Naoki Inoue has suffered a serious knee injury during training. The 25 year old tore his meniscus and is expected to be out of action for around two months ruling him out of Rizin 37.

He had been booked to face Kenta Takizawa in the main event but the bout has been cancelled and no replacement has been found for Inoue. He announced he would have to withdraw due to an undisclosed injury just 11 days before the event and this morning the promotion confirmed he had torn his meniscus.

Main event

Instead the event will be headlined by the super atomweight Grand Prix quarter final between rising star Seika Izawa and Laura Fontoura. The undefeated Brazilian is coming off a win over Rizin veteran Andy Nguyen.

As previously announced the event will feature all four quarter finals of the super atomweight Grand Prix with four Japanese fighters facing four foreign opponents. The last time Rizin held a 108lbs Grand Prix was in 2017 and finalists Kanna Asakura and Rena Kubota are both returning for this tournament.

Asakura  who went on to capture the Rizin super atomweight tournament, has been matched with Korea’s Si Woo Park.. Rena faces Ukrainian Anastasiya Svetkivska.

Former Rizin super atomweight champion Ayaka Hamasaki will be on the comeback trail. She lost her title after being beaten twice by Seika Izawa and has been matched with UFC veteran Jessica Aguilar in the quarter final.

Lightweight fight

Meanwhile a big lightweight fight has been added to the Rizin 37 card. The event is set for the Saitama Super Arena on July 31st and will feature a lightweight fight between Johnny Case and Koji Takeda.

Case is the only fight to ever beat current lightweight champion Roberto de Souza. But he was submitted in the opening round by the Brazilian when they rematched at Rizin 35 in April.

Takeda is the reigning Deep lightweight champion. But his last five fights have all been under the Rizin banner and he has won three of them but is coming off a loss to UFC veteran Spike Carlyle.

Back to back

Inoue might have pulled out but there will still be a big bantamweight bout on the Rizin 37 card. Yuki Motoya has been matched with Shinobu Ota with the former having won back to back fights since being eliminated from the Grand Prix in the quarter finals.

Ota is also coming off back to back wins. He won a silver medal in wrestling at the Olympics in 2016 and has fought three times for Rizin since switching his focus to MMA in 2020.

Motoya will have a huge advantage in terms of MMA experience. He is a former Deep flyweight and bantamweight champion who made his pro debut in 2010.

Age gap

In the flyweight division veteran Hideo Tokoro  will be competing in MMA for the first time since his win over Ota. He has kept extremely busy during the intervening years, taking part in a number of grappling contests and exhibition matches most notably against Tenshin Nasukawa last year.

The 44 year old has been matched with Makoto Takahashi. He is the reigning Deep flyweight champion and will be making his Rizin debut against an opponent more than two decades his senior.

Best of the rest

In the featherweight division  UFC veteran Ulka Sasaki faces ONE Championship veteran Yoshiki Nakahara. The latter is coming off back to back losses while the former has won his last two.

Also at 145lbs Vugar Karamov   has been matched with Sora Yamamoto.. The latter replaces Rikuto Shirakawa who has had to withdraw due to injury.

Rizin 37, Tokyo, July 31st
Seika Izawa vs. Laura Fontoura (Super Atomweight)
Ayaka Hamasaki vs. Jessica Aguilar (Super atomweight)
Hideo Tokoro vs. Makoto Takahashi (Bantamweight)
Johnny Case vs. Koji Takeda (Lightweight)
Kota Miura vs. Felipe Masoni (Featherweight)
Kanna Asakura vs. Si Woo Park (Super atomweight)
Rena Kubota vs. Anastasiya Svetkivska (Super atomweight)
Hideki Sekine vs. Tsuyoshi Sudario (Heavyweight)
Yuki Motoya vs. Shinobu Ota (Bantamweight)
Ulka Sasaki vs. Yoshiki Nakahara (Featherweight)
Marcos Souza vs Daichi Abe (Catchweight)
Sora Yamamoto vs. Vugar Karamov (Featherweight)
Kickboxing: Ryusei vs. Kaishi (Flyweight)
Kickboxing: Hiroki Kasahara vs. Yusaku Ishizuki (Bantamweight)
Yushi vs. Haruki (Bantamweight)