Kawajiri faces Kitaoka at Rizin Heisei’s Last Yarennoka
As if booking a 12 fight New Year’s Eve card headlined by an exhibition boxing match between Tenshin Nasukawa and Floyd Mayweather wasn’t enough Rizin today announced another event to take place at the Saitama Super Arena earlier in the day.
Rizin Heisei’s Last Yarennoka will be headlined by a lightweight bout between Japanese veterans Tatsuya Kawajiri and Satoru Kitaoka. Both men have been stalwarts of the Japanese scene for more than a decade but their paths have not crossed until now.
Kawajiri (36-12-2) has fought for both ONE Championship and the UFC and has challenged unsuccessfully for lightweight titles with both Strikeforce and Dream. He signed for Rizin immediately after being released by the UFC and this will be his third fight for the Japanese promotion.
Kitaoka (41-18-9) is a veteran of four Rizin fights and has spent his entire career competing in Japan. He is a former Deep and Sengoku lightweight champion who, like Kawajiri, challenged unsuccessfully for Shinya Aoki’s Dream title.
The card will also feature Kai Asakura (11-1) who will be looking to avenge the only defeat of his career and secure a fourth straight Rizin win against Je Hoon Moon (11-11). The two fought at Road FC 39 last year with the Korean bantamweight securing a late stoppage win.
The Heisei’s Last Yarennoka card also features a flyweight fight pitting Kana Watanabe (4-0-1) against Shizuka Sugiyama (14-5-1). The two were also pitted together on December 30th, 2017 with the former winning by unanimous decision.