Rizin Fighting Federation
|Industry||Mixed martial arts promotion|
|Parent||Dream Factory Worldwide|
Rizin Fighting Federation (Rizin FF or Rizin) is a Japanese mixed martial arts organization created in 2015 by the former Pride Fighting Championships and Dream Stage Entertainment president Nobuyuki Sakakibara.
Rizin was founded to be the spiritual successor of Pride FC and DREAM, the organization carries much of the philosophy and ambition of its two predecessors: its events are promoted as larger-than-life events with elaborate opening ceremonies and fighter entrances, its matches are fought in a roped ring and it has a more permissive ruleset compared to the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, inherited from Pride and DREAM. The organization also promotes "Grand Prix", single-elimination tournaments where fighters have to fight multiple opponents in the same night. Rizin is considered Japan's top MMA promotion.
In 1997, PRIDE Fighting Championships was founded in Japan, promoted by Dream Stage Entertainment. The organization quickly rose up to become the world's most popular MMA promotion and helped to popularize the sport in Japan and in the world. Its events were broadcast to millions through free-to-air and pay-per-view television, and it filled sport stadiums with hundreds of thousands of spectators. PRIDE differentiated itself from the UFC with its focus on spectacle and entertainment, as well a more permissive ruleset. By 2007, however, Pride closed its doors due a scandal showing its ties to the Yakuza causing a financial crisis in the company. DSE was bought by Zuffa—UFC's holding company—which initially promised to keep the event running, but eventually cancelled the plans, laid off most of the staff and just absorbed Pride's best fighters.  As a response, most of DSE's former staff, fighters and executives joined Fighting and Entertainment Group, the promoters of K-1, to organize a successor, which became known as DREAM. However, FEG eventually had its own financial issues and went bankrupt in 2012, as a result. DREAM was defunct.
Three years after DREAM folded, rumors began circulating that Pride and Dream founder Nobuyuki Sakakibara would return to the industry after an interview with Bellator MMA President Scott Coker was released.
On September 19, 2015 during Bellator MMA & Glory: Dynamite 1, it was announced that Sakakibara had signed former Pride Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko to headline a New Year's Eve Show in Tokyo for his new MMA promotion. Sakakibara held a press conference on October 8, 2015 with Nobuhiko Takada and other former Pride FC employees to formally announce the launch of Rizin Fighting Federation. Initial signees included Kazushi Sakuraba, Shinya Aoki, as well as female competitors Gabi Garcia and RENA.
A Grand Prix tournament was announced (held at 100 kg or roughly 220 lbs), with champions and competitors from Bellator, KSW, Jungle Fight, BAMMA, and King of Kings. Most notably, King Mo was announced to represent Bellator in the tournament. The 8-man bracket was officially finalized on November 30, 2015, with other bouts also being announced shortly thereafter. Kron Gracie (whose father Rickson competed at the inaugural PRIDE event) was announced to participate against Asen Yamamoto. Amongst the veterans in the Japanese scene, Tsuyoshi Kosaka would face James Thompson, and Akebono Tarō would face Bob Sapp.
Initial plans were to do at least four events per year, as opposed to the more frequent scheduling of other promotions, in order to build up the excitement and anticipation. Rizin's presentation is modeled after major sporting events, such as the UEFA Champions League and FIFA World Cup.
In 2018, it was announced that the main event for the traditional new years eve card (Rizin 14) was going to be a boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and undefeated Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa. The match ended up with Nasukawa knocked out two minutes into the first round.
Broadcasting and coverage
Rizin's inaugural event was broadcast in North America on Spike TV. Other broadcasters have included SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation, Fuji Television, Fox Sports Brazil, Kix and Match TV. From 2017 to 2019, Rizin events have been streaming on FITE TV in North America and Europe. As of RIZIN 26, they have been streaming on LIVENow.
|Weight class name||Upper limit||Gender|
|Atomweight||47 kg (103.6 lb)||Feminine|
|Super Atomweight||49 kg (108.0 lb)||Feminine|
|Light Flyweight||53 kg (116.8 lb)||Feminine|
|Flyweight||57 kg (125.7 lb)||Masculine|
|Bantamweight||61 kg (134.5 lb)||Masculine|
|Featherweight||66 kg (145.5 lb)||Masculine|
|Lightweight||71 kg (156.5 lb)||Masculine|
|Welterweight||77 kg (169.8 lb)||Masculine|
|Middleweight||85 kg (187.4 lb)||Masculine|
|Light Heavyweight||95 kg (209.4 lb)||Masculine|
|Heavyweight||120 kg (264.6 lb)||Masculine|
|Openweight||No weight restriction||Masculine / Feminine|
There are three types of matches in Rizin FF:
1. Rizin single matches – These are three rounds in length. The first round spans ten minutes with the final two rounds lasting five minutes each. This was discontinued starting with RIZIN.10 in May, 2018. Since then, matches have been three rounds of five minutes each.
2. Rizin tournament matches – These are three rounds in length, with each round lasting five minutes.
3. Women's matches – These are three rounds of five minutes.
Fights are judged on the following criteria:
- Damage: when assessing damage, both striking and grappling are given the same weight. The judges will place value on the extent to which the effective striking or grappling 'influences the match' - in other words, whether there was such damage/advantage to the fighter which would have led to the fight being ended by the opponent tapping out or being knocked out.
- Aggressiveness: the judges will consider which fighter was more effective in delivering attacks which may end the fight in a finish. Note this element does not take into consideration the actual impact of damage caused by the fighter's strikes, throws or submission. Rather, the judges will place value on whether fighters were aggressive and proactive in their approach during the fight.
- Generalship: the judges will consider which fighter was more effective in dominating the pace, place and position of the fight. Judges will also consider the amount of time spent in a ground position or the standing position.
Although not outlined in the RIZIN rules, scorecards published on the JMOC website suggest that damage, aggressiveness and generalship are scored 50, 30 and 20 points respectively. Where the fighter has not fulfilled the element, they are given a score of zero - there are no in-betweens.
Differences from Unified Rules of MMA and PRIDE
- All attacks to the head are allowed, regardless of the fighter being grounded or standing up. This includes soccer kicks, knees, and stomps. However, if there is a weight discrepancy of 15 kg (33 lb) or more, the lighter fighter is allowed to choose if such ground attacks are permitted. Any kicks, knees or stomps on the head of a grounded opponent are considered fouls in the Unified Rules.
- Unlike PRIDE, Rizin FF allows for use of elbow strikes, which are permitted in the Unified Rules. Additionally the 12-6 elbow, illegal under the Unified Rules, is legal in the Rizin FF ruleset.
List of Rizin FF events
|Lightweight||Roberto de Souza||June 13, 2021||2|
|Featherweight||Juntaro Ushiku||October 24, 2021||1|
|Bantamweight||Kyoji Horiguchi||December 31, 2020||0|
|Women's Super Atomweight||Seika Izawa||April 17, 2022||0|
Light Heavyweight Championship
- Weight limit: 95 kg (209.4 lb)
|1|| Jiří Procházka
def. Muhammed Lawal
|April 21, 2019||269 days||1. def. C. B. Dollaway at Rizin 20 on December 31, 2019|
|Procházka vacated the title on January 15, 2020 after he signed with UFC.|
- Weight limit: 71 kg (156.5 lb)
|1|| Roberto de Souza
def. Tofiq Musayev
|June 13, 2021||345 days|
- Weight limit: 66 kg (145.5 lb)
|1|| Yutaka Saito
def. Mikuru Asakura
|November 21, 2020||337 days|
|2||Juntaro Ushiku||Rizin 31
|October 24, 2021||212 days||1. def. Yutaka Saito at Rizin 35 on April 17, 2022|
- Weight limit: 61 kg (134.5 lb)
|1|| Kyoji Horiguchi
def. Darrion Caldwell
|December 31, 2018||318 days|
|Horiguchi was stripped the title on November 14, 2019 after was unable to defend the title due to injury.|
|2|| Manel Kape
def. Kai Asakura
|December 31, 2019||92 days|
|Kape vacated he title on April 1, 2020 after he signed with the UFC.|
|3|| Kai Asakura
def. Hiromasa Ougikubo
|August 10, 2020||143 days|
|4||Kyoji Horiguchi (2)||Rizin 26
|December 31, 2020||509 days|
Women's Super Atomweight Championship
- Weight limit: 49 kg (108.0 lb)
|1|| Ayaka Hamasaki
def. Kanna Asakura
|December 31, 2018||365 days||1. def. Jinh Yu Frey at Rizin 16 on June 2, 2019|
|2||Seo Hee Ham||Rizin 20
|December 31, 2019||293 days|
|On October 19, Seo Hee Ham vacated her title after being unable to agree on her next fight with the organization and signed with ONE Championship.|
|3|| Ayaka Hamasaki (2)
def. Miyuu Yamamoto
|December 31, 2020||509 days||1. def. Kanna Asakura at Rizin 27 on March 21, 2021|
|4||Seika Izawa||Rizin 35
|April 17, 2022||37 days|
|Weight Class||Champion||Runner-up||Event||Date||Tournament Bracket|
|Rizin Heavyweight 100 kg 2015||Muhammed Lawal||Jiří Procházka||Rizin WGP 2015: Part 2 - Iza||December 31, 2015||Rizin 100 Kg Grand-Prix bracket|
|Rizin Openweight 2016||Mirko Filipović||Amir Aliakbari||Rizin WGP 2016: Final Round||December 31, 2016||Rizin Openweight Grand Prix 2016 bracket|
|Rizin Bantamweight 61 kg 2017||Kyoji Horiguchi||Shintaro Ishiwatari||Rizin WGP 2017: Final Round||December 31, 2017||Rizin Bantamweight Grand Prix 2017 bracket|
|Rizin Women's Super Atomweight 49 kg 2017||Kanna Asakura||Rena Kubota||Rizin WGP 2017: Final Round||December 31, 2017||Rizin Women's Super Atomweight Grand Prix 2017 bracket|
|Rizin Lightweight 71 kg 2019||Tofiq Musayev||Patricky Pitbull||Rizin 20||December 31, 2019||Rizin Lightweight Grand Prix bracket|
|Rizin Bantamweight 61 kg 2021||Hiromasa Ougikubo||Kai Asakura||Rizin 33||December 31, 2021||Rizin Bantamweight Grand Prix bracket|
|Weight Class||Champion||Runner-Up||Event||Date||Tournament Bracket|
|Rizin KICK Flyweight 57 kg 2017||Tenshin Nasukawa||Yamato Fujita||Rizin WGP 2017: Final Round||December 31, 2017||Rizin Flyweight KB Tournament|
|Rizin KICK Bantamweight 61 kg 2021||Taiju Shiratori||Kouzi||Rizin 29||June 27, 2021|
Most wins in title bouts
|4||Ayaka Hamasaki||Super Atomweight||4||0||0||2|
|3||Roberto de Souza||Lightweight||3||0||0||0|
Most consecutive title defenses
|2||Roberto de Souza||Lightweight||June 13, 2021 – present|
|1||Ayaka Hamasaki||Women's Super Atomweight||December 31, 2018 – December 31, 2019|
|Jiří Procházka||Light Heavyweight||April 21, 2019 – January 15, 2020|
|Ayaka Hamasaki||Women's Super Atomweight||December 31, 2020 – present|
|Juntaro Ushiku||Featherweight||October 24, 2021 – present|
Champions by nationality
The division champions include only linear and true champions. Interim champions who have never become linear champions will be listed as interim champions. Fighters with multiple title reigns in a specific division will also be counted once. Runners-up are not included in tournaments champions.
- Goran Reljić
- Mirko Filipović
- Jarred Brooks
- Bob Sapp
- Floyd Mayweather Jr.
- Muhammed Lawal
- Tenshin Nasukawa
- Kyoji Horiguchi
- Kai Asakura
- Victor Henry
- Shintaro Ishiwatari
- Naoki Inoue
- Hiromasa Ougikubo
- Takafumi Otsuka
- Ulka Sasaki
- Justin Scoggins
- Ben Nguyen
- Diego Brandao
- Gabi Garcia
- Jairzinho Rozenstruik
- Daron Cruickshank
- Ren Hiramoto
- Amir Aliakbari
- Fedor Emelianenko
- Vadim Nemkov
- Jiří Procházka
- Tatsuya Kawajiri
- Satoru Kitaoka
- Takasuke Kume
- Daron Cruickshank
- Takanori Gomi
- Yusuke Yachi
- Let's Gota
- K-Taro Nakamura
- C.B. Dollaway
- Sudario Tsuyoshi
Rizin FF is affiliated with the following organizations:
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- "Concept". rizinff.com. Retrieved 2020-09-09.
- Brady, James (2018-11-04). "Floyd Mayweather Jr. says he never agreed to face undefeated kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa". SBNation.com. Retrieved 2022-02-21.
- "Mayweather-Nasukawa a laughable event". ESPN.com. 2018-12-31. Retrieved 2022-02-21.
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- Video:Fedor: Return Of The Last Emperor
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- "Musings on new RIZIN rules, the art of judging and JMOC". The Fighter. 2021-06-01. Retrieved 2021-08-11.
- "Musings on new RIZIN rules, the art of judging and JMOC". The Fighter. 2021-06-01. Retrieved 2021-08-11.
- "Bruno Massami on Twitter 31-12-2019". gazetaesportiva.com.
- "Floyd Mayweather dominates Tenshin Nasukawa in exhibition". japantimes.co.jp.
- "Rizin Heisei's Last Yarennoka! and RIZIN 14 official results and post fight backstage interviews". fightbookmma.com.
- Brett Okamoto (January 15, 2020). "UFC signs European light heavyweight champion Jiri Prochazka". espn.com.
- Nolan King (November 14, 2019). "Kyoji Horiguchi withdraws from Rizin FF 20 due to knee injury, subsequently vacates title". mmajunkie.com.
- Jesse Holland (April 2, 2020). "RIZIN cancels April and May events, vacates bantamweight title". mmamania.com.
- "Seo Hee Ham vacates Rizin super atomweight title". asianmma.com. October 16, 2020.
- "RIZIN Fighting Federation". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2015-11-25.