Bellator vs. Rizin 2 fight is set for July 30

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By Shawn Stewart

Graphic provided by BELLATOR MMA

In a joint press conference on Saturday morning, Rizin CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara and his Bellator counterpart Scott Coker, alongside a collection of stars from their respective organizations, announced the date, location and a partial lineup for their next collaboration. Bellator vs. Rizin 2 will be held on July 30 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

Like the previous “Bellator vs. Rizin,” which took place on New Year’s Eve in Saitama, the newly announced card will pit champions and top contenders from both promotions against one another, some in the Bellator cage under the Unified Rules of MMA and some in Rizin’s trademark boxing-style ring, under Rizin rules. Notably, Rizin’s rule set allows soccer kicks and stomps to grounded opponents, while prohibiting elbow strikes.

Among the matchups announced on Saturday were former Bellator featherweight champ A.J. McKee vs. Patricky “Pitbull” Freire in the last quarterfinal of Bellator’s lightweight grand prix. A matchup of former bantamweight champions, Kai Asakura of Rizin and Bellator’s Juan Archuleta, under Rizin rules was also announced, as well as a featherweight bout featuring Mikuru Asakura and Vugar Karamov of Azebaijan. The Rizin portion of the card will be topped by a flyweight title fight between Kyoji Horiguchi and Makoto Takahashi. Tofiq Musayev and Kana Watanabe were also attached to the event, with opponents not yet finalized as of this writing.

Bellator vs. Rizin 2 is the latest installment in a string of co-promoted events stretching back to 2019. It is also a continuation of the “Super Rizin” series, which debuted last September with Rizin 38, an event that featured Floyd Mayweather in a boxing exhibition against Mikuru Asakura, alongside an MMA card stacked with many of Rizin’s top fighters. In addition to the matchups announced on Saturday, Sakakibara stated that the card should contain six Bellator fights and as many as nine Rizin bouts.

You can follow Shawn Stewart on Twitter @S4AStewart and Instagram @S4AStewart.

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