This week RIZIN Fighting Federation held open workouts for all of the RIZIN Bantamweight Grand-Prix quarter-finalists.
Pancrase champion Shintaro Ishiwatari (23-6-4) will return to the RIZIN ring following a successful promotional debut in October.
The win over Fight Night Global’s Akhmed Muskaev placed him the bantamweight grand-prix quarter-finals vs. Kevin Petshi.
If he advances, two potential opponents include Takafumi Otsuka and Kyoji Horiguchi, two men Ishiwatari has faced in the past – defeating Otsuka and losing to Horiguchi.
With two potential foes in the room, Ishiwatari told media in Japan that everything he’d shown during open workouts was “irrelevant” to what he has actually been working on.
The 32-year-old King of Pancrase set his training camp in Addison, Illinois prior to a potential three big fights next weekend. He worked under highly respected wrestling coach Izzy Martinez at Izzy Style Wrestling.
Because of this, he feels not only ready for Petshi but potentially competing in the tournament semi-finals and finals on the same night just 48 hours later.
“I worked on my wrestling, but everything else is a secret. I have plans for my upcoming opponent (Kevin Petshi), but I can’t tell you what it is.” About the unique tournament format, “I won’t know what it’s going to feel like until I actually experience it, but I know that I am the most experienced fighter fighting 5 round fights, I consider myself Mr. 5th Round, so if I make it to the finals, that day will be just another extra (6 total) round for me.”
When asked about the potential chance to avenge his 2012 loss to Horiguchi in the tournament finals, Ishiwatari, of course, expressed interest, but is also aware of his task at hand and not looking past anything.
“I do wish to fight him again. I’m sure he will make it to the finals, but for me, I need to focus 1 fight at a time. I am putting everything I have for this tournament, I hope to be alive on New Year’s Day.” Said Ishiwatari and stated his commitment to the GP
The Bantamweight Quarter Finals will take place on December 29th, and the winners will advance to the Semi-Finals and Finals will be held 2 days later on New Year’s Eve. The Grand prize money for this tournament is 15,000,000 Japanese Yen, 2nd place 3,000,000 Japanese Yen, and two, 3rd place contestants will receive 1,000,000 Japanese Yen.
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