RIZIN 25: Yutaka Saito Def. Mikuru Asakura To Earn Featherweight Title


RIZIN FF’s Yutaka Saito is now the promotion’s inaugural featherweight champion are earning a unanimous decision victory over Mikuru Asakura at RIZIN 25.

Asakura was riding a three-fight win streak coming into this bout, while Saito’s most recent outing was a second-round KO victory over Kazumasa Majima at RIZIN 23.

The first round was a cagey affair. Asakura started the stronger of the two, landing a series of crisp kicks to his opponent’s body. A low-blow from the RIZIN superstar brought proceedings to a halt. Saito needed several minutes to collect himself before returning to the fray, but found himself struggling to match Asakura in the striking department.

Saito had more luck with his striking in the second stanza, even scoring himself a takedown. Going into the third, Saito began utilizing his grappling more: taking Asakura down and pinning his back to the ropes. However, he could not achieve anything of note, and the fight was soon back on its feet.

The fight exploded in the final minute, with Asakura landing a clean left hook, which sent Saito stumbling. After regaining his balance and knowing he could be down on the cards, Saito steamed forward, throwing caution to the wind, and landed several good strikes before Asakura came back at him. Despite Asakura having the more eye catching moments the judges felt Saito had done enough to earn the win in a closely fought match-up.

In the co-main event, Hiromasa Ougikubo bounced back from his loss to Kai Asakura at RIZIN 23 to defeat Kenta Takizawa in an enthralling bantamweight bout. The opening round saw the men trading kicks, with both fighters landing clean shots but neither causing any real damage. Takizawa edged ahead in the final moments with an impressive flurry towards the end of the first.

The second saw Takizawa continue to land a steady drumbeat of strikes on Ougikubo, who refused to wilt under pressure and maintained a consistent offense of his own. However, at the start of the third, Ougikubo dropped Takizawa before taking his opponent to the ground. Takizawa briefly returned to his feet before being slammed back to the mat. He then spent the bulk of the final stanza having to contend with Ougikubo’s superior grappling game while being on the receiving end of heavy punches.

In the final seconds of the bout, an exhausted Takizawa got back to his feet. However, an invigorated Ougikubo went looking for the finish and racked up enough damage in the final seconds to comfortably earn the win in the eyes of the judges.

Full Results:

  • Featherweight Championship: Yutaka Saito def. Mikuru Asakura via Unanimous Decision
  • Bantamweight: Hiromasa Ougikubo def. Kenta Takizawa via Unanimous Decision
  • Welterweight: Ryuichiro Sumimura def. Gota Yamashita via Split Decision
  • Flyweight: Tatsuki Saomoto def. Daichi Kitakata via Unanimous Decision
  • Featherweight: Kyohei Hagiwara def. Yojiro Uchimura via RD1 KO
  • Kickboxing Catchweight: Taiga Kawabe def. Yuma Yamahata via Unanimous Decision
  • Kickboxing Catchweight: Isami Sano def. Hidenori Ebata via Unanimous Decision
  • Featherweight: Rikuto Shirakawa def. Kotetsu Boku via RD3 TKO
  • Kickboxing Catchweight: Jin Mandokoro def. Syuto Sato via Unanimous Decision
  • Kickboxing Catchweight: Shohei Asahara def. Yuma Yamaguchi via RD3 KO