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Kai Asakura Vacates Rizin Bantamweight Title, Announces He’s Signing with UFC



The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s bantamweight division is about to receive an upgrade.

Rizin Fighting Federation champion Kai Asakura announced during Rizin 47 on Sunday that he is vacating his belt to sign with the UFC. The Las Vegas-based promotion has not formally announced the acquisition. As part of his farewell, Asakura paid tribute to the organization and Rizin CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara.

“I am giving up my belt and going to the UFC,” Asakura said. “I think there will be an announcement from the UFC soon, but it’s official that I’m going. This should be exciting news, but right now I feel very lonely. I believe that thanks to RIZIN, I, who was originally no one, was recognized as a fighter, a martial artist, a man. And last year, on New Years’ Eve, it was Mr. Sakakibara who accepted my selfish request to go to the UFC without a single defense. I would like to thank Mr. Sakakibara from the bottom of my heart for his support. Thank you very much.”

The 30-year-old Asakura is a two-time Rizin bantamweight champion. He regained the crown with a second-round TKO of Juan Archuleta in his last outing at Rizin 45 in December 2023. The Japan Top Team product went 13-3 within the Japanese promotion and owns a 21-4 career mark that also includes stints in Road FC and Rings. His resume includes victories over the likes of Manel Kape, Kyoji Horiguchi, Hiromasa Ougikubo, Yuki Motoya, Yuta Sasaki and Archuleta.
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