Rizin 21 to Include Debut Bouts for UFC Veterans Masanori Kanehara, Naoki Inoue

By: Tristen Critchfield
Jan 25, 2020

Rizin Fighting Federation has announced a slew of bouts for its first card of 2020, including the promotional debuts of former UFC competitors Masanori Kanehara and Naoki Inoue.

Kanehara will square off against Victor Henry in a featherweight clash, while Inoue will lock horns with Trent Girdham at bantamweight. Rizin 21 takes place at Hamamatsu Arena in Hamamatsu, Japan, on Feb. 22 and will be headlined by a showdown between Mikuru Asakura and Daniel Salas.

Four other pairings were confirmed for Rizin 21: Kyle Aguon vs. Vugar Kyaramov; Yuto Hokamura vs. Kenji Kato; Roque Martinez vs. Hideki Sekine and Marcos Yoshio de Souza vs. Falco Neto. A former Sengoku featherweight champion who went 1-2 in the UFC, Kanehara will return to action for the first time since submitting Jomhod Chuwattana under the Deep banner in April 2018. Henry enters the matchup on a seven-bout winning streak and is 19-4 as a professional overall.

The 22-year-old Inoue went 1-1 during a brief UFC stint but most recently competed at Deep “93 Impact” where he submitted Toshiaki Kitada in the opening stanza. Australia’s Girdham, also 22, owns an 11-3 career record that includes a loss to Henry in his lone Rizin appearance.

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