A study by Hiromasa Ougikubo before the RIZIN 33 Grand Prix

This year’s RIZIN FF New Years Eve MMA Card will feature both the semifinals and finals of the Bantamweight Grand Prix. Early into the night, four fighters will battle their way through to the final, which will be contested later in the event. On the one hand, former champion Kai Asakura will face Kenta Takizawa, and on the other Hiromasa Ougikubo will fight Naoki Inoue.

For Ougikubo in particular, it seems there are additional stakes.

Cultivating a name for himself as one of the most promising flyweights to come out of Asia by 2016, Ougikubo was invited to appear on the Ultimate Fighter TV show for a chance in a fight for the title against UFC champion Demetrious Johnson. Throughout the season, Ougikubo found himself professionally 15-3-2 in addition to his undefeated streak on the show as he entered the final. Tim Elliott was going to beat him and Ougikubo found himself in a fight before fighting for a UFC belt.

While the lost opportunity was a disappointment for the young athlete, he would return to Asia in style, securing back-to-back wins in the Professional Shooto. However, as a result of this, Ougikubo would move on to RIZIN for a one-time fight against a promising young fighter Kyoji Horiguchi who he has already lost to and years away from his UFC title bid and his RIZIN and Bellator belts. Short on, Ougikubo would return to Shooto once again, then claim two RIZIN wins on his return.

At that point, a third fight with Horiguchi seemed unlikely, but a new rival was about to emerge. Kai Asakura defeated Ougikubo on August 10, 2020 at RIZIN 23 for the undisputed RIZIN bantamweight title. He has since strung three wins, including two in the current Grand Prix, and finds himself facing the Asakura slice ahead of the New Year’s event.

For Ougikubo, if he and Asakura win their semi-final clashes early in the night, he will both have the opportunity to avenge the last loss of his record but also to avenge the stakes he lost that night. while battling the Asakura Grand Prix belt. in the same way that the championship was taken away from him almost two years ago.

However, as fans prepare to watch and see if Ougikubo can seize the opportunity and fight for everything this New Years Eve, it’s only fitting that we take a closer look at the unique style he brings to the ring. .

Hiromasa Ougikubo failure

Ougikubo is very heavy in a wide stance as he advances in his fights. It’s no exaggeration to describe him generally assuming the hammer-over-nail position in his clashes, as he often seeks to intimidate opponents and throw with heavy-handed hooks. While it is important to know that he is an extremely patient fighter, small and with a stacked frame, Ougikubo crouches as if he is an animal ready to pounce. He walks almost lazily, with a low guard and a sort of rhythm in his step, but chooses when to explode forward with his hooks, which echo with a thud in the traditionally calm and vigilant Japanese arenas.

Ougikubo is orthodox but favors his left leg when it comes to powerful techniques. He enjoys moving the back foot up and throwing a quick left header from the front, often from his jab. He uses a movement similar to that of the leg to measure the distance and to come up to the pocket to exchange with his hands. From his right leg he rarely throws with a finishing intention, he instead throws the kick with the right leg for his opponent to guess and fill the space, but when he changes position the threat of the kick powerful rear is again more evident on the left. .

He will also change position to land the sharp left hook, often jumping to the left-hander with the right cross, then coming up high behind him from the left. This left hook is used to complete almost all of his combinations, and he does a particularly good job of offering it after his other punches pierce a variety of targets, attacking the ribs to often open the head.

His strike is based on a patient and methodical rhythm, squatting and heavy to draw the full extent of the moments he chooses to explode. His grappling game is pretty much the same, he has great takedowns and attacks them in a very specific way. Ougikubo’s best on the ground usually starts with the melee, he has a slow attack here, where he fights heavily for the hooks, waits for the chance and falls for an explosive double dismount from the leg or waist, hence he drags his opponents down. From there his route is not surprising but he is efficient, he enjoys cross-control and he likes tight chest pressures so he can use extraordinary pressure from the hips to pass the guard. No tricks or deception in the way he operates, but with a tight technical attack, he often gets the job done and works his way to upper control. However, he rarely finds the ability to land and beat effectively due to the rigor with which he maintains himself in transition.

It’s fair to say that there is a bulldozer quality to the way Ougikubo operates as he slowly advances into a heavy position with constant pressure. Her posture is confident and even arrogant. However, this style has its drawbacks. First, he’s caught off guard with both strikes and kills, although more than often his ability to get back on his feet has served him well, his legs are an easy target for tall wrestlers. His affinity for bringing down opponents also allows his opponents to land with full force if he doesn’t anticipate the shot, which has caused him to take hits in the pipe and rely on tenacity. when he shouldn’t necessarily need it.

It is evident from his fights that Ougikubo is much more comfortable dictating the pace and space of the fight. ring and must act in a reactionary manner, range and speed become much more of an issue. His hand speed is far superior to his footwork ability to get the most out of his skills, being the bully helps a lot. That being said, if he can anticipate the shot even as he advances, the heaviness of the pressure from his hip can allow him to sprawl out at times, which puts him in a lethal position, with wicked knees towards his opponents. bottom.

His ability to move forward will be put to the test when he takes on Naoki Inoue for the first time this week, and then goes even further to face his unknown RIZIN 33 finalist colleague on New Years Eve.

Braeden arbor

Braeden Arbor is an aspiring journalist from Ontario, Canada. He is a recent graduate of Trent University, with a black belt in karate and a blue belt in judo. He has also been an avid fan of MMA for the past decade.

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