Rizin Fighting Federation 5: “Sakura” took place on Sunday night at the famed Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. The 11-fight card was headlined by a featured featherweight matchup between UFC veterans Tatsuya “Crusher” Kawajiri and Anthony “El Toro” Birchak.
In heavyweight action on Sunday’s card, Amir Aliakbari took on Geronimo “Mondragon” dos Santos. Kyoji Horiguchi met Yuki Motoya at 58kg and Shoot Boxing superstar Rena Kubota returned to Rizin to face Dora Perjes in a 49kg matchup. MMARising.com has live play-by-play for Rizin FF 5.
Tatsuya “Crusher” Kawajiri vs Anthony “El Toro” Birchak
Referee for this bout is Jason Herzog. Kawajiri caught a head kick and took Birchak down early on, but Birchak rose to his feet and Kawajiri took his back in a corner. He hopped on Birchak’s back and Birchak walked over to his own corner with Kawajiri still on his back. Kawajiri punched to the side of Birchak’s face as Birchak attacked with elbows to the thigh. Kawajiri attempted a rear-naked choke, but Birchak defended and he landed more elbows to Kawajiri’s legs. Kawajiri eventually dropped off of Birchak’s back and he slammed him down to the ground.
Kawajiri struck from Birchak’s guard with punches and elbows, which prompted Birchak to counter with elbows of his own and an armbar attempt. Kawajiri stayed calm and he eventually escaped from the hold. He landed some hard punches from the top and Birchak scrambled to avoid further damage. The fighters exchanged punches on the ground and Kawajiri mixed in more elbows. He teed off with hammerfists late in the opening round.
The fight returned to the mat in round two and Kawajiri reversed position into mount. He landed punches from the top and looked to set up an arm-triangle choke. Birchak defended and Kawajiri peppered him with punches. He continued to strike from the top with short punches and hammerfists until the final 30 seconds. Kawajiri postured up and unloaded with big hammerfists and punches, but Birchak survived until the bell.
Winner: Tatsuya Kawajiri by Unanimous Decision after two rounds. He improves to 36-11-2.
Amir Aliakbari vs Geronimo “Mondragon” dos Santos
Referee for this bout is Hirokazu Takamoto. Dos Santos punched his way into an early clinch, but Aliakbari countered by taking his back and dragging him down to the mat. He secured a top-side crucifix and landed a series of punches to dos Santos’s face. Aliakbari kept dos Santos trapped in place and he continued to batter him with unanswered punches. Aliakbari unloaded with a final barrage of right hands and the referee intervened to stop the fight.
Winner: Amir Aliakbari by TKO (Punches) at 3:34 of round one. He improves to 6-1-0.
Kyoji Horiguchi vs Yuki Motoya
Referee for this bout is Jason Herzog. Horiguchi stunned Motoya with an early Superman Punch and he took him down in the corner soon after. Horiguchi postured up with punches until Motoya scrambled up to his feet. Horiguchi rocked him with a right hand and a shin kick to the forehead, then followed with more punches. Motoya secured a much-needed takedown, but Horiguchi reversed it in the ropes and the fight returned to the feet. Horiguchi countered Motoya’s kicks with punches and a takedown against the ropes. He rained down heavy punches from the top that cut Motoya near the left eye.
Horiguchi briefly mounted Motoya, but he allowed him to stand after landing two punches from the top. The fighters traded combinations on the feet and Horiguchi landed a flurry. Motoya jumped in with a flying knee and Horiguchi countered with an overhand right. He scored with more hooks over the top and the fighters clinched in a corner. Horiguchi stunned Motoya with a right cross and he dropped him with a right hook to the temple. Horiguchi instantly locked on a rear-naked choke on the ground, but he gave it up and mounted Motoya. Horiguchi stood up and stomped on Motoya’s face.
