Jiri Prochazka, Kai Asakura Score Impressive First-Round Finishes at Rizin 19

By: Tristen Critchfield
Oct 12, 2019

Rizin Fighting Federation 205-Pound Champion Jiri Prochazka still packs some serious punch at heavyweight.

The 26-year-old Czech Republic native made short work Fabio Maldonado in the Rizin 19 headliner, stopping the UFC veteran via technical knockout at Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium in Osaka, Japan on Saturday. A solid right hand put Maldonado (25-14) on the defensive early, and Prochazka sent his Brazilian opponent to the canvas with a three-punch combination in the corner of the ring shortly thereafter. Prochazka dove in to land one follow-up punch before referee Ryogaku Wada halted the fight at the 1:49 mark of the opening frame.

Prochazka (25-3-1) has won nine consecutive fights, with all but one of those victories coming inside the distance. Twenty-two of his 25 career triumphs have come via knockout or technical knockout.

Meanwhile, Kai Asakura continued to ride the momentum of his upset of bantamweight king Kyoji Horiguchi, as he blitzed Yuta Sasaki in the co-main event. A powerful right hand during an early exchange forced Sasaki to shoot out of desperation, but Asaki sprawled easily before sending his man to the canvas with a short right uppercut.

From there, Asakura brutalized his foe with knees on the ground and more punches. Asakura then moved to let Sasaki return to his feet, but the contest was stopped by a cageside doctor after just 54 seconds of action. Sasaki (22-8-2) appeared to have suffered a broken jaw during the onslaught. That makes six straight victories for Asakura (14-1), who is expected to rematch Horiguchi down the road, this time with the bantamweight crown on the line.

Elsewhere, former Road FC and Jewels champion Seo Hee Ham set up a trilogy with Ayaka Hamasaki thanks to a second-round technical knockout of Miyuu Yamamoto in a featured atomweight affair. Ham (22-8) stuffed her opponent’s takedown tries repeatedly, often punishing her with follow-up offense before sealing her victory with hammerfists on the mat as Yamamoto (5-4) clung to a leg at the 4:42 mark of Round 2.

Rena Kubota (9-3) overwhelmed short-notice foe Alexandra Alvare Carlos, earning a stoppage just 20 seconds into their bout. In an expected mismatch, the Shoot Boxing queen followed a front kick with a two-punch combination that put Alvare (0-4) on the canvas to effectively end the contest.

Earlier, Johnny Case, Patricky Freire, Tofiq Musaev and Luiz Gustavo Felix dos Santos punched their tickets to the semifinals of the Rizin lightweight grand prix with a quartet of first-round finishes. Case will square off with Musaev, while Freire will meet Gustavo on Dec. 29 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama Japan.

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