RIZIN FF Bantamweight GP Quarterfinals Set, Include McCall, Horiguchi, Birchak

Kyoji Horiguchi RIZIN FF
Kyoji Horiguchi Credit: RIZIN FF

Japan’s RIZIN FF has released the full slate of fights for its Bantamweight World Grand Prix Quarterfinals on December 29 — including some very familiar names.

The RIZIN FF Bantamweight World Grand Prix has its quarterfinal bracket set. The promotion announced the full slate of bantamweight Grand Prix bouts for its December 29 card on Sunday. That announcement filled in the blanks after a press conference touting some of the fights last month. Among the familiar names on the card will be the previously announced “Uncle Creepy” Ian McCall, Kyoji Horiguchi, who now has an opponent named, and former UFC fighter Anthony Birchak.

McCall (13-5-1), was previously announced as facing Manel Kape (7-1) at the event. The popular fighter will be one to watch come December 29. The former UFC flyweight has not fought in several years, however. That’s after enduring a bevvy of medical issues of his own and of opponents, leading to several cancelled bouts. He will no doubt be hoping to make a big splash in Japan.

Perhaps the favorite to take the tournament, however, is Japan’s own Kyoji Horiguchi. The former UFC title challenger has not lost since a defeat to Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson in 2015. He walked away from the UFC on a three fight win streak, going on to win both his RIZIN FF fights to date. 20-2 as a professional, he has been paired up against the undefeated Gabriel Oliveira (10-0) in the quarterfinals. Oliveira shocked many when he got the better of Tatsuya Kawajiri in the tournament’s opening round.

In a reserve bout, former UFC and Bellator MMA combatant Anthony Birchak (12-5), who also lost in the tournament’s opening round, will be back in action. He’ll take on South Korea’s Je Hoon Moon (10-10) in the alternate bout. The man who defeated Birchak in the opening round, Takafumi Otsuka (23-13-1) will face Khalid Taha (11-0), an undefeated German prospect fighting out of Combat Club Cologne.

In the final Bantamweight Grand Prix bout, France’s Kevin Petshi (13-3) will face Shintaro Ishiwatari (23-6-4).

RIZIN FF 8 takes place December 29 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.