Asian MMA

Tatsuya Kawajiri drops weight to face undefeated Brazilian prospect at RIZIN show in Fukuoka

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In some surprising news, longtime lightweight/featherweight veteran Tatsuya Kawajiri has announced a move to bantamweight.

He will cut to 63kg, 138 pounds, to face undefeated Gabriel Oliveira at RIZIN’s show in Fukuoka on October 15. Though this bout is technically a catchweight bout, the winner has agreed to make 61kg, 135 pounds, for the quarter-finals in December.

This event will feature multiple grand-prix bouts in the bantamweight and women’s atomweight division. Check out those match-ups here.

It seems as though this Kawajiri vs. Oliveira fight will be a wildcard bout for the bantamweight grand-prix.

Tatsuya Kawajiri (36-11-2) vs. Gabriel Oliveira (9-0)

Tatsuya Kawajiri is a battle-tested lightweight & featherweight veteran who looked absolutely ripped during his practice cut to 138 pounds. Keep in mind, the man is 39-years-old.

RIZIN General Manager; Nobuhiko Takada had this to say.

Kawajiri sent me a picture in July, during the madness of putting together the event. I thought that he just wanted to bug me about getting on the October event, but the picture was him standing on a scale at 63kg (138lb), and he told me he wanted in on the Bantamweight tournament. He usually walks around at 75kg and he dropped all this weight just to tell me he wanted to get in the tournament. This moment, I knew the determination of Kawajiri, and I had to consider putting him in the tournament.”

After an unsuccessful return to Japan in his RIZIN debut, Kawajiri most recently put on a stellar performance while beating fellow UFC-veteran Anthony Birchak. Despite being up there in age, the 17-year veteran has shown no signs of slowing down soon. He hopes to get an exciting and decisive win when he takes on the young Brazilian prospect.

Gabriel Oliveira enters the contest with a more-than-stellar record of 9-0. Along with the spotless record, Oliveira is also the owner of many regional titles in Brazil. He holds featherweight titles in Curitiba Top Fight and X-Force MMA. He also traveled to Peru to take out Martin Mollinedo to win the Peru FC Featherweight Championship.

Oliveira made his bantamweight debut in May and decisively took out Iago Lopes at Festival de Lutas da CUFA 5.

RIZIN 2017: Fukuoka

  • Dan Henderson vs. Kazushi Sakuraba [Grappling]
  • Rena Kubota vs. Andy Nguyen
  • Shintaro Ishiwatari vs. Akhmed Musakaev 
  • Erson Yamamoto vs. Manel Kape 
  • Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Gabriel Oliviera
  • Miyuu Yamamoto vs. Irene Cabello Rivera
  • Alyssa Garcia vs. Maria Oliveira
  • Kanna Asakura vs. Sylwia Juśkiewicz 
  • More Bouts TBA!


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