Yet another fantastic addition to the already stellar RIZIN 11 fight card later this month, as Brazilian slugger Diego Brandão makes his promotional debut vs. Japanese legend Satoru Kitaoka.
Satoru Kitaoka vs. Diego Brandão
Being the main representative of Team Lotus, the unorthodox Satoru Kitaoka (41-16-9) has made a career out of overwhelming people with his fantastic grappling game.
He has fought all over Japan since making his debut way back in 2000, including bouts in Pancrase, DEEP, Sengoku, DREAM, and, of course, RIZIN. Winning multiple championships and tournaments along the way.
In what might be a surprise to some unfamiliar with him, Kitaoka has finished the likes of Carlos Condit, Paul Daley, Takanori Gomi, and Daron Cruickshank – to name a few. Since winning his RIZIN debut in 2016 with a comeback submission win vs. Cruickshank, Kitaoka has amassed a record of 1-2. He followed up back-to-back RIZIN losses against Yachi and Kunimoto by submitting Taras Sapa in round one at Pancrase 295 this past April.
He looks to earn the 21st submission win of his career when he takes on a highly-aggressive Brazilian later this month.
Whereas Kitaoka has zero knockout wins to his name, Diego Brandão (22-12) has 12 vicious knockout wins on his resume.
He burst onto the scene in 2011, tearing through the TUF 14 house with three first-round knockouts, two of which in less than one minute. Brandão went on to win the whole tournament with an incredible armbar win vs. Dennis Bermudez in the finals, earning Fight of the Night honors as well as Submission of the Night.
Brandão left the UFC in 2016 after a five year run that saw him go 6-4. This includes wins over Katsunori Kikuno and Daniel Pineda, while only losing to the likes of Brian Ortega, Conor McGregor, and Dustin Poirier.
The Brazilian slugger then traveled to Russia to compete in Fight Nights Global exclusively in 2017. This run included a Submission of the Year contender vs. Murad Machaev, and an insane 39-second knockout over Vener Galiev.
Having not competed since September, Brandão returns to action later this month and looks to get arguably the biggest win of his professional career.
RIZIN 11 goes down on July 29, live from the famed Saitama Super Arena in Japan.
Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Hiromasa Ogikubo II
Kanna Asakura vs. Rena Kubota II
Jiri Prochazka vs. Bruno Cappelozza
Saori Ishioka vs. Miyuu Yamamoto
Satoru Kitaoka vs. Diego Brandao
Takanori Gomi vs. Melvin Guillard
Rin Nakai vs. Shizuka Sugiyama
Kai Asakura vs. Topnoi Tiger Muay Thai
Daron Cruickshank vs. Tom Santos