Tonight at RIZIN Fighting World Grand-Prix 2017: Final Round, we will see the semi-finals and finals of three separate one-night tournaments. One of those tournaments will, of course, be the men’s bantamweight tournament.
Check out a quick recap of all four quarter-final bouts that took place yesterday morning. If you’re in a hurry and want to see the quick results for these + seven non-tournament fights; click here!
Kyoji Horiguchi def. Gabriel Oliveira via TKO1
In the night’s main event, fan-favorite Japanese striker Kyoji Horiguchi advanced to the bantamweight tournament semi-finals with a first-round TKO win over undefeated Brazilian; Gabriel Oliveira.
Post-fight, Oliveira gave Horiguchi tons of praise for his very difficult karate style.
“His moves are quick, quicker than I thought. His right hand or his left hand, whichever it was, I didn’t know what to do [against it]. He had good timing with his punches, and the punches were intense.”
“I’m happy that all of the American fans were watching my match. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a good result, Horiguchi is a tough opponent and it’s great for him to win. At the same time I think, somehow, my name is known amongst the American fans… I want all the U.S. fans to pay attention to me. Thank you!”
Horiguchi improved to a stellar 21-2 and picked up his twelfth career finish. He will face Manel Kape in the semi-finals of the bantamweight grand-prix tonight at RIZIN Fighting World Grand-Prix 2017: Final Round.
Entering the fight having won the biggest fight of his career against Tatsuya Kawajiri, Gabriel Oliveira falls to 10-1 after losing the first contest of his career.
Manel Kape def. Ian McCall via TKO1
In the co-main event, we saw another the third bantamweight grand-prix quarter-final match-up. Rising star Manel Kape took on UFC, WEC veteran Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall.
Kape was filled with confidence heading into the contest, talking trash to McCall constantly and giving him the middle finger virtually everytime they appeared in the same room together.
It even resulted in the two exchanging blows at the weigh-ins the day prior to their fight.
In the actual fight, however, under some very unfortunate circumstances, the fight was stopped.
Very early on in the opening round, McCall rushed in on Kape, who landed a glancing knee on the American. Immediately afterward there was a cut opened up on McCall’s forehead. Upon replay, it seemed as though the cut was caused more by McCall’s head glancing the ring rope rather than Kape’s knee.
However, given the nature of the tournament environment, McCall knew the fight was over when he saw blood.
“I let you guys down, I let myself down, my family and my team. He didn’t hit hard, he wasn’t strong, the choke wasn’t deep. I was talking to the ref [the whole time]. Once I saw I was bleeding, I knew the fight was over. In the tournament, you can’t bleed. I have over 70 stitches on my face so I cut easy.”
Despite being unhappy with his debut, McCall plans on finishing his career under the RIZIN umbrella.
“As a young man growing up, watching PRIDE, this was my PRIDE moment. Even though it was ruined by a cut, it doesn’t matter. I was so excited and happy to be here. I haven’t been happy to fight in years. Fighting under the UFC was not a good time for me. I don’t want to blame them, it just was not a good time for me. Being here makes me truly happy. I will end my career here.”
Kape improves to a solid 9-1 as a professional, with eight finishes. He faces tournament favorite Kyoji Horiguchi in the semi-finals of the bantamweight grand-prix tonight at RIZIN Fighting World Grand-Prix 2017: Final Round.
Ian McCall drops to 13-6-1 and has not tasted victory since a 2014 win over Brad Pickett.
Shintaro Ishiwatari def. Kevin Petshi via KO1
The second bantamweight grand-prix quarter-final gave us quite possibly the most spectacular performance of the night.
Pancrase Champion Shintaro Ishiwatari dominated France’s “Machine Gun” Kevin Petshi on the ground before knocking him out cold with a picture-perfect right-hook in the first-round.
Post-fight, Petshi acknowledges the mistakes he made with lowering his hands during the fight and how that’s what cost him the victory.
“I lowered my hand which was not a good idea. I wanted to fight standing with my boxing, but my opponent took me down, so I wasn’t able to show my technique very well. I wasn’t focused enough and that gets me the result.”
Japan’s Ishiwatari improves to a fantastic 24-6-4 and wins his sixth-straight. He’ll have an all-Japan semi-final match-up with Takafumi Otsuka at RIZIN Fighting World Grand-Prix 2017: Final Round tonight.
It will be a rematch of their NYE 2014 meeting, exactly three years later. Ishiwatari won by first-round TKO.
Petshi falls to 13-4 and as his four-fight winning streak snapped.
Takafumi Otsuka def. Khalid Taha via SUB3
In the first quarter-final of the night, Ichikawa, Chiba, Japan’s Takafumi Otsuka took on heavy-hitting German finisher; Khalid Taha.
After a very competitive opening ten minutes, in the third and final frame of the fight, Otsuka choked out one of the tournaments biggest dark horses to get his much sought after rematch with Shintaro Ishiwatari in the semi-finals.
Despite the unfortunate loss, Taha was in good spirits post-fight. Vows to come back stronger than ever shortly into 2018.
“Thank God for everything. Not only in good moments, also in bad moments. Next year in May, I got an offer. I will be coming back much stronger, and I’m going to improve myself.”
The veteran Otsuka improves to 24-13-1 and will face former foe Shintaro Ishiwatari at RIZIN Fighting World Grand-Prix 2017: Final Round tonight.
Khalid Taha gets his first blemish on an otherwise perfect 11-1 record.
Je Hoon Moon def. Anthony Birchak via SD
In the sole grand-prix reserve bout; Je Hoon Moon improved to an incredibly deceiving 11-10, putting on a boxing clinic against former UFC fighter; Anthony Birchak.
In the opening round of the tournament, Moon dropped a controversial split decision to Kevin Petshi. He will now be on standby if any of the other tournament fighters cannot compete in their respective match-ups.