After last weekend’s double header at the Saitama Super Arena it will be back to normal business for Rizin on September 23rd. The promotion returns to the venue with an event that will feature a featherweight fight.

Juntarou Ushiku will face Kyohei Hagiwara in a featherweight bout at Rizin 44. Both men are looking to get their careers back on track after some indifferent recent form.

Ushiku (22-10-1) is a former Rizin featherweight champion. He is coming off back to back losses but they have both come at the hands of top ranked 145lbers.

He lost his title after getting submitted by Koike Kleber at Rizin 39 in 2022. The following year he dropped a decision to Mikuru Asakura at Rizin Landmark 5.

Ushiku is also the reigning Deep featherweight champion. But he hasn’t fought for the promotion since 2021 and has three wins from his five recent Rizin fights.

Back to back

Hagiwara (7-7) is coming off possibly the best win of his career. He earned a decision win over Kyle Aguon at Rizin 41 in April, snapping a run of three straight losses.

Like Ushiku he has been matched with some of the promotion’s top 145lbers. At Rizin 26 he stopped Ren Hiramoto in the opening round, giving the former kickboxing star a debut to forget.

But he has been stopped by Kleber Koike and Chihiro Suzuki and also dropped a decision to Mikuru Asakura. This will be his 12th Rizin fight and Hagiwara will be looking to make it back to back wins for the first time since 2021.

International expansion

On November 4th Rizin will be holding a card outside of Japan for the first time in its history. The promotion will be heading to the city of Baku on Azerbaijan.

Last weekend Vugar Karamov was crowned as the promotion’s featherweight champion. The Azerbaijani submitted Mikuru Asakura and will surely be hoping to make the first defence of that belt on this card.

Lightweight Grand Prix winner Tofiq Musayev could also be in action. The Azerbaijani made his name with Rizin but these days he fights for Bellator, although like Karamov he is coming off a win at the Saitama Super Arena last weekend.

Rizin 44, Tokyo, September 23rd
Juntarou Ushiku vs. Kyohei Hagiwara (Featherweight)