RIZIN FF Thread *Spoilers*

Cat--Smasher

Putting the stamp on kids
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Daron Cruickshank feeling right at home fighting with Rizin in Japan
“The fans are great,” Cruickshank told MMA Fighting in a recent interview. “It’s definitely different. When you’re fighting and you can actually hear what your corner is saying, and you don’t hear the crowd getting crazy. It’s almost like sparring in the gym, where it’s just you and him, and you’re going at it, and it’s relatively quiet around you. It’s different.”

While Cruickshank was wrestling at Olivet College, he had a dream to one day fight in the UFC. He scaled his way in via The Ultimate Fighter reality show, where he competed in the 15th season. He showed flashes of his ability in defeating Drew Dober, and he was successful in his first official fight with the promotion against Chris Tickle. He followed up that performance with a memorable head kick knockout over Henry Martinez back in 2012.

Overall he fought 13 times in the UFC, going 6-6-1.

For a guy who prides himself on being an entertaining fighter, Rizin was a natural landing spot. Rizin — like its predecessor PRIDE FC — is more about the “fighting spirit” than it is wins and losses.

“I had a full career in the UFC, I had 13 fights,” he says. “I was on The Ultimate Fighter. I’m not the guy that had one or two fights or three fights in the UFC — I had five fights in one year one time. So, I had a full career, and I’m real happy with what I’ve done. I’ve made a name for myself. And moving on, fighting for Rizin, I’m actually really excited because it’s the old Pride. It’s all the old concepts. They want to see entertainment. They really don’t care if you win or lose, as long as you show your fighting spirit. That’s what they say. And it’s almost a relief.

“Where in the UFC, if you lose a couple of fights, you’re on the chopping block. You don’t have a job — you’re gone. That’s the nice thing about Rizin, they don’t care if you win or lose. They want to see your fight. They want to see your fighting spirit — the samurai spirit — come out there, show all your skills, and they’re happy to bring you back, every single time. As long as you go out and put on a show and you give it your all, they’re like, hell yeah dude. This is what we want. This is the entertainment that we want.”

Cruickshank got off the schneid, so to speak, in his first bout in Japan. He faced Shinji Sasakiat the first ever Rizin FC show in April 2016, and scored a thunderous knockout via soccer kicks — a weapon he wasn’t able to use in the UFC.

That first fight was just what the doctor ordered. An unleashing of pent-up boyhood reveries of kicking somebody’s head like one might kick a soccer ball.

“I’ve watched PRIDE for a long time, and when I was younger growing up I’d watch it and think, man, that looks awesome,” he says. “I’ve always set a goal for myself, ever since I started fighting, I want to legally soccer kick somebody in the head. Like, if I did that in the UFC, I would get disqualified. But now it is free game, it is awesome, and every chance I get, I run up and kick them in the head. It’s second nature.

“Switching over to the different rules was easy for me. I love it.”

Cruickshank will never be confused as a jiu-jitsu wizard, though in his second fight he was able to score just the second-ever submission victory over fellow striker Andy Souwer in the first round of the World Grand Prix. He faltered in the second round of that grand prix three months later, getting submitted by Satoru Kitaoka via guillotine.

It was his sixth career loss via a submission, the first occurring against Bobby Green way back at a King of the Cage show in 2010. Cruickshank admits he has holes in his game, but he gets a little peeved when keyboard warriors give him advice on what to fix.

“I’ve been grappling forever,” he says. “People come at me on social media and stuff and say if you spent more time on grappling rather than at the gun range, you’d be such an better fighter. I’m like, dude, I grapple just as much as I strike. I want to see you guys, everybody else that says that shit, in the cage or in the ring, in front of the same guy that I just went through, beat the shit out of him.

“Yeah, I get tired. I get taken down. I have some bad habits that I’ve have worked and tried to overcome, but dude, it’s a whole different thing saying something on a computer or via social media and doing it. It’s two different animals. I’m fighting the best guys in the world. The best guys in the world, and I’m at the top of the game. So if somebody catches me in a submissions, it’s probably not so much my fault, it’s that they’re good.”

