They might be less than two weeks away from their year-ending RIZIN 26 fight card, but RIZIN Fighting Federation isn’t done adding firepower just yet.
Joining an already stacked card is two more fights featuring some of Japan’s biggest stars. In kickboxing action, the phenom Tenshin Nasukawa (39-0) will reportedly face a legitimate muay thai specialist in Kumandoi Phetjaroenvit (61-16-5) of Thailand. The other booking is a match-up featuring ‘special standup rules’ between Takanori Gomi (26-15, MMA) and K-1 veteran Kouzi (28-14-2, KB) in his second fight in RIZIN.
Weirdly, RIZIN posted and quickly deleted the announcement graphic for Nasukawa vs. Kumandoi. Definitely weird, but could be because they simply weren’t ready for the announcement just yet. There’s always the possibility they have changed plans and went with another last-minute match-up, but according to a source of Beyond Kickboxing, the Thai fighter is indeed currently in Japan as of December 14.
Tenshin Nasukawa vs. Kumandoi Phetjaroenvit
At this point, Tenshin Nasukawa needs no introduction. The 22-year-old has amassed a record that some legends could only dream of having, proven himself against appropriate competition in MMA for four wins in as many fights, and boxed one of boxing’s greats in Floyd Mayweather.
Nasukawa is truly on of kickboxing’s best modern-era fighters, and a fan-favorite worldwide. He is known for pushing an excruciating pace constantly, lightning-fast punch and kick combinations, killer knees, and just wonderful body work in general. Not to mention his consistent attempt to put insane flash into his fights and finishes. Whether that be a rolling thunder or a handplant headkick, Tenshin always delivers.
After competing at RIZIN 26, that will have been five fights in the calendar year – a slow year for the RISE and ISKA champ!
The rather impressive streak of giving Tenshin Nasukawa legitimate competition continues here, as opposite him will be a former Omnoi and Super Bantamweight WBC title-holder in Kumandoi Phetjaroenvit. As far as Rajadamnern Stadium competition goes, Kumandoi is a top five fighter.
Once more, due to the bizarre circumstances of RIZIN posting and deleting this announcement on their social medias, this fight is technically not confirmed yet.
Takanori Gomi vs. Kouzi
A former PRIDE Lightweight Champion and Grand-Prix winner, Takanori Gomi has cemented himself as one of Japan’s legendary fighters. In recent years, the world of MMA has been quite rough on him as he seemingly couldn’t buy himself a win if he tried.
Thankfully for Gomi, RIZIN, and the fans, he was able to turn that around in his most recent fight back in July of 2018. He fought another lightweight veteran in Melvin Guillard and the two brawled for two and a half minutes before Gomi faceplanted Guillard for the knockout win.
Sitting between retirement or boxing exhibitions, Gomi has seemingly leaned towards the latter accepting this fight.
Opposite the legend will be the always cool Kouzi.
An arguable top five bantamweight, Kouzi has consistently been a reliable firefight for any and all competitors in (and around) the bantamweight division. Over the years, the former ISKA and HEAT Kick champion has fought the likes of Takeru, Tatsuya Oiwa, Stavros Exakoustidis, and TAIGA.
More recently this past August, Kouzi made his RIZIN debut and was given an easy out in his first fight with the promotion. That was a lie. He was welcomed to RIZIN with a fight against Tenshin Nasukawa and took the phenom to a decision. In his last fight under the K-1 banner, Kouzi picked up an insane comeback knockout win against Seiya Kawahara.
RIZIN 26 goes down on December 31, 2020 at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan.