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Roberto Satoshi de Souza Demolishes Keita Nakamura at Rizin ‘Landmark Vol. 9’

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Rizin Fighting Federation lightweight champion Roberto
Satoshi de Souza made a strong statement in his quick and
punishing main event victory on Saturday at Rizin
“Landmark Vol. 9” in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan. De Souza destroyed
multi-time
UFC veteran Keita
Nakamura with a barrage of strikes early in their non-title
matchup to cap off the 14-fight card.

De Souza (16-3, 9-2 Rizin) nearly knocked out Nakamura (36-12-2, 1
NC, 2-1 Rizin) with a head kick and punches during the opening
minute of the evening’s headliner, but Nakamura narrowly survived
the onslaught. De Souza stood over his downed foe and unleashed a
series of soccer kicks before Nakamura finally got back to his
feet. De Souza sensed that the end was near, however, and he teed
off with punches as Nakamura wilted against the cage.

Sub-referee Masato
Fukuda was standing in Nakamura’s corner, and he threw in the
yellow baton to signify a corner stoppage at the 1:43 mark of Round
1. De Souza, who was competing for the first time since he suffered
a disappointing loss at Bellator MMA x Rizin 2 in July, celebrated
his victory as a dazed Nakamura was held up against the cage.
Postfight, de Souza proposed in the cage to his girlfriend, who
said yes.

In the featherweight co-feature, Koji Takeda
(16-6, 6-6 Rizin) overcame a brutal knee to the groin in the
opening round and took a commanding unanimous decision victory over
Kyohei
Hagiwara (7-9, 6-7 Rizin), who was manhandled throughout the
final two rounds.

The first round was a cautious one with limited action until four
minutes in, when Takeda was kneed hard in the groin during a clinch
against the cage. He stayed down for quite some time before
returning to his feet as the crowd cheered him on. While some
fighters cannot recover from such a strike, Takeda proceeded to
dominate the remainder of the fight.

Takeda held back control for most of Round 2 and all of Round 3. He
repeatedly suplexed Hagiwara to the ground and kneed his legs and
body. Hagiwara defended well against a late-fight rear-naked choke
attempt, but that was the best that he could do and all three
judges rightfully awarded the fight to Takeda, who snapped a
three-fight losing skid.

Two-time UFC competitor Naoki Inoue
(17-4, 7-2 Rizin) rebounded from a May 2023 defeat with a clear-cut
unanimous decision win against 16-year veteran Shoko Sato
(35-16-2, 1 NC, 1-1 Rizin) in featured bantamweight action.

Inoue, who was only 10 years old when Sato made his pro MMA debut,
kept his much more experienced opponent at bay with jabs and leg
kicks during the opening round. He hurt Sato with calf kicks early
in the second stanza and then reversed a clinch into a takedown.
Sato did rally as the round progressed, and he charged at Inoue
with punching combinations.

In the final round, Inoue took Sato down and fought off a kimura
attempt. Sato bloodied Inoue’s nose with strikes from the bottom,
but that was the extent of his offense and Inoue trapped him in an
arm-triangle late in the fight to seal a victory on the
scorecards.

Opening up the main card, multi-time Shoot Boxing champion Rena Kubota
(14-5, 13-4 Rizin) emerged victorious in her 60th professional
combat sports fight. Kubota, who also sports a 35-5-1 professional
kickboxing and shoot boxing record, scored a close but
well-deserved unanimous decision win over former Road FC atomweight
champion Yu Ri Shim
(6-4, 0-1 Rizin) in a 108-pound women’s super atomweight
showdown.

Shim, who had not fought since her Road FC title win in September
2021, showed no signs of ring rust at all, and she effectively used
her reach advantage in the opening round. Shim landed numerous jabs
and two powerful right hooks, and she cut Kubota above her left eye
late in the round.

The second round was a closely contested one and neither woman held
an advantage during the clinch battles. Shim scored a takedown and
Kubota countered with a rolling kimura that had Shim in some
trouble, but time expired.

With the fight seemingly up for grabs, Kubota saved her best for
Round 3. She countered one Shim takedown with a guillotine choke
and another one by reversing into back control. Kubota rained down
elbows and hammerfists until Shim finally escaped to her feet. Shim
did score one takedown before the end of the fight, but it was too
little, too late. All three judges scored the bout for Kubota, who
was returning from an 11-month injury hiatus.

Rounding out the MMA action, Yuya
Shibata (19-7, 1-0 Rizin) submitted Erson
Yamamoto (4-7, 3-7 Rizin) with a kneebar at the 1:45 mark of
Round 1 in flyweight action; Yuto
Hokamura (15-13-2, 3-5 Rizin) defeated Daiki
Tsubota (11-11-3, 1-1 Rizin) via unanimous decision at
bantamweight; Satoshi
Kamiyama (1-3, 1-3 Rizin) scored his first Rizin win by
stopping fellow heavyweight Cody
Jerabek (1-1, 0-1 Rizin) with punches at the 2:58 mark of Round
1; Yuta
Kubo (4-1, 4-1 Rizin) edged out Ryogo
Takahashi (14-9, 0-1 Rizin) via split decision at
featherweight; and flyweight Yusaku
Nakamura (19-10-1, 4-4 Rizin) won a unanimous decision against
an overweight Arman
Ashimov (12-4-1, 0-1 Rizin).

The Landmark Vol. 9 card also featured five kickboxing matches,
with the most notable being a 163-pound contest between striking
legend Buakaw Banchamek and the controversial Minoru
Kimura, who has faced severe scrutiny following recent doping
infractions. While Kimura got off to a good start, Banchamek took
over as the fight progressed and he ultimately knocked Kimura out
with a straight right hand at the 1:10 mark of Round 2.

Completing the kickboxing lineup, Yuya stopped Masaya Jaki with
punches at the 2:25 mark of Round 2 in a lightweight bout; Yuto
Uemura earned a TKO win with a flurry of punches against Aoi Noda
at the 1:35 mark of Round 2 in a 117-pound contest; Shun Matsuyama
knocked out Shin Sakurai with a vicious counter hook at the 1:55
mark of Round 3 at a catchweight of 127 pounds; and flyweight
Daichi Akahira won via unanimous decision against Yuki.

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