Hiroyuki Takaya is no stranger to New Year’s Eve. | Photo: Taro Irei/Sherdog.com
Rizin Fighting Federation on Wednesday continued to fill the card for its inaugural New Year’s Eve show, announcing four new matchups which include former Dream featherweight champion Hiroyuki Takaya and the MMA debut of kickboxing ace Andy Souwer.
Takaya will tangle with the man known as “DJ.taiki,” Daiki Hata, in a 143-pound bout, while Souwer is set to meet fellow K-1 MAX veteran Yuichiro “Jienotsu” Nagashima at 159 pounds. Both matchups will consist of a 10-minute opening round followed by two five-minute rounds, with the possibility of a five-minute overtime round.
Takaya will enter his bout on a four-fight unbeaten streak, having last seen action at April’s Pancrase 266, where he punched out ex-Shooto ranker Guy Delumeau in the third round. Hata has not suffered an official loss in nine bouts since 2012 but was outpointed by Mizuto Hirota earlier this year on the “Road to UFC: Japan” reality show.
Souwer will enter the MMA arena at age 32 but is not the average striker, having held titles in Japan’s Shoot Boxing organization which blends kickboxing with throws and standing submissions. Nagashima has competed sporadically in MMA, compiling a 4-2 record since debuting in 2005. The Japanese cosplayer famously knocked out Shinya Aoki in a mixed rules bout on New Year’s Eve 2010.
The other bouts added to the Dec. 31 event on Wednesday will see Deep flyweight ace Yuki Motoya face South Korean standout Nam Jin Jo at 125 pounds, while another Shoot Boxing champ, Rena Kubota, will make her MMA debut against Italian newcomer Jleana Valentino.