Tatsuya Kawajiri Tops Anthony Birchak, Kyoji Horiguchi Owns Yuki Motoya at Rizin 2017 in Yokohama

By Jordan Breen Apr 16, 2017


Sherdog.com's live coverage of Rizin FF's “Rizin 2017 in Yokohama: Sakura” kicks off Sunday at 2 a.m. ET from the Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan. (online betting).

Check out the MMA Forums to discuss the card or enter your comments and predictions below.

RIZIN 2017 in Yokohama Live Stream

Kizaemon Saiga vs. Seiichiro Ito

Round 1

Both men circle one another tentatively early on, lobbing leg kicks at one another, Saiga getting the harder of the kicks in on his foe. This all changes when Ito feints as if he is going to shoot a double-leg takedown and launches a wild overhand right that smashes Saiga in the face, dropping him to the canvas. Ito swarms on his downed opponent, winging away with both hands, standing in his guard, but Saiga is able to recover and draw Ito onto the mat. Ito looks for a brabo choke briefly but Saiga extricates him. When Ito opens up with more ground-and-pound, Saiga is able to quickly sweep him while he's off balance, thrusting him into the corner, but the striking specialist can't stay on top. As quickly as Saiga sweeps, Ito sweeps him on top in a dubious display of grappling, then quickly jumping onto Saiga's back. Ito sinks both of his hooks in and threatens for the rear-naked choke. For a solid three minutes, Ito threatens the rear-naked choke from back-control, but can't sink it. With two minutes to go in the 10-minute opening round, Saiga escapes finally and retains guard. Saiga is able to work back to his feet, then throw Ito onto his back from over-under position, but can't get much offense going before the bell ends the opening round.

Round 2

Saiga, perhaps sensing he may be behind Ito after 10 minutes, presses the issue from the outset of the second round, attacking aggressively with combinations of hooks. Ito is undeterred and fires right back, steping into the pocket and looking to counter. Saiga lands a hard right knee to the body and continues to put hooks to the torso. Hard right-handed counter by Ito, but Saiga responds with more hooks and knees, prompting an Ito clinch, pressing for a takedown. Ito eats more shots on the way in, but lands a big left hand that backs Saiga up. Ito keeps pushing forward and walks right into a big right from Saiga. Fun two-way exchanges. Ito jumps into the pocket, eats two hooks then basically pulls guard while Saiga pounds away. Again, Ito is able to sweeps and winds up taking Saiga's back. In the last minute, Saiga sweeps to top position and unloads with ground-and-pound, but Ito covers up and avoids taking much damage before the final bell sounds. Sherdog.com scores the bout on the whole for Seiichiro Ito.

The Official Result

Seiichiro Ito def. Kizaemon Saiga via Decision (Unanimous) R2 5:00

Kanna Asakura vs. Aleksandra Toncheva

Round 1

Asakura begins the bout, using leg kicks to gauge the distance on her opponent. Toncheva looks to respond with leg kicks of her own, but Asakura catches the kick and dumps her onto the mat. The Japanese fighter controls the head and neck, then postures up and lands volleys of punches. Toncheva gets her hips up and works a high guard, but Asakura continues punching right through it, breaking her posture. The Bulgarian throws up an armbar attempt, but Asakura yanks her arm out, while giving up top position. Toncheva can't stay on top for long, as Asakura quickly stands up, then tackles her right back down to the mat and gets back to pounding. Toncheva throws her hips up again for an armbar, but Asakura stacks her and patiently waits until the bell ends the round.

Round 2

Asakura instantly looks for a double-leg tackle and gets it immediately, scooping the Bulgarian off of her feet. Asakura stays heavy on top, ripping off volleys of punches in well-timed bursts. She is nearly swept by Toncheva, but bases down and passes to side control briefly, flurrying on her foe with short right hands. Toncheva scrambles to turtle position, but the whole way, Asakura is feeding her punches. Toncheva finally gets to her feet, but as she rises, Asakura drills her with an audible knee to the jaw. Toncheva gets to her feet and Asakura shoots immediately, pulling guard off a botched double. Toncheva uses her time in top position to get her breath, then stands in guard with time ticking down, trying to pound away but not doing much.

