Mikuru Asakura Earns Unanimous Verdict Over Yusuke Yachi in Rizin 17 Main Event

By: Tristen Critchfield
Jul 28, 2019

Mikuru Asakura won his sixth consecutive fight in the Rizin Fighting Federation 17 headliner, rolling to a convincing unanimous decision over Yusuke Yachi at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, on Sunday.

Asakura (10-2) got the better of the majority of the striking exchanges, mixing up punches to the body and head, and he used the ropes to remain upright on multiple occasions when Yachi (20-9) attempted to take the action to the canvas. Asakura punctuated his triumph when he dropped his opponent with a left hand behind the ear during a furious final salvo in the third stanza.

In the co-main event, former King of Pancrase Shintaro Ishiwatari earned a second-round submission victory over Yuta Sasaki in a bantamweight clash. The end came at the 3:58 mark of Round 2, when the Osaka, Japan, native secured a north-south choke and forced his adversary to tap.

A right hook to the chin had Sasaki reeling, and he eventually tumbled to the canvas. From there, Ishiwatari (26-7) teed off with a series of knees to the head, which ultimately left Sasaki (22-7-2) vulnerable for the fight-ending choke.

Earlier, Hiromasa Ogikubo (19-4-2) battled to a split verdict over Yuki Motoya (23-7) in a featured bantamweight tilt. In a closely-contested pairing, Ogikubo, the reigning Shooto champion, relied on his ground game to eke out a victory over the former Deep two-division champion. Motoya swarmed with punches late during a frenetic rally, but it wasn’t enough to sway the scorecards in his favor.

Former UFC signee Ivan Shtyrkov (16-0-1) was successful in his Rizin debut, as he stopped Hoon Kim (10-13-2) via technical knockout in a light heavyweight affair. A series of approximately 15 unanswered right hands to the head from back mount brought an end to the contest at the 4:10 mark of Round 2. Shtyrkov, who was granted his UFC release after an anti-doping violation, has finished 12 of his opponents inside the distance.

Elsewhere, Johnny Case, Tatsuya Kawajiri and Roberto de Souza qualified for the Rizin lightweight grand prix with triumphs on the preliminary portion of the card.

With Satoru Kitaoka (42-20-9) clinging desperately to a leg, Case (26-6-1) earned his sixth consecutive victory by punishing his foe with punches and elbows, which eventually led to Kitaoka’s corner throwing in the towel at the conclusion of the first round. Meanwhile, Kawajiri (37-13-2) outpointed Ali Abdulkhalikov (7-1), and Souza (9-0) defeated Mizuto Hirota (18-11-2) by knockout 3:05 into the opening stanza.

In earlier prelim action: Jake Heun (14-9) defeated Vitaly Shemetov (14-8) by TKO due to a cut at the 2:19 mark of round three in a light heavyweight clash; Seo Hee Ham 21-8) used knees to stop Tomo Maesawa (12-10) 3:14 into the opening round at atomweight; and Stephanie Egger (4-1) earned a unanimous decision win against Reina Miura (11-3) at featherweight.

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