Kyle Johnson (@VonPreux) July 28, 2019
Fight Facts is a breakdown of all of the interesting information and ring rarities on every card, with some puns, references and portmanteaus to keep things fun. These deep stat dives delve into the numbers, providing historical context and telling the stories behind those numbers.
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TOTAL NUMBER OF RIZIN FIGHTS: 201
TOTAL NUMBER OF RIZIN EVENTS: 20
Rizin Fighting Federation on Sunday celebrated its 20th event with a show in the Saitama Super Arena on Saitama, Japan. Rizin 17 featured the elusive north-south choke, a few unbeaten powerhouses and two spectacular walkouts.
THREE DOWN TO THE GROUND: After starting off his Rizin career with five consecutive wins, Yusuke Yachi has now dropped each of his last three fights following his decision defeat to Mikuru Asakura. His three-fight Rizin losing streak ties Andy Souwer, Anthony Birchak, Erson Yamamoto and Reina Miura for the longest in company history. Earlier on the card, Miura also tied that record.
THE MONSON CHOKE: Shintaro Ishiwatari pulled off the first north-south choke in combined Rizin-Pride Fighting Championships history when he tapped Yuta Sasaki in the second round. Of note, this maneuver has been seen one time in World Extreme Cagefighting (Rani Yahya), two times in Strikeforce (Tim Kennedy) and (Trevor Smith) and five times in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (Yahya, Jeff Monson, Jake Ellenberger and Michel Prazeres twice).
RIZIN IS THE PLACE FOR HIM: Ivan Shtyrkov remained unbeaten at 16-0-1 after knocking out Hoon Kim in the second period. Originally slated to make his UFC debut in April, Shtyrkov tested positive for boldenone and was suspended for two years. He was subsequently released.
SAVING SATORU: When his corner stopped the fight after the first round against Johnny Case, Satoru Kitaoka was saddled with his fifth loss in the Rizin ring, good for the most in the promotion’s history.
THEY THREW THE DAMN TOWEL: Kitaoka’s corner threw in the towel for its fighter, marking the third time a corner has intervened to protect its fighter at Rizin. This first occurred for Kazushi Sakuraba when he faced Shinya Aoki and later when Tsuyoshi Kosaka’s corner stopped the fight when he fought Mirko Filipovic.
DOES NOT LIKE PUNCHING: As the stoppage was recorded as a technical knockout, Kitaoka extended his record for the most knockout defeats in Rizin with four.
CRAZY EYES, CRAZY RECORD: Across his lengthy MMA career, Kitaoka holds 42 wins, with 22 by decision and all 20 of his finishes by submission. On the losing end, he has lost 10 times by knockout and another 10 on the scorecards. He also holds a whopping nine draws.
SPARKED BY SATOSHI: By knocking out Mizuto Hirota in the first round, Roberto de Souza improved his undefeated record to 9-0 with nine finishes, including eight in the opening stanza.
HE ATE AN APPLE A DAY: Jake Heun secured the stoppage over Vitaly Shemetov when he slashed him with an elbow in the last round and sliced open the Russian immediately. Before seeking the doctor’s advice, referee Ryogaku Wada stopped the fight, ruling it a technical knockout due to a cut instead of a traditional doctor stoppage.
HAM WENT HAM: By dispatching Tomo Maesawa with knees at 3:14 of the first round, Seo Hee Ham picked up the first knee-related finish in Rizin women’s divisional history.
THE KING LOST HER CROWN: “King” Miura lost a decision to Stephanie Egger, dropping her third bout under the Rizin banner. The loss tied her with Kanna Asakura and Miyuu Yamamoto for the most losses of any female fighter in company history.
NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN: Coming into Rizin 17, Hirota had never been knocked out (30 fights), Ali Abdulkhalikov had never been defeated (seven fights) and Egger had never won a fight on the scorecards (four fights).
GOLD STANDARD FOR WALKOUT MUSIC: For his dramatic entrance, Sasaki walked out while conducting classical music, including “Ode to Joy” by from Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 9” and “Dies Irae” by Verdi’s “Requiem,” all while robed opera singers accompanied him. Sasaki was unable to live up to his walkout, as he lost by submission.
YOU CAN TELL BY THE WAY I USE MY WALKOUT: Fast becoming a star in Japan, Heun danced his way to the ring again, this time to disco staple “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees. Fully equipped with the attire made famous by John Travolta’s character in “Saturday Night Fever,” Heun went on to win by knockout.
Sherdog contributing editor Jay Pettry is an attorney and a statistician. Writing about MMA since he started studying the “Eminem Curse” in 2012 and working for Vice Sports and Combat Docket along the way, he put together many fight result and entrance music databases to better study the sport. You can find him on twitter at @jaypettry.