Rizin 26 Preview

New Year's Eve mixed martial arts is back thanks to Rizin Fighting Federation! Rizin FF in a Japanese MMA promotion started by former Pride FC president Nobuyuki Sakakibara in 2015. Since then Rizin has kept the tradition of doing a big show on New Year's Eve and despite COVID, 2020 will be no different.

Ever since the triple header of Pride FC Shockwave 2003, Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2003 Inoki Festival, and K-1 PREMIUM 2003 Dynamite!! a major Japanese MMA organization has run a big show on New Year's Eve. Although there have been years where there was no major organization operating but I'm sure smaller promotions ran some shows those years.

On December 31, 2020 the legendary Saitama Super Arena will host Rizin 26. Although normally there would be a fair amount of foreign talent on a card like this COVID has forced Rizin to focus almost exclusively on Japanese fighters for this event. For this article, I will preview the top six bouts taking place at Rizin 26.

Ikuhisa Minowa versus Tsuyoshi Sudario

Perhaps best known for winning the openweight Dream Super Hulk Grand Prix tournament and for his supreme toughness, Ikuhisa Minowaman Minowa has had a storied MMA career. His bouts would often mix MMA with pro wrestling as he attempted high risk manoeuvres such as dropkicks during actual fights. Tsuyoshi Sudario is a former sumo wrestler with a 1-0 MMA record. Apparently he was forced to retire from sumo after multiple incidents of assault. That's not good! It kinda looks like a fading Minowaman is being fed to an up and comer here, but we will see what the result is on December 31.

Hideo Tokoro versus Shinobu Ota

It's a Olympic silver medallist in greco-roman wrestling making his MMA debut (Shinobu Ota) versus a veteran with 66 professional fights to his name (Hideo Tokoro). While Tokoro doesn't have the best record (34 wins, 30 losses, 2 draws) he could pull out the win as long as he is able to implement his own game. Ota probably wins the fight but it should be a fun one to watch.

Takanori Gomi versus Koji

Mixed martial arts legend Takanori Gomi takes on kickboxer Koji Tanaka in a special standing bout. According to the rules, the fighters will only be allowed to punch and throw spinning back fists and the fight will be three five minute rounds. This is Gomi's first fight since July 2018 when he knocked out Melvin Guillard.

Tenshin Nasukawa versus Kumandoi Petcharoenvit

In this kickboxing bout the spectacular Tenshin Nasukawa takes on Kumandoi Petcharoenvit. Here is Petcharoenvit's wikipedia page but I have to go with Tenshin for this one.

Ayaka Hamasaki versus Miyuu Yamamoto

Ayaka Hamasaki is the former Rizin super atomweight champion and the former Invicta atomweight champion. Miyuu Yamamoto is the sister of Norifumi Kid Yamamoto. This one will be good. I have no idea if Yamamoto can pull it off at age 46 though.

Kai Asakura versus Kyoji Horiguchi

Kyoji Horiguchi's last fight was a knockout loss to Kai Asakura early in the first round. So Asakura holds the advantage that way! Horiguchi should be the better fighter on paper, but he is coming back from an ACL injury for this fight as well.

I hope you enjoyed this preview! The link to buy and watch Rizin 26 is here.

This is my day 52 post for #100daystooffload

This work by Thomas Lloyd is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

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