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Roberto De Souza Submits Johnny Case, Defends Lightweight Championship at Rizin 35



Rizin Fighting Federation’s latest event went down at the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza in Tokyo, Japan, and featured three championship rematches.

The Rizin 35 headliner saw Roberto de Souza facing Johnny Case in a lightweight championship clash. De Souza (14-1, 7-1 Rizin) and Case (27-8-1, 3-2 Rizin) had a brief exchange on the feet before “Satoshi” shot for a single-leg takedown. Case reversed the attempt in the brief scramble that followed. Shortly afterward, Case ended up in the crucifix position before De Souza shrugged him off his back. “Hollywood” looked good on the feet as his jab was starting to hit the mark more frequently. In turn, the Brazilian champion quickly jumped on Case’s back and locked up a triangle while dragging his opponent to the mat. After putting Case on his back, De Souza had his opponent’s arm in the perfect spot for a submission attempt. “Satoshi” delivered the finish with a spectacular inverted triangle armbar that left Case no choice but to tap at the 3:32 mark of Round 1. In addition to defending the lightweight championship, De Souza vindicated the only defeat on his record, a first-round technical knockout loss to Case at 2019’s Rizin 19.

The co-main event featured the second battle between Juntaro Ushiku and Yutaka Saito in a featherweight championship affair. The contestants spent most of the fight testing each other’s reactions with a limited amount of punches and kicks. Saito (20-7-2, 3-3 Rizin) took the initiative for some grappling exchanges early in Round 1 but never endangered Ushiku. In Round 2, Ushiku (20-6, 2-0 Rizin) knocked Saito down with a perfectly timed head kick but failed to finish his opponent with a subsequent guillotine choke attempt. Saito recovered some ground thanks to some haymakers and head kicks that rocked Ushiku in the third frame. The last minute of the fight featured heated exchanges on both parts. While the stats seemed to be in favor of Saito, all three cageside judges sided with Ushiku, who notched his first title defense thanks to a surprising unanimous decision.

In a highly-anticipated rematch, reigning Jewels strawweight champion Seika Izawa (6-0, 2-0 Rizin) imposed her will on Ayaka Hamasaki (23-5, 9-3 Rizin) en route to a unanimous decision victory that rewarded Izawa with Rizin’s super atomweight championship.



Earlier, 52-year-old Pride Fighting Championships veteran Tsuyoshi Kosaka (28-21-2, 2-2 Rizin) landed a highlight-reel knockout against 27-year-old adversary Mikio Ueda (0-1, 0-1 Rizin) at the 2:05 mark of Round 1 before announcing his retirement.

Before the intermission, former Rizin atomweight grand prix winner Kanna Asakura (19-6, 11-5 Rizin) defeated Satomi Takano (16-13, 0-1 Rizin) by unanimous decision; Ultimate Fighting Championship alum Spike Carlyle (14-3, 1-0 Rizin) choked out Koji Takeda (13-3, 3-3 Rizin) thanks to a guillotine that halted the contest 1:35 into the second stanza of their 155-pound affair; in a heavyweight tilt, Shoma Shibisai (8-3, 1NC; 4-2 Rizin) stopped Rihards Bigis (9-1, 0-1 Rizin) with punches and elbows at the 1:36 mark of the opening frame; Yuki Motoya (30-10, 1NC; 7-5, 1NC Rizin) did enough to take home a unanimous decision victory over Alan Yamaniha (18-10-4, 1-2 Rizin) at bantamweight; Vugar Karamov (16-4, 2-1 Rizin) shut off the lights of Taichi Nakajima (14-12, 0-1 Rizin) with a triangle choke at 2:00 of Round 1 of their 145-pound encounter; and featherweight Kyle Aguon (14-10, 1-2 Rizin) outpointed Takahiro Ashida (22-12-2, 1-2 Rizin) on all scorecards.
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