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Kosuke Komiyama vs Yuki Headlines RISE 93

After announcing a lineup of planned participants for RISE 93 on June 9th, RISE has announced one of their biggest matchups to date, pitting their current 60kg champion Kosuke Komiyama against recently dethroned 63kg champ Yuki. Both men have flourished in RISE over the last couple of years, beating top foreign and domestic competition. Komiyama is currently one of the hottest fighters in Japan, riding a 9-fight win streak that includes winning and defending his RISE title and 3 straight wins in Shootboxing, two of which came over Shootboxing champions. His biggest win came in an albeit abbreviated fight over Sergio Wielzen, with Komiyama opening a cut over Wielzen's eye that forced the referee to stop the bout in the 1st. Until recently, he was LiverKick's 10th ranked Lightweight, but dropped out of the top 10 after the emergence of Yuki and Sun Hyun Lee. Despite just an 8-5 record since 2010, Yuki is LiverKick's 5th ranked Lightweight due to fighting one of the toughest schedules at the weight. He was RISE's first 60kg and 63kg champion and holds notable wins over Javier Hernandez, Koji Yoshimoto, Yuji Takeuchi and Yuto Watanabe, among others. He most recently competed in the Road to GLORY Japan 65kg Slam, defeating Mohan Dragon and Zen Fujita before falling to Masaaki Noiri in the finals. He also has a pair of losses to 4th ranked Lightweight Sun Hyun Lee, losing his RISE title in their most recent encounter.

I would peg Komiyama as the favorite here due to his hot streak and it being a very good style matchup for him. Yuki has struggled with more technical fighters, especially recently, falling to Masaaki Noiri and Sun Hyun Lee while needing a dramatic comeback to beat Yuto Watanabe. That being said, Komiyama has never faced anyone with Yuki's power, nor has he faced anyone with such ferocious leg kicks. The fight is only 3 rounds which favors Komiyama, as I doubt he'll be able to put away Yuki, who has tremendous heart. A win for either man is big and will probably determine if Yuki stays in the LiverKick top 10 or if Komiyama reenters. 

RISE also announced four other matchups, showcasing some of their 2012 RISING ROOKIES CUP winners. At 63kg, Lightweight winner Yuya Fujita will move up to 63kg to battle 4th ranked Shohei Asahara. Some may be quick to point out Asahara's 5-fight losing streak, but those losses have come in extension rounds to Koji Yoshimoto and Yuto Watanabe, close, one point losses to Yusuke Sugawara and Sun Hyun Lee, and most recently, a split decision loss to Sho Ogawa. Although he has not been able to win any of these fights, he has stayed competitive with top competition, so he is no pushover for Fujita, who has won 5 in a row, including a stoppage win over Motochika Hanada. At 60kg, Super Featherweight winner Masanobu Goshu, who has headlined back to back RISE ZERO cards, puts his undefeated record on the line against KING, who was stopped by Sho Ogawa in his last outing. At 55kg, Bantamweight winner Yuta Murakoshi looks to rebound from a loss to Seiya Rokukawa against Hikaru Fujikashi. Finally at 63kg, Super Lightweight winner Keisuke Niwa faces All Japan Karate champion Shunji Miyata. 

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Japanese Scene Weekly Recap: April 14th - 21st

News

In preparation for their second trip to Japan, GLORY announced a pair of fights for GLORY 8 Tokyo this week. First at 70kg, K-1 and GLORY veteran Yoshihiro Sato is set to take on RISE 63kg champion Sun Hyun Lee. Sato last competed in GLORY at GLORY 3 as a late replacement for Albert Kraus in the 70kg World Tournament, but lost to Sanny Dahlbeck. He is 1-1 since then, with a loss to Kenta and a win over Henri van Opstal. Lee, who is LiverKick's #4 ranked Lightweight, will have to overcome a 6+ inch height advantage in this fight, but this is not his first time competing at 70kg. Back in February, he won a K-1 MAX 70kg tournament in Seoul, despite being much smaller than many of the other competitors. Regardless of the outcome, I'd like to see GLORY have him fight at 65kg next time. GLORY also announced RISE 55kg champion Dyki's opponent for the card, South Korean Jang Yong-ho. Jang fought in Japan once before, losing to Masaaki Kadota for the GLADIATOR Lightweight title. I don't know much about him other than that he trains out of CMA Korea, but if Sun Hyun and Chang Hyun Lee have taught us anything, it's not to underestimate Korean fighters.

