Knee to the body leads to Rizin crowning Kai Asakura as new bantamweight champion

Once again, Kai Asakura is the Rizin bantamweight champion.

Asakura regained his Rizin bantamweight title in a spectacular showdown against Juan Archuleta. The match was the co-main event at Rizin 45 and was hosted at the renowned Saitama Super Arena in Japan.

Asakura (21-4) secured his victory with a knee strike to Archuleta’s (29-5) chest. He then initiated a dominating sequence of ground-and-pound that culminated in a definitive TKO stoppage.

Initially, the bout showcased an intense competition between the two competitors. Archuleta managed to land an early blow, causing Asakura to stumble. Throughout the match, both competitors exhibited remarkable skills and landed significant strikes.

At the official weigh-ins, Archuleta missed weight by six pounds. This resulted in him giving up the Rizin bantamweight title. Consequently, Asakura emerged as the sole contender eligible to claim the title. Had Archuleta emerged victorious, his weight miss would have likely resulted in the bout being considered a no-contest.

In August 2020, Asakura defeated Hiromasa Ougikubo to win the Rizin bantamweight title for the first time. The 30 year old then lost it to Kyoji Horiguchi in December of the same year. He had to go 3 years and 5-1 in order to regain the Rizin bantamweight belt.

Asakura is one of the top competitors in Japan right now. He has notable wins against Ulka Sasaki, Horiguchi, Manel Kape, and Archuleta.

On the other hand, Archuleta’s defeat marked the conclusion of a four-bout winning streak. He is a former Bellator champion, who is now a part of Rizin. Archuleta has secured victories over Enrique Barzola, Kim Soo-chul, Naoki Inoue, and Hiromasa Ougikubo.

Following Bellator’s acquisition in November, Archuleta is currently competing as a PFL combatant.

This thrilling clash between Asakura and Archuleta showcased the resilience and skill of both combatants. With the win, Asakura has finally cemented his place as the bantamweight champion in Rizin.