The first four matchups have been announced for Rizin 40. The event will see fighters from the Japanese promotion going up against opponents representing Bellator.
Former Bellator and Rizin bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi will be taking on Rizin bantamweight Grand Prix winner Hiromasa Ougikubo. Both are coming off losses ahead of this all Japanese battle.
Horiguchi (30-5) was able to fight out his Rizin contract and sign an exclusive deal with Bellator. But he lost two fights out of two for the promotion to slip out of title contention.
It was a major upset when Ougikubo (25-6-2) beat both Naoye Inoue and Kai Asakura in a single night to win the bantamweight Grand Prix at Rizin 33. But he is coming off a loss to Soo Chul Kim at Rizin 38.
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Also in the bantamweight division Juan Archuleta (26-4) has been matched with Soo Chul Kim (18-6-1). The latter is a former Bellator bantamweight champion while the former is coming off a win over Ougikubo.
Reigning Rizin lightweight champion Roberto de Souza (14-1) faces former Bellator featherweight champion AJ McKee (19-1). The latter is coming off a win over Spike Carlyle on his lightweight debut.
Meanwhile Bellator featherweight champion Patricio Freire (34-5) takes on newly crowned Rizin featherweight king Kleber Koike (31-5-1). The latter won the belt last Sunday by submitting Juntaro Ushiku at Rizin 39.