Igor Tanabe has just been booked to compete against Shinsho Anzai in the fifth professional MMA fight of his career at RIZIN 45 on December 31st, 2023. This will also be the second time in a row that Tanabe has fought in an event on New Year’s Eve, something that happens every year in Japanese MMA. This time last year he was just 1-0 in MMA and he was taking on elite striker Melvin Manhoef at the Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye x Ganryujima event. He won that fight by submission in the first round, just like he did his debut over a year before that fight.
It was after that win that Tanabe was signed to RIZIN FF, and he made his debut for the promotion just a few months later. He fought another very experienced opponent in his promotional debut at Super RIZIN 2 but he maintained his impressive streak of first-round submission finishes regardless. Tanabe was able to make a quick turnaround because he suffered virtually no damage in that fight and he returned at RIZIN Landmark 6 just a little over two months later, adding another first-round submission win to his record.
Tanabe’s professional MMA record now stands at 4-0, whereas his opponent Shinsho Anzai holds a respectable 9-5 record. Anzai was the Pancrase middleweight world champion early on in his career before he was signed to the UFC, where he went 2-2 before leaving the promotion. Anzai has fought for several different promotions since then like Bellator and DEEP, racking up a ton of experience along the way. It’ll undoubtedly be a tough fight for Tanabe but he’s in an incredible form and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him submit yet another opponent in the first round.
RIZIN FF announced the news that Igor Tanabe was going to face Shinsho Anzai at RIZIN 45 in a recent post to their official Instagram account: