Horiguchi-Oliveira, McCall-Kape among tourney bouts set for Rizin FF 8 on Dec. 29

The quarterfinal-round matchups are set for Rizin FF’s bantamweight tournament.

Officials announced the four pairings on Sunday.

The quarterfinals of the yearlong tournament take place at Rizin FF 8. The event, which streams as an online pay-per-view in North America, takes place at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The semifinals and tournament conclusion take place two days later at Rizin FF 9, which is slated for the same venue.

On one side of the bracket, former UFC flyweight title challenger Kyoji Horiguchi (20-2), who recently knocked out Hideo Tokoro, meets undefeated Gabriel Oliveira (10-0), who’s fresh off a highlight-reel knockout of Tatsuya Kawajiri. Additionally, UFC vet Ian McCall (13-5-1), who fights for the first time since a six-bout UFC run, meets Portugal’s Manel Kape (7-1) in the other bout.

The other side of the bracket features DEEP bantamweight champ Takafumi Otsuka (23-12-1) vs. undefeated German Khalid Taha (11-0) and King of Pancrase Shintaro Ishiwatari (23-6-4) vs. Frenchman Kevin Petshi (13-3).

The tourney-reserve bout, which features Anthony Birchak (13-5) vs. Jae Hoon Moon (9-10), is slated for Rizin FF 8. Light heavyweights Karl Albrektsson (6-1) vs. Jiri Prochazka (18-3-1) are also slated to fight, likely at Rizin FF 8.

The latest Rizin FF 8 card includes:

  • Manel Kape vs. Ian McCall – bantamweight grand prix quarterfinal (bracket A)
  • Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Gabriel Oliveira – bantamweight grand prix quarterfinal (bracket A)
  • Takafumi Otsuka vs. Khalid Taha – bantamweight grand prix quarterfinal (bracket B)
  • Shintaro Ishiwatari vs. Kevin Petshi – bantamweight grand prix quarterfinal (bracket B)
  • Anthony Birchak vs. Jae Hoon Moon – bantamweight grand prix quarterfinal reserve bout
  • Karl Albrektsson vs. Jiri Prochazka

For more on Rizin FF 8 and Rizin FF 9, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News
Source: MMA Junkie

MMAjunkie's 'Knockout of the Month' for October: A 6-1 betting favorite gets crushed

With another action-packed month of MMA in the books, MMAjunkie looks at the best knockouts from October: Here are the five nominees, listed in chronological order, and winner of MMAjunkie’s “Knockout of the Month” award for October.

At the bottom of the post, let us know if we got it right by voting for your choice.

* * * *

The Nominees

John Moraga def. Magomedov Bibulatov at UFC 216

Magomed Bibulatov (14-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) entered his fight with John Moraga (18-6 MMA, 7-5 UFC) as a 6-1 favorite. Very few believed Moraga could get the job done in the flyweight bout against one of the hottest prospects in the sport, but he managed to overcome the odds.

Former UFC title challenger Moraga sent Bibulatov crashing to the canvas with a devastating left hook to come away with an impressive first-round knockout, needing only 98 seconds to get the job done.

Instagram Photo

Curtis Millender def. Matthew Frincu at LFA 24

Four-time Bellator veteran Curtis Millender (13-3) is looking for a return to the big show, and he certainly helped his cause with a 38-second knockout of a tough Matthew Frincu (11-3).

The two explosive fighters came out looking to bang, and it was Frincu who flashed powerful high kicks to open. Millender’s right high kick then landed flush on the chin and sent his opponent crashing to the floor. Millender was poised to follow with additional strikes, but the referee called off the fight just 38 seconds after it began.

Roberto Soldic def. Lewis Long at Cage Warriors 87

Roberto Soldic (12-2) pulled off an absolute stunner in his first Cage Warriors headliner, stopping Lewis Long (15-5) with a vicious head kick just 40 seconds into the first round.

Soldic entered Long’s home territory and silenced an otherwise enthusiastic Welsh crowd. The welterweight fight was short and sweet. Soldic patiently waited for Long to circle toward his left leg, and that’s when he threw a left high kick that landed directly to the chin.

Gabriel Oliveira def. Tatsuya Kawajiri at Rizin FF 7

The Japanese legend Tatsuya Kawajiri (36-12-2) fell in front of his home country crowd courtesy of Gabriel Oliveira (10-0). After a strong start, he began to fade as time wore on. Oliveira was able to survive the early burst from “The Crusher,” but then he found his range and landed several shots that were on target.

