Rizin Fighting Federation

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Rizin Fighting Federation
TypePrivate
IndustryMixed martial arts promotion
Founded2015; 6 years ago (2015)
FounderNobuyuki Sakakibara
Headquarters,
Key people
Nobuyuki Sakakibara
Nobuhiko Takada
ParentDream Factory Worldwide
Websitejp.rizinff.com/_tags/English

Rizin Fighting Federation (Rizin FF) is a Japanese mixed martial arts organization created in 2015 by the former Pride Fighting Championships and Dream Stage Entertainment president Nobuyuki Sakakibara.[1][2]

The promotion's name is a combination of "Raijin", the Japanese god of lighting; the word "rising", meaning "to prosper and thrive"; and the letter, 'Z', meaning "ultimate".[3]

History[edit]

The precursors to Rizin were Pride Fighting Championships and DREAM, the latter of which was founded in 2008 through a collaboration with Fighting and Entertainment Group and Dream Stage Entertainment.[4] Three years after DREAM folded in the summer of 2012,[5] 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.[6]

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.[7] 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.[8] Initial signees included Kazushi Sakuraba, Shinya Aoki, as well as female competitors Gabi Garcia and RENA.[9]

A Grand Prix tournament was announced (held at 100 kg or roughly 220 lbs), with champions and competitors from Bellator, KSW, Jungle Fight,[10] BAMMA, and King of Kings. Most notably, King Mo was announced to represent Bellator in the tournament.[11] The 8-man bracket was officially finalized on November 30, 2015, with other bouts also being announced shortly thereafter.[12][13][14][15] Kron Gracie (whose father Rickson competed at the inaugural PRIDE event) was announced to participate against Asen Yamamoto.[16] Amongst the veterans in the Japanese scene, Tsuyoshi Kosaka would face James Thompson,[17] and Akebono Tarō would face Bob Sapp.[18]

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.[19] Rizin's presentation is modeled after major sporting events, such as the UEFA Champions League and FIFA World Cup.[20]

Broadcasting and coverage[edit]

Rizin's inaugural event was broadcast in North America on Spike TV.[21] Other broadcasters have included SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation, Fuji Television, Fox Sports Brazil, Kix and Match TV.[22] Since 2017, Rizin events have been streaming on FITE TV in North America and Europe.[23]

List of Rizin FF events[edit]

# Event Date Venue Location Attendance
30 Rizin 27 – Tokyo March 14, 2021 Tokyo Dome Japan Tokyo, Japan
29 Rizin 26 – Saitama December 31, 2020 Saitama Super Arena Japan Saitama, Japan 9,978
28 Rizin 25 – Osaka November 21, 2020 Osaka-jō Hall Japan Osaka, Japan 5,487
27 Rizin 24 – Saitama September 27, 2020 Saitama Super Arena Japan Saitama, Japan 5,000
26 Rizin 23 - Calling Over August 10, 2020 Pia Arena MM Japan Yokohama, Japan 4,410
25 Rizin 22 - Starting Over August 9, 2020 Pia Arena MM Japan Yokohama, Japan 2,805
24 Rizin 21 - Hamamatsu February 22, 2020 Hamamatsu Arena Japan Hamamatsu, Japan 6,832
23 Rizin 20 - Saitama December 31, 2019 Saitama Super Arena Japan Saitama, Japan 29,315[24]
22 Rizin 19 - Osaka October 12, 2019 Edion Arena Japan Osaka, Japan 5,098
21 Rizin 18 - Nagoya August 18, 2019 Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium Japan Nagoya, Japan 6,281
20 Rizin 17 - Saitama July 28, 2019 Saitama Super Arena Japan Saitama, Japan 16,930
19 Rizin 16 - Kobe June 2, 2019 World Memorial Hall Japan Kobe, Japan 8,107
18 Rizin 15 - Yokohama April 21, 2019 Yokohama Arena Japan Yokohama, Japan 12,914
17 Rizin 14 - Saitama December 31, 2018 Saitama Super Arena Japan Saitama, Japan 29,105[25]
16 Rizin - Heisei's Last Yarennoka! December 31, 2018 Saitama Super Arena Japan Saitama, Japan 7,498[26]
15 Rizin 13 - Saitama September 30, 2018 Saitama Super Arena Japan Saitama, Japan 27,208
14 Rizin 12 - Aichi - Ken August 12, 2018 Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium Japan Nagoya, Japan 5,567
13 Rizin 11 - Saitama July 29, 2018 Saitama Super Arena Japan Saitama, Japan 17,912
12 Rizin 10 - Fukuoka May 6, 2018 Marine Messe Fukuoka Japan Fukuoka, Japan 7,910
11 Rizin World Grand Prix 2017: Final Round December 31, 2017 Saitama Super Arena Japan Saitama, Japan 18,316
10 Rizin World Grand Prix 2017: 2nd Round December 29, 2017 Saitama Super Arena Japan Saitama, Japan 15,539
9 Rizin World Grand Prix 2017: Opening Round - Part 2 October 15, 2017 Marine Messe Fukuoka Japan Fukuoka, Japan 7,732
8 Rizin World Grand Prix 2017: Opening Round - Part 1 July 30, 2017 Saitama Super Arena Japan Saitama, Japan 17,730
7 Rizin 2017 in Yokohama: Sakura April 16, 2017 Yokohama Arena Japan Yokohama, Japan 12,729
6 Rizin World Grand Prix 2016: Final Round December 31, 2016 Saitama Super Arena Japan Saitama, Japan 19,357
5 Rizin World Grand Prix 2016: 2nd Round December 29, 2016 Saitama Super Arena Japan Saitama, Japan 16,642
4 Rizin World Grand Prix 2016: 1st Round September 25, 2016 Saitama Super Arena Japan Saitama, Japan 15,011
3 Rizin 1 April 17, 2016 Nippon Gaishi Hall Japan Nagoya, Japan 7,291
2 Rizin World Grand Prix 2015: Part 2 - Iza December 31, 2015 Saitama Super Arena Japan Saitama, Japan 18,365
1 Rizin World Grand Prix 2015: Part 1 - Saraba December 29, 2015 Saitama Super Arena Japan Saitama, Japan 12,214