Round 3

The final round begins with another immediate Asakura double-leg takedown, immediately dumping Toncheva to the mat with a high amplitude takedown. Asakura is able to take the back, sinking just one hook while going for the rear-naked choke. As she looks to sink it, still on the chin, Toncheva struggles without much immediate defense. As Asakura tries to sink the choke deeper, however, the Bulgarian powers through, turning her hips into Asakura's guard and taking top position. The 19-year-old Japanese fighter spends a minute working a high guard, patiently waiting for her chance to sweep until she decides to stand up instead with 90 seconds to go in the round. Asakura, true to form, tackles Toncheva straight to the mat again and moves into side control, threatening an arm-triangle choke. Toncheva hooks her own leg, fighting the choke and breaks Asakura's posture, but the Japanese fighter just postures up and knuckle dusts her again before the bell.

The Official Result

Kanna Asakura def. Aleksandra Toncheva via Decision (Unanimous) R3 5:00

Saori Ishioka vs. Bestare Kicaj

Round 1

Kicaj comes out swinging and clips Ishioka with a few early punches; Ishioka resets and snaps back Kicaj’s head with a hard jab. Takedown goes for Kicaj at the ropes, but she’s reversed moments later and Ishioka begins dropping short hammerfists through the Swiss fighter’s closed guard. Kicaj throws up an armbar, but Ishioka pulls her arm free and then attaches herself to Kicaj’s back in the transition. Ishioka immediately applies a tight rear-naked choke, and after a few moments of struggle, Kicaj flails her arms in submission.

The Official Result

Saori Ishioka def. Bestare Kicaj via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) R1 2:12

Daron Cruickshank vs. Yusuke Yachi

Round 1

Both lightweights come out, pawing with their jabs, but intent on launching bombs quite obviously. Yachi opens up with a pair of hooks, but Cruickshank dings him with a right-handed counter that stumbles him. Yachi stays right in the UFC veteran's face, but Cruickshank lands a one-two, then glances with a head kick behind it. Yachi is undeterred and stays in the Detroit native's face, continuing to swarm while eating right hands on the counter. The Krazy Bee product switches to southpaw, then gets right back to business, launching a head kick, then a straight left behind it. Cruickshank eats it and tags Yachi with a right. Cruickshank is aggressive, but it's Yachi coming forward, constantly pressing the issue here. Yachi takes a three-punch run at “The Detroit Superstar” and when Cruickshank tries to respond, Yachi keeps throwing, tagging Cruickshank with his lead right hand. Cruickshank goes southpaw now and lands a hard left hand, then digs with hooks to Yachi's body. Yachi responds, landing his left hand, then a liver kick. Yachi backs up and Cruickshank now wants to take the lead, but as he wades in on a back-pedaling Yachi, the Japanese fighter absolutely smokes Cruickshank with a short right-hand counter. Cruickshank goes down face first, completely unconscious as Yachi topples onto him in a frenetic heap. Brutal knockout by Yusuke Yachi.

The Official Result

Yusuke Yachi def. Daron Cruickshank via KO (Punch) R1 5:10

Jazzy Gabert vs. Reina Miura

Round 1

Miura races right to the center of the ring to meet Gabert, firing away with both hands with reckless abandon. Gabert is happy to oblige and both women just wing away, smashing one another with flailing punches in the bout's opening seconds. As Gabert starts landing her right with regularity in the flurries, Miura clinches and hits an outside trip, lifting the German's ankle and dumping her by the ropes. Miura moves into side control with ease. Gabert escapes briefly, but then Miura moves into a top crucifix, landing a bevy of short lefts. Gabert replaces half guard, but Miura moves right back into the top crucifix. The 20-year-old judoka lands hammerfists to the body as Gabert uses pure strength to try to stand up. Miura holds her down and keeps pounding her stomach. Gabert shrimps to the center of the ring, but is now eating elbows and knees to the body. With 30 seconds left in the round, Miura moves to side control and looks for a straight armbar on the far arm, but as she grabs the double wristlock and stretches her foe's arm out, the bell rings.

