By: Frank Hyden, MMATorch Senior Columnist
Bellator and Rizin co-promoted a fight card in the famous Saitama Super Arena to ring in the New Year. The fights were contested under the Rizin ruleset, which allows things like soccer kicks and 12-6 elbows. They also fought inside of a boxing ring. It was a big card featuring some big names. Who won and who lost? Let’s get to the
Bellator MMA vs. Rizin
GOOD- Gadzhi Rabadanov vs. Koji Takeda
Rababadanov starts off with a leg kick. Takeda fires back with some punches and they’re trading now. Rabadanov drops Takeda with a big right hand. Takeda gets up but gets dropped again quickly. They clinch and Takeda recovers so Rabadanov backs off, though he pops Takeda again as the first round ends. The second round starts with Takeda landing a big right hand. He works for a takedown but can’t get it. They exchange strikes until Rabadanov gets a takedown near the end of the second round. The third round opens with more striking until Rabadanov gets another takedown. The rest of the fight is Takeda fighting off Rabadanov’s takedown attempts. We go to the judges and Rabadanov wins the decision. Rabadanov improves to 19-4-2 and has won 5 straight fights while Takeda drops to 15-4. Good win for Rabadanov.
GOOD- Juan Archuleta vs. Soo Chul Kim
The fight starts with Kim going for a takedown and Archuleta using his momentum against him. Kim locks in a guillotine but Archuleta escapes. They trade elbows and more strikes until Archuleta catches a kick from Kim and takes him down. The second round starts with Archuleta getting an early takedown. Kim gets up but Archuleta takes him back down and cracks him with some big elbows. The third round opens with Kim landing a huge body strike. Kim locks in another choke but Archuleta
escapes and we go to the judges. Archuleta wins the Split Decision and improves to 27-4 while Kim drops to 18-7-1. Good win for Archuleta.
GOOD- Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Hiromasa Ougikubo
They trade strikes throughout the first round until Horiguchi drops Ougikubo with a big kick. He gets up but Horiguchi drops him again with a big right hand and beats on him until the round ends. The second round starts with Horiguchi getting a slam but not a lot else happens as they scramble and counter on the ground. This was a very close round. The third round opens with Horiguchi dropping Ougikubo
with a powerful left hook early. They scramble on the ground for the rest of the round until they get up and Horiguchi lands another takedown. We go to the judges and Horiguchi wins the decision to improve to 31-5 while Ougikubo drops to 25-7-2. Good win for Horiguchi.
GOOD- Patricio Pitbull vs. Kleber Koike
Koike is throwing a lot of kicks. Pitbull fires back with strikes of
his own until Koike hits a nice judo throw. The second round starts with a lot of slow and tentative action. Not much happens besides strikes here and there. The third round opens with Koike trying to engage Pitbull on the mat. Koike gets a takedown and works some ground-and-pound but Pitbull avoids much of the danger and the fight ends as we go to the judges. Not the most exciting fight but Pitbull wins the decision to improve to 35-5 and has won 3 straight fights while Koike drops to 31-6-1 and has his 7 fight winning streak snapped. Good win for Pitbull.
GOOD- A.J. McKee vs. Roberto de Souza
McKee fires off some kicks early. de Souza is trying to engage on the ground but McKee avoids it. He’s also able to avoid trouble from some leg submission attempts by de Souza. The second round starts with de Souza being all over McKee as he searches for a submission. McKee does land a big stomp to the head and one to the stomach but this was a close round. The third round opens with de Souza getting another takedown and working for a submission. They trade submission attempts and spend the rest of the fight battling on the ground. We go to the judges and McKee wins the decision to improve to 20-1 while de Souza drops to 14-2 and has his 5 fight winning streak snapped. Good win for
Well, Bellator won all 5 of the fights but they were all by decision and were close. A decent night of fights all in all. I did watch this with people, which always helps in my opinion. I hope everyone has a great 2023. Thank you for reading.
My new fantasy book is now out. It’s called Kingdom of Zarias: A Fight For Survival. It’s the third book in my epic fantasy Kingdom of Zarias series and follows the adventures of the Summers siblings as they fight to defend the world from an evil villain named Galren. This book also introduces lots of other characters as the scope of the world grows. There’s lots of action, magic, and monsters in the Kingdom of Zarias. It’s like a tabletop game in novel form. It’s on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other places. If you’re interested, I would greatly appreciate it if you would check it out and support me. Also, here’s the link to my new Compendium book about the Kingdom of Zarias
series- KoZ Compendium
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