Current champions[edit]

Division Champion Since Defenses
Light Heavyweight Vacant
Featherweight Japan Yutaka Saito November 21, 2020 0
Bantamweight Japan Kyoji Horiguchi December 31, 2020 0
Women's Super Atomweight Japan Ayaka Hamasaki December 31, 2020 0

Championship history[edit]

Light Heavyweight Championship[edit]

Weight limit: 93 kg (205.0 lb)
No. Name Event Date Defenses
1 Czech Republic Jiří Procházka
def. Muhammed Lawal
Rizin 15
Japan Yokohama, Japan
April 21, 2019 1. def. C. B. Dollaway at Rizin 20 on December 31, 2019
Title vacated after Procházka left Rizin for UFC.

Featherweight Championship[edit]

Weight limit: 66 kg (145.5 lb)
No. Name Event Date Defenses
1 Japan Yutaka Saito
def. Mikuru Asakura
Rizin 25
Japan Osaka, Japan
November 21, 2020

Bantamweight Championship[edit]

Weight limit: 61 kg (134.5 lb)
No. Name Event Date Defenses
1 Japan Kyoji Horiguchi
def. Darrion Caldwell
Rizin 14
Japan Saitama, Japan
December 31, 2018
Title vacated after Horiguchi was unable to defend the title due to injury.
2 Angola Manel Kape
def. Kai Asakura
Rizin 20
Japan Saitama, Japan
December 31, 2019
Title vacated after Kape signed with the UFC.[27]
3 Japan Kai Asakura
def. Hiromasa Ougikubo
Rizin 23
Japan Yokohama, Japan
August 10, 2020
4 Japan Kyoji Horiguchi (2) Rizin 26
Japan Saitama, Japan
December 31, 2020

Women's Super Atomweight Championship[edit]

Weight limit: 49 kg (108.0 lb)
No. Name Event Date Defenses
1 Japan Ayaka Hamasaki
def. Kanna Asakura
Rizin 14
Japan Saitama, Japan
December 31, 2018 1. def. Jinh Yu Frey at Rizin 16 on June 2, 2019
2 South Korea Seo Hee Ham Rizin 20
Japan Saitama, Japan
December 31, 2019
Seo Hee Ham vacated her title after being unable to agree on her next fight with the organization and signed with ONE Championship.[28]
3 Japan Ayaka Hamasaki (2)
def. Miyuu Yamamoto
Rizin 26
Japan Saitama, Japan
December 31, 2020

Grand-Prix Champions[edit]

MMA[edit]

Weight Class Champion Runner-up Event Date Tournament Bracket
Rizin Heavyweight 100 kg 2015 United States Muhammed Lawal Czech Republic Jiří Procházka Rizin WGP 2015: Part 2 - Iza December 31, 2015 Rizin 100 Kg Grand-Prix bracket
Rizin Openweight 2016 Croatia Mirko Filipović Iran Amir Aliakbari Rizin WGP 2016: Final Round December 31, 2016 Rizin Openweight Grand Prix 2016 bracket
Rizin Bantamweight 61 kg 2017 Japan Kyoji Horiguchi Japan Shintaro Ishiwatari Rizin WGP 2017: Final Round December 31, 2017 Rizin Bantamweight Grand Prix 2017 bracket
Rizin Women's Super Atomweight 49 kg 2017 Japan Kanna Asakura Japan Rena Kubota Rizin WGP 2017: Final Round December 31, 2017 Rizin Women's Super Atomweight Grand Prix 2017 bracket
Rizin Lightweight 71 kg 2019 Azerbaijan Tofiq Musayev Brazil Patricky Freire Rizin 20 - Saitama December 31, 2019 Rizin Lightweight Grand Prix bracket

Kickboxing[edit]

Weight Class Champion Runner-Up Event Date Tournament Bracket
Rizin Kickboxing Flyweight 57 kg 2017 Japan Tenshin Nasukawa Japan Yamato Fujita Rizin WGP 2017: Final Round December 31, 2017 Rizin Flyweight KB Tournament

Notable fighters[edit]

Affiliated organizations[edit]

Rizin FF is affiliated with the following organizations:[29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Nobuyuki Sakakibara discusses Rizin FF plans for 2016, Fedor Emelianenko's opponent, drug testing and more". MMA Fighting. Retrieved 2015-11-25.
  2. ^ "Former Pride FC boss: Fedor's opponent will mean something for future of MMA". Bloody Elbow. Retrieved 2015-11-25.
  3. ^ "Concept". rizinff.com. Retrieved 2020-10-06.
  4. ^ "K-1's new Dream includes Cro Cop". Mma Weekly. February 13, 2008. Archived from the original on February 3, 2009. Retrieved February 25, 2009.
  5. ^ FEG's bankruptcy, May 17, 2012, Muay Thai TV
  6. ^ "Scott Coker: Former PRIDE boss Nobuyuki Sakakibara planning MMA return in 2015". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2020-10-07.
  7. ^ Fedor Emelianenko Returns To MMA On New Year’s Eve
  8. ^ RIZIN Japan - What We Can Expect From The Newcomer
  9. ^ "Long after his prime, Kazushi Sakuraba is in the position to save Japanese MMA". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2018-07-22.
  10. ^ "Newly crowned Jungle Fight champion enters Rizin FF heavyweight tournament". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2018-07-22.
  11. ^ "'King Mo' to represent Bellator in Rizin light heavyweight grand prix". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2018-07-22.
  12. ^ "Rizin announces heavyweight tournament bracket". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2018-07-22.
  13. ^ "Muhammed 'King Mo' Lawal lands opponent at RIZIN FF". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2018-07-22.
  14. ^ "Bellator fighter Brennan Ward, additional mixed-rules fight announced for Rizin debut". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2018-07-22.
  15. ^ "Jerome LeBanner returns to MMA at Rizin". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2018-07-22.
  16. ^ "Kron Gracie added to Rizin FF card in December". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2018-07-22.
  17. ^ "Fedor Emelianenko still without an opponent, Tsuyoshi Kosaka to face James Thompson at Rizin". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2018-07-22.
  18. ^ "Rizin signs Sapp vs. Akebono rematch for its debut". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2018-07-22.
  19. ^ "Nobuyuki Sakakibara discusses Rizin FF plans for 2016, Fedor Emelianenko's opponent, drug testing and more". mmafighting.com. Retrieved 2018-07-22.
  20. ^ "Concept". rizinff.com. Retrieved 2020-09-09.
  21. ^ Video:Fedor: Return Of The Last Emperor
  22. ^ "Event Summary Rizen Fighting Federation". rizinff.com. Retrieved 2015-11-26.
  23. ^ "Rizin FF Partners with FITE TV". sherdog.com. Retrieved 2017-04-01.
  24. ^ "Bruno Massami on Twitter 31-12-2019". gazetaesportiva.com.
  25. ^ "Floyd Mayweather dominates Tenshin Nasukawa in exhibition". japantimes.co.jp.
  26. ^ "Rizin Heisei's Last Yarennoka! and RIZIN 14 official results and post fight backstage interviews". fightbookmma.com.
  27. ^ Jesse Holland (April 2, 2020). "RIZIN cancels April and May events, vacates bantamweight title". mmamania.com.
  28. ^ "Seo Hee Ham vacates Rizin super atomweight title". asianmma.com. October 16, 2020.
  29. ^ "RIZIN Fighting Federation". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2015-11-25.

External links[edit]