Tag Archives: Rizin

The Lineal Strawweight title will be on the line at Rizin 18

Aug 14, 2019
Richard Mann
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Basically all lineal titles and number-one rankings are aligned with the UFC titles these days. However, there are a few key exceptions. One of those exceptions is the lineal strawweight title, which will be on the line at Rizin 18 this weekend.

#1 SW Haruo Ochi enters the event as the top-ranked fighter in the division, which Fight Matrix defines as 121.9 lbs and below. His opponent for the night will be UFC veteran #3 SW Jarred Brooks, who previously made a name for himself on the strawweight scene before moving up to flyweight to fight in the UFC.

Ochi dropped to strawweight in 2015 after competing at higher weight classes. In 2017 he captured the Deep strawweight title with a victory over Kanta Sato. A year later he picked up the biggest win of his career over #11 SW Mitsuhisa Sunabe at Rizin 13. In the process he took over the number-one spot at strawweight and claimed the lineal title. Sunabe had been undefeated since 2011 and was the strawweight King of Pancrase.

Brooks was a nationally ranked high school wrestler who was never really able to make it work on the collegiate level. Instead, he launched an MMA career in 2014. In his eight professional fight, he defeated veteran #23 SW Junji Ito and entered the strawweight rankings at number three. He fought once more in the division, scoring a victory over Jun Nakamura under the Pancrase banner, before moving up to flyweight to sign with the UFC. During his run in the UFC, he went 2-2 with victories over #31 FLW Eric Shelton and #34 FLW Roberto Sanchez. The promotion then released him as part of their ill conceived and ultimately unsuccessful plan to eliminate the flyweight division.

Considering the issues that the flyweight division has had getting over in the U.S., it seems unlikely that the strawweight division will ever really make a ton of headlines. However, the WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO all sponsor multiple boxing divisions under 125 pounds, so there is still a chance that the strawweight division could flourish on the international scene.

Richard Mann is a regular contributor to @ESPNMMA, @FightMetric, @RotoWireMMA and @InterMat. You can follow him on Twitter at @richardamann.

Ranking Points for the 2017 Rizin Bantamweight Grand Prix

Oct 11, 2017
Richard Mann

Rizin Fighting Federation returns on Sunday with their ninth event. The card features, among other things, three more first round bouts for the 2017 Rizin Bantamweight Grand Prix as well as a “wild card qualification bout.” There were three bouts on the April show with #41FW Kyoji Horiguchi, #83BW Khalid Taha and #74BW Takafumi Otsuka advancing to the second round. The follow chart shows the ranking points for all tournament competitors over the last two years.

As you can see the two standouts from a rankings perspective are Horiguchi and #18BW Shintaro Ishiwatari. Horiguchi’s ranking dipped recently due mostly to inactivity, but he is still the odds on favorite to take the tournament. Ishiwatari is currently riding a four-fight winning streak with wins over Ostuka, #55BW Victor Henry, #258 FW Jonathan Brookins and #35BW Rafael Silva. The reigning bantamweight King of Pancrase also has the highest Rankings Momentum of all the competitors at +8.04.