Oliveira was firing on all cylinders going into the second round. He hurt Kawajiri multiple times before a perfectly timed left lead knee landed clean and put the lights out.

Derek Brunson def. Lyoto Machida at UFC Fight Night 119

Lyoto Machida (22-8 MMA, 14-8 UFC) was the first to put his hands on Derek Brunson (18-5 MMA, 9-3 UFC). Then Brunson answered, and the former UFC champion’s night quickly ended in violent fashion.

Brunson spoiled Machida’s comeback from a more than two-year layoff with a well placed counter that left the Brazilian flat on the canvas, knocked out at the midway point of the opening round in the middleweight contender matchup.

Instagram Photo

* * * *

The Winner: John Moraga

Against an unbeaten flyweight prospect who was a 6-1 favorite, former title challenger Moraga didn’t have many people picking him to beat Bibulatov.

But Moraga took Bibulato out with a massive first-round knockout, then dealt with the emotions of what was a crucial win for his career. Moraga got the stoppage at the 1:38 mark of the first round thanks to a vicious left hand and bounced Bibulatov from the ranks of the unbeaten.

Moraga kicked low early, then followed with another one. Bibulatov tried to answer with a kick to the body, then went high. When Moraga threw a third low kick, Bibulatov caught it and rolled him over. Seconds later, Bibulatov just missed with a high left kick, but stayed in the middle to land a right hand.

But Moraga stayed calm and patient, and moments later he found his opening. He landed a right hand over the top and hurt Bibulatov. He followed it up with a high kick that just missed. But when Bibulatov tried an uppercut, Moraga landed a left hand that may have been the best of his career.

The left was right on the button, and Bibulatov was on the canvas in a hurry. Moraga dropped down with him and it took only a couple punches to finish the previously unbeaten prospect.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Here's that knee-KO that continued Tatsuya Kawajiri's career tailspin

Dann StuppToday at Rizin FF 7, MMA vet Tatsuya Kawajiri had a chance to build some momentum. Instead, it left him with a bruised noggin and another loss.

In a wild card qualifying match for Rizin FF’s bantamweight grand prix opening round, Gabriel Oliveira (10-0) blasted Kawajiri (36-12-2) with a stiff knee that forced a second-round knockout stoppage.

The blow caught Kawajiri flush, and the ref quickly and mercifully halted the bout a second after it landed (via Twitter):

Kawajiri, a 39-year-old Japanese fighter who’s competed with organizations such as PRIDE and the UFC and World Victory Road/Sengoku and DREAM and Strikeforce, spent most of his career at lightweight before a move down to featherweight in 2011. He then made he big cut to bantamweight for Rizin FF 7.

The gamble, though, didn’t pay off like he hoped.

A fight prior, Kawajiri halted a three-fight skid with a decision victory over Anthony Birchak at Rizin FF 5. But with today’s loss, he’s now in a 1-4 skid.

For more on Rizin FF 7, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Tatsuya Kawajiri joins Rizin FF 7, looking for bantamweight grand-prix spot

Tatsuya Kawajiri is taking a step toward fighting at bantamweight.

The 39-year-old Japanese vet, who’s fought at lightweight and featherweight for organizations rankings from the UFC to PRIDE to Strikeforce since his 2000 pro debut, is looking for a spot in the bantamweight grand prix when he fights at Rizin FF 7.

Rizin FF 7 takes place Oct. 15 at Marine Messe Fukuoka in Fukuoka, Japan. North American broadcast plans haven’t been announced.

Kawajiri (36-11-2) fights Gabriel Oliveira (9-0) at a catchweight of 138.9 pounds, officials recently announced.

According to a press release, Kawajiri sent Rizin FF General Manager Nobuhiko Takad a picture of him standing on a scale at 138 pounds, which prompted the booking of the vet for a wild-card qualification bout.

“The only reason why I am doing this is because I want (Kyoji Horiguchi),” Kawajiri stated. “If he wasn’t in this tournament, I would never go through all of this pain to just make weight. I want to put everything I have, everything I have worked for, in this tournament to fight the icon of Japan’s young, promising generation.”

Kawajiri recently halted a three-fight skid, which included UFC losses to standouts Cub Swanson and Dennis Bermudez, with a unanimous-decision win over Anthony Birchak at Rizin FF 5. Oliveira, a 27-year-old promotional newcomer, is a veteran of the South American fight circuit, where he holds two regional titles, and has four knockouts in nine career wins.

The latest Rizin FF 7 card includes:

For more on Rizin FF 7, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: News
Source: MMA Junkie