RIZIN 20 managed to squeak in on the last day of 2019 and steal The Scrap’s award for the Best MMA Card of the Year.
The New Year’s Eve tradition is a collaboration between the Bellator and RIZIN promotions. The 15-fight card featured three title matches, a one-night Lightweight Grand Prix tournament, and a Kickboxing super fight.
The show, which took place at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan, was headlined by a RIZIN bantamweight title fight between Manel Kape and Kai Asakura. This was a highly anticipated rematch as their previous fight resulted in a close split decision for Asakura. On December 31, Kape became the new bantamweight champion when he finished Asakura in the second round by TKO.
#RIZIN20 ends the MMA year and plays host to the highly anticipated trilogy bout title fight between atomweight's absolute best in Ayaka Hamasaki and Seo Hee Ham.
Despite the rather large moment, the challenger isn't letting any of it get to her 🇰🇷https://t.co/HlsTLZRNHc
— Drake Riggs (@DrakeRiggs_) December 30, 2019
Seo Hee Ham vs. Ayaka Hamasaki was a fight between two of the best women’s atomweight fighters in the world. In a close fight Ayaka Hamsaski became the new RIZIN super atomweight champion by split decision. The third round saw Ham maul Mamaski, possibly breaking her nose. This was the third time the pair have fought each other with Hamasasaki winning the first two battles.
In a light-heavyweight match champion European fighter Jiri Prozchaka defended his title with a first-round knockout of former UFC fighter C.B. Dolloway. In less than two minutes, Prochhazka took out Dolloway with a right uppercut and a left hook.
Tofiq Musayev defeated both Johnny Case and Patricky “Pitbull” Freire all in one night to become the Lightweight Grand Prix winner. He defeated Case by TKO in Round 1 and Freire by unanimous decision. In an unusual twist, Musayev’s corner received a yellow card for interference in the second round in his fight with “Pitbull”. The Bellator fighter fell out of the ring during a take down attempt and one of Musayev’s cornermen tried to help Freire while outside the ring.
After taking some time to sleep and reflect on it, I still think #RIZIN20 is not only the event of the year but one of the best cards top to bottom I've ever seen.
— Brandon Sibcy (@B_S_Sibcy) January 1, 2020
Twenty-one year-old kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa truly put on a show too. The undefeated fighter beat Rui Ebata with 30 seconds left in the first round when he executed a spinning kick and a combo of punches to Ebata’s head and body. The professional kickboxer now holds a record of 34-0.
RIZIN 20 was an action-packed card from beginning to end. The New Year’s show is a highly anticipated event every year. From the show’s flashy fighter entrances to its title matches and Grand Prix tournament, RIZIN20 truly earned the award for the Best MMA Card of 2019.
Congratulations to RIZIN!