Mikuru Asakura believes his support for younger brother Kai has helped him to flourish as a mixed martial artist. This close bond has been vital in getting each other through tough times, particularly in their respective professional careers.

When they have fallen on hard times and tasted defeat, they are each other’s closest confidants. The brothers also watch a lot of matches together to try and pick up new techniques that they can bring into their bouts and use to snatch their next victory.

While Mikuru is riding a 7-fight winning streak Kai is coming off the toughest loss of his entire career. The former will be back in action at Rizin 21 and says his brother has been indispensable in helping him prepare for Daniel Salas,

“We are our hardest critics. We had a lot of talks, a lot of mental training, visualizing fights a lot. It really helped us in our fights,” Mikuru said through his translator.

Highly competitive

Like any brothers, they are also highly competitive. Sparring is the perfect chance for a bit of brotherly competition.

Their exchanges can get a little intense, but that is all part of pushing each other to stay on their game and improve with every training session.

“We grapple and spar a lot in the gym, so there’s always a moment where we unintentionally hurt each other. But in the end, we just laugh at it. But things like that are bound to happen in training. I have no jealousy towards my brother, only respect,” he explained.

“We always tell each other to believe in your abilities. We just want each other to do the best we can do. I only want him to do good, and he wants the best for me too,” Mikuru added.

Successful collaboration

So far, their collaborative effort has worked a treat for both of them.

During his current streak, Mikuru has won three of his assignments last year in astounding fashion, capping off his 2019 with a unanimous decision victory over John Teixeira at Rizin 20.

On the other hand, Kai made headlines in 2019 by defeating former bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi via first-round knockout in a non-title contest at Rizin 18. He followed it up with a 54-second demolition of UFC veteran Ulka Sasaki at Rizin 19.

Unfortunately for Asakura, he failed to close out the year with a gold-plated strap around his waist, bowing to arch-nemesis Manel Kape by way of second-round stoppage in their rematch for the vacant bantamweight strap at Rizin 20.

Sibling support

When he returns to action against Salas, it goes without saying that the 27-year-old Aichi, Japan native will have Kai right in his corner.

Mikuru is eager to have his hand raised in triumph, with his younger brother serving as his inspiration.

“I want to win my upcoming fight for my brother. Losing is part of this sport. As a brother, I will do anything to uplift his spirit. I know he will be able to bounce back. But I will give him a reason to be motivated,” he stated.

Mikuru is not taking Salas lightly, but he tells fans to expect fireworks as he steps backs into the five-rope Rizin ring,

“I’ve seen a few minutes of my opponent’s fights, and I think he is very tough. But still, I know I can put on an entertaining fight regardless of my opponent, so I ask everybody to come and watch my fight live.”