The Asakura family will hoping to celebrate championship success once again when Rizin FF returns to action in November.
Rizin FF 25 takes place Saturday, Nov. 21 at Jo Hall in Osaka, Japan, with a battle for the promotion’s vacant featherweight title in the main event.
That fight will see Mikuru Asakura (13-1), older brother of Rizin bantamweight champion Kai Asakura, take on two-time Shooto featherweight champion Yutaka Saito (18-4-2) for the vacant strap with both men in red-hot form.
Asakura has won all seven of his fights under the Rizin banner, including three via head-kick knockout. Saito, meanwhile, is 6-1 from his last seven outings and made a big impression on his Rizin debut last time out with a soccer-kick finish of Kazumasa Majima at Rizin FF 23 in August.
Speaking ahead of the fight, Asakura said he plans on capturing the title, then squeezing in one more fight in 2020 at the promotion’s annual New Year’s Eve extravaganza.
“I haven’t fought since February, but I have constantly been training hard, so look forward on seeing a graded-up version of me,” he said (via press release). “I’m 7-0 in the organization so I think I deserve this title shot the most. I saw my opponent fight in August, but he’s not my match. He’ll try to grapple me but he will be met with a huge surprise. I plan to win this fight and fight on New Year’s Eve.”
Saito, meanwhile, was typically respectful in his comments ahead of the matchup, saying, “My opponent is a very tough opponent so I will work hard to put on a good fight and become champion. I was expecting a few more fights before getting the title shot but I think the timing is right. I don’t want to miss this opportunity so I will do everything It takes to get that belt.”
Confirmed Rizin FF 25 fights include:
- Mikuru Asakura vs. Yutaka Saito – for featherweight title
- Hiromasa Ogikubo vs. Kenta Takizawa
- Kyohei Hagiwara vs. Yojiro Uchimura
- Ryuichiro Sumimura vs. Gota Yamashita
- Daichi Kitakata vs. Tatsuki Saomoto