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After the success of their 'New Year's Eve' show Rizin FF announces return to Tokyo Dome in March

Photo: Kyoji Horiguchi recovered the bantamweight champion belt at Rizin 26. (Credits | Courtesy: @RIZINFF | Disclosure). Photo: Kyoji Horiguchi recovered the bantamweight champion belt at Rizin 26. (Credits | Courtesy: @RIZINFF | Disclosure). 
Following the tradition started with the extinct Pride FC and then with other promotions in the 'land of the Rising Sun', the Japanese closed the year with yet another great mixed martial arts show and just as they have been doing since 2015, Rizin FF promoted its spectacular annual 'new year's eve' event. 
 
Japan's main MMA franchise currently promotes a 'card' made up of an astronomical number of 16 fights, 13 of which are MMA fights, 2 kickboxing fights and 1 fight in the 'Custom Rules Bout' format (ie, “fights with custom rules ”).
 
The show was in accordance with the standards established by the aforementioned Pride and this was reflected in the television numbers with 7,3% of Fuji TV's audience, recovering the same level as last year or, according to some other sources, even surpassing it. .
 
Rizin 26 also marked the company's return to Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The capacity of spectators was limited due to restrictions imposed by Covid-19, but the event attracted an audience of 9.908 people.
 
Shortly after the end of the show, it was announced that Rizin 27 will be held at Tokyo Dome on March 14, in what will be the first time that Rizin will hold an event there, which has not happened for about 17 years, since the it was Pride. 
 
It is worth remembering that some of the biggest events in Japanese MMA history took place at the Tokyo Dome, including Pride 1, Pride 4, Pride Grand Prix 2000, Pride Grand Prix 2000 Finals, Pride 17, Pride 23 and Pride Final Conflict 2003. All they were all held at the aforementioned baseball stadium, which has a capacity for 55.000 people.
 
If social distance regulations are still in place until March, at least the Tokyo Dome will allow Rizin to sell more tickets and attract a larger audience.
 
As for the fights of December 31, the 'main event' (and therefore “main event”) of Rizin 26 was a valid rematch for the bantamweight belt, which returned to the Japanese Kyoji Horiguchi. He faced fellow countryman Kai Asakura, who defeated him in 2019 and won the vacant title in August.
 
The 'co-main event' (or 'co-main event') brought us the undefeated Japanese kickboxing star, Tenshin Nasukawa. Now owner of a 28-0 “record”, he fought enough to dominate veteran Kumandoi Phetjaroenvit (158 fights) and win by unanimous decision.
 
In the antepenultimate fight of the program, Mikuru Asakura won another one for the family, just five weeks after he detonated Yutaka Saito, who won by unanimous decision (in Rizin 25). This time, he knocked out Satoshi Yamasu, a former DEEP champion.
 
Meanwhile, Japanese MMA 'living legend' Takanori Gomi defeated Koji Tanaka 'Kickboxer' by majority decision.
 
Also noteworthy was the performance of Ayaka Hamasaki who won the female atom weight belt (up to 49kg) by defeating Miyuu Yamamoto in the first round with a finishing technique rarely used: a scissor choke.
 
But the most anticipated moment of the night for the Brazilian public was the fight of the São Paulo Kleber Koike Erbst, former champion of the featherweight category of the Polish KSW tournament, who submitted Kyle Aguon, from Guam, in his debut for the franchise.
 
The card also served as the stage for the MMA debut of the Olympic fighter Shinobu Ota and the young “sensation” of Kickboxing Ren Hiramoto.
 
Rizin 26
December 31, 2020
Saitama Super Arena
Saitama, Japan
 
Kyoji Horiguchi defeated Kai Asakura by technical knockout at 2m48s of R1
Tenshin Nasukawa defeated Kumandoi Phetjaroenvit by unanimous decision
Mikuru Asakura defeated Satoshi Yamasu by technical knockout at 4: 20s of R1
Takanori Gomi defeated Koji Tanaka by majority decision
Ayaka Hamasaki defeated Miyuu Yamamoto via submission 1m42s from R1
Naoki Inoue defeated Yuki Motoyo via submission at 3m00s of R1
Kleber Koike defeated Kyle Aguon via submission at 4m22s of R1
Kyohei Hagiwara defeated Ren Hiramoto by technical knockout 1m29s from R2
Hideo Tokoro defeated Shinobu Ota via submission at 2: 45s of R2
Yoshinari Nadaka defeated Petmalai Phetjaroenvit by technical knockout at 2: 20s of R1
Ulka Sasaki defeated Kenta Takizawa via unanimous decision
Kanna Asakura defeated Ai Shimizu by unanimous decision
Shibatar defeated Hiroya via submission via R2
Kazuma Kuramoto defeated Taiyo Nakahara by knockout at 2m12s of R1
Tsuyoshi Sudario defeated Ikuhisa Minowa by technical knockout at 3m19s of R1
Sakura Mori vs. Eru Takebayashi ended in “No Contest”
 
* Text from the collaborator Oriosvaldo Costa. | Written in 03 / 01 / 2021
_
Photo: Kyoji Horiguchi recovered the bantamweight champion belt at Rizin 26. (Credits | Courtesy: @RIZINFF | Disclosure). 
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