Roberto de Souza’s lightweight reign of dominance continues. The Brazilian avenged the only loss of his entire career at Rizin 35, submitting Johnny Case in the opening round at the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza.

Both men looked to trade punches in the centre of the ring at the start of the fight with neither able to gain a clear advantage. After a minute de Souza shot for a single leg takedown and rolled onto his back.

He had Case in his guard and threw his legs up looking for an armbar. He ended up with the UFC veteran on his back and the American elected to stand up again before the the referee eventually told de Souza to get up too.

Roberto de Souza punches Johnny Case during their lightweight title fight at Rizin 35 in Tokyo


Trading punches

They traded punches again with de Souza trying a head kick to demonstrate his improved striking skills. He shot for another takedown and immediately took Case’s back.

From there he transitioned to an armbar and then locked on a triangle from the side. De Souza still had the arm trapped, even though the triangle looked deep, and Case tapped almost instantly.

The finish came at the 3:32 mark and sees de Souza improve to 14-1. That only loss was inflicted by Case in 2019 which made this win particularly sweet for the Brazilian.

Case drops to 27-8-1 after returning to MMA following a two year absence. It is now back to back losses for the American who was also beaten by Tofiq Musaev at Rizin 20.

Roberto de Souza submits Johnny Case during their lightweight title fight at Rizin 35 in Tokyo


Lightweight vengeance

The other two title fights on the card were also rematches. In the co-main event Juntaro Ushiku was facing Yutaka Saito for the second time having beaten him at Rizin 31 to claim the featherweight title.

He was defending the strap for the second time and while he couldn’t finish Saito the Deep veteran did claim a decision win. He moves up to  22-8 while his opponent falls to 20-7-2.

Yutaka Saito punches Juntaro Ushiku during their featherweight title fight at Rizin 35 in Tokyo


Changing of the guard

The super atomweight title did change hands and it was a changing of the guard. Ayaka Hamasaki dropped a decision to Seika Izawa for the second time in quick succession.

At Rizin 33 the title was not on the line but Izawa finished Hamasaki in the second round. This time they went the distance but it was the 24 year old who prevailed for the second time.

Izawa moves up to 5-0 and could dominate the division for years to come. Hamasaki drops to 23-5 and it could be a long road back for the 40 year old.

Seika Izawa with the Rizin super atomweight belt after her win over Ayaka Hamasaki at Rizin 35 in Tokyo


Best of the rest

Kanna Asakura (19-6) could be next in line for the newly crowned super atomweight champion. She got back to winning ways with a decision victory over Satomi Takano (16-13).

Heavyweight Tsuyoshi Kosaka (42-33-2), who made his debut in 1994, had a retirement fight to remember. The 52 year old finished debutant Mikio Ueda (0-1) with some second round ground and pound.

Spike Carlyle (14-3) got his Rizin career off the the perfect start. The UFC and Bellator veteran put Koji Takeda (13-3) to sleep with a guillotine choke in the second round of their lightweight fight.

Rizin 35, Tokyo, April 17th
Roberto de Souza def. Johnny Case via Submission (Armbar) at 3:32 of Round 1
Juntaro Ushiku def. Yutaka Saito via Decision (Unanimous)
Seika Izawa def. Ayaka Hamasaki via Decision (Unanimous)
Tsuyoshi Kosaka def. Mikio Ueda via KO at 2:05 of Round 1
Kanna Asakura def. Satomi Takano via Decision (Unanimous)
Spike Carlyle def. Koji Takeda via submission (Guillotine choke) at 1:35 of Round 2
Shoma Shibisai def. Rihards Bigis via TKO (Punches) at 1:36 of Round 1
Yuki Motoya def. Alan Yamaniha via Decision (Unanimous)
Vugar Karamov def. Taichi Nakajima via Submission (Triangle choke) at 2:00 of Round 1
Kyle Aguon def. Takahiro Ashida via Decision (Unanimous)