Kazuma Kuramoto made a big impact on his Rizin debut. The Pancrase veteran needed less than three minutes to finish, adjusting to the promotion’s rules instantly with a soccer kick finish.

He is married to a famous wrestler, Olympic silver medalist Eri Tosaka, and win or lose Kuramoto is certain of one thing,

“Nobody will outwrestle me.”

He might not come into the Rizin bantamweight Grand Prix as one of the favourites. But Kuramoto is confident he will be able to overcome Alan Yamaniha who he faces on Sunday.

Rizin

Domestic pressure

The 34 year old needs to book his place in the quarter finals with a win at Rizin 29 if only because he dare not disappoint his wife,

“She’s been telling me every day that my only option is to win the tournament.”

He made his promotional debut at Rizin 26 on a card at the Saitama Super Arena that featured the likes of Kyoji Horiguchi and Tenshin Nasukawa. It is a memory Kuramoto will cherish but he warns that there is much more to come,

“Fighting on New Year’s Eve was awesome (but) you haven’t even seen what I can really do. I can’t wait to show it on the big stage.”

Rizin

Big stage

Stages don’t get much bigger than the Saitama Super Arena, although the capacity was reduced to 10,000 to comply with Covid-19 restrictions.

“I really want to show my German suplex. I want to show my value.”

Kuramoto is the #1 ranked bantamweight at Shooto while Yamaniha occupies the equivalent slot in the Pancrase rankings. There will be promotional pride on the line and the 34 year old wants to put in a performance that will please the fans and placate his wife,

“My opponent is a top ranked fighter in his promotion and so am I. This will be a fun fight and I look forward to putting on an exciting performance with him.”