Ayaka Hamasaki (18-2) is still your RIZIN Super Atomweight champ, riding a dominant third round to counteract the successes of Invicta queen and rival Jinh Yu Frey. The 37-year-old bolsters her claim to GOAT atomweight, now 9-0 in her class of choice. #RIZIN19 #RIZINFF #RIZIN2019 pic.twitter.com/ErCKfkAu13— Kyle Johnson (@VonPreux) June 2, 2019
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TOTAL NUMBER OF RIZIN FIGHTS: 191
TOTAL NUMBER OF RIZIN EVENTS: 19
The Rizin Fighting Federation on Sunday planted its flag in Kobe, Japan, for the first time with a card that stormed onto the stage. Rizin 16 featured the first title defense in the promotion’s history, a fighter who beat an opponent half her age and a kickboxing sensation who keeps building his legacy.
LONG-DISTANCE TRAINING: Rizin 16 had five straight fights go the distance, from Tofiq Musayev-Daron Cruickshank all the way to the atomweight title fight. This stretch of consecutive decisions ties Rizin 15 for the most fights in a row to reach the scorecards.
WOULDN’T SEE THAT IN PRIDE: Although a kickboxing championship served as the Rizin 16 main event, the final two MMA bouts were both contested in the women’s atomweight division. It was Rizin’s first event to end the MMA portion of the card with two women’s matches. Previously, Rena Kubota and Kanna Asakura headlined Rizin 11 in 2018, but Kyoji Horiguchi faced Hiromasa Ogikubo in the co-main event slot.
THIS WE’LL DEFEND: By successfully defending her atomweight belt by decision in a rematch against Jinh Yu Frey, Ayaka Hamasaki became the first fighter in Rizin history to ever defend a title.
‘MAMAMOTO’ STRIKES AGAIN: Miyuu Yamamoto faced an opponent younger than her 22-year-old son, Erson Yamamoto, for the first time. She was 23 years Asakura’s senior. Age did play a factor, as she upset the 21-year-old Asakura by decision.
FRIEND OF THE JUDGES: After needing the full 15 minutes to beat Asakura, all five of Yamamoto’s wins have come by judges’ verdict.
FAN FAVORITES: Both Asakura and Cruickshank competed for the ninth time with Rizin, tying Horiguchi and Kubota for the second-most appearances inside the promotion.
ENEMY OF THE JUDGES: By beating Cruickshank on the scorecards, Musayev recorded the first decision win of his career. In each of his previous 14 victories, he had stopped his opponent, 10 of them in the first round.
STILL A REAL AMERICAN: Cruickshank suffered his fourth loss under the Rizin banner, tying Erson Yamamoto, Kizaemon Saiga and Satoru Kitaoka for the most losses in company history.
ONE LAST SWING: With 13 seconds left on the clock, Mamoru Uoi landed a flurry of punches along with two soccer kicks on Kana Hyatt to earn the latest finish in Rizin history.
CHARLIE BROWN’S WORST NIGHTMARE: By stopping Hyatt with punches and soccer kicks, Uoi picked up the third finish from soccer kicks in the Rizin ring.
THAT KICKFIGHTING THING: By obliterating Martin Blanco in the second round with shots to the body to win the vacant ISKA featherweight title, Tenshin Nasukawa remained unbeaten as a professional at 31-0 with 24 knockouts. He also holds four wins in MMA and a victory over Saiga in a mixed rules bout. Even though he also has 110 amateur bouts also to his credit, Nasukawa does not turn 21 until August.
NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN: Coming into Rizin 16, no Rizin show ever held more than five non-MMA bouts on a card (19 events), “Topnoi Tiger Muay Thai” Thanongsaklek Chuwattana had never lost consecutive matchups (eight fights) and Tim Eschtruth (five fights) and Namiki Kawahara (10 fights) had never been knocked out.
THAT SONG, THERE?: In a bold choice of walkout music, Frey selected the Pride Fighting Championships Theme by Yasuharu Takanashi. Her journey to the title proved unsuccessful, as she lost by decision.
DANCEOFF, BRO, ME AND YOU: Jake Heun took a page out of Star-Lord’s playbook when he danced out to the cage with Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love” playing behind him. Dressed up like the lead from the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise, Heun was about as successful as his comic counterpart, winning a split decision over Roque Martinez.
Sherdog contributing editor Jay Pettry is an attorney and a statistician. Writing about MMA since he started studying the “Eminem Curse” in 2012 and working for Vice Sports and Combat Docket along the way, he put together many fight result and entrance music databases to better study the sport. You can find him on twitter at @jaypettry.