•Fan favorite and always entertaining lightweight Daron Cruickshank battles Japanese prospect Yusuke Yachi.
•Heavyweight legend “The Texas Crazy Horse” Heat Herring will be making his second appearance in the ring since he last lost a close decision on December 29, 2016, when stepping up to a short notice in order to fill in the Grand Prix after a eight-year hiatus will be fighting against Olympic gold medalist Satoshi Ishii, who is looking to snap a 3 fight skid.
•After making his electrifying MMA debut, and requesting a fight just two days later, undefeated kickboxing superstar, 19 year old Tenshin Nasukawa will step out of his comfort zone once again, looking to extend his 2-0 MMA record against Italy’s hard hitting pitbull, Franchesco Ghigliotti in a Flyweight bout.
•Recently announced free agent Anthony Birchak has found a new home in Japan, and will be moving up a weight class to challenge fellow UFC veteran and Japanese MMA legend Tatsuya Kawajiri in a featherweight fight.
•Teenage Kanna Asakura will be taking on amateur MMA world champion Alexandra Toncheva from Bulgaria, at atomweight.
•Japanese woman’s MMA pioneer, and now a mother Saori Ishioka will be fighting Swiss karate practitioner Bestare Kicaj, also at atomweight.
•Lastly, highly noticed German pro-wrestler Jazzy Garbert will be making her RIZIN debut against Reina Miura AKA King Reina at a 198lb catch weight fight. Jazzy Gabert caught immediate attention when she interrupted woman’s Heavyweight icon Gabi Garcia’s (4-0) winning speech to challenge her and since then the heavyweights have taken their beef to the social network. King Reina is coming off of an impressive win over Invicta and UFC veteran Shayna Baszler.
•Rena Kubota (3-0) will be participating in the April event, but her opponent has yet to be announced.
Previously announced in the main event, newly signed Kyoji Horiguchi faces Yuki Motoya to determine the top Japanese flyweight. Horiguchi has won his last three fights (all in the UFC). Motoya is widely considered Japan’s top flyweight.
Additionally, Rizin FF announced there will be both men’s and women’s grand prix events in 2017 with the first rounds beginning in October.
The Rizin FF card now includes:
- Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Yuki Motoya
- Anthony Birchak vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri
- Daron Cruickshank vs. Yusuke Yachi
- Heath Herring vs. Satoshi Ishii
- Franchesco Ghigliotti vs. Tenshin Nasukawa
- Kanna Asakura vs. Alexandra Toncheva
- Saori Ishioka vs. Bestare Kicaj
- Jazzy Garbert vs. Reina Miura
- Rena Kubota vs. TBA
Marie Kristin “Jazzy” Gabert is professional wrestler better known by the ring names “Alpha Female” and “Jazzy Gabert.”
Gabert is best known for her performances in World Wonder Ring Stardom and TNA Impact Wrestling but last year the 34-year old Berlin, Germany native turned to mixed martial arts where she currently holds a 1-0 professional MMA record.
MyMMANews – You are fighting Reina Miura on the upcoming RIZIN fight card. You obviously have the professional wrestling background, you’ve been doing it for a number of years for various organizations around the world, but will training for competition in MMA be your new focus and drive? Will pro wrestling take a back seat to MMA?
Jazzy Gabert – “It’s difficult. I still love pro wrestling and I get many offers, but at the moment I have to take them down as the MMA training is very intense and I put my whole focus on it for now. In wrestling its not important if you win or lose, but with MMA its different, therefore its hard for me to make a plan. I will do the April 16th fight and will see from there on.”
MyMMANews – You are coming off a TKO win over Manuela Kuhse in October. Then in December on the New Year’s card in Japan, Gabi Garcia was victorious in her fight and you entered the ring to challenge her to a fight. What happened or didn’t happen that resulted in a fight with Garcia being passed over, and you now taking on Miura?
JG – “I was hoping for a fight against Gabi Garcia, but unfortunately someone didn’t sign the contract. For me personally its ok, now I can show the Japanese fans what I’m made off, so they are more excited when we finally meet in the ring.”