Round 2

Miura is content to open the second round the way the bout started, winging her fists at Gabert. The German obliges her and lands her right hand again, just as she did in round one, repeatedly dinging the Japanese fighter. Miura eats three big lefts in short succession, but then wisely moves into the clinch and tosses the bigger woman to the mat once more. “King Reina” moves to side control as she threatens with an arm-triangle choke, but as Gabert defends, Miura wisely moves into full mount. Miura bases down, punching away with both hands on Gabert, who is complete fish out of water on the floor, just relying on her size and strength. “The Alpha Female” manages to shake Miura out of full mount, but the Japanese fighter is still in side control, drilling knees into Gabert's rib cage. Miura moves to north-south and hits her foe with knees to the dome, then moves back into a top crucifix. Gabert simply locks her hands in an attempt to abate Miura, but the judoka moves back into full mount with 30 seconds to go. Miura punches away and opens up an armbar attempt. With less than 10 seconds to go, Miura breaks Gabert's hand grip from the spider web position, leans back and pops her hips. The armbar is deep and Gabert is forced to tap.

The Official Result

Reina Miura def. Jazzy Gabert via Submission (Armbar) R2 4:54

Heath Herring vs. Satoshi Ishii

Round 1

Herring comes out swinging but gets tied up by Ishii, who fails on his first throw attempt but brings Herring to the mat with a second. Ishii lands in side control on Herring’s left and begins roughing up the veteran with short punches and shoulder shrugs. Herring puts his feet on the ropes and tries to scoot away from Ishii, but the Olympic judo gold medalist stays heavy on top and maintains side control, landing isolated left hands while trying to advance position. Herring ties up one of Ishii's legs but can't actually replace guard. Herring explodes and bucks up to his knees, but Ishii halts him in the turtle position and controls his waist. Ishii tries to force Herring to put his belly on the mat, but Herring won't concede position. Ishii looks for a double wristlock from the back of turtle position to keep Herring down and then puts the Pride FC veteran back on the mat, settling right back into side control. Herring has no answer for Ishii, who maintains position while sprinkling in short lefts. “The Texas Crazy Horse” gets to his knees again, but Ishii grabs the waistlock and lands hooks on his ears again. The 10-minute opening round is halfway over. Herring rolls over onto his back, but Ishii looks for a kimura that makes Herring turn onto his hip, then give up turtle position again. Herring keeps scrambling, but nearly gets his back taken, then winds up right back on his knees in turtle position, with Ishii boxing his ears. The Japanese fighter looks for the back again, but settles for side control instead. Herring tries to control Ishii's head, but just winds up eating more short left hands. With 80 seconds to go, Herring gets to his feet, but Ishii is glued to his waist, kneeing the back of his thighs, then yanks him back to the canvas and rides the round out.

Round 2

The second round picks up where the first left off, as Herring tries to launch punches and Ishii instantly lands an overhand left then tackles him to the mat, quickly moving into side control. Herring shrimps and Ishii gets side control, trying to walk over Herring's legs and into full mount. Herring goes belly down briefly and Ishii feeds him left hands. Ishii tries to pull the American down and take his back, but Herring rolls over and gives up turtle position. Ishii tries for the back again, but winds up taking side control on top instead. The judoka controls Herring's head and looks to move into mount. With less than 10 seconds to, Herring tries to scramble up but gets nowhere. Sherdog.com scores the bout for Satoshi Ishii.

The Official Result

Satoshi Ishii def. Heath Herring via Decision (Unanimous) R2 5:00

Tenshin Nasukawa vs. Francesco Ghigliotti

Round 1

This flyweight bout will be contested with three-minute rounds. Nasukawa gauges the distance with an inside leg kick, then moves inside with a three-punch combo that glances Ghigliotti. Ghigliotti circles away but moves back to the ropes and Nasukawa is all over him, stalking behind a high guard. Inside leg kick lands for the 18-year-old Nasukawa, then he steps in and unloads with both hands. The Italian tries to get out of dodge but Nasukawa cuts him off with great footwork and rips him with a left hand that bounces the Italian back off the ropes. Without giving him a second to breathe, Nasukawa launches a left roundhouse kick that smokes Ghigliotti in the temple and sends him stumbling to the canvas. Nasukawa is on him in a flash, ripping away with both hands to finish off the bout as referee Yoshinori Umeki dives in to save Ghigliotti.

