RIZIN 33 Set for December 31, Multiple Fights Announced

RIZIN 33 press conference Credit: RIZIN Fighting Federation

RIZIN Fighting Federation has announced its ninth and final show of 2021 — RIZIN 33, set to go down on New Year’s Eve.

New Years Eve shows have been a tradition for RIZIN, and this year will be no exception. However, plans to bring in foreign talent for the event have been thrown for a loop, due to the discovery of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus — which has resulted in Japan barring international travellers from entering the country.

Promotion officials announced the news at a press conference Tuesday.

“We have had a rough year with covid, and although we are grateful to have been able to make it with Japanese fighters, we were very much looking forward to bringing in international fighters for NYE,” promotion President Nobuyuki Sakakibara was quoted as saying in a press release. “However, the Japanese government has just announced that Japan will be closing its borders for the next 30 days. We have still not been told that we are prohibited from bringing in international fighters, so at the moment I will say that we will continue to do our best to bring in international fighters, but if that doesn’t work out we will have some ideas to change up the current fight ideas we have.”

Four bouts (or three and a half, if you prefer) were announced for the card on Tuesday. Those include the two bantamweight grand prix semfinals, which will see ex-champ Kai Asakura face Kenta Takizawa, and Hiromasa Ougikubo face former UFC athlete Naoki Inoue.

In addition, a reserve bout between Yuki Motoya and Kintaro has also been set. Finally, lightweight champ Roberto Satoshi Souza will put his title on the line, against an opponent to be named later.

RIZIN 33 will take place at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The following bouts were announced Tuesday:

Kai Asakura vs. Kenta Takizawabantamweight grand prix semifinal
Hiromasa Ougikubo vs. Naoki Inouebantamweight grand prix semifinal
Yuki Motoya vs. Kintarobantamweight grand prix alternate bout
Roberto “Satoshi” Souza (c) vs. TBD – for the RIZIN lightweight world championship