Dreams became reality on December 31st for first ever cross promotion event for two of the biggest promotions in the world. Historical event in the making, Bellator’s five vs Rizin five. Important day in MMA history that I hope no one forgets.
Fighters dreams to fight at the Saitama Super Arena on December 31st and now they can finally live out there childhood dreams. Mesmerized watching the old school Pride fights now fans will be glued to the television watching them fight.
December 31st card is a great card from first fight to headliner, Former Champions or current champions facing each other. Expect to watch excellent fights as the fighters will look to represent their promotion the right way.
AJ Mckee vs Roberto De Souza Headliner
Bellator Superstar, Former Bellator Featherweight Champion, Top Ten Featherweight in the world is moving up weight class to fight Rizin Lightweight Champion Roberto De Souza in the headliner.
Rizin Lightweight Champion Roberto De Souza well decorated Jiu-Jitsu practitioner transferred his Jiu-Jitsu competitor success into the MMA ring. Choking out opponents in the first round, Deadly submission moves that made fighters like Tofiq Musayev tap quickly.
World class Jiu-Jitsu artist must dominate McKee on the ground to win this fight, Winning for Rizin.
“Of course, my hands will be well-trained, but there is no secret that my goal is to take him home. A.J. is also very good on the ground, he has many submissions in his career, but we clearly have totally different styles. His ground is pretty much focused in MMA, my style is more a competition jiu-jitsu style. I believe I’m much more lethal than A.J. McKee in the ground.”https://www.sherdog.com/news/news/Roberto-Souza-Claims-Lethal-Ground-Game-Superior-to-AJ-McKees-188321
AJ McKee however has different plans as he’s well-rounded athletic machine earns high praise from everyone on how talented he is. Willing to test his Jiu-Jitsu defense against one of the best.
“This fight isn’t a fight where I’m planning to go wrestle. This guy is a master jiu-jitsu artist, he’s had multiple submissions, so I think he’s going to be the one that’s trying to shoot and initiate the wrestling,” said McKee. “I know that’s my strong suit, but I think the advantage for me is going to be on the feet, and wrestling defense all day.” AJ Mckee https://cagesidepress.com/2022/12/20/a-j-mckee-bellator-mma-rizin/
“I haven’t seen many people on the ground try to really punch him yet. So if we do hit the ground, I’m looking forward to just unloading some bombs on him a little bit.” AJ McKee https://cagesidepress.com/2022/12/20/a-j-mckee-bellator-mma-rizin/
Roberto De Souza sizeable Lightweight built like a brick can give AJ McKee ground control problems, Trouble to move De Souza out of position. On the other hand McKee has surprising power for a lean muscle Lightweight, Any minute can POP the Brazilian Champion.
“I think we’re gonna come out on the feet, throw some strikes. I believe once I land a couple strikes, he’s gonna see that, ok, this isn’t where he wants to be.” AJ McKee answers on Lowkick MMA interview
AJ McKee vs Roberto De Souza is the cross promotion headliner, Hope this fight lives up to the hype. Both fighters fight hard and give the fans at home a technical battle to watch.
Patricio Pitbull vs Kleber Koike Erbst
Days of Pride Brazilians from Chute Boxe ad Brazilian Top Team fighters like Vitor Belfort, Wanderlei Silva, Shogun Rua all would travel to Pride and showcase there world class skills Co-Main Event fight is Brazil vs Brazil clash.
December 31st nostalgic memories will return with Patricio Pitbull traveling to the Saitmana Super Arena to face current Rizin Featherweight Champion Kleber Koike Erbst. Fellow Brazilian who fought all over the world before making himself home with Rizin.
Pitbull well known as top five Featherweight in the world, Former Bellator Featherweight Champion well deserves opportunity to fight in the first ever cross promotion. Representing Bellator as one of the best fighters in the world.
“Cross-promotion is something that hasn’t been done before the way its being done now. It makes me very honored and excited to be a part of it.” Patricio Friere interview with Lowkick MMA
Patricio Friere is the betting favorite, Expected to win this fight because of his All-Around skills from striking in distance, Inside the pocket. Great range fighter, Laundry list of talents where Pitbull can overwhelm Kleber Koike Erbst for entire fight.