The one thing Cruickshank is good at? Finding an accommodating party to stand in his wheelhouse and let fly.

“The best feeling in the world is knocking somebody out,” he says. “That is better than anything you could ever do. Taking the life out of somebody’s freaking brain and they fall, and it’s like, wow, I just did that? It’s better way better than getting submissions in my eyes.”

Cruickshank’s fight will be broadcast on FITE.tv, and he’s hoping to showcase a little bit of what he’s talking about. He’s excited about the new rules, and he says he is really enjoying his time with his new promotion.

As a UFC veteran, he likes that he’s seeing more and more fighters defect from the Octagon to promotions that play better to their needs.

“Well, as far as other promotions picking up their game and competing with the UFC, like Rizin and Bellator picking up UFC veterans, it’s going to make the sport all-around better,” he says. “Because now, the organizations are fighting to get the good fighters. So they’re going to pay more, and take care of their fighters more, and that’s what I’m seeing in Rizin and that’s what you’re going to see all around.”

As for Yachi, his opponent come Sunday morning in the States from Yokohama, Japan? He knows as much as he usually does about an opponent heading in. Namely, that he has a chin.

And that chin is hittable. 


“The only video I saw was [Yachi]’s last fight, which I was on the fight card and I’m pretty sure we were in the same locker room,” he says. “I didn’t really look him up too much. I’ve had so many fights, and I’ve fought so many different types of people, it’s whatever. I’ve never really concentrated on my opponent, I concentrate on myself. Get my hands ready, get my feet ready, harden my body, get my weight down, and I’m ready to go. Put me in front of anybody and I’m going to put on a show.”
 

Cat--Smasher

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RIZIN REVEALS BANTAMWEIGHT GP; KYOJI HORIGUCHI, HIDEO TOKORO, ERSON YAMAMOTO CONFIRMED
Today, the promotion held a press conference to reveal the early blueprints for the remainder of the year, including the announcement of a 16-man bantamweight tournament.

Rizin CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara told the media that he was initially interested in promoting a flyweight bracket over 2017, but the Sunday performance of Horiguchi, who violently dominated Yuki Motoya for 15 minutes, inspired a change in thought.

“It was already announced that in 2017, we will hold a GP at 49 kilograms for the women, but the men's GP will take pace at bantamweight,” Sakakibara explained. “Motoya is a really strong fighter, however, Horiguchi won with a different dimension of strength, beyond his weight class. I consulted with Horiguchi [after the fight] and told him I want to raise this [bantamweight] division to a drastic degree.”

Prior to his UFC debut in October 2013, Horiguchi fought largely at 132 pounds in the Shooto ranks, where he won the Shooto world title over Hiromasa Ogikubo, then defended his successfully against now-Pancrase champ Shintaro Ishiwatari

In addition to Horiguchi, Sakakibara confirmed that the 16-fighter field will feature 20-year-old Erson Yamamoto, the nephew of “Kid” Norifumi Yamamoto, as well as Japanese MMA's “Cinderella Man,” 39-year-old Hideo Tokoro. Sakakibara further said that while he wants to import top international talent as well, he is focused on bringing in the best bantamweight fighters from Japan's top promotions, including Deep, Pancrase, Shooto and ZST.

Rizin's bantamweight grand prix will begin on July 3 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, with the four opening rounds bouts in the top half of the tournament bracket. The remaining four opening bouts will take place in the autumn, though Rizin has yet to announce a date or venue for its fall event. Similar to the promotion's previous GP offerings, the quarterfinals are scheduled for Dec. 29 for the first leg of Rizin's New Year's season festivities. The semifinals and finals will be held on the same night, Dec. 31, at Saitama Super Arena.
 

