Takaki Soya was last seen in action at Rizin 18. He stopped Yutaro Muramoto in the second round and momentum appears to be behind the Shooto veteran who had won two fights out of two for the promotion.

That was in 2019 and Soya has not been seen since. He will have the opportunity to score his third straight Rizin win this weekend but says the last three years have not been easy,

“It’s been about three years since my last fight. I’ve been away with sickness and injuries. My body
weight went down to 50kg at one point.”

Takaki Soya drops Yutaro Muramoto with a punch at Rizin 18


Long road

He weighed in at 59kgs for his last fight and probably had to cut a few kilogrammes in order to do so. Soya returns at Rizin Trigger 3rd on Saturday but says the road back to health has not been an easy one,

“I was able to get through hard times because of my motivation to come back to this ring. I’ve been sick, hurt and been on the sidelines for so long but I was back in the gym in December of last year with the goal of returning to the ring.”

On Saturday night he goes up against Nobuyoshi Nakatsuka, an opponent who has spent his entire career competing in the minor leagues in Japan. Soya already has two Rizin wins to his name but expects a tough test at Rizin Trigger 3rd,

“My opponent is a grappler and he probably has a great heart. I think his mindset and mentality is his biggest strength.”

Yutaro Muramoto punches Takaki Soya at Rizin 18


Next star

It sounds like Soya is still struggling with some medical issues but he says he feels ‘great’,

“I will show you my dedication. I’ve been working on my condition with medication so I feel great now.”

Rizin hasn’t put on many flyweight fights and a lot of fighters in the division have moved up to 135lbs. But Soya believes he can be a breakout star and says he is ready to fight for the full three rounds despite almost three years of inactivity,

“I want to show that I’ve got a strong heart too and will continue to be aggressive for 15 minutes. I want to be the next star in the division.”