The first bout for new promotion Rizin Fighting Federation has been revealed, and it features two legends in Japanese combat sports as Shinya Aoki takes on Kazushi Sakuraba.
The bout was confirmed at Rizin’s press conference this morning in Tokyo.
Aoki (38-6, 1NC) is the current ONE Championship lightweight champion who is 6-0 in ONE. He has won eight-straight since losing to Eddie Alvarez at Bellator 66 in 2012. As well as the current ONE champion, he is also a former DREAM, WAMMA and Shooto champion. He also challenged Gilbert Melendez for the Strikeforce lightweight title.
Sakuraba (26-16-1, 2NC) A.K.A; ‘The Gracie Killer’ is popular among MMA fans for his constant wars in PRIDE, including three fights with Wanderlei Silva as well as bouts with Cro Cop, Vovchanchyn and Quinton Jackson among others. He has lost four straight, with his last bout taking place in 2011. In late 2014, Sakuraba faced former foe Renzo Gracie in a grappling match under the Metamoris banner. After 20 minutes, the match ended in a draw.
This is the sole fight announced for Rizin Fight Federation’s two-day event in December.