Cat--Smasher

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Rizin Reveals Bantamweight GP; Kyoji Horiguchi, Hideo Tokoro, Erson Yamamoto Confirmed
Whether he's fighting in the Ultimate Fighting Championship or the Rizin Fighting Federation, Kyoji Horiguchi is one of the best flyweights on the planet. The rest of 2017 will give him the chance to prove he could be one of MMA's best bantamweights, to boot.

On Sunday, Rizin staged its ”2017 in Yokohama: Sakura” event, drawing an announced crowd of 12,729 to the Yokohama Arena. Today, the promotion held a press conference to reveal the early blueprints for the remainder of the year, including the announcement of a 16-man bantamweight tournament.

Rizin CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara told the media that he was initially interested in promoting a flyweight bracket over 2017, but the Sunday performance of Horiguchi, who violently dominated Yuki Motoya for 15 minutes, inspired a change in thought.

“It was already announced that in 2017, we will hold a GP at 49 kilograms for the women, but the men's GP will take pace at bantamweight,” Sakakibara explained. “Motoya is a really strong fighter, however, Horiguchi won with a different dimension of strength, beyond his weight class. I consulted with Horiguchi [after the fight] and told him I want to raise this [bantamweight] division to a drastic degree.”

Prior to his UFC debut in October 2013, Horiguchi fought largely at 132 pounds in the Shooto ranks, where he won the Shooto world title over Hiromasa Ogikubo, then defended his successfully against now-Pancrase champ Shintaro Ishiwatari

In addition to Horiguchi, Sakakibara confirmed that the 16-fighter field will feature 20-year-old Erson Yamamoto, the nephew of “Kid” Norifumi Yamamoto, as well as Japanese MMA's “Cinderella Man,” 39-year-old Hideo Tokoro. Sakakibara further said that while he wants to import top international talent as well, he is focused on bringing in the best bantamweight fighters from Japan's top promotions, including Deep, Pancrase, Shooto and ZST.

Rizin's bantamweight grand prix will begin on July 3 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, with the four opening rounds bouts in the top half of the tournament bracket. The remaining four opening bouts will take place in the autumn, though Rizin has yet to announce a date or venue for its fall event. Similar to the promotion's previous GP offerings, the quarterfinals are scheduled for Dec. 29 for the first leg of Rizin's New Year's season festivities. The semifinals and finals will be held on the same night, Dec. 31, at Saitama Super Arena.
Read more at http://www.sherdog.com/news/news/Ri...Yamamoto-Confirmed-120169#rt9f0SwGDWa6mJfK.99
 

Fedorlei Gomipierre

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Should be a fun tourney, but Erson Yamamoto is kind of an eyeroll and a really big reach for them wanting to make a new homegrown star.
 

Cat--Smasher

Putting the stamp on kids
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TENSHIN NASUKAWA-KIZAEMON SAIGA MIXED RULES MATCH ADDED TO JULY 30 RIZIN GP OPENER
Teenage striking sensation Tenshin Nasukawa may still be more kickboxer than mixed martial artist, but at the opening round of Rizin Fighting Federation's World Grand Prix 2017, he'll perhaps get to be both.

Monday, Rizin announced the addition of a mixed rules bout to its July 30 card at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, pitting the 18-year-old Nasukawa against fellow kickboxing convert Kizaemon Saiga in a flyweight contest.

The rule structure will be similar to “Jienotsu” Yuichiro Nagashima-Shinya Aoki bout from K-1 Premium Dynamite 2010, with a five-minute round of kickboxing with larger gloves, followed by a second round with MMA rules and gloves. Elbows are prohibited and the bout will be an automatic time limit draw after the 10 minutes, unless there have been yellow cards awarded in the bout.

While continuing his active and blossoming kickboxing career, Nasukawa has posted a 3-0 pro MMA mark, all under the Rizin banner. In April, he stylishly knocked out Italy's Francesco Ghigliotti out in 67 seconds. Saiga, 28, fought on the same Rizin card in April, dropping a unanimous decision to Seiichiro Ito.
 

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