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Masato and KID Yamamoto the Kings of Fight Sport on NYE, Rizin Did Okay

After many years of not having much to talk about from Japan on New Year's Eve there has been a metric shit-ton to talk about instead. The big event was Rizin FF on New Year's Eve, which pulled out all of the stops to try to emulate the glory days of Japanese MMA and kickboxing. The show was both successful and kind of a mess, all depending on the situation. Fujii TV has not had a NYE event based on fighting in well over ten years, with TBS being the network that aired the K-1/DREAM Dynamite!! cards.

The peak rating for Rizin FF was 7.3%, which many are seeing as a win. Kyokugen, the event that the Masato/KID exhibition happened on drew 9.0%, while the Red and Blue Festival reigned supreme as always with 39%.

Is this a win for Japanese fighting sports, or simply a collective delusion? That much remains to be seen. The next Rizin event is scheduled for April and we'll know more then. Interestingly enough fans were more interested in the return of Masato and KID Yamamoto, in a rematch from the K-1 MAX glory days. 

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Video: Masato vs. KID Yamamoto II From Kyokugen

Rizin FF has come and gone, there was some insanity there for sure, but there are always other New Year's Eve shows in Japan and one of those shows was Kyokugen. Kyokugen was a variety show on TBS in Japan that decided to throw together a dream fight. That dream fight was Masato vs. KID Yamamoto. Masato has been retired for a while now and KID Yamamoto is under contract to the UFC still, so the chances of them having an actual fight was slim-to-none.

Instead they had an exhibition, which was legal under KID's contract. KID, who has taken on quite a few new tattoos since his last appearance fighting on Japanese television, was forced to fight with a rash guard on due to Japan's broadcast laws against such yakuza-ish things. That being said, this still happened and damn is it cool to watch. 

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Rizin Night 2 Results: Fedor is Back, Souwer Power in MMA and RENA is the GOAT

My god, what a show. 

If you were reading Twitter throughout the Rizin FF broadcast you'll either be under the impression that this was the greatest show to ever grace this good Earth or the biggest monstrosity to ever happen to mankind. That's the kind of divisiveness Japanese fight sports brings to the table. What I can say is that this was one of the most entertaining nights of fights in perhaps years. As someone who gave up watching MMA after the UFC's homogenization went into full force I was pleasantly surprised to be reminded of just how exciting that MMA really can be. 

Jiki Prochazka vs. Vadim Nemkov was perhaps one of the most exciting and active MMA fights that I've seen in a very long time, a stark contrast from the weekly fights that turned me away from the sport over the past few years. 

Of course, kickboxing was represented in quite a few ways throughout the show as well. In fact, the show began with Shoot Boxing superstar RENA making her MMA debut against the very tough Jleanna Valentino. Many quickly wrote off Valentino, but she is a decent muay thai fighter who trains in Italy with Giorgio and Armen Petrosyan, which has to count for something. What we got was a really good striking display from both women before RENA pulled off a flying armbar for the amazing win. 

On the K-1 front K-1 55kg champion Takeru came in and destroyed Yang Ming just like you thought that he would. Peter Aerts stepped in on two days notice against sumo wrestler Kaido Hoovelson in what was an ugly bout, especially considering the kinds of injuries that Aerts has been suffering from and having to watch this behemoth of a man just fall on Aerts and put him in all sorts of awful circumstances. That being said, Aerts went for a choke and an armbar, which was entertaining. 

Speaking of entertainment, Cesar Takeshi, the founder of Shoot Boxing, was out in full force to be the special guest referee in a Shoot Boxing rules bout between Bob Sapp and Akebono. Yes. This happened. Sapp hit Akebono so hard in the back of the head that a cut literally exploded open and Sapp spent the rest of the fight hitting him in the back of the head and Takeshi pausing the fight to let Stitch Duran work on Akebono. This happened like eight times. Sapp eventually won and nobody understood how or what happened to make that happen. 

Andy Souwer, after years of waiting, finally made his MMA debut and he did it against Yuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima. Nagashima was looking for submissions against Souwer but Souwer had a pretty solid ground game, all things considered, and was pounding and kneeing Jienotsu in the face. When they got back up to their feet Souwer landed a crazy combination and knocked Jienotsu out with body shots. Damn.

The main event saw Fedor Emelianenko make short work of former K-1 and GLORY fighter Jaideep "Heart" Singh. Former New Japan Pro Wrestling star and current Minister of Education Hiroshi Hase came to the ring to present Fedor with the WCW International Heavyweight Championship. I'm not kidding. He presented Fedor with the big gold belt from when NJPW had a working relationship with WCW and Hase briefly held WCW's kind of world championship. Anyway, he gave that belt to Fedor and it was weird but it owned. 

Seriously, that was an amazing night of fights. 

Rizin FF GP Final: King Mo (R1 - TKO) Jiri Prochazka
Fedor Emelianenko (R1 - TKO) Jaideep Singh
Kron Gracie (R1 - Submission) Asen Yamamoto
Andy Souwer (R1 - KO) Yuichiro "Jienotsu" Nagashima
Kaido "Baruto" Hoovelson (R2 - Decision) Peter Aerts
Shoot Boxing Rules: Bob Sapp (R3 - Decision) Akebono
Gabi Garcia (R1 - KO) Lei'd Tapa
K-1 Rules: Takeru (R2 - TKO) Yang Ming
Soo Chul Kim (R2 - Decision)
Bellator Rules: Brennan Ward (R2 - Submission) Ken Hasegawa
Rizin FF GP: Jiri Prochazka (R1 - TKO) Vadim Nemkov
Rizin FF GP: King Mo (R2 - Decision) Teodoras Aukstuolis
RENA (R2 - Submission) Jleana Valentino

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CBS Sports Airing Six Hour GLORY SuperFight Series Marathon on New Year's

New Year's has a strong tradition of bringing fights to the world, letting us all say goodbye to the year with some violence while welcoming a new year. This year will be no different and while tonight may be Rizin FF's second show, plus there will be a KID vs. Masato exhibition in Japan as well, that doesn't mean that there won't be fights to watch in the US, either. CBS Sports Network will be airing a six hour marathon of GLORY starting at midnight Eastern (9pm Pacific) on January 1st.

CBS Sports will be airing the SuperFight Series from both GLORY 25 and GLORY 26 in succession, so if you haven't checked those shows out yet and aren't going to be standing out in the cold for New Year's this seems like a thing to do, doesn't it?

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