The Official Result

Tenshin Nasukawa def. Francesco Ghigliotti via TKO (Head Kick and Punches) R1 1:07

Rena Kubota vs. Dora Perjes

Round 1

Kubota closes the distance quickly, but the minute she does, Perjes leaps at her and attempts essentially a flying back take. The Hungarian doesn't get there, but winds up on the mat in an armbar position, then pendulums her hips over the back and winds up sinking both hooks on Kubota with an impressive display of flexibility. Perjes goes over the top and locks up an armbar, turning Kubota over and extending the arm. The Shoot Boxing star extricates her arm and lets Perjes stand. Kubota presses again, landing a hard liver kick that drops her foe. Kubota walks away, perhaps forgetting this isn't a Shoot Boxing bout, but referee Jason Herzog reminds her she needs to keep fighting. As Perjes stands, Kubota drills her with a teep to the body that drops her, then begins stomping Perjes' face. Perjes hangs onto Kubota's leg for dear life as Herzog warns Kubota about grabbing the ropes. Kubota lands a leaping Chute Boxe-style stomp on Perjes' face, then allows her to stand again. Perjes already looks ready to go, then Kubota drills her with another liver kick, then a left hook to the same spot. The Hungarian crumbles, Herzog dives in and this one is over.

The Official Result

Rena Kubota def. Dora Perjes via KO (Punch to the Body) R1 2:49

Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Yuki Motoya

Round 1

After 10 seconds of feeling one another out, Motoya takesa leap at Horiguchi and eats a big right hand in the air. When Motoya lands, Horiguchi stays on him, tagging him with a running combination, then tripping him from the clinch. Motoya overhooks Horiguchi's arms and tries to stall him out, but Horiguchi frees himself and lands a heavy right hand from the top. Motoya jumps back to his feet quickly. Motoya approaches again and eats another big right hand, then a head kick, then a clinch knee. Motoya gets his wits back, then eats another right hand. Horiguchi is starting to piece him up, but Motoya changes levels and runs the former UFC title challenger to the mat with a well-timed takedown. Horiguchi gets double butterfly hooks and kicks Motoya away, leaping up, then tackling Motoya down. Horiguchi isn't dedicated to top position, so he keeps a loose posture that allows Motoya to pop back up again. Motoya throws a left head kick and Horiguchi partially catches it, clinching up, getting double underhooks and spinning Motoya to the mat. Hard right hands on top from Horiguchi, who postures up and swipes down at Motoya with lunging punches. Motoya ties up his foe, but Horiguchi moves from half guard, to side control, then briefly to full mount. Motoya bucks him off and Horiguchi simply stands again. Motoya lands a left hand, but Horiguchi kicks him in the ribs. Motoya jabs, but Horiguchi drills him with a faster, cleaner jab before Motoya can land. Two-piece for Horiguchi lands as he stalks Motoya, then changes levels, pops up and lands a right hook. Motoya takes another leap at Horiguchi and winds up in a body lock. They separate, but Motoya throws another body kick with no set up and walks right into a left hand from Horiguchi. They clinch again, Horiguchi gets a brief rear waistlock and as they break, clocks Motoya with a hard right. Another Motoya leap with no real strike, and again Horiguchi rips him with a right hand. Motoya keeps plodding along until he walks into yet another right hand from Horiguchi and this one collapses him to his knees. Horiguchi dives onto Motoya, taking his back and looking for the rear-naked choke. Horiguchi locks it up, but it's not perfectly below the jaw, so Motoya is able to turn out to the bottom of full mount, then shrimp to half guard with a minute left in the 10-minute opening round. Motoya just tries to hang onto Horiguchi, who stands up and stomps on his face. Motoya eats the stomp, then jumps back to his feet. Horiguchi stalks him back to the ropes, but can't unload any more artillery before the bell sounds.

Round 2

Despite the beating he took in the first round, Motoya throws back as Horiguchi swarms him, but winds up eating another big right hand, then Horiguchi casually tosses him to the mat. The American Top Team rep settles in half guard, while Motoya looks for a kimura from the bottom. The attempt goes nowhere. Horiguchi breaks his posture and looks to pound, but Motoya winds up sliding under the bottom rope and slipping out of the ring. Referee Jason Herzog brings them back in and when they're on the feet, Horiguchi lands another volley of punches, then elevates Motoya with a double-leg slam. The Deep product pops back up quickly as Horiguchi shows little interest in keeping him on the mat. Left body kick lands for Horiguchi, then Motoya takes a run at him and shoots a sloppy double. Horiguchi easily defends and winds up with a rear waistlock while Motoya tries for a standing kimura. Horiguchi just throws him to the mat to free his arm and allows Motoya to stand. With just over 60 seconds to go, Horiguchi winds up with another rear waistlock out of the clinch and the same sequence plays out, but this time, Motoya drops to the mat as he looks for the kimura. Horiguchi yanks his arm out and sets up in half guard. Motoya tries to overhook Horiguchi's arms, but eats a hard right hand. Horiguchi dives back on top and holds Motoya down until the fight expires.

