Two more kickboxing bouts have been added to RIZIN 20 to bolster the card further with names like Tenshin Nasukawa and Taiju Shiratori.
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Tenshin Nasukawa (35-0) draws arguably his biggest challenge to date in a RIZIN ring as he faces 2019 KING OF KNOCKOUT bantamweight champion Rui Ebata (41-2-3) of Tokyo, Japan.
At this point, the 21-year-old Tenshin Nasukawa needs no introduction, but we’ll give him one anyway. A multi-division RISE titleholder, a former BLADE Japan Cup tournament champion, and a RIZIN Kickboxing Grand-Prix champion, Tenshin Nasukawa added multiple titles to his collection in 2019.
With a RIZIN 16 knockout win over Martin Blanco, “Teppen” added the ISKA Unified Rules featherweight championship to his mantle before going on to win the RISE World Series at -58kg following wins over Federico Roma, Suakim, and Shiro.
Typically, RIZIN puts Tenshin in a relatively underwhelming bout when he competes in the organization. Martin Blanco, Fritz Biagtin, Yusaku Nakamura, Kizaemon Saiga, etc. No disrespect to these competitors, but the victor was never in question when they each got matched up against Tenshin Nasukawa.
Now, in a delightful surprise, RIZIN Fighting Federation has given Nasukawa incredibly serious competition in Rui Ebata.
28-year-old Rui Ebata is a muay thai practitioner with a stellar kyokushin base. Since a 2016 Rajadamnen Stadium loss, Ebata has won eleven-straight and made quite a name for himself under the KNOCK OUT banner. In what was hs third fight in 2019 back in August, Ebata captured the KING OF KNOCKOUT title when he defeated Takashi Ohno and Eisaku Ogasawara in the same night.
Unfortunately, this bout has been announced as a “special rules” bout. So, we’ll have to see what those rules entail. In a straight-kickboxing match, though? Nasukawa and Ebata could produce a barnburner.
A teammate of the phenom Tenshin, Taiju Shiratori (18-5-1) will grant TAIGA (21-10-1) a rematch following their RIZIN 19 slugfest.
The RISE lightweight champ and 2019 RISE Grand-Prix winner at -61kg, Taiju Shiratori faced former K-1 champion TAIGA at RIZIN 19 back in October. The 23-year-old produced a fantastic battle, as Shiratori edged TAIGA in the first two frames before TAIGA gave Shiratori hell in the final round. It was too little, too late for TAIGA, however, as Taiju Shiratori took home the decision win.
RIZIN 20 goes down on December 31 at the Saitama Super Arena. The stacked show will featured a vacant bantamweight title fight between Kai Asakura and Manel Kape, light heavyweight king Jiri Prochazka, and super atomweight champion Ayaka Hamasaki.
Also featured, the semi-finals of the RIZIN Lightweight Grand-Prix featuring Patricky “Pitbull” Freire, Luiz Gustavo, Johnny Case, and Tofiq Musaev.