Rizin Fighting Federation has bolstered its next offering with a pair of bouts, especially intriguing if you missed two of mixed martial arts’ finest haircuts.
In a Tokyo press conference on Thursday, the Japanese promotion announced that its forthcoming card will feature a featherweight contest between well-coifed lightweights, high-flying knockout artist Yusuke Yachi and World Extreme Cagefighting veteran Diego Nunes, as well as a heavyweight clash between Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic training partner Ante Delija and undefeated Brazilian Ricardo Prasel.
Rizin 10 is scheduled to take place on May 6, emanating from Marine Messe Fukuoka in Fukuoka, Japan. Both bouts will be contested over three, five-minute rounds.
Nunes, 35, has kept a low-profile since his release from Bellator MMA in 2014, but has gone 4-1 in the meantime, with all four of his wins coming by way of stoppage. Most recently, “The Gun” choked out Corneliu Rotaru Lascar in his opponent’s native Romania this past December.
The 27-year-old Yachi, a former Shooto Pacific Rim 143-pound titlist, is riding a five-fight winning streak that most recently saw him choke out MMA lightweight legend Takanori Gomi on New Year’s Eve under the Rizin banner.
For Delija, it will be the Croat’s first bout in nearly three years. “Walking Trouble” hasn’t competed since September 2015 under the M-1 Challenge banner when he suffered a horrific leg break after now-Ultimate Fighting Championship vet Marcin Tybura checked one of his leg kicks. The 27-year-old holds victories over former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez, veteran submission specialist Valentijn Overeem and Latvian hitter Konstantin Gluhov.
The physically monstrous Prasel, who stands 6-foot-8, has stopped all nine of his professional opponents with eight of them coming by way of submission. “Alemao.” also 27, last competed this past August for Aspera Fighting Championship in his native Brazil, halting Edison Lopes with a toe hold in just 42 seconds.
At Thursday’s press conference, Rizin CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara also spoke on the difficulty of finding an opponent for 19-year-old striking sensation Tenshin Nasukawa, who has gone 4-0 in MMA rules under the Rizin banner. Fresh off of a kickboxing win over Suakim Sit Sor Thor Taew on Feb. 12, Nasukawa’s reputation looms large for the promotion as it struggles to find willing candidates to face the young Japanese kickfighting idol.