The 27-year-old Tri-Force Akasaka representative knocked out Daniel Salas 2:34 into the second round of their 150-pound catchweight clash in the Rizin Fighting Federation 21 headliner at Hamamatsu Arena in Hamamatsu, Japan, on Saturday. A high kick from Asakura landed shin-to-head on the former “Ultimate Fighter: Latin America” competitor, and Salas (16-7-1) attempted to cling to his opponent’s leg as he toppled to the canvas. From there, Asakura (13-1, 1 NC) finished off the dazed Salas with a series of punches to the head.
After the conclusion of the main event, One Championship lightweight titlist appeared with Rizin president Nobuyuki Sakakibara to issue a challenge to Asakura.
Josh Barnett has something to smile about tonight, as protégé Victor Henry (20-4) extends his tear to seven with a second-round knockout of Sengoku legend Masanori Kanehara! DEEP's bantamweight champ is firmly in the RIZIN title hunt. #RIZIN21 pic.twitter.com/41XQS2hYq9— Kyle Johnson (@VonPreux) February 22, 2020
In the evening’s co-main event, Victor Henry spoiled the Rizin debut of UFC veteran Masanori Kanehara with a technical knockout victory 45 seconds into the second frame of their bantamweight clash. Henry (20-4) has won eight consecutive bouts, including two under the Rizin banner.
Henry followed a left body kick with a pair of hard right hands that landed flush to the chin of Kanehara (27-14-5), sending the Japanese veteran tumbling to the canvas. The Josh Barnett protege followed his man to the floor and unloaded with approximately five follow-up blows before referee Masato Fukuda was able to dive in and save Kanehara. Henry then called for a title shot against reigning bantamweight king Manel Kape.
Earlier, Roque Martinez (16-6-2) dispatched Hideki Sekine (7-4) with a brutal technical knockout finish 4:04 into Round 1 of a heavyweight scrap. After dropping the Japanese fighter known as “Shrek” with a right hand, Martinez attacked his fallen foe with punches and multiple soccer kicks to the head on the mat to eventually force the stoppage. Sekin has lost four consecutive bouts — all by knockout or technical knockout.
In the opening main card contest, grappling standout Marcos Yoshio Souza (9-2) scored a quick technical knockout triumph over Falco Neto Lopes (11-11) in a 175-pound catchweight contest, putting his adversary away with punches 1:27 into the opening stanza. After briefly pulling guard, Souza swept into top position and battered Lopes with a series of standing-to-ground punches, ultimately putting the nail in the coffin with a pair of clean rights to the head near the ropes.
In earlier action: Yuto Hokamura (17-9-2) submitted Kenji Kato (13-7) with a rear-naked choke 4:21 into the first round at bantamweight; UFC veteran Naoki Inoue (13-2) garnered a unanimous verdict against Trent Girdham (12-4) at 135 pounds and Vugar Keramov (15-3) outpointed Kyle Aguon (13-9) at featherweight.