Six More Fights Added To Rizin 17 Card, Ulka Sasaki In Action


The Rizin 17 card is still to fill up as six more bouts have been added to the card, with those bouts being Yusuke Yachi vs Mikuru Asakura, Yuki Motoya vs Hiromasa Ogikubo, Shintaro Ishiwatari vs Ulka Sasaki, Seo Hee Ham vs Tomo Maesawa, Jake Heun vs Vitaly Shemetov & Kevin Ross vs Daiki Watabe (Kickboxing).

Rizin issued the following press release on the upcoming event:

Addition of Tatsuya Kawajiri, Johnny Case, Mizuto Hirota and Seo Hee Ham bulks up the RIZIN.17 card including 1 kickboxing bout with Kevin Ross from Bellator Kickboxing at the Saitama Super Arena. Russian Social media sensation Vitaly Shemetov finally gets a spot in the RIZIN card.

June 26th - RIZIN announced 6 fights throughout the weekend for their RIZIN.17 event at the Saitama Super Arena. Japanese legend. Tatsuya Kawajiri will be making his comeback into the RIZIN ring along with several other UFC veterans such as Johnny Case, Seo Hee Ham and Mizuto Hirota.

The RIZIN.17 card has started off strong with 3 solid cards with Shintaro Ishiwatari (25-7-4) vs Ulka Sasaki (22-6-2), Yuki Motoya (23-6-1NC) vs Hiromasa Ogikubo (18-4-2) and Mikuru Asakura (9-1) vs Yusuke Yachi (20-8). And the card just got much more interesting with 5 fights being announced throughout the weekend, and a newest announcement made today, making the total amount of confirmed fights at 9 fights.

RIZIN CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara has announced that the Lightweight GP will take place starting October in an 8 man elimination tournament and Bellator MMA CEO Scott Coker has announced that he will be sending Patricky “Pitbull” Freire (21-8) to participate from the opening round.

3 Lightweight bouts have been announced over the past few days as the qualifying rounds for the Lightweight GP. SHOOTO, PRIDE, DREAM and UFC veteran Tatsuya Kawajiri (36-13-2) will be making his return to the RIZIN ring to participate in the Lightweight GP qualifying round. He will be facing the undefeated Russian prospect Ali Abdulkhalikov (7-0). Johnny Case (25-6-1) will be making his second promotional appearance and will take on Journeyman Satoru Kitaoka (42-19-9) looking for the spot for October. DEEP, SENGOKU Champion and UFC veteran Mizuto Hirota (18-10-2) will be making his first appearance in front of the Japanese fans after 4 years while he meets Jiu Jitsu sensation Roberto de Souza (8-0).

Additional qualifying bouts will be booked for RIZIN.18 to determine the remaining slots for opening round of the 8 man tournament held at RIZIN.19 on October 12th at the Osaka Gymnasium.

ROAD FC Atomweight Champion and currently ranked 2nd Atomweight of the world Seo Hee Ham (20-8) will be making her promotional debut by taking on DEEP JEWELS Atomweight Champion Tomo Maesawa (12-9). The couple additions will make RIZIN’s Super Atomweight division much deeper and more interesting. With the world’s top participants lined up, RIZIN will have access to more intriguing and diverse matches in the near future.

Vitaly Shemetov (14-7-1NC) has become a social media sensation over the past year and has developed a cult-like following from the MMA fans throughout the process. The Russian striker has been extremely vocal about his participation in the promotion and guerilla visited the RIZIN office to negotiate a deal while documenting and sharing every step of the way on his social media account. RIZIN has finally had enough of the Shemetov brothers’ actions and have decided to give him shot. “The dancing Russian” will have to prove his skills against a very tough Jake Heun (13-9) from the US, who is coming off of an extremely impressive win over Roque Martinez (13-5-2) in his most recent fight in RIZIN.16.

The co-promotion between Bellator and RIZIN continues as American kickboxing pioneer and current Bellator Kickboxing fighter Kevin Ross (45-14) will be fighting in the RIZIN ring as he takes on Tenshin Nasukawa’s teammate Daiki Watabe (22-23-2) in a kickboxing affair.

Fighter quotes Roberto de Souza

“I am very happy to be able to test myself by facing such tough opponent like Hirota. I will show the greatness of Jiu Jitsu by submitting this challenge put I front of me. I hope to show the appeal of Jiu Jitsu to as many people as I can with my performance.”

Mizuto Hirota

“I moved to Tokyo from Nagasaki after watching PRIDE and deciding to become a professional fighter. So I am much honored to be able to fight on a platform where the PRIDE soul still lives. Souza is not only a great Jiu Jitsu practitioner, but has adjusted to MMA well and is a great threat in MMA as well. I am currently in Tiger Muay Thai setting up fight camp so I will be ready and make sure to deliver a KO for everybody.”

Soe Hee Ham

“I am excited to be able to fight the current DEEP JEWELS belt holder, the belt I used to hold. Maesawa holds a victory over Mina Kurobe so she is the real deal. She will be the perfect opponent for me to showcase my skills to the RIZIN fans. I would like to show my knockout power against her like when I knocked out Jinh Yu Frey back in Korea.”

Tomo Maesawa

“I am much honored to be given this chance and would like to thank everybody who worked hard to give me this opportunity. I will put in everything I have worked for in my fighting career to fight the best opponent to this date. I have never lost to a Korean fighter and I plan to keep it that way. I will win this fight, become famous and look for a boyfriend.”

Jake Heun

“I cannot wait to return Japan to Rizin 17. My opponent has made lots of noise about wanting to be a part of Rizin and and I am going to text him to see if he belongs. Get ready for some beautiful violence.”

Vitaly Shemetov

“Siberian tears of happiness… That’s is how I can describe my reaction of finally being involved into RIZIN family and coming back to my dear Japan. Riii-ziiin!!! Riii-ziiin!!! Riii-ziiin!!! I thought I am already insane, I thought I will lose my mind, because I cannot even count how much times I was screaming this in social media in order to attract attention. Even at night when I woke up sometimes I screamed Riii-ziiin!

For me it was not easy to melt hearts of RIZIN management. Since July 2018 almost every 2-3 days my brother and I created short videos for social media, we tried to learn Japanese, we even launched crowd funding in order to fly to Japan and come to Rizin office and talk respectfully to Mr. Sakakibara about our desire to fight in Rizin. Yes, we are warriors, but sometimes as all normal people we felt a bit desperate, but then we re-watched movie “Blood Sport” it always motivates and inspires us since our childhood and we decided that we will knock, knock, knocking on “heaven’s door” until RIZIN notices our desire.

My brother and I are grateful to all Japan people who supported us, Japan people are very generous. Even when we couldn’t find address of Rizin office in Internet, our fans got this information for us and… we finally came in, BUT... we were not lucky and office was closed… anyway our second attempt was successful.

Every day in Tokyo we walked, walked and walked… we were curious about Japan life, our fitness band showed everyday 54k steps (approx. 25km walking everyday for 2 weeks)…we talked and met thousands of people, everybody was so polite and friendly.

When we saw couples we always noticed that they really love each other, they always took care about each other, they were very gentle and polite to each other, Japan people is a real treasure of Japan.

I promised to my father to be a warrior in Japan, in the land where martial arts were born, in the land where talents of the most famous WORLD MMA legends shined, in the land of kind and wise people. And now finally I am coming to fight vs JAKE HEUN and I am totally ready, I live and train Siberia, even if it was -40 Celsius we didn’t stop trainings, we trained almost naked in a snow, in winter we swam in a river to make our bodies tough, Siberian rivers has a lot of Calcium that’s why our bones are hard as iron and are ready to fight.


finally Rizin… uuuurrraaahhhhh!!!!

We know that we will not become as much loved and popular as native Japanese fighters, but our dream is to be the most favorite foreign warriors for Japan people.

Probably smbd knows that in the past I lived in Japan for 1 year and I was dating Japanese girl, we lost contact after I returned to Siberia and I hope she will see my bout in RIZIN on TV and maybe I will have a chance to meet her again, I will fight for love!

My entrance song is dedicated to her … this song is “Scorpions – Still loving you”. See you on Saitama Arena Rizin17.”

Satoru Kitaoka

“I have continued to show my determination and obsession to towards the sport but the results have not followed. But dealing with thing wisely won’t get me anywhere so I will continue to burn my life’s candle”

Johnny Case

“I’m so excited to be back at saitama arena to put on another entertaining fight for the fans and to further uphold my reputation as a fighter who finishes fights in spectacular fashion. Fighting a legend like Kitaoka makes it all the better, with his wins over top opponents like Carlos Condit, Paul Daley, Takanori Gomi, and Kurt Pellegrino He’s sure to have the the skills to test myself as I work toward my goal as the Rizin lightweight champion. I’ve been told that Rizin will be having a GP in oct. and they’re bring in decorated Bellator champion Pitbull Patricky for a shot at the Rizin lightweight title. For me, this is the perfect opportunity to show the world that I’m a true champion of the sport and I have what it takes to beat some of the best fighters in the world.”

Kevin Ross

“I have a deep respect for the Japanese, their culture and their fighting spirit and I am really looking forward to putting on a show there July 28th."

Daiki Nakajima

“I am honored and excited to fight the best in the best platform. I will proudly represent Japan and take on Bellator Kickboxing. I will put in everything I have and leave everything I have in the ring.”

Tatsuya Kawajiri

“I will take on the young lion as the first step to my final challenge of my career. I have changed my training schedule after 20 years, started to work with a personal trainer for lifting, and I have been training in the best condition that I have ever been in. Please cheer my name when I am down, I will need your help to get past my upcoming obstacles. I will turn all of your voices into power on July 28th at the Saitama Super Arena. Please support my last challenge.”

Ali Abdulkhalikov

“I am glad that I had the honor to fight in Japan! I will fight against a truly legendary athlete - Tatsuya Kawajiri. I hope we will show the real show and delight the audience. See you at Saitama Super Arena, friends.”

[Confirmed fights]

Yusuke Yachi vs Mikuru Asakura

Yuki Motoya vs Hiromasa Ogikubo

Shintaro Ishiwatari vs Ulka Sasaki

Tatsuya Kawajiri vs Ali AbdulKhalikov

Satoru Kitaoka vs Johnny Case

Roberto de Souza vs Mizuto Hirota

Seo Hee Ham vs Tomo Maesawa

Jake Heun vs Vitaly Shemetov

Kevin Ross vs Daiki Watabe (Kickboxing)

Doors open at 12:30PM with Opening Ceremony at 2:00PM on Sunday July 28th at the Saitama Super Arena. International tickets can be purchased at

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