Seika Izawa is the Rizin super atomweight Grand Prix winner. The Japanese fighter beat Si Woo Park by split decision and it is fair to say not everyone agreed with the judges.
The fight headlined the first section of the Rizin 40 card at the Saitama Super Arena. Park was switching stance at the start of the fight and landed a couple of solid punches but gave up her back after just 90 seconds.
Izawa stayed there for the remainder of the round but couldn’t find the rear naked choke. At this stage the Japanese fighter looked firmly in control but the Korean started to come on stronger in the second round.
Park was landing straight punches to control the striking exchanges while consistently frustrating Izawa in her attempts to get the fight to the ground. She even threatened with an anaconda choke at one stage and appeared in the ascendancy heading into the third and final round.
At the start of the third round Izawa pulled guard in an attempt to get the fight down but ended up getting stomped in the face for her troubles before eating a series of hammer fists. A flying stomp narrowly missed the target but it was the Korean who finished the stronger.
With the fight being judged as a whole Park would have been entitled to feel she had done enough to win. But two out of the three judges awarded the fight to Izawa.
With the win she improves to 9-0 but while Izawa is the reigning, undefeated Rizin super atomweight champion this performance definitely didn’t enhance her reputation. Park drops to 9-5 and can consider herself very unfortunate not to have got the nod from the Japanese judges.
Best of the rest
Johsn Dodson (23-13) made light work of Hideo Tokoro (35-32-2) on his Rizin debut. The UFC veteran needed less than two minutes to put away the experienced Japanese fighter. He chased him all around the ring and eventually landed a left hand before putting him out with some frenzied ground and pound.
Naoki Inoue (16-3) moved into title contention with a second round submission win over Kenta Takizawa (13-9). He finished the fight with a kimura to underline his credentials for a shot at the vacant bantamweight belt.
Rizin 40, Tokyo, December 31st
Seika Izawa def. Si Woo Park via Decision (Split)
Naoki Inoue def. Kenta Takizawa via Submission (kimura) at 3:53 of R2
Junior Tafa def. Tsuyoshi Sudario via TKO (punches) at 1:38 of R1
John Dodson def. Hideo Tokoro via KO (punches) at 1:43 of R1
Kickboxing: Ren Hiramoto def. Genji Umeno via KO (punch) at 3:00 of R1
Yuki Motoya def. Rogério Bontorin via KO (Knee) at 2:56 of R2
Johnny Case def. Nobumitsu Osawa via TKO (punches) at 0:36 of R1
Chihiro Suzuki def. Yoshiki Nakahara via KO (punches) at 4:44 of R1
Patrick Usami def. BeyNoah via KO (punch) at 0:45 of R1
Kickboxing: Yushi def. Tatsuya Nakazawa via Decision (Unanimous)