Satoru Kitaoka Outlasts Tatsuya Kawajiri at Rizin Heisei’s Last Yarennoka


As the Heisei
nears its end in Japan, Rizin Fighting Federation’s
Heisei’s Last Yarrenoka — which serves as something of a prelim to
Rizin 14 — featured a mix of new and old talent at Saitama Super
Arena in Saitama, Japan.

In the card’s main event, 69-fight MMA veteran Satoru
battled it out in a match of Japanese legends against
former Shooto Champion and UFC competitor Tatsuya
at lightweight. In a fairly slow match, Kitaoka —
whose career dates back to 2000 and includes wins over Carlos
, Paul Daley and
— was able to drop Kawajiri in the first with a left
straight and followed up with knees to the head until the end of
the round.

In the second round, Kitaoka landed a takedown but was unable to
mount any solid offense. With Kawajiri seemingly behind on the
cards going into the third round, “Crusher” picked up the pace,
landing a knockdown and taking down his opponent. However, Kawajiri
was unable to do enough damage to bridge the deficit, and Kitaoka
emerged with a split-decision triumph.

Elsewhere, Mikuru
made it one for the highlight reel, as he leveled
with a huge knee to earn a knockout victory 2:39 into the
second round of their catch-weight affair.

Asakura made it look easy from the beginning, as he countered
Inoue’s first leg kick with a big straight punch. From then on,
Inoue appeared to be very hesitant and almost everything Asakura
threw was connecting. In the second round, Asakuru backed Inoue
into the corner and finished his foe with a picture perfect left

Earlier, Asakura’s younger brother, Kai
, was also able to get in the win column with a strong
performance against Korean fighter Jae Hoon
. In a back-and-forth fight, Moon had his moments, but
Asakura was able to consistently land takedowns and move to back
control to secure the win on all three judges’ scorecards.

In a match that might have been stopped too early, Kana
needed just 11 seconds to remain unbeaten in her pro
career with a TKO of Shizuka
. Sugiyama quickly backed Watanabe into the corner, but
the judoka was able to clip her opponent with two straight rights.
Those blows put Sugiyama on her back, and referee Hirokazu
quickly intervened to halt the contest. A distraught
Sugiyam was only left to argue what might have been.

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