Kai Asakura will make a quick turnaround to headline RIZIN 19, where he will face former UFC fighter Ulka Sasaki.
RIZIN 19 goes down in just a few week’s time, and the card is still taking shape. A medical suspension to Kyoji Horiguchi, and injury to kickboxing sensation Tenshin Nasukawa, created difficulties in the promotion booking a main event, per RIZIN CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara. Now, the event finally has a headliner, as Kai Asakura, who shocked the world in August by knocking out Horiguchi, has stepped up to top the event, making a quick turnaround against Ulka Sasaki.
The pair were previously scheduled to compete, until an injury to Sasaki scrapped the bout.
Asakura (12-1) has won five straight, including the Horiguchi win, and a victory against RIZIN notable Manel Kape. Sasaki (22-7-2), a UFC veteran, will enter the fight looking to rebound from a loss to Shintaro Ishiwatari.
Also among the latest RIZIN 19 additions, a RISE world champion will compete against a former K-1 title holder. Taiju Shiratori (17-5), who holds the RISE lightweight belt, will battle former K-1 super featherweight champ TAIGA (20-9). That kickboxing bout will be joined by another, which will see Seiki Ueyama (22-11) go up against Taisei Umei (7-6).
The full RIZIN 19 card can be found below.
RIZIN 19: Asakura vs. Sasaki
Kai Asakura vs Ulka Sasaki
Jiri Prochazka vs Fabio Maldonado
Seo Hee Ham vs Miyuu Yamamoto
Marcos de Souza vs Keita Nakamura
Rena Kubota vs Shawna Ram
Lightweight GP first round match-ups
Tofiq Musaev vs Damien Brown
Johnny Case vs Roberto de Souza
Patricky Freire vs Tatsuya Kawajiri
Luiz Gustavo vs Hiroto Uesako
Seiki Ueyama vs Taisei Umei
Taiju Shiratori vs. TAIGA