MMA as a whole has a ton of great traditions and events; it is arguable that there is nothing better than a New Year’s Eve Japanese event. Each year Rizin gives fans one, but this year will have some added juice that is well worth the squeeze.
Earlier this week Bellator and Rizin announced they would be hosting a combined New Year’s Eve event. The event will be able to be viewed live in the United States on Showtime which is huge for the Japanese promotion in terms of marketing it’s product. With that great opportunity in hand, they need a strong card with great fights and that is exactly what they announced on Wednesday.
𝙄𝙣𝙩𝙧𝙤𝙙𝙪𝙘𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙢𝙖𝙩𝙘𝙝-𝙪𝙥𝙨 👊
On NYE, 5️⃣ of the very best from Bellator MMA will collide with 5️⃣ of @rizin_PR‘s top stars 🇯🇵
Watch #BellatorvsRizin on @SHOsports. pic.twitter.com/QX0PpW2CwZ
— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) October 26, 2022
Bellator/Rizin Announce End-of-Year Mega Event and Matchups
Former Bellator champion and promotional star A.J. McKee will meet Rizin lightweight champion, Roberto de Souza, in the main event on New Year’s Eve. In an interesting turn of events, Bellator featherweight champion Patricio Freire will take on Rizin featherweight champ Kleber Koike in the co-main event despite Freire recently getting revenge via a unanimous decision on McKee.
In what may be the most entertaining fight of the night, former Bellator bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi faces Hiromasa Ougikubo for the third time. Horiguchi defeated Ougikubo in their previous meetings with one being under the Shooto banner and once under Rizin. Their meeting under the Shooto promotional banner had Horiguchi win by submission and won the promotion’s bantamweight title in the process.
Another exciting bantamweight clash was announced between former Bellator champ Juan Archuleta and Kim Soo Chul.
Certainly, more bouts will be announced to round things out, but these New Year’s Eve events never disappoint. MMA fans should be very excited to end 2022 with a bang as it seems Bellator and Rizin are all in on making this event one to remember.