Perhaps the biggest news this week came from the Hoost Cup, who announced a card for June 16th with an all-star lineup. Although there is only one matchup announced so far, a rematch between Ryuya Kusakabe and Sota Ichinohe for Kusakabe's WPMF Japan Super Bantamweight title, the list of participants includes Saenchai PK Saenchaimuaythaigym, Yoshihiro Sato, Yuichiro Nagashima, NJKF Super Featherweight champion Daichi Yamato and Jemyma Betrian. 

RISE also laid out the plans for their next event, RISE 93, on June 9th. Scheduled to participate are 60kg champion Kosuke Komiyama, Yuto Watanabe, Raoumaru, Seiya Rokukawa, Motochika Hanada and Shohei Asahara, among others. J-Network Super Bantamweight champ Hiroaki Mizuhara is also expected to compete for the first time since last July, when he won the now defunct It's Showtime Japan's inaugural 55kg title. 

After making their first trip to Nagoya last year, Krush announced that it would be making its first trip to Hiroshima on August 25th to host Krush.31. Already announced for the event are Hiroshima natives Yuya Yamamoto and Nobuchika Terado. On top of that, Krush announced a pair of fights for Krush Ignition vol.4 on June 2nd. At 70kg, Hiroki Nakajima takes on NJKF's KEN and at 67kg, Makihira Keita fights NJKF's Tae-yeon. Nakajima and KEN both recently lost to Yutaro Yamauchi. 

REBELS made a pretty big announcement this week as well, scheduling two title fights for their June 9th card. At 67kg, WPMF Japan champion T-98 looks to bounce back from his upset loss to Tsukuru Midorikawa with a win over MA Kick champion Jun Nakazawa, who was upset by Yuma Matsui in his last outing. At Flyweight, divisional kingpin Ryuji Kato looks to prove that he can hang with both the old guard and the new guard as he will defend his title against the winner of the Eisaki Ogasawara vs Hiroyuki Yamano fight, both of whom have scored big upsets early in their careers. Also competing on the card is NJKF Welterweight champion Kenta, who will compete at 67kg, and MA Kick Super Welterweight champion Hiroshi Fire.

Finally, DEEP*KICK announced a pair of fights for their May 12th card. At 60kg, DEEP*KICK champion Yuto Tsujide takes on RISE's Tatsuaki in a non-title bout. At 65kg, Krush veteran Yuya looks to bounce back from his loss to 65kg champion Hiroto Yamaguchi with a win over 2012 RISING ROOKIES Lightweight runner-up Yasuhiro "TOKAREV" Shimizu.

Event results from this week as well as a couple other miscellaneous announcements after the break

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Photo of the Day: Overeem and Badr Hari 2013

Well, they might not be fighting any time soon, as Badr Hari is currently a man without a home and Alistair Overeem is happy in his UFC contract, but fans can dream, can't they? These two have met in the ring twice now, with each having a win over each other, but they have been training together recently at Mike's Gym, which just proves that anything can happen in combat sports and that there really is no such thing as mortal enemies, right? [source]

Reem/Badr

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Ruslan Karaev Implicated in Rotterdam Art Theft

Karaev

This one is just a bit too odd. Ruslan Karaev, the former K-1 fighter who has kept a rather low profile over the past few years after he suffered a series of injuries, has once again gotten his name in the news. This time around it is not the way that he or his fans would like to see him, though, as he has been implicated in a case from last year where millions of dollars of paintings were stolen from a museum in Rotterdam.

Karaev, who is said to have some connections to Russian crime organizations, was named by suspect Radu Dogaru, with Dogaru claiming that he gave four of the paintings to the athlete after the initial theft. Karaev is not in custody nor is it clear what, if any involvement he actually had in this robbery, but we'll keep an eye out for more on this story. [Source]

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