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Rizin vs. Bellator New Year's Eve matchups announced: A.J. McKee, Patricio Freire among participants




On New Year's Eve, the top fighters from Bellator and Rizin will square off.


Five athletes from Bellator and five from Rizin will face off against each other on December 31 in Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, according to the California-based promotion's announcement on Monday. The main card's five bouts will take place inside the Rizin ring.


For the confirmed head-to-head bouts, with Bellator represented on the left side of the pairing and Rizin on the right, see below:


Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Hiromasa Ougikubo (flyweight)

Patrício Pitbull vs. Kleber Koike (featherweight)

AJ McKee vs. Roberto Satoshi Souza (lightweight)

Juan Archuleta vs. Soo Chul Kim (bantamweight)





When those champions face off, there will be no belts on the line. The main event will be McKee-Satoshi, with Pitbull and Koike co-headlining the evening.


McKee recently defeated Spike Carlyle by the decision to earn his first lightweight victory in Bellator, and Satoshi successfully defended his 155-pound title by arm-barring Johnny Case in the opening round, which was his fourth consecutive submission in RIZIN.


Pitbull most recently faced Adam Borics to defend his Bellator featherweight title. On the other side, Koike defeated Juntarou Ushiku this past weekend to win the RIZIN championship.


Juan Archuleta, a former Bellator champion, will face Soo Chul Kim, a two-division ROAD FC champion, on the main program. Kyoji Horiguchi, a former two-promotion king, will compete against RIZIN grand prize victor Hiromasa Ougikubo in the flyweight division upon his return.


A fifth RIZIN vs. Bellator matchup is still yet to be announced. While Bellator and Rizin have previously collaborated on promotional events, this will be the first occasion for competitors from the two organizations to compete on the same card. The fights would be conducted per RIZIN rules, which permit knees to a grounded opponent and soccer kicks, it was announced at a press conference on Wednesday. In Japan, the event will be shown live, while in the United States, it will be tape-delayed.


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