Bellator MMA brought their best to Japan to face RIZIN Fighting Federation’s best and it was a clean sweep for Scott Coker’s U.S.-based promotion.
That is not to slight the fighters from RIZIN though. The matchmaking was solid and even though all fights went to a decision, the fights proved tough for both sides. Four unanimous decisions and one split decision victory had Bellator pull off a clean sweep but RIZIN made Bellator work for it.
For instance, Koji Takeda probably did better than any other fighter has against Gadzhi Rabadnov’s Dagestani wrestling style in MMA, reversing him where most fighters have stayed planted against anyone from Team Khabib fighters.
Juan Archuleta seemed to take some damage in the striking exchanges against Soo Chul Kim, which is why it was a split-decision victory for him and AJ McKee dealt the most damage to Roberto de Souza, but was definitely in danger many times when the fights went to the ground.
Bellator MMA President Scott Coker told the media leading up to this event that he wanted to go 5-0 against RIZIN and he definitely got his wish. Both, Coker and RIZIN President Nobuyuki Sakakibara said they would like to do this more than once a year, so maybe in 2023 RIZIN will get an opportunity to avenge this night.
Japan is 14 hours ahead of the U.S. so if you want to relive the action, you can catch the SHOWTIME tape delay on New Year’s Eve at 8 PM ET.
But for now, this New Year’s Eve belongs to Bellator MMA. No points are scored in Japan, three judges simply give their nod to who they believe won the fight so you will see no scores listed in the results.
See the full results below:
Gadzhi Rabadanov defeats Koji Takeda via unanimous decision
Juan Archuleta defeats Soo Chul Kim via split decision
Kyoji Horiguchi defeats Hiromasa Ougikubo via unanimous decision
Patricio Pitbull defeats Kleber Koike via unanimous decision
AJ McKee defeats Roberto de Souza via unanimous decision
Edward holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Bachelor’s degree in Communications. Along with over 20 years martial arts experience, he co-hosts The Coast-2-Coast Combat Hour, and also writes for Sherdog while maintaining his own site, The Blogboard Jungle. You can follow him on Twitter @Carbazel