Rizin Fighting Federation is adding to its already significant April 21 card three more tantalizing matchups featuring staples and intriguing prospects.
Via press release, the organization announced three more bouts at Rizin 15 at the Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan. The first of those three announced fights will be a lightweight collision with Roberto de Souza (7-0) making his Rizin debut against the extremely experienced Satoru Kitaoka (42-18-9). Then, Manel Kape (12-4) will meet Seiichiro Ito (12-2-2). Finally, Koji Takeda (8-0) will take on Damien Brown (18-12) at lightweight.
Souza is unbeaten as a professional, and in seven fights he has finished all of his opponents in the first round, although only two of those seven fighters currently hold winning records. A competitor in grappling competitions including Metamoris and Quintet as well, in those organizations Souza has yet to be defeated, tapping the likes of David Garmo and Daisuke Nakamura.
Facing Souza will be Kitaoka, who will be competing in his 70th bout when he meets Souza. Kitaoka celebrates more career wins than all seven of Souza's opponents held when he faced them combined (41). Kitaoka last competed at Rizin "Heisei's Last Yarennoka!" on Dec 30, taking a split decision over Tatsuya Kawajiri in the main event.
Rizin 2017 Bantamweight Grand Prix semifinalist Kape smashed his way through the tournament with two first round knockouts of Erson Yamamoto and Ian McCall, before running into a buzzsaw in eventual tournament winner Kyoji Horiguchi. Since that bout with Horiguchi, Kape has dropped two of his last three, most recently losing a decision to Yuta Sasaki at Rizin 14 in December.
Zst flyweight champion Ito had a 12-fight unbeaten streak dating back to 2012 snapped in his last bout against Tatsuki Saomoto in October. Ito competed once for Rizin, at Rizin 5 in 2017, beating Kizaemon Saiga on the scorecards.
Brown made his Rizin debut at Rizin 14 last December, submitting heavy favorite Daron Cruickshank in the first round. Previously, Brown ended a six-fight stint in the Ultimate Fighting Championship after dropping a "Fight of the Night" split decision to Frank Camacho and then losing another split decision to Dong Hyun Ma in 2018.
Brown's opponent Takeda is unbeaten in eight fights in Japan, most recently toppling Deep lightweight champion Kitaoka by decision in October to win the title. Takeda started his career with four straight finishes, but in his last four bouts he has won by unanimous decision each time.
Rizin 15 Announced LineupMuhammed Lawal (21-8) vs. Jiri Prochazka (23-3-1)
Kyoji Horiguchi (26-2) vs. Ben Nguyen (17-8)
Mikuru Asakura (9-1) vs. Luiz Gustavo (9-0)
Kai Asakura (12-1) vs. Yuta Sasaki (22-6-2)
Damien Brown (18-12) vs. Koji Takeda (8-0)
Satoru Kitaoka (42-18-9) vs. Roberto de Souza (7-0)
Manel Kape (12-4) vs. Seiichiro Ito (12-2-2)