Two of the premier mixed martial arts (MMA) organizations collided in a supercard showdown earlier today (Sat., Dec. 31, 2022) at Bellator MMA vs RIZIN from inside Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The main card featured five exciting matchups between the top fighters from Bellator and the best from RIZIN.
In the main event, former Bellator featherweight champion, A.J. McKee, went toe-to-toe with current RIZIN lightweight champion, Roberto de Souza. McKee, who has only lost once in his professional career, was the betting favorite in this headliner. However, de Souza was able to utilize his world-class grappling early and often to make this a chess match of positions and transitions.
McKee, who is a strong wrestler in his own right, was game from the opening bell. He defended each and every advancement by de Souza while mixing in some solid offense of his own. It wasn’t pretty, but McKee did enough over the course of three rounds to walk away with the unanimous decision nod. Check out the action below:
Team BELLATOR MMA— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) December 31, 2022
5️⃣ fights and 5️⃣ wins. What a night for BELLATOR President @ScottCoker and the entire BELLATOR team.
Full Replay at 8pm ET/PT on @SHOSports#RIZINvsBellator#BellatorvsRIZIN#RIZIN40 pic.twitter.com/Hi1qXtVK1b
In the co-main event, current Bellator featherweight champion and former lightweight titleholder, Patricio Freire, met Japanese submission specialist, Kleber Koike Erbst. Despite “Pitbull” being a sizeable betting favorite Erbst made this closer than expected, even landing a nice toss on the Bellator champ in the opening frame and a stiff up kick in the second round.
In the end, Freire was able to command the action over the course of 15 minutes and walked away with the unanimous decision win. It was the first loss for Erbst since dropping a decision to Mateusz Gamrot back in 2018. Check out some of the action below:
For complete Bellator MMA vs. RIZIN results and coverage click HERE.