Horiguchi backed Motoya up with punches in round two and Motoya gave up an easy takedown. He tried to kick Horiguchi off, but Horiguchi responded with stomps and punches from the top. The fighters were stood up and Horiguchi flurried to the body. He slammed Motoya down and landed kick-punch combos after the fight returned to the feet. Motoya attempted a standing kimura, but Horiguchi threw him off. He used a leg-sweep takedown to get Motoya down again in the final minute. Motoya threw upkicks from his back, but Horiguchi passed his guard and finished the round with ground and pound.
Winner: Kyoji Horiguchi by Unanimous Decision after two rounds. He improves to 19-2-0.
Rena Kubota vs Dora Perjes
Referee for this bout is Jason Herzog. Perjes immediately leapt into a flying rear-naked choke attempt that she transitioned into an armbar from the bottom. She wrenched back on Kubota’s arm, but Kubota narrowly escaped. She landed a knee to Perjes’s face and the fight returned to the feet. Kubota dropped Perjes with a liver kick, but she did not follow up. Perjes stood and Kubota landed more body kicks. Perjes looked to counter with a leglock, but Kubota countered with stomps including a few of the jumping variety. Back on the feet, Kubota landed a kick-punch combo and dropped Perjes for good with a vicious left hook to the liver that ended the spirited fight.
Winner: Rena Kubota by KO (Punch To The Body) at 2:49 of round one. She improves to 4-0-0.
Tenshin Nasukawa vs Francesco Ghigliotti
Referee for this bout is Yoshinori Umeki. Nasukawa started strong with kicks to the body and head of Ghigliotti, who stayed on his feet and fired back with punches. Nasukawa backed Ghigliotti up against the ropes and dropped him with a left head kick, then followed with punches on the ground until the fight was stopped.
Winner: Tenshin Nasukawa by TKO (Head Kick & Punches) at 1:07 of round one. He improves to 3-0-0.
Satoshi Ishii vs “The Texas Crazy Horse” Heath Herring
Referee for this bout is Ryogaku Wada. Ishii took Herring down into side control early in the opening minute and landed knees to the body and hammerfists. Herring tried to power out and stand up, but Ishii took his back and dragged him down again. He switched to an arm-triangle choke, but let it go in favour of striking from side control. Herring got to his knees, but Ishii countered with punches and a kimura attempt in a scramble. He continued to batter Herring with hammerfists until Herring finally stood up in the corner. Ishii dragged him back down and smothered him until the bell.
Herring rushed forward with punches to begin round two, but Ishii stayed calm and took him down. He peppered Herring with punches and took his back, but the crowd grew restles as Ishii was never able to put Herring in any serious danger. Ishii stayed on top until the final bell sounded to end the largely uneventful fight.
Winner: Satoshi Ishii by Unanimous Decision after two rounds. He improves to 15-7-1.
“King” Reina Miura vs Jazzy “Alpha Female” Gabert
Referee for this bout is Ryogaku Wada. Huge haymakers were exchanged right away and both women landed big punches. Gabert connected with hard right hands, but Miura countered by throwing her to the mat against the ropes. From side control, Miura landed knees and she trapped Gabert in a top-side crucifix. She landed punches and knees to the face while keeping Gabert pinned down on the mat. Miura mounted Gabert in the final minute and dropped punches from the top. She attacked with a keylock before the bell, but Gabert survived until time expired.
Gabert countered a spinning backfist with hard left and right hooks in round two. Miura eventually closed the distance and took her down into half-guard. She mounted Gabert, but switched to side control soon after. Miura then trapped Gabert in an arm-triangle choke, but Gabert refused to submit and Miura mounted her once more. She returned to side control and punished Gabert with knees to the body. In the final seconds of the round, Miura locked on an armbar and Gabert tapped out.
Winner: Reina Miura by Submission (Armbar) at 4:54 of round two. She improves to 3-0-0.
Yusuke Yachi vs Daron “The Detroit Superstar” Cruickshank
Referee for this bout is Jason Herzog. Cruickshank just missed with an early head kick and he pressured Yachi with winging hooks and leg kicks. Yachi answered back with power punches of his own and he kicked at Cruickshank’s lead leg. Big right hands were exchanged and Cruickshank attempted another head kick. He landed a tornado kick to the body and both men threw combinations. Cruickshank avoided a flying knee and Yachi lunged in with a quick flurry. More hard punches were exchanged and both men landed lead hooks to the temples.
The pace remained high as Cruickshank jumped forward with a kick-punch combo. Yachi kicked to the body and he dropped Cruickshank face-first to the mat with a devastating counter right hook. Referee Jason Herzog dove in to rescue an unconscious Cruickshank from further damage.
Winner: Yusuke Yachi by KO (Punch) at 5:12 of round one. He improves to 17-6-0.
Saori “Shooting Star” Ishioka vs Bestare Kicaj
Referee for this bout is Yoshinori Umeki. Stiff jabs were exchanged right away and Kicaj took Ishioka down into half-guard, but Ishioka swept back into top position. Kicaj attacked with an armbar, but Ishioka escaped and she took Kicaj’s back in the process. Ishioka locked on a rear-naked choke and Kicaj tapped out just before losing consciousness.
Winner: Saori Ishioka by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 2:11 of round one. She improves to 15-10-0.
Kanna Asakura vs Aleksandra Toncheva Plamenova
Referee for this bout is Yoshinori Umeki. Asakura opened the action with lead right hooks and Toncheva answered with a combination. Asakura took her down, but Toncheva attacked with an armbar and a triangle choke. Asakura escaped into side control and then to mount. She attacked with an armbar of her own, but Toncheva pulled her arm free and wound up on top in side control. Asakura scrambled out and took top position before the fighters stood up. Asakura took Toncheva down and avoided a guillotine choke. She landed hard punches from the top, but Toncheva locked on an armbar late in the round.
Asakura took Toncheva down in round two and she worked from the top in Toncheva’s guard. Toncheva tried to kick off of the ropes to explode back to her feet, but Asakura used the opportunity to pass to side control. She mounted Toncheva and landed a series of right and left hands. More punches and a vicious soccer kick scored for Asakura before Toncheva finally got back to her feet. She stuffed a takedown and landed one knee to Asakura’s head, but Asakura drove forward and pushed Toncheva down to the mat. The round ended with Asakura landing punches from the top.
Asakura wasted no time in taking Toncheva down in the final round. She moved from side control to an arm-triangle choke, and then took Toncheva’s back. Asakura sunk in a rear-naked choke, but Toncheva refused to submit and she managed to turn her head into the choke and escape. From Asakura’s guard, Toncheva landed short punches to the body until Asakura kicked her off and stood up. The fight returned to the mat after a slick takedown from Asakura, who passed to side control again. She secured an arm-triangle choke and peppered Toncheva with hammerfists before time expired.
Winner: Kanna Asakura by Unanimous Decision after three rounds. She improves to 7-2-0.
Seiichiro Ito vs Kizaemon Saiga
Referee for this bout is Ryogaku Wada. Ito floored Saiga with an overhand right early in the opening round and he followed with punches and an armbar attempt on the ground. Saiga recovered and tried to get back to his feet, but Ito landed more punches and he moved from mount to back control. Ito worked for a rear-naked choke for almost four minutes before taking mount again and dropping punches from the top. Saiga scrambled and got back to guard as he tried to use the ropes to get back to his feet. The fighters stood and Ito scored a big takedown into side control. Saiga avoided an armbar before the bell.
Saiga was very aggressive on the feet in the second round and he landed some solid combinations while fending off Ito’s takedown attempts. Ito eventually got him down and he bloodied Saiga’s eyebrow with ground and pound. Ito took Saiga’s back in the corner and once again worked for a rear-naked choke. Saiga defended against the chokes, but he was unable to get back to his feet. With 15 seconds remaining, Saiga spun into Ito’s guard and he rained down punches until the end of the fight.
Winner: Seiichiro Ito by Unanimous Decision after two rounds. He improves to 12-1-2.