Kai Asakura vs. Ulka Sasaki Headlines Rizin 19

The main event has been revealed for next months Rizin 19 card and it is going to be a bantamweight division attraction as Kai Asakura faces UFC veteran Ulka Sasaki.

Rizin President Nobuyuki Sakakibara says that Asakura and Sasaki saved the card after other main event options couldn’t be found.

“This card has been very tough to put together since Horiguchi is still under suspension and Tenshin (Nasukawa) injured his hand,” Sakakibara stated in a release (via MMA Fighting). “Mikuru Asakura not being able to fight on this card due to injury also didn’t help us either. So I asked Kai Asakura to see if he could step up in an emergency situation and headline the October event, and he accepted.”

Asakura is coming off of the biggest win in his professional MMA career, defeating Bellator MMA/Rizin Bantamweight Champion Kyoji Horiguchi at Rizin 18 by first round knockout.

While Asakura admits he was waiting for a rematch with Horiguchi to happen later this year, an opportunity to become a leader in Rizin was a hard thing to pass up.

“My plan was to to focus on the NYE event against Horiguchi for the RIZIN title, but Sakakibara told me about the situation on the card and asked me to save the event, and I believe with the given situation I am the only one that can save this card. It is actually a great opportunity for me to rise up to the occasion and become the leader of Rizin,” he said. “I’m always ready and I always put on a great fight so I will be ready. I’m confident that I can beat him so this is the reason why I took the fight. He’s a great grappler, but that’s it, and he won’t be able to grapple with me.”

Rizin 19 takes place on Saturday, October 12 from the Edion Arena in Osaka, Japan with Kai Asakura and Ulka Sasaki headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, which streams live on Fite TV.

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