There’s a new man in town in the RIZIN bantamweight fold.
Angolan fighter Manel Kape rebounded from a defeat to Japanese standout Kai Asakura 18 months ago, finishing him in the second round with a ferocious salvo of strikes on Tuesday in the headliner the RIZIN end of year card to win the vacant bantamweight title which had been without an owner since Kyogi Horiguchi relinquished it earlier this year.
However, Kape didn’t get his hand raised without a fight. Asakura used his lengthy frame to frustrate his aggressive opponent early, rarely affording him opportunities to land anything of note. That changed in the final seconds of the round though, as Kape connected flush with a spinning backfist which noticeably bothered the Japanese.
— 黒ひげくん (@kurohige_623) December 31, 2019
It was the beginning of the end. Immediately after the opening of the second round Kape seized his opportunity and swarmed Asakaura, flooring him twice and unleashing a furious barrage of strikes which prompted the referee to call a swift end to the fight.
After the win, Kape celebrated with Horiguchi who was sitting ringside on commentary duty.
The win comes around 24 hours after Kape went viral for tearing up a cardboard cutout of Asakura (and eating part of it) in what was a typically aggressive engagement for him.
Kape’s win sets up a bantamweight showdown with Horiguchi in 2020.
Elsewhere on the card, former Floyd Mayweather ‘opponent’ Tenshin Nasukawa defeated Rui Ebata in a kickboxing contest while Tofiq Musaev beat Patricky Pitbull and Jiri Prochazska beat ex-UFC fighter CB Dolloway.