Kai Asakura has pulled out of Super Rizin 2. He had been scheduled to challenge for the bantamweight belt at Saitama Super Arena on July 30th but has been forced to pull out after suffering an injury.
Rizin did not waste any time in finding a replacement. Hiromasa Ougikubo will now be taking on Juan Archuleta in a fight which has the vacant bantamweight title on the line.
Asakura took to Twitter just now to apologize although he didn’t disclose the nature of the injury,
I am sorry to all the fans and to my opponent, Archuleta, that I will be absent due to injury this time. It’s really frustrating and I honestly feel that I still haven’t sorted out my heart. But I will definitely recover from my injuries and come back to the ring. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Ogikubo, who took the match on my behalf.
— 朝倉 海 Kai Asakura (@kai_1031_) July 17, 2023
The bantamweight belt is not the only Rizin title that is currently vacant. Having missed weight by 0.88lbs for his last fight Kleber Koike has lost his status as a champion.
Koike has been stripped of the Rizin featherweight title. But the promotion has not wasted any time in looking to crown a new champion with Mikuru Asakura facing Vugar Karamov for the featherweight belt.
As well as being stripped of the belt Koike saw his last submission win changed to a no contest and has been overlooked for a shot at the vacant title. Instead Mikuru Asakura will be given a chance to follow in his brother’s footsteps by becoming a Rizin champion.
CEO Sakakibara has announced that Mikuru Asakura vs Vugar Keramov will be for the vacant RIZIN featherweight title!
— RIZIN FF English (@rizin_English) July 9, 2023
Returning to Japan
Tofiq Musayev will return to Japan to compete on the Super Rizin 2 card. The lightweight Grand Prix winner has been matched with Akira Okada at the Saitama Super Arena on July 30th.
Musayev has not fought for the promotion since 2021. He was submitted by Roberto de Souza in a lightweight title fight at Rizin 24 and promptly signed for Bellator afterwards.
He has enjoyed mixed fortunes competing in the US. Musayev needed just 27 seconds to knock out Sidney Outlaw on his Bellator debut but was stopped by Alexander Shabliy in his sophomore appearance.
Musayev (20-5) has a big reputation in Japan having won five fights out of six for Rizin. Okada (19-9-4) was recently crowned the interim Pancrase lightweight champion and has won six out of his last seven fights.
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) July 23, 2022
There are currently two title fights on the Super Rizin 2 card. Seika Izawa will be putting her super atomweight belt on the line when she faces Claire Lopez at the Saitama Super Arena on July 30th.
Lopez submitted Rena Kubota at Rizin Landmark 5 in April. Her reward is a shot at the undefeated champion in what will be just the French fighter’s second appearance in the Rizin ring.
— RIZIN FF OFFICIAL (@rizin_PR) June 16, 2023
In the welterweight division UFC and ONE Championship veteran Daichi Abe will be looking for his fourth straight Rizin win. He lost his Deep welterweight title recently and faces Brazilian submission specialist Igor Tanabe in a middleweight match.
In the bantamweight division Kenta Takizawa takes on Shinobu Ota. The former is coming off losses to Naoki Inoue and Kai Asakura and will be hoping to get back to winning ways here.