Rizin Fighting Federation 2 happened a few days ago in Japan. Hopefully marking the return of a full time player in Japanese MMA. This marked the return to the ring for The Emperor Fedor Emelianenko vs. Jaideep Singh after a 3 year lay off. Singh an unknown in the MMA world is an experienced K-1 kickboxer. The next big fights were Kron Gracie vs Asen Yamamoto, Bob Sapp vs. Akebono, Gabi Garcia vs. Lei’d Tapa, and Muhammed Lawel vs Jiří Procházka. This was night two of the extravaganza. Night one was capped off by the loss of one of my favorite fighters of all time. Shinya Aoki dispatched kazushi Sakuraba.
Lets start with the fight that caught my attention. I have not heard a lot about this card except it was to mark the return to action of Fedor. Fedor looked to be in his usual shape never an opposing physical specimen. Singh an experienced kickboxer looked out classed from the bell. Fedor in usual fashion rushed his opponent finally taking him to the ground and finishing the fight. Fedor was never in trouble and looked to be the Fedor of old. No one would expect him to jump back into a top ten heavyweight fight. It was a nice tune up. The big question is what is next for the Emperor.
The next is one I was really excited to see. Kron Gracie vs Asen Yamamato. Kron the son of Gracie Jiu Jitsu legend Rickson Gracie is seen by some as the next MMA wunderkind. This fight showed a few holes in Krons game, but from someone known for their ground prowess, he didn’t look to bad. Yamamto also new to professional fighting put up a very good fight and looked to be a game fighter. Kron looks to be improving with his standup, but a few holes were definitely exposed. Kron took control as soon as the fight hit the ground. Yamamoto was able o reverse position a few times, but was ultimately caught in a triangle finish by Kron.
Here is the first of the traditional Japanese Pride style fights. And what I mean are the fights that border on freakshows. It is Bob Sapp vs. Akebono. Sapp a giant of a man had made a pretty good run in MMA and K-1 has been relegated to the freak show matches in MMA. This was fought under shootboxing rules. So basically it is an MMA match with no groundfighting. You can do standing submissions and takedowns just no fighting on the ground. This is a weird fight to say the least. The fight is stopped most of the time to work on a cut on Akebono. The even weirder thing is the cut is behind his ear.
The next one is Gabi Garcia vs. Lei’d Tapa. This fight was just plain awful. Gabi Garcia came in with a highly touted jiu jitsu career winning multiple world championships. She showed in this fight to have no stand up game at all. Granted this was Garcia’s first pro fight she looked horrible. She has a long way to go to look to be a credible MMA fighter outside of her jiu jitsu. Her opponent didn’t have much of an answer either. This fight was amateurish at best. Garcia slimmed down for awhile but seems to have bulked back up for this fight at 205lbs. Garcia wins after knocking her opponent down with a flailing backfist and following up with some ground and pound.
The next is Rizin’s Light heavyweight tournament finale between King Mo Muhammed Lawel vs Jiří Procházk. This was definitely a more exciting fight than the semifinal matches. King Mo ended this with a straight right after some wild exchanges on the feet from both men. Mo also controlled the fight on the ground also.
The last and most heartbreaking for me came from night one of Rizin. It was Shinya Aoki vs. Kazushi Sakuraba. Sakuraba now 48 is past what would consider a fighter’s prime. Aoki controlled the fight from the start, taking mount and back mount finally finishing the fight by strikes. Sakuraba has been and will always be my favorite fighter, but it breaks my heart seeing him take a beating like that. Please stick to grappling. His Metamoris match was awesome to watch. I just don’t have the stomach to watch him take those beatings anymore.
All in all the card was not a bad one. It had some definite highlights, but also a few lowlights. I am for a return of Japanese MMA, I just hope it isn’t built on the sweat and blood of MMA legends. Japanese fans are do for a new crop of MMA superstars. Lets hope Rizen can pull that off.