Rizin ended 2018 with Rizin 14, which featured Floyd Mayweather defeating Tenshin Nasukawa in the main event. Rizin will kick of 2019 with Rizin 15, which features bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi facing fellow UFC veteran Ben Nguyen in a non-title main event., plus the crowning of the first Rizin Light Heavyweight Champion.
Other confirmed bouts for Rizin 15 include Kai Asakura vs Ulka Sasaki and Mikuru Asakura vs Luiz Gustavo.
The promotion also released a good portion of their 2019 schedule, which could include eight total events by years end, with six events announced at this time.
Here is the full press release announced by Rizin:
RIZIN 15 kicks off of the year with explosive bangers. Jiri Prochazka takes on RIZIN 2015 GP winner King Mo. RIZIN Bantamweight King Horiguchi meets fellow UFC veteran Ben Nguyen.
After a very successful 2018, RIZIN will be kicking off their first event of the year on April 21st 2019, RIZIN in Yokohama which will be introducing another inarguable title fight between RIZIN main stay Jiri Prochazka vs King Mo.
TOKYO – On January 31st, RIZIN held a press conference with Kyoji Horiguchi, Asakura brothers, Koji Takeda and and Nobuyuki Sakakibara.
Sakakibara started off by mentioning the schedule for 2019. Which will have a minimum of 6 events with a maximum of 8 events:
April 21st - Yokohama Arena
July 28th - Saitama Super Arena
August 18th - Aichi Gymnasium
October – Osaka or Fukuoka
December 29th – Saitama Super Arena
December 31st – Saitama Super Arena
Followed by the bout announcements for the upcoming RIZIN.15, Kai Asakura vs Ulka Sasaki, Mikuru Asakura vs Luiz Gustavo, Kyoji Horiguchi vs Ben Nguyen and RIZIN Light Heavyweight title King Mo vs Jiri Prochazka.
“I usually don’t call out fighters, but there were just so many voices on social media who wanted to see me fight Ulka, so I said it, and I am grateful for RIZIN to make it happen, and Ulka for accepting my challenge. He has a very good ground game but I have never been pinned or submitted, and I tend to favor grapplers. I would never call out anybody thinking about losing.”
“I am very grateful to be given the opportunity to fight on the RIZIN platform in front of many enthusiastic Japanese fans. My next fight is set against Kai Asakura. I am very happy to be able to create an atmosphere with the fans, and I am honored to be called out by Kai. I hope we both prepare properly and fight each other with everything we have with the utmost respect. RIZIN has many competitive fighters. I think the Yokohama event will be packed with great fights. I hope all the fans come to watch the event. Kai, let’s put on the fight of the night.”
“My opponent has that hungriness that reminds me of my old self. I saw his fight against Yachi live, but given the short notice and everything against him, he look great. I think this will be a very good fight.” “I am in the process of putting on weight so I can participate in the Light weight GP.”
“I made my name know during my last appearance. I have been out of the picture due to an injury, but I am all healed and ready to put on another knockout. My opponent is a new generation fighter and so am I. I want to put on a war with him and come out victorious!”
“I’m happy to be back. My opponent is a tough striker who has a legitimate ground game. This will be a fun but my goal is to win in exciting fashion.” “I am obligated to continue to grow the sport here in Japan, and I need to put on exciting fights.”
“Growing up watching PRIDE, it has always been my dream as a kid to fight in Japan and it is all coming true now. Horiguchi is a remarkable fighter on a hot streak right now but I know I can beat him. We are both predominately strikers so this fight will be explosive. I can’t wait to fight him!”
“I’m excited to head back to Japan and get another one of RIZIN’s belts in April. I have a ton of respect for my opponent, but I’m on a mission to represent Bellator and put on a show for all of my Japanese fans. I promise you, he won’t be able to stop me from becoming Champion.”
“I was very glad to hear this from the RIZIN management and that they gave me this opportunity. I will do my best and everything possible to get the Light Heavyweight title. I would especially like to prove my opponent King Mo that I have gotten better than before and I’m coming for vitory!”
Kyoji Horiguchi vs Ben Nguyen
King Mo vs Jiri Prochazka
Kai Asakura vs Ulka Sasaki
Mikuru Asakura vs Luiz Gustavo