Four new fights have been confirmed for Rizin 40 including the final of the super atomweight Grand Prix. Seika Izawa and Si Woo Park will face off for the right to be called the tournament winner.
Izawa (8-0) is the reigning Rizin 108lbs champion and will be looking to underline her dominance over the division with a win here. The two first met at Deep 104 last year with the Japanese fighter winning by decision.
Park (9-4) was not among the favourites for the tournament. But she narrowly beat Rena Kubota at Rizin 33 last New Year’s Eve and has also claimed decision wins over Kanna Asakura and Ayaka Hamasaki to book her spot in the final.
【#スーパーアトム級ワールドGP Final Round】
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Two bantamweight bouts were also added to the card yesterday. Naoki Inoue (15-3) will be fighting for the first time in a year, he returns from injury to take on Kenta Takizawa (13-8).
Meanwhile veteran Yuki Motoya (32-10) has been matched with Rogério Bontorin (17-4). The Japanese fighter has won his last four while the Brazilian will be fighting for the first time since being released by the UFC following a botched weight cut.
In the lightweight division Koji Takeda (15-3) will be looking to continue his recent renaissance when he takes on Gadzhi Rabadanov (18-4-2). The Russian has won his last four and will be representing Bellator.
In the heavyweight division former sumo wrestler Tsuyoshi Sudario (6-1) has been matched with Junior Tafa (2-0). The Australian has a background in kickboxing, Muay Thai and boxing.
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The first four matchups announced for Rizin 40 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 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 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 has been matched with Soo Chul Kim. 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 faces former Bellator featherweight champion AJ McKee. The latter is coming off a win over Spike Carlyle on his lightweight debut.
Meanwhile Bellator featherweight champion Patricio Freire takes on newly crowned Rizin featherweight king Kleber Koike. The latter won the belt last Sunday by submitting Juntaro Ushiku at Rizin 39.
Rizin 40, Tokyo, December 31st
Kyoji Horiguchi vs Hiromasa Ougikubo (Bantamweight)
Juan Archuleta vs. Soo Chul Kim (Bantamweight)
Patricio Freire vs. Kleber Koike (Featherweight)
AJ McKee vs. Roberto Souza (Lightweight)
Koji Takeda vs. Gadzhi Rabadanov (Lightweight)
Tsuyoshi Sudario vs Junior Tafa (Heavyweight)
Yuki Motoya vs. Rogerio Bontorin (Bantamweight)
Naoki Inoue vs Kenta Takizawa (Bantamweight)