Rena Kubota rematched Kanna Asakura in the main event of Rizin FF 11 on Sunday and the former emerged victorious for the second time in succession. This time the fight at the Saitama Super Arena did go the distance with the 20-year-old claiming an eighth successive win.
In the first fight, Kubota switched stance constantly against her southpaw opponent. She abandoned that strategy for this contest and looked to attack with kicks to the legs and body at the start of the opening round.
Asakura soon completed her first takedown of the fight and landed in side control. She moved into half guard and then mount. Kubota had learned her lesson in the first fight and didn’t immediately give up her back, but still found herself fighting off a barrage of submission attempts and strikes.
The action intensified when Asakura tried for an armbar and Kubota was able to escape by picking her up and slamming her down. It was a confidence boosting moment for the Shoot Boxing veteran, who started to find a home for her straight right towards the end of the round.
This merely proved the catalyst for another takedown from Asakura, who postured up to land ground and pound, but was thwarted by the bell. The second stanza saw Kubota seize the center of the ring and look to score with kicks to the legs and body as her opponent circled away.
There was a brief lull in the action until Asakura timed a lazy left hook and ducked under for a double leg. They clinched in the corner of the ring and separated, but it proved to be no more than a temporary respite for Kubota, who was put on her back seconds later.
Kubota’s attempt to sprawl only delayed the inevitable as Asakura sank in the double leg and went to work from her opponent’s guard. With two minutes remaining in the round, she had time to work and began to rain down punches and elbows, easily moving from half guard into mount.
With the round reaching its conclusion, Asakura rolled for an armbar, but Kubota was able to lock her hands together and hang on until the break. However, having spent much of the first ten minutes defending on the ground, she went into the final round knowing that the momentum was all with her opponent.
Kubota made an encouraging start, scoring with punches to the body and head, and was able to eventually defend Asakura’s opening takedown attempt. At a successful sprawl, she was briefly in top position, but the 27-year-old was unceremoniously flipped over and put on her back yet again.
With Asakura in top position the fight was slipping away from Kubota. This impression was reinforced with every punch and hammerfist the 20-year-old threw as she transitioned from half guard to mount and then rolled for another armbar.
Kubota worked her way up and a stomp to the head loosened Asakura’s grip sufficiently for her to slip out of the submission. With a minute remaining in the round, the Shoot Boxing champion looked to launch some offense, but was taken down yet again to ensure that there was no tension surrounding the announcement of the decision.
This time Asakura couldn’t find the finish despite multiple submission attempts, but she controlled the majority of the fight and was the main aggressor. Her record improves to 13-2, while Kubota drops to 7-2, with both losses coming at the expense of the Rizin Atomweight Grand Prix Winner.
In the co-main event, Kyoji Horiguchi (25-2) made it ten wins in a row after beating Hiromasa Ogikubo (17-4-2) by decision. Takanori Gomi (36-15-1) needed just 2:33 to knock out fellow veteran Melvin Guillard (32-21-2-3) and register his first win since 2014.
Rizin 11 Full Results
- Kanna Asakura def. Rena Kubota by Decision (Unanimous) at 5:00 of round 3
- Kyoji Horiguchi def. Hiromasa Ogikubo by Decision (Unanimous) at 5:00 of round 2
- Jiří Procházka def. Bruno Henrique Cappelozza by KO (Punches) at 1:23 of round 1
- Takanori Gomi def. Melvin Guillard by TKO (Punches) at 2:33 of Round 1
- Diego Brandão def. Satoru Kitaoka by KO (Punches) at 1:30 of Round 1
- Unurjargal Boldpurev def. Shoma Shibisai by Decision (Unanimous) at 5:00 of round 2
- Kaito def. Yoshiya Uzatsuyo by KO (Knee) at 1:22 of Round 2
- Miyuu Yamamoto def. Saori Ishioka by Decision (Split) at 5:00 of round 2
- ThanongsaklekTigerMuayThai def. Yamamoto by KO (Punches) at 1:06 of round 1
- Daron Cruickshank def. Tom Santos by TKO (elbows) at 4:11 of round 3