Kai Asakura captured the Rizin FF bantamweight title at the second attempt with a devastating first-round finish of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 24 finalist Hiromasa Ogikubo in the main event of the evening.
Asakura’s first shot at the Rizin bantamweight strap ended in a knockout defeat as he was beaten by Manel Kape at Rizin FF 20 on New Year’s Eve, 2019. But, following Kape’s departure to the UFC earlier this year, Asakura (15-2) was handed a second shot at the newly-vacated belt, and he made sure he didn’t waste his chance as he demolished Ogikubo (20-5-2) inside a round to claim the title in impressive style.
Former Shooto flyweight champion Ogikubo lost out to Tim Elliott in the final of Season 24 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” and after defeating Yuki Motoya and Shintaro Ishiwatari in 2019, he positioned himself for a shot at the vacant belt. But he had no answer to Asakura’s power as he succumbed to a relentless barrage of shots in a punishing one-round defeat.
Asakura started out fast and connected with a solid body kick, then a flying knee to the body. Ogikubo hung tough, though, and fired back with shots of his own as he looked to catch Asakura on his way in.
By the midway point in the round, Asakura was putting his shots together beautifully, and a solid uppercut briefly stiffened Ogikubo’s legs. Asakura continued to stalk his man around the ring and refused to allow him a moment’s respite as he threatened with punches, kicks and knees, all thrown at full power.
Perhaps sensing he had his opponent’s number, Asakura exploded into action again as he connected with another big uppercut, followed by a flying knee, as he badly hurt Ogikubo, who fell to the canvas. Asakura then followed up with some punishing ground strikes, then a pair of huge soccer kicks, with the second effort propelling Ogikubo across the canvas and forcing the referee to dive in and end the fight.
It was a stunning performance, a brutal finish, and a spectacular way for Asakura to announce his arrival as Rizin FF’s newest champion.