A collaborative co-promotion Bellator MMA vs Rizin takes place at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan on New Year’s Eve, Saturday, December 31. The fight vellum features the first-ever five-on-five showdown. Four of the five matchups have been confirmned today at the launch printing conference.

“Japan is one of my favorite places to visit. I learned the fight merchantry here for many years,” said Bellator President Scott Coker. “I got to see all the unconfined fights in PRIDE, K-1. I had a endangerment to work with Sakakibara when then; we were sharing fighters as early as 2006. When we started working together, we did some fighter exchange, but virtually 2018, I’ll never forget this interview I did with ESPN. They said: ‘What do you think well-nigh Rizin?’ I said look, ‘Give them a couple of years, and they’re going to have some unconfined fighters there.’

“Fast-forward seven years later from the whence of Rizin, now they’re ready. Now they’re ready to move forward and be on the worldwide stage. I finger like their fighters have been known in Japan but not outside in the world. We’re going to put on some wondrous matchups, matchups that the fans really want to see, and I finger like it’s going to be an All-Star team. It’s the Bellator All-Star Team vs. the Rizin All-Star Team. This is something that the world wants to see. He said, ‘I want you to bring your weightier fighters in these weight classes. I want the weightier fighters you have.’ So, that’s what we did. Every fighter we’re bringing is either a world champion in Bellator or a former world champion in Bellator, and we’re ready to fight the Rizin All-Star Team on December 31,” Coker concluded.

“As Scott Coker mentioned earlier, Bellator has single-minded to bringing the weightier fighters Bellator has, so we have single-minded to bringing our All-Star team to squatter the weightier of Bellator,” Rizin Fighting Federation President Nobuyuki Sakakibara stated. “This will be the first time in the history of MMA that two promotions will fully go at it with their weightier guys, and for the spectators and for the fans, you get to segregate who to root for. MMA is an individual sport, but if you want to support Team Rizin or if you want to support Team Bellator, we want to introduce a new way of enjoying mixed martial arts.

MMA fans in the United States can watch Bellator MMA vs Rizin on December 31 at 8 pm ET/PT on Showtime.

Bellator MMA vs Rizin printing conference
Bellator MMA vs Rizin printing priming | Rizin FF

A.J. McKee vs Roberto de Souza

In the marquee New Year’s Eve matchup this year, Bellator pound-for-pound No. 3 talent AJ “Mercenary” McKee (19-1) will rencontre reigning Rizin lightweight champion Roberto “Satoshi” de Souza (14-1), in only his second visitation as a lightweight. McKee’s heady striking style is a perfect match for the reigning Rizin titleist, who has won five straight fights and secure his championship twice by submission.

“Thank you, Japan, for welcoming me. Thanks to Scott Coker for bringing me as the A-side. Thank you to Rizin; thank you to the fans. Since I was a kid watching K-1, GLORY, it was unchangingly a diaper dream to come here and fight,” said former Bellator featherweight world champion McKee. “Being here now, in this moment, it’s phenomenal. I’m looking forward to going out there, giving the fans what they’re looking forward to: a unconfined show, action-packed. For me, just stuff here in this present moment is unbelievable and surreal. I’m looking forward to going out there and putting on a unconfined show for you, and hopefully, you enjoy it.”

“Everybody here probably knows that I’ve wanted to squatter a Bellator fighter, and now I’m getting this opportunity. I am extremely happy well-nigh this opportunity, and I will promise I will fight for Japan and fight for Rizin. I fathom everybody’s support; thank you very much,” widow Rizin lightweight champion Roberto de Souza.

Patricio Pitbull vs Kleber Koike

Bellator featherweight world champion Patricio Pitbull (34-5) will bring his talents to Japan to squatter Rizin featherweight champion Kleber Koike (30-5-1), who just captured the Rizin title during Rizin 39 on Oct. 23. While neither fighter’s title will be on the line, this champion versus champion tour will mark flipside milestone in Bellator and Rizin’s industry-leading trend of co-promotion and provide fans with the wordplay to the timeworn question of which champion reigns supreme.

“When I was a child, I was watching ‘Minotauro’ Nogueira, Wanderlei Silva, ‘Shogun.’ I had that dream: I want to fight there in Japan. So, today its happened. I’m very happy to be here. I’m going to represent my country, but I love this country,” Bellator featherweight world champion Patricio Pitbull stated.

“Thank you very much for this opportunity. Thank you Bellator for giving me the endangerment to fight such a performance. I’m a little nervous right now, but I will promise to put on a good fight and not disappoint you all. I’ll do everything I can to put on a good fight. Rizin fans, I fathom your support,” said Rizin featherweight champion Kleber Koike.

Juan Archuleta vs Soo Chul Kim

Fresh off a dominant unanimous visualization victory over Enrique Barzola, former Bellator bantamweight champion Juan “The Spaniard” Archuleta (26-4) joins Pitbull, McKee, and Horiguchi as Bellator ambassadors, facing ROAD FC featherweight titlist Soo Chul Kim (18-6-1) in a high-octane bantamweight bout.

“Thank you for the honor to be worldly-wise to represent Bellator; thank you for the opportunity to come to such a wonderful and sacred land to fight,” said former Bellator world bantamweight champion Juan Archuleta. “I truly fathom it. Since I was a kid, I’ve unchangingly been fascinated with martial arts. It’s been in my blood. I’m here to represent traditional martial arts. I’m here to requite when to the Japanese martial arts and put on a show with this man right here. All of you guys are going to be in awe of the performance we put on. I said, ‘One day, I’m going to do that in Japan.’ And here I am today.”

“I’m very honored to be worldly-wise to represent Rizin. Thank you, Sakakibara, thank you Scott Coker. I am extremely excited to represent Rizin, and I will fight hard. In my previous fight in Rizin, my wife promised that she would buy me a Nintendo Switch if I won. I won the fight, and she did not buy it. So, this time I would like to secure the win for sure and get my Nintendo Switch from my wife,” shared Kim.

Kyoji Horiguchi vs Hiromasa Ougikubo

Former Bellator and Rizin bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi (30-5) returns to whoopee in his native Japan on the vellum representing Bellator, when he faces Rizin Japan Grand Prix 2021 bantamweight tournament champion Hiromasa Ougikubo (25-6-2) in an predictable trilogy matchup taking place in the flyweight division.

“I finger like I’ve betrayed the Rizin fans, and I’m very sorry for that, but I stand here today on the Bellator side. My opponent will be Hiromasa Ougikubo. This is going to be our third fight, and I’ll make sure he’ll never want to fight me overly again,” said former Bellator bantamweight world champion and inaugural Rizin bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi.

“I shoehorn I respect what Horiguchi has done; he’s fought tough opponents and he’s had significant accomplishments. However, I’ve fought him twice, and he’s hit me so many times that I hate his guts. I need to repay my debt in this next fight, and I will promise that I will return all that favor to him,” replied Hiromasa Ougikubo.

Bellator MMA vs Rizin fight card

Other bouts featured on the Bellator MMA vs Rizin fight vellum are expected to be spoken shortly. The current lineup looks as the following:

  • Patricio Pitbull vs. Kleber Koike
  • A.J. McKee vs. Roberto de Souza
  • Juan Archuleta vs. Soo Chul Kim
  • Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Hiromasa Ougikubo

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