RIZIN Champ Kai Asakura Signs With The UFC

Kai Asakura has said he will leave RIZN to sign with the UFC. 

Asakura is seen as one of the best fighters in Japan since joining RIZN in 2017. The news meant Asakura vacated his 135-pound title following his announcement at RIZIN 47. His departure comes after having become a two-weight world champion.

His biggest wins came against Manel Kape, Ulka Sasaki and Kyoji Horiguchi. His last two bouts were victories over Yuki Motoya and Juan Archuleta. The KO win over Archuleta was particularly significant since he stopped an ex-Bellator champion.

According to Alex Behunin, Asakura could face a top-five contender. There are huge fights available at bantamweight, including those between Sean O’Malley and Marlon Vera. Although the UFC has not confirmed anything, Asakura has said as much. 

“I am giving up my belt and going to the UFC. I think there will be an announcement form the UFC soon, but it’s official that I’m going. This should be exciting news, but right now I feel very lonely. I believe that thanks to RIZIN, I who was originally no one, was recognized as a fighter, a martial artist, a man. And last year, on New Years’ Eve, it was Mr. Sakakibara who accepted my selfish request to go to the UFC without a single defense. I would like to thank Mr. Sakakibara from the bottom of my heart for his support. Thank you very much.

“There’s a regret that I lost three main games in a row on New Years’ Eve, but I also became a champion twice. I love RIZIN and its fans. I will definitely become a champion at UFC and I will bring fans from all over the world with me, so make sure to look forward to it. [And] I hope you will continue to support me,” Asakura stated


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