Jiri Prochazka, Kai Asakura shine at Rizin 19
Czech knockout artist Jiri Prochazka is the reigning light heavyweight champion and made short work of UFC veteran Fabio Maldonado that he should be taken seriously even if he was fighting above his original weight class in a catchweight contest at Rizin 19.
The bout was set for 220lbs and it was clear from the offset that Prochazka’s patented power-punching would be just as effective against bigger opponents as he sent his opponent reeling with a clean right hand in the opening moments of the first round.
Sensing that he could seal the deal right there and then, Prochazka sent Maldonado to the canvas with a three-punch combination in the corner of the ring before he drilled one follow-up punch to compel referee Ryogaku Wada to intervene and call a halt to the action at the 1:49 mark.
With the impressive victory over Maldonado, Prochazka polishes his outstanding record in the sport that currently stands at 25-3. In addition, the win also extends his dknockout streak to seven.
In his post-match interview, Prochazka declared that he is open to fight any fighter in his weight class from Rizin or Bellator.
On the other hand, Maldonado downgrades his win-loss standing to 25-14. He has lost five of his last eight fights since being released by the UFC in 2015.
In the co-headliner of the evening, Kai Asakura (14-1) continued to ride the momentum of his upset win over Rizin and Bellator bantamweight titleholder Kyoji Horiguchi as he manhandled ex-UFC fighter Ulka Sasaki (22-8-2) in just 54 seconds.
Asakura buckled Sasaki with a devastating right hand and followed it up with a series of lethal knees to the head.
When Sasaki started to spit out a tremendous amount of blood from his mouth, the referee decided to wave off the bout, with the broadcast team claiming that he could not continue due to a broken jaw.
Asakura is expected to have his rematch with Horiguchi on the much-awaited December 31st card, but this time, the latter’s bantamweight crown will be on the line.
Meanwhile, four men punched their tickets to the semi-final round of the Rizin Lightweight World Grand Prix, winning their respective matches by way of first-round finishes.
American stalwart Johnny Case (27-6) thwarted previously-unbeaten prospect Roberto Satoshi Souza (9-1) with a sneaky right hook as the Japanese-Brazilian combatant recklessly dived in on a takedown but was caught with the bout-ending blow.
Furthermore, Bellator standout Patricky Freire (22-8) authored a sensational Rizin debut by dispatching Tatsuya Kawajiri (37-14) with a flying knee and a volley of brutal punches for the rousing stoppage triumph.
Tofiq Musaev (16-3) decimated Damien Brown (19-13) with a torrent of impactful grounded punches in the first round to advance to the semi-finals.
Meanwhile Luiz Gustavo (10-1) opened a gruesome gash above the left eye of Hiroto Uesako (16-8) with a well-executed overhand right that forced the ringside physician to make an order to stop the fight.