Finally, after an eternity of waiting, it came. Just a couple of days ago, Rizin's blockbuster event blasted us with a laser of nostalgia and a fireball of action.
There were few things this card didn't have: two legends, the immense ex-Sumo Baruto, the insane Charles Bennett and not-to-mention awesome fights. It was a unique event that could only be birthed from the dormant cocoon of Pride. This was a must-see card for hardcore Japanese MMA mainstays from the days of yore and new MMA fans, alike.
Join Champions.co in reviewing the five craziest things from Rizin this weekend.
5. The Opening Ceremony
With more lights than the Pink Floyd Laser Light Show, the Rizin opening was a spectacle that may have needed a seizure warning before it. No one does production like Japanese MMA, and that is still evident after all these years. The lasers and the pyro were awesome, but what brings it all together is the crazy announcer voice that sounds reminiscent of a heavy metal band's vocals. There is truly nothing else like it.
4. The Great Cup Noodle Prize
Kanako Murata defeated Kyra Batara by a unanimous decision after a dominating performance. However, that takes a backseat to what happened after she was victorious. Murata was awarded a year supply of Cup Noodle, from Cup Noodle Taitei a.k.a. Cup Noodle the Great himself! Its appearance is a tie-in celebration of Cup Noodle's 45th anniversary. The character was created by Takashi Shimada and Yoshinori Nakai, the creators of the super popular manga, Kinnikuman.
3. Yamamoto and Saiga's Fight of the Night
One of the best moments of the Rizin event put young prospects into the spotlight, and they did not disappoint. Probably the best display of martial arts on the entire card, Erson Yamamoto and Kizaemon Saiga elevated the technicality and showmanship with their five-star fight. While Rizin seems to be making sure to preserve the best parts of MMA's past, it is also assuring us that Japanese MMA's future is bright and in good hands. This was only Yamamoto's second professional fight, but his inexperience was nonexistent. Perhaps that comes from his fighting Yamamoto bloodine. This was the first card ever where a mother and son fought on the same event. Of special note: He is Kid Yamamoto's nephew.
2. Impromptu Live Bout Negotiation
The only thing that was crazier than Mirko Cro Cop winning his fight with Hyun Man Myung by submission, was what happened afterwards. Cro Cop called out Wanderlei Silva to fight in the next round of the tournament. In other organizations, we'd just get a hard cam of the potential opponent reaction, at best. At Rizin? They stopped everything and started a public business transaction governed by officiating bodies. Rizin's matchmaker, Nobuhiko Takada and president, Nobuyuki Sakakibara made everything official right then and there. Cro Cop will fight Silva on December 29th.
1. Everything Charles Bennett Did
By far the craziest thing at Rizin—and probably to ever happen in MMA—was absolutely everything Charles "Felony" Bennett did from start to finish.
As soon as this man got to Japan, he and Wanderlei Silva reignited their feud from 2005. This led to Silva cornering fellow Brazilian Minoru Kimura in his fight with Bennett, who arrived in the arena wearing a shirt that said "Who Needs an Old Axe" in Sharpie. Bennett dismantled Kimura in a lighting-fast seven seconds, did two massive back flips and then likely gave the most ridiculous promo in MMA history.
The wild antics didn't stop there. After his $300k callout of Silva, they came to blows backstage. Pride never die and Bennett never sane.
If You Missed it:
If you still haven't been witness to the full extravagance of Rizin, you can watch the replay of the entire, six-hour event on EverSport. Watch while you still can!