Two of Rizin’s top bantamweights will collide in the main event of Rizin 42, while a sprinkling of international talent will add further interest to a stacked card for Tokyo.
Rizin 42 will take place at the Tokyo Ariake Arena on Saturday, May 6, with a host of big names set for action following bout announcements released by the promotion on social media.
Headlining the event is a bantamweight battle between former Rizin champion Kai Asakura and former DEEP champion Yuki Motoya, with both men eyeing a shot at the vacant bantamweight title.
Asakura will be making his return to action after his loss to Hiromasa Ougikubo in the Rizin 2021 Bantamweight Grand Prix final. A planned return in July 2022 was scrapped after Asakura picked up an injury, but the 29-year-old is back to full fitness and ready to return.
He’ll do so against Motoya, who heads into the bout riding a stellar run of form. He’s won his last five bouts, and has won 10 of his last 12 outings. Most recently, he finished Rogerio Bontorin via second-round knockout at Rizin 40 on New Year’s Eve. Victory over former titleholder Asakura would underscore his championship credentials and put him at the head of the queue for a shot at the vacant belt.
The co-main event will see former Bellator bantamweight champion Juan Archuleta make his full Rizin debut when he takes on Naoki Inoue. Archuleta made no secret of his enjoyment and admiration of the Japanese MMA culture when he competed, and won, for Team Bellator at the Bellator vs. Rizin event in Saitama on New Year’s Eve 2022. Now “The Spaniard” has been given the chance to compete exclusively under the Rizin banner for the first time as he takes on top-drawer opposition.
Archuleta will face a tough baptism against Inoue, who has won seven of his last eight, with five of those wins coming inside the distance. His most recent appearance saw Inoue finish Kenta Takizawa via straight armbar submission at Rizin 40.
The fight card in Tokyo will also see the return of Rizin lightweight champion Roberto Satoshi Souza, who will take on American Spike Carlyle in a non-title matchup.
Known as the “The Alpha Ginger,” Carlyle last competed for Bellator in October 2022 in a losing effort against former featherweight champion AJ McKee. Now he’ll bring his all-action style to the Rizin ring as he faces submission wizard Souza, who lost a unanimous decision to McKee at Bellator vs. Rizin, but remains on a five-fight win streak under the Rizin promotional banner.
Also set for action further down the card is flyweight ace John Dodson, who lines up against Tatsuki Saomoto. Dodson picked up a first-round knockout win over Hideo Tokoro on his Rizin debut, with that win sandwiched by a pair of first-round knockout wins for Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship.
It means Dodson has won each of his last four competitive outings, and he’ll return to the Rizin ring in Tokyo to face Saomoto, who is riding a remarkable 14-fight win streak and has never been knocked out in 20 pro fights.
Rizin 42: Confirmed bouts
- Kai Asakura vs. Yuki Motoya
- Naoki Inoue vs. Juan Archuleta
- Roberto Satoshi Souza vs. Spike Carlyle
- Seika Izawa vs. Miyuu Yamamoto
- Kota Miura vs. Ya-Man
- Ulka Sasaki vs. Boyd Allen
- John Dodson vs. Tatsuki Saomoto
- Takaki Soya vs. Ramazan Temirov
- Yuki Ito vs. Erson Yamamoto
- Takuya Yamamoto vs. Takeji Yokoyama