LOS ANGELES – Continuing its collaborative efforts, Bellator and RIZIN have booked five cross-promotional bouts for two separate cards on Dec. 29 and New Year’s Eve at Saitama Super Arena in Japan.
At Bellator Japan, powered by RIZIN, on Dec. 29, top Bellator welterweight Lorenz Larkin (21-7) will seek his fourth consecutive victory when he faces 47-fight veteran Keita Nakamura (35-10-2) inside the Bellator cage. Top women’s flyweight prospect Ilara Joanne (9-4), a member of Patricio and Patricky Pitbull’s gym in Brazil, meets undefeated Kana Watanabe (8-0-1) of Japan. Rounding out the Bellator vs. RIZIN action on Dec. 29 in Japan will see Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Goiti Yamauchi (24-4) face the fluid and exciting striking style of Daron Cruickshank (22-12) at lightweight.
During RIZIN.20, two additional bouts featuring Bellator and RIZIN athletes going head-to-head inside the four-sided RIZIN ring are official, when undefeated surging 135-pounder Patrick Mix (12-0) takes on former Japanese regional bantamweight champion Yuki Motoya (23-7) and the always-exciting John Macapa (23-4-2) goes to battle against Mikuru Asakura (11-1, 1 NC), the older brother of the man who recently finished Bellator bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi in a non-title bout, Kai Asakura.
Bellator Japan, powered by RIZIN, emanates from the iconic Saitama Super Arena on Sunday, Dec. 29 and will air LIVE on Paramount Network on Saturday, Dec. 28 at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT. RIZIN.20 will be available in Japan on DAZN, SkyperfecTV, and GYAO!
The main event of Bellator Japan features Fedor Emelianenko (38-6, 1 NC) and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (38-13) in a long-awaited heavyweight showdown, as well as a rematch of an epic 2016 “Fight of the Year” clash taking place, when three-time former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler (19-5) runs it back against Benson Henderson (28-8).
Fresh off of a 15-minute battle with one of the most feared fighters at 170-pounds, Andrey Koreshkov, the 33-year-old Larkin will look to build on his current three-fight winning streak when he enters the Bellator cage for the sixth time in his career. With 11 of his 21 career wins coming by way of knockout, eight of which occurred in the opening round of action, “The Monsoon” boasts relentless power that very few opponents can endure when in the cage with the 28-fight veteran. With recent wins highlighted by a win over Jorge Masvidal, the Riverside, Calif., native will once again have his eyes set on the Bellator 170-pound strap when the Millennia MMA-product competes in Japan.
Fighting out of Fortaleza, Brazil, Joanne enters the contest riding a three-fight winning streak that includes her most recent victory over Bellator newcomer and former bare knuckle boxing champion Bec Rawlings at Bellator 231 last month. Guided by Eric Albarracin, widely regarded as the 2019 MMA coach of the year, and the rest of her Pitbull Brothers team, the 25-year-old knockout artist hopes to continue her emergence in an already-stacked women’s flyweight division. With victories in nine of her last 11 professional bouts, including six first-round finishes, the avid Game of Thrones fan will look to cross yet another name off of her “list” in Japan.
A armbar submission from Goiti Yamauchi forced his most recent foe to verbally submit the last time he entered the Bellator cage on Oct. 4 – his fifth win in six outings. With the submission win, Goiti now has 19 submission wins in his mixed matial arts career at merely 26 years of age. Since dropping a decision loss to Michael Chandler at Bellator 192, the submission specialist has continued to grow into his relatively new home at lightweight. On Dec. 29, Yamauchi will face another stiff test in the form of the man they call “The Detroit Superstar,” Daron Cruickshank.
You would be hard-pressed to find another prospect who has come into Bellator and made as an immediate impact as Patrick Mix of Jackson-Winkeljohn in Albuquerque, N.M. “Patchy,” also known as “No Love,” has submitted both of his Bellator opponents within a round, choking out Ricky Bandejas under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden and utilizing the rare Suloev Stretch at Bellator 232 late last month. Now, inside the RIZIN ring, Mix will face a man who has more than double his amount of professional appearances when he continues his ascencion towards a bantamweight title shot.
Making his 10th appearance for Bellator, 32-year-old John Macapa will be representing Bellator against RIZIN when he looks for the third win of his 2019 campaign on New Year’s Eve. With victories in 11 of his past 15 bouts, including impressive wins over both Kevin Croom and Ashleigh Grimshaw, the always-dangerous striker is known as one of the most lethal 145-pounders in the weight class. A product of Nova Uniao, Macapa hopes to continue his dominance and protect his unblemished mark in 2019 when he makes his first ever appearance in Japan.
Heavyweight Main Event: Fedor Emelianenko (38-6, 1 NC) vs. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (38-13)
160-Pound Contract Weight Co-Main Event: Michael Chandler (19-5) vs. Benson Henderson (28-8)
Welterweight Main Card Bout: Lorenz Larkin (21-7) vs. Keita Nakamura (35-10-2)
Flyweight Main Card Bout: Ilara Joanne (9-4) vs. Kana Watanabe (8-0-1)
Lightweight Main Card Bout: Goiti Yamauchi (24-4) vs. Daron Cruickshank (22-12)
Bantamweight Main Card Bout: Patrick Mix (12-0) vs. Yuki Motoya (23-7)
Featherweight Main Card Bout: John Macapa (23-4-2) vs. Mikuru Asakura (11-1, 1 NC)
*Card subject to change.
Please visit Bellator.com for more information.