Another fighter has been ruled out of Rizin 37. Ulka Sasaki has Covid-19 and has pulled out of his bantamweight fight with Yoshiki Nakahara.
The good news is that the promotion has been able to find a last minute replacement for the UFC veteran. Tetsuya Seki will step in to face Nakahara at the Saitama Super Arena on Sunday.
Seki (15-8-1) is a former Zst featherweight champion. He has fought three times for Rizin, winning two of those fights and comes into this contest on the back of a two fight winning streak.
Nakahara (15-5) is a former Gladiator lightweight champion. The ONE Championship veteran has also won his last two and will be making his Rizin debut.
— RIZIN FF OFFICIAL (@rizin_PR) July 26, 2022
Also off the card is Naoki Inoue who 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.
— 井上直樹 Naoki Inoue (@NaokiInoueMMA) July 20, 2022
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.
🔥PPV観戦で #伊澤星花 を応援🔥
🔴RIZIN STREAM PASS
— RIZIN FF OFFICIAL (@rizin_PR) July 25, 2022
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.
Additional Fight announcement for RIZIN.37
Johnny Case vs. Koji Takeda#RIZIN #RIZIN37 pic.twitter.com/cP2ViXzAt9
— RIZIN FF English (@rizin_English) July 14, 2022
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.
— RIZIN FF OFFICIAL (@rizin_PR) June 24, 2022
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.
— RIZIN FF OFFICIAL (@rizin_PR) June 24, 2022
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. Tetsuya Seki (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)