The lights come back on at Yokohama’s Pia Arena as the venue hosts its second event in successive days, with Rizin FF 23 completing the promotion’s double-header as they return with their second post-COVID-19 event, taglined “Calling Over.”
The main event features a battle for the vacant Rizin FF bantamweight title, as former title challenger Kai Asakura gets a second successive shot at the vacant 135-pound belt against Hiromasa Ogikubo.
Asakura’s first attempt ended in a knockout defeat to Manel Kape, who has since departed the promotion to sign for the UFC. It means the strap is up for grabs once again, and the door has reopened for Asakura (14-2), who will now face Ogikubo (20-4-2), who booked his place in the title fight with a pair of split-decision victories over fellow contenders Yuki Motoya and Shintaro Ishiwatari last year at Rizin FF 17 and 20 respectively.
With the title on the line in the main event, the co-headliner features a pair of contenders who will look to position themselves as the next man in line to fight for the belt.
Motoya was narrowly edged out by Ogikubo last year in a highly-competitive fight, and suffered a first-round submission loss to Bellator’s Patchy Mix at Rizin FF 20. But the 30-year-old rebounded with a decision win at DEEP 94 Impact in March to send him into Monday’s fight night in winning form.
He’ll take on Mamoru Uoi, (billed in Japan as Uoi Fullswing), who is looking to bounce back into the win column following back to back defeats for Japanese promotion Shooto.
His last appearance in the Rizin FF ring brought success, however, with a soccer kick KO giving him an eye-catching knockout victory at Rizin FF 16 last June. Now Uoi returns to Rizin hoping to rediscover that form and catapult himself into title contention in the process.
Rizin FF 23 live results include:
- Kai Asakura vs. Hiromasa Ogikubo (for vacant bantamweight title)
- Mamoru Uoi vs. Yuki Motoya
- Kazumasa Majima vs. Yutaka Saito
- Jin Aoi vs. Kotetsu Boku
- Seiichiro Ito vs. Makoto Shinryu
- Tatsuki Saomoto def. Yusaku Nakamura via TKO (punches) – Round 1