will take over more of the international broadcasting side financially. Of course, this starts at the core of the commentary. The tandem of Joe Ferraro and Frank Trigg is no more, as former pro wrestler and professional wrestling commentator Matt Striker will be on commentary this weekend in Hamamatsu. As of now it is being reported by FITE TV that Striker will call the action on his own, but plans may change.
Along with this news, RIZIN Fighting Federation has confirmed the bout order of RIZIN 21. Along with disappointing news for the international audience.
Headlining the show, to no one’s surprise, will be Japanese rising star Mikuru Asakura as he takes somewhat of a back-step in terms of competition to face Daniel Salas. The co-main event features an incredible bantamweight scrap between DEEP champion Victor Henry and a debuting UFC veteran in Masanori Kanehara.
Prior to this, it’s a battle of heavyweights as Guam’s Roque Martinez faces ONE Championship and pro wrestling veteran Hideki “Shrek / Big Body” Sekine, and a welterweight contest between local grappling-ace Marcos de Souza and a debuting Falco Neto. These four bouts follow the night’s lone (announced) intermission.
Before this intermission, six fights uninterrupted.
The final bout before said intermission, a battle of debuting bantamweights as Japanese fan-favorite knockout-artist Kintaro faces Shooto’s Kenji Kato. Before this, Hamamatsu resident Roberto de Souza will don the gi to participate in an unorthodox grappling exhibition match. “Satoshi” will face a five-person team lead by the legendary Yuki Nakai. This team includes a legit high-level third-degree black belt, a Jr. Abu Dhabi title winning junior in highschool, a famous comedian who trains BJJ as a hobby, and an Abu Dhabi Para Championship winning purple belt.
The grappling match follows another stellar bantamweight match-up between the debuting UFC and DEEP veteran Naoki Inoue and the returning Trent Girdham. A teammate of Tofiq Musayev, Vugar Keramov will make his promotional debut against a former Pancrase title-challenger in Kyle Aguon in the night’s first MMA fight.
Opening the card will be five-straight kickboxing bouts. This includes a megaton kickboxing fight between Ryo Sakai and Kousuke Jitsukata, and the return of Naoya as he faces Kenichi Takeuchi.
This is where things get disappointing. Preceding those two kickboxing bouts will be the official opening ceremony, meaning three kickboxing bouts will take place prior to the opening ceremony. Viewers outside of Japan will not be able to see those fights.
Be sure to order RIZIN 21 on FITE TV for unlimited lifetime action to this action-packed show in what will be the company’s debut in the Hamamatsu region of Japan.