RIZIN Fighting Federation closed things out with a collaborative bang in 2022, teaming with Bellator MMA.
Amongst a number of the most notable winners and highlights were the Bantamweights, and for 2023’s first installment of BROADENED HORIZIN, three joined the show.
Naoki Inoue returned from injury and a Grand Prix loss at the prior New Year’s Eve show and impressed against Kenta Takizawa at RIZIN 40. The former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) prospect sliced through his opposition, utilizing strong ground and pound before forcing the tap with a modified kimura. The 25-year-old very well could be next in line to compete for vacant gold and he hopes to do so in what will be the last fight on his RIZIN contract.
Several debuts took place at RIZIN 40, including two-time UFC Flyweight title challenger, John Dodson. An arrival in the ring had been in the works essentially ever since “The Magician” departed the Octagon, but finally came to fruition against the seasoned veteran, Hideo Tokoro. Dodson made quick work of Tokoro via strikes in round one and now hopes to get a long-awaited and somehow missed Kyoji Horiguchi clash possibly for a new Flyweight title. But first, he’ll return to the Bare-Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) ring on Feb. 17, 2023, against Jarod Grant.
RIZIN 40 was also a reminder that Yuki Motoya is more than just a slick grappler. The 42-fight veteran dispatched of former UFC Flyweight, Rogerio Bontorin, with a sensational second-round knockout via knee (watch highlights). Now riding a strong five-fight win streak, Motoya could align with Inoue for a title fight rematch in the first quarter of 2023.
Watch the full episode in the video embedded above or you can listen on Spotify.