AJ McKee has pulled out of this Saturday’s Rizin x Bellator 2 event due to injury. He will be replaced by Roberto de Souza who enters the lightweight Grand Prix at the quarter final stage.

McKee had been scheduled to fight Patricky Freire in the Bellator lightweight Grand Prix quarter final this Sunday. But he has pulled out with Nobuyuki Sakakibara breaking the news at a hastily arranged press conference,

“We have four days until this weekend’s summer extravaganza and some of you my wonder why we are doing this presser. AJ McKee will be withdrawing from the Bellator card,” he said.

Bellator president Scott Coker confirmed that McKee had withdrawn from the tournament,

“This type of issue can happen from time to time. Fighters get injured and they withdraw, AJ McKee cannot continue in our tournament and he will be eliminated (but) we will have him as an alternate. We hope in the future we can put this fight on again.”

De Souza (15-2) dropped a decision to McKee at Bellator x Rizin 1. He accepted the fight with fellow Brazilian Freire at around one week’s notice.

Freire (24-11) reached the final of the Bellator lightweight Grand Prix in 2019. He was beaten by Tofiq Musayev and is coming off a loss to Usman Nurmagomedov which cost him his Bellator lightweight title.


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Japanese champi0n

As previously announced the co-main event will feature a fighter very familiar to Japanese fans. Former Rizin and Bellator bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi will be competing for a newly minted title.

The inaugural Bellator flyweight belt will be on the line. Hoiguchi, who competed at 125lbs during his successful UFC stint, will face Makoto Takahashi in a title fight that co-headlines this portion of the card.

Former challengers

Another Japanese star will be on the Bellator portion of the card. RIzin veteran Kana Watanabe has been matched with Veta Arteaga in a flyweight fight.

In the bantamweight division Danny Sabatello has been matched with Magomed Magomedov. In the welterweight division Andrey Koreshkov faces Lorenz Larkin. Both men have come up short in Bellator title fights in the past.

Bellator x Rizin 2, Tokyo, July 30th
AJ McKee vs. Roberto de Souza (Lightweight)
Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Makoto Takahashi (For Bellator flyweight title)
Kana Watanabe vs. Veta Arteaga (Flyweight)
Danny Sabatello vs. Magomed Magomedov (Bantamweight)
Andrey Koreshkov vs. Lorenz Larkin (Welterweight)