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McKee vs de Souza, Pitbull vs Koike headline ‘Bellator MMA vs RIZIN’ on Dec. 31 in Japan

Bellator MMA recently announced it would send four of its top stars over to Tokyo, Japan on Dec. 31, 2022 to take on four of RIZIN’s best for a spectacular end-of-year show inside Saitama Super Arena, and now the matchups have been revealed.

During a recent joint press conference in “The Land of the Rising Sun,” Bellator president Scott Coker and RIZIN lead man, Nobuyki Sakikabara, were joined by their fighters to announce who they would be facing off against in what is sure to be an action-packed event.

Headlining the card will be A.J. McKee taking on RIZIN Lightweight champion, Roberto de Souza. “The Mercenary” made his successful transition to 155 pounds at Bellator 286 by defeating Spike Carlyle via unanimous decision. As for de Souza, he is currently on a five-fight win streak with an overall record of 14-1.

Co-headlining the card will Bellator Featherweight champion, Patricio Pitbull, facing off against RIZIN’s 145-pound kingpin, Kleber Koike, who is currently on a seven-fight win streak and recently won the title at RIZIN 39 this past weekend. It’s important to note that no titles will be on the line in either fight.

In further action, Kyoji Horiguchi returns to his old stomping grounds playing for a new team as he will represent Bellator when he takes on his old rival, Hiromasa Ougikubo, in a Flyweight bout. Horiguchi has two wins over Ougikubo and will go for the clean sweep.

Also, Juan Archuleta will face Soo Chul Kim in a Bantamweight affair. Kim is 7-1 over his last eight fights, while Archuleta recently snapped his two-fight losing streak by defeating Enrique Barzola at Bellator 286 earlier this month.


For more Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive archive right here.

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