Kai Asakura Claims Bantamweight Crown with Soccer Kick KO at Rizin 23

By Tristen Critchfield Aug 10, 2020

Kai Asakura claimed the vacant Rizin Fighting Federation bantamweight championship in emphatic fashion on Monday.

The 26-year-old Tri-Force Akasaka product defeated Hiromasa Ougikubo via technical knockout in the Rizin 23 headliner at Pia Arena MMA in Yokohama, Japan to capture the title that was vacated when previous champion Manel Kape signed with the UFC. Asakura (15-2) brought a halt to the contest 4:31 into the first round. It was the Japanese promotion’s second event in as many days after being shut down for nearly six months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

An explosive finishing sequence began when Asakura landed an uppercut that put Ougikubo on the defensive near the ropes. With his opponent cornered, Asakura executed a flying knee that sent Ougikubo (20-5-2) to the canvas, where he continued to tee off with punches. As the former Shooto titlist tried to defend himself, Asakura connected with a pair of vicious soccer kicks to force referee Minoru Toyonaga to step in and wave off the bout.

Elsewhere, Deep veteran Yuki Motoya scored a submission triumph against Mamoru Uoi in the bantamweight co-main event. A guillotine choke forced Uoi to tap out at the 2:19 mark of Round 3.

The bout was contested primarily on the feet, but Motoya (24-8) seized his opportunity by ensaring his opponent in the fight-ending choke and jumping guard after an exchange in the third stanza. Once the squeeze was applied, it was only a matter of moments before Uoi (23-9-4) asked out of the fight.

In earlier action: Yutaka Saito (18-4-2) defeated Kazumasa Majima (13-2) via knockout 24 seconds into Round 2 of their featherweight bout thanks to a brutal barrage of soccer kicks and knees; Jin Aoi (8-3-1) outpoined Kotetsu Boku (26-15-2) at featherweight; Makoto Takahashi (11-1-1) utilized a flying guillotine choke to tap out Seiichiro Ito (12-4-2) 4:30 into Round 2 at 130 pounds and Tatsuki Saomoto (13-2) knocked out Yusaku Nakamura (16-8-1) at the 4:06 mark of Round 1 in a flyweight tilt.

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