Kleber Koike Erbst Rizin Featherweight Champion has everything to win, Very few fans expect this man to pull off the upset. Fight to the best of your abilities and showcase your talents to the world.
Before signing with Rizin fought for KSW, Challenging KSW Featherweight Champion Mateusz Gamrot. Watching full fight absorbed every punch, Last round face was bloody but continued to fight till the very end. Since signing with Rizin, Kickboxing definitely improved watching his fights against Ulka Sasaki & Mikaru Asakura can tell the difference right away.
Striking isn’t up to par with Pitbulls but Kleber is a submission heavy fighter like Ryan Hall. Try everything in his power to manipulate Friere and bring the man to the ground, Shooting for submissions.
“‘Pitbull’ is smaller than me, but he has a good sense of distance. But he will fight in Rizin’s ring and Rizin’s rules. I am aware that it will be a very tough fight, but I will try to impose my game and give my shout out. I know it will be a war..” Kleber Koike Erbst Sherdog interview
Brazilian vs Brazilian clash, Hope the fight is high level battle. Erbst goes ALL IN on this cross promotion fight. Showcasing his talents to the Showtime viewers, FITE TV viewers.
Juan Archuleta vs Soo Chul Kim
Bantamweight Clash, Third fight on the card is my opinion best fight on “Paper”. Fighters have similar fighting styles and skills. Two former Bantamweight Champions facing each other, Representing there respected promotion.
Juan Archuleta former Bellator Bantamweight Champion, Featherweight title challenger living his childhood dream traveling to Japan fighting on New Years Eve card.
Fighting former Road FC Bantamweight Champion, Former One Championship fighter is one of the best South Korean fighters of all time. Soo Chul Kim fought everyone from Bibiano Fernandes, Kevin Belingon, Marcus Brimage, Maike Linhares.
Kim has a record of 18-6, Great years of experience and arsenal of skills can be victorious in this fight.
“Archuleta is very agile, with excellent wrestling but he leaves himself open for head shots and I will attack from various angles. I will put on a show. I want to put on an entertaining fight, get the KO win and earn myself a bigger opportunity.” Soo Chul KimAsian MMA Soo Chul Kim article
Defeating or secondly giving Archuleta serious challenge will build his brand to North American audience. Kim expressing his talents to the world, Showing there’s great fighters all over. Archuleta aware of Kim’s All-Around skills similar to Enrique Barzola that he must take this fight seriously. Archuleta believes this fight will be a GREAT battle.
“We’re going to steal the show and I know that fans are going to be intrigued into this fight.” Juan Archuleta interview with Lowkick MMA
Ultimate test for Kim is to match Juan’s ultimate cardio, Kim however dominated opponents in three rounds, five rounds or Rizin round rules. Besides Juan Archuleta’s Purdue wrestling background, Defining factor will be cardio.
Juan Archuleta vs Soo Chul Kim my opinion will be “Fight of the Night” two great Bantamweights with similar styles, skills hungry to win for Bellator or Rizin. Come out victorious in first ever cross promotion MMA event.
Kyoji Horiguchi vs Hiromasa Ougikubo
Japan vs Japan, Bellator vs Rizin is the difference.
Since Horiguchi left UFC and signed with Rizin shown he’s one of the best fighters and bantamweights in the world. Winning the Rizin Bantamweight Grand Prix, Outclassing Darrion Caldwell twice and revenging his loss to Kai Asakura. Showed his progress fight after fight, Looking forward to his upcoming fight against Hiromasa Ougikubo
Hiromasa Ougikubo 2021 Rizin Bantamweight Grand Prix winner after long MMA career since 2007. Before Rizin was the Shooto Flyweight Champion and few years before in 2016 was Ultimate Fighter finalist against Tim Elliot. In other words not an easy fight as fans would expect.
Grand Prix run looked great ragdolling Naoki Inoue on the ground using his man strength ability, Revenging his loss to Kai Asakura in three round battle where Hiromasa looked excellent. Counter striking most shots with solid jobs or low easy leg kicks. Nearing the end of his prime at 35 years old continues to look great. Ready to put on show against foe Kyoji Horiguchi.
Expect Kyoji Horiguchi to be the favorite but Hiromasa Ougikubo can give Kyoji different looks throughout the fight. Interesting fight to watch, Curious to see how this fight goes down.