Semi-finals and finals of bantamweight GP and women’s super atomweight tournaments top Rizin’s NYE card

Rizin’s NYE event features the semifinals and finals of three tournaments as well as a heavyweight superfight between Mirko Filipovic and Tsuyoshi Kosaka.  Rizin World Grand Prix 2017: Final Round takes place December 31st at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan with a PPV broadcast on Fite TV, iPPV through the promotion’s website.

On December 29th the quarterfinals of the bantamweight tournament grand prix took place with Takafumi Otsuka, Shintaro Ishiwatari, Manel Kape, and Kyoji Horiguchi all advancing.  21-2 Horiguchi is still the odds favorite as only loss in seven UFC appearances was to Demetrious Johnson for the belt in April 2015.  Horiguchi went on to pick up three more wins in the UFC before debuting in Rizin with a win over Yuki Motoya followed by grand prix wins over Hideo Tokoro and Gabriel Oliveira.  His opponent in the semifinals Manel Kape picked up a quarterfinals win over UFC vet Ian McCall due to a cut McCall caused on himself while grappling along the ropes.  Shintaro Ishiwatari is the Pancrase champion, his semifinal opponent Takafumi Otsuka is the Deep champion.

Unlike the men’s bantamweight grand prix the women’s super atomweight tournament is a one-night tournament.  By far the odds favorite is Rena Kubota, a kickboxer who is undefeated in MMA at 5-0 with all five MMA bouts being in Rizin.  Most recently Kubota defeated Andy Nguyen by TKO in October while her first two MMA wins were by submissions.  Her opponent in the semifinals Irene Cabello is 7-4 with her two losses in 2016 followed by an armbar of Miyu Yamamoto for her Rizin debut.  The other semifinal match features 9-2 Kanna Asakura vs. 10-2 Maria Oliveira.

The superfight between Mirko Filipovic and Tsuyoshi Kosaka is a throwback to the days of Pride with both fighters having experience in the legendary MMA promotion as well as the UFC.  Since 2006 Kosaka only fought twice with a win over James Thompson in Rizin’s December 29th 2015 show and a loss to Kaido Hoovelson a year later also in Rizin.  Filipovic enters this bout 35-11 as opposed to Kosaka’s record of 27-19-2.  Filipovic is riding a seven-fight win streak with four wins in Rizin all in 2016 with his most recent being a KO of Amir Aliakbari a year ago.

Fight card

  • Bantamweight Grand Prix semifinals: Takafumi Otsuka vs. Shintaro Ishiwatari
  • Bantamweight Grand Prix semifinals: Manel Kape vs. Kyoji Horiguchi
  • Flyweight tournament semifinals: Mitsuhisa Sunabe vs. Yamato Fujita
  • Flyweight tournament semifinals: Tenshin Nasukawa vs. Yuta Hamamoto
  • Women’s super atomweight tournament semifinals: Maria Oliveira vs. Kanna Asskura
  • Women’s super atomweight tournament semifinals: Rena Kubota vs. Irene Cabello Rivera
  • Takanori Gomi vs. Yusuke Yachi
  • Shinju Nozawa-Auclair vs. Chelsea LaGrasse
  • Mirko Filipovic vs. Tsuyoshi Kosaka
  • Flyweight tournament finals
  • Women’s super atomweight tournament finals:
  • Bantamweight Grand Prix finals: