Bellator MMA vs. Rizin scheduled for Dec. 31 in Saitama

Bellator MMA and Rizin Fighting Federation fighters are set to square off on New Year’s Eve, Saturday, December 31 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The names of four athletes were announced today, with current featherweight and pound-for-pound champion Patricio Pitbull (34-5), old foe and pound-for-pound ranked No. 3 AJ McKee (19-1), and two former bantamweight champions Juan Archuleta (26-4) and Kyoji Horiguchi (30-5).


MMA fans in the US can watch Bellator MMA vs. Rizin on Show time. The event is scheduled for Saturday, December 31 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Bellator MMA and Rizin Fighting Federation’s first co-promotion was in 2015. The upcoming event marks the first time that two promotions have seen their best fighters challenge each other during an entire event.

Additional information, including the fifth fighter on the main card representing Bellator MMA, as well as the full rules, is expected to be revealed shortly. Several matchups are set to be officially announced at a special kick-off press conference held on Wednesday, October 26 at Roppongi Hills Arena in Tokyo.

Patrick Pitbull

Considered by many to be Bellator’s greatest athlete of all time, Patricio Pitbull has shown no signs of slowing down in nearly two decades in his professional MMA career. The defending Bellator featherweight champion defended his title in dominant fashion earlier this month against No. 1 ranked contender Adam Borics (18-2) in the main event of Bellator 286picking up his ninth victory in his last ten outings.

Pitbull was the second Bellator athlete to simultaneously hold two weight class titles, and his championship pedigree is unmatched; the Brazilian holds the promotion’s records for fights, wins, title fights, title wins and total championship reigns. A threat in any situation, Pitbull has earned 23 of his 34 pro wins by stoppage, tallying 11 knockouts and 12 submissions in a showcase of his dangerous finishing abilities and impressive roundness.

At 35, Pitbull’s remarkable consistency has made him a living legend in the sport. He remains Bellator’s top pound-for-pound talent on the promotion’s official rankings, and he has his sights set on moving up to bantamweight in pursuit of a historic third championship in the near future.

AJ McKee

Arguably the greatest homegrown talent in Bellator MMA history, AJ “Mercenary” McKee of Long Beach proved his champion caliber and world-class status with a devastating and decisive run at the Bellator Featherweight World Grand Prix. The 27-year-old defeated Patricio Pitbull at Bellator 273 to become the promotion’s featherweight champion, fulfilling a lifelong dream and climbing to the top of Bellator’s pound-for-pound rankings.

McKee’s lightning-fast submission ability and dynamic punching arsenal were on display in 13 combined stoppage wins, enough to tie for first in Bellator history with Pitbull and Michael Chandler; McKee’s seven submissions, including the 2020 consensus submission of the year, lead Bellator’s featherweight division. His career-record 18-0 start catapulted him to superstardom in the sport, but McKee isn’t done adding to his burgeoning legacy by any stretch of the imagination: earlier this month , “Mercenary” successfully debuted in the lightweight division. , the first step towards winning a second world title under the Bellator banner. Today, McKee is ranked as Bellator No. 3 pound-for-pound talent.

Juan Archuleta

Juan “The Spaniard” Archuleta holds the distinction of being the only professional mixed martial artist to hold notable championships in four weight classes, a feat that prompted Bellator MMA to sign the 35-year-old to the roster. Archuleta’s success continued under the Bellator banner; ‘The Spaniard’ captured the promotion’s 2020 bantamweight title with a unanimous decision win over Patchy Mix (16-1) and was one of eight elite bantamweights that made up the Bantamweight World Grand Prix Bellator.

The former NJCAA National Wrestling Champion uses his crisp striking and technical wrestling to outclass opponents both on the feet and on the canvas. Earlier this month, Archuleta edged out the relentless Enrique Barzola (18-6-2) to secure his position as Bellator’s No. 3 ranked bantamweight contender in a division full of notable world-class competition.

Kyoji Horiguchi

Japan’s Kyoji Horiguchi is one of the country’s best fighters of all time, which is no small feat considering that legendary athletes emerged from the “Land of the Rising Sun”. The 32-year-old held the Shooto, Rizin Fighting Federation and Bellator Bantamweight Championship during his 12-year professional career, facing a who’s-who of elite opposition along the way. A shrewd striker who has picked up half of his MMA wins by knockout, Horiguchi returned to the win column last month with second-round submission Yuto Hokamura (14-12-2) in testament to his continued development as a than mixed martial. artist.

The American Top Team product competed in the Bellator Bantamweight World Grand Prix and is ranked No. 5 on the official Bellator rankings. He will be looking to fight his way to a title shot in hopes of reclaiming the Bellator belt, which he won in 2019 beating Darrion Caldwell (14-6) for a second time in back-to-back outings.

Bellator MMA vs. Rizin fight card

The stream Bellator MMA vs. Rizin the range is as follows:

  • Patricio Pitbull vs. TBA, Featherweight
  • AJ McKee vs. TBA, lightweight
  • Juan Archuleta vs. TBA, bantamweight
  • Kyoji Horiguchi vs. TBA, bantamweight


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