A rematch between two of the world’s top female atomweights is set for Rizin Fighting Federation 11, as Kanna Asakura and Rena Kubota will square off for a second time on July 29 in Saitama, Japan.
The promotion announced the matchup at a press conference on Tuesday. Additionally, Jiri Prochazka will clash with Bruno Henrique Cappelozza, while Saori Ishioka will meet Miyuu Yamamoto. Rizin 11 takes place at Saitama Super Arena and will feature a showdown pitting Kyoji Horiguchi against Hiromasa Ogikubo.
Asakura and Kubota initially fought in the finals on Rizin’s super atomweight grand prix on New Year’s Eve, with Asakura emerging victorious via first-round submission. The 20-year-old Paraestra Matsudo representative returned to action on May 6, as she outpointed Melissa Sophia Karagianis at Rizin 10.
“I think we have both evolved in the past six months since our last fight, and I believe that it will be a totally different fight,” Asakura said in a release. “I know how good of a fighter Rena is, and I know it’s always going to be a tough fight against her.”
The 26-year-old Kubota suffered the first loss of her career against Asakura and has not competed since then. The former Shoot Boxing women’s flyweight champion began her professional tenure with six straight victories, all under the Rizin banner. Kubota claims she struggled with the circumstances of the first bout against Asakura.
“In our last fight, I couldn’t get over a fact that I was fighting a friend. When we fought, she wasn’t my opponent to beat, she was my friend,” Kubota said. “But I learned the hard way that I was wrong. Now that the fight is set, I know she is my opponent, my mind is set so I will have no problem hurting her.”
Prochazka first made his presence known in Rizin’s heavyweight grand prix, where he defeated Satohsi Ishii and Vadim Nemkov to make it to the finals before falling to Muhammed Lawal. Since then, the Czech Republic native has won four in a row, including three via KO/TKO inside of a round. The promotion had hoped to book Prochazka against Filipovic before “Cro Cop” knee injury that forced him out of the Bellator 200 headliner.
“We were in the process of finalizing the fight against Mirko for this event, but unfortunately it will not happen because of the injury. I feel very sorry for him and wish him a speedy recovery,” Prochazka said in a release.
Cappelozza made his Rizin debut in the quarterfinals of the heavyweight grand prix in 2015, losing to Teodoras Aukstuolis by first-round knockout. He has since rebounded to capture titles in the Jungle Fight and Demolidor Fight promotions and has won three bouts in a row overall.