The Official Result

Kyoji Horiguchi def. Yuki Motoya via Decision (Unanimous) R2 5:00

Amir Aliakbari vs. Geronimo dos Santos

Round 1

As soon as dos Santos closes in on Aliakbari and lets his hands go, the Greco-Roman wrestler clinches up and easily dos Santos on the mat. Aliakbari quickly moves into side control, then takes top crucifix position, knuckling the Brazilian up with short right hands and hammerfists. Dos Santos bucks and tries to escape but looks helpless off of his back as Aliakbari maintains the top crucifix and keeps pounding. “Mondragon” shifts his hips from side to side but gets nowhere and Aliakbari lays down another salvo of right hands. Dos Santos gets his head dribbled some more and shifts to his side. Aliakbari jams his forearm into dos Santos' throat, taking away some precious oxygen before going back to a steady stream of right hands. Dos Santos is absolutely trapped on bottom with no ability to escape from the crucifix. The AKA Thailand just stays heavy and keeps drilling dos Santos with punches until referee Hirokazu Takamoto is forced into action, ending the one-sided bout.

The Official Result

Amir Aliakbari def. Geronimo dos Santos via TKO (Punches) R1 3:36

Anthony Birchak vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri

Round 1

Both featherweights open with inside low kicks to start, but when Birchak throws a left roundhouse kick upstairs, Kawajiri catches it and dumps him on the mat. Birchak pops up quickly, but as he does, Kawajiri hangs onto a waistlock and drags him back to the canvas. Birchak tries to scramble back up, but when he goes belly down briefly, Kawajiri takes his back with both hooks. The Arizona native stands up anyhow, carrying Kawajiri like a backpack across the ring and moving to his corner. Kawajiri works for the rear-naked choke while Birchak repeatedly digs elbows into his thighs and calf. “Crusher” keeps working for the rear-naked choke but can't get further than a nasty crossface. More elbows to the legs from Birchak as Kawajiri sinks the body triangle around his torso. Just past the four-minute mark, Birchak shakes the former Shooto world champion, turns, faces and shoots. Kawajiri easily shuts it down, then gets a takedown of his own, landing in half guard. Birchak frames up a kimura from bottom, then catches Kawajiri in an armbar. Kawajiri patiently waits, stacks his man, then extricates his arm. For the last three munutes of the 10-minute opener, Kawajiri sits in full guard, landing punches and hammerfists with both hands, while Birchak tries to throw back from his guard. Birchak gets rubber guard briefly, moving to mission control, but he can't do anything with it before Kawajiri punches his way through his posture and resumes pounding away until the bell.

Round 2

Birchak attacks Kawajiri quickly, throwing his hands, then knocking the Japanese fighter back with a head kick. The strike prompts a shot from Kawajiri, but Birchak brilliantly counters with an uchimata, tossing Kawajiri. “Crusher” holds onto a whizzer, which he uses to scramble up, but Birchak sweeps him over and nearly takes full mount in a neat scramble. Instead, the Japanese fighter settles into Birchak's guard and gets busy trying to pass it. Birchak continues punching from the bottom, but Kawajiri easily moves to half guard, then full mount. Kawajiri looks for an arm-triangle choke but can't sink it deep enough. Instead, he reaffirms mount and hammers away on Birchak with punches and hammerfists. With 30 seconds to go, Kawajiri shows the vintage form that earned him the “Crusher” nickname, sitting in a high mount and smashing Birchak in the face with both hands, pounding away until the final bell. Sherdog.com scores the bout for Tatsuya Kawajiri.

The Official Result

Tatsuya Kawajiri def. Anthony Birchak via Decision (Unanimous) R2 5:00

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