Hiromasa Ogikubo established himself as an outsider to win the Rizin FF bantamweight grand prize.
Ogikubo (25-5-2) faced some adversity at the start of his semifinal fight against Naoki Inoue, but the finalist of “The Ultimate Fighter 24” rallied to win the final two rounds and qualify for the Rizin FF 33 final at Saitama Super Arena on Friday.
Across the rack, Kai Asakura (19-4) knocked down and edged Kenta Takizawa, setting him up with a rematch against Ogikubo, whom he knocked out with a football kick to Rizin FF 23 in 2020. .
With the odds against him once again that night, Ogikubo won against Asakura. Ogikubo cut with kicks in the legs, landing early on Asakura. He was able to briefly secure a full mount, passing over Asakura’s back, who managed to stay clear of any major submission threats.
In the second round, Asakura was quick with his jab, landing a solid left hook. But Ogikubo didn’t back down from the striking rally, finding a home for his overhand right on numerous occasions. After a competitive footed lap, Ogikubo finished the round with a flurry and a takedown.
Asakura showed good strikeout defense in the third inning, but Ogikubo’s overwhelming pace was too high as the 34-year-old managed to avenge his loss to Asakura and win the Rizin bantamweight grand prize. FF 2021.
In the main co-event, lightweight champion Roberto de Souza (13-1) notched his first title defense by submitting Yusuke Yachi (23-12) with a smooth armband in the second round. After his victory, Souza requested a champion Bellator as he aims for titles in two different promotions.
Rizin FF 33 results include:
- Hiromasa Ogikubo beat. Kai Asakura via unanimous decision – bantamweight grand prix final
- Roberto de Souza beat. Yusuke Yachi via Submission (Armband) – Round 2, 3:30 to retain lightweight title
- Mikuru Asakura beat. Yutaka Saito via unanimous decision
- Tenshin Nasukawa v Takanori Gomi – special rules fight ends in draw
- If Woo Park defeated Rena Kubota by unanimous decision
- Seika Izawa beat. Ayaka Hamasaki via TKO (elbows and punches) – Round 2, 2:50
- Koji Takeda beat. Noah Bey via Submission (Armband) – Round 2, 4:12
- Hideki Sekine beat. Shoma Shibisai via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 2:09
- Kyohei Hagiwara beat. Hiroaki Suzuki via unanimous decision
- Shinobu Ota beat. Kazuma Sone via TKO (Soccer Kick & Stomp) – Round 2, 3:55
- Yuki Motoya beat. Yuto Hokamura via unanimous decision – bantamweight grand prix reserve fight
- Hiromasa Ogikubo beat. Naoki Inoue via unanimous decision – bantamweight grand prix semi-finals
- Kai Asakura beat. Kenta Takizawa via unanimous decision – bantamweight grand prix semi-final