The first Rizin event of the year took place last night and it was everything you would expect — crazy, over-the-top and awesome. The card featured twelve bouts — three kickboxing and nine MMA — and was headlined by a nine-second matchup between Kyoji Horiguchi and Ian McCall. Although the first half of the card featured some lackluster fights, the event turned around from the Kape Vs Asakura bout onwards and was overall extremely entertaining.
Fight Of The Night
The Fight of The Night came in the Strawweight kickboxing bout between Issei Ishii and Daishin Sakai. This fight (minus the headbutts) was an exciting back and forth battle from start to finish, showcasing the incredible speed and technical potential of both 19-year-olds. I loved this fight and hope that it, along with Tenshin’s win, helps to convince MMA fans to watch more kickboxing.
Finish Of The Night
The Finish of The Night took place in the Lightweight matchup between UFC veteran Daron Cruickshank and Shooto mainstay Koshi Matsumoto. Daron Cruickshank is the type of fighter that is built to entertain and this knockout is a perfect example of why. Cruickshank perfectly timed a head-kick, firing it as he broke away from a clinch, catching his opponent with his hands down. This was the fifth head-kick knockout of his career and possibly the cleanest. It is hard to say what the future holds for Daron but regardless of where he ends up and who he faces, I will be watching gleefully every-time.