RIZIN FF made a number of bout announcements on Tuesday, including the addition of a UFC veteran to their World Grand Prix 2017 Quarterfinals card later this month.
RIZIN Fighting Federation is looking to close out the year in style. On Tuesday, the Japanese promotion announced the addition of ex-UFC fighter Kiichi Kunimoto to its World Grand Prix Quarterfinals card. That makes Kunimoto the second UFC vet to appear as part of the promotion’s year-end festivities. Kunimoto will fight at the December 29 show in Saitama, Japan. He’ll join fellow former UFC talent Takanori Gomi, who fights on the final World Grand Prix 2017 card on December 31.
Kunimoto (18-7-2, 1NC) will face Satoru Kitaoka (40-15-9) at a 75kg catch weight at the event. In a press release distributed Tuesday, Kunimoto is quoted as saying that “I used to have some beef with Kitaoka, so I am very happy to get this opportunity, and I know that Gomi and Yachi are fighting at 72kg. I can work my way down to 72kg and make this division great, so I plan to beat Kitaoka and move on.”
The fight was announced by RIZIN FF chairman Noboyuki Sakakibara as kicking off the December 29 card.
Also announced as part of RIZIN’s year-end festivities, Hiroyuki Takaya (22-14-2) returns to RIZIN following a two year absence to face Mongolian prospect Baataryn Azjavkhlan (2-2). Meanwhile, on the women’s side, Shizuka Sugiyama (15-4-1) will be facing a Judo elite and MMA newcomer Kana Wataabe (1-0) at 57kgs.
Finally, part of the evening’s one-night kickboxing tournament has been set. Teen sensation Tenshin Nasukawa has an opponent, discovered as part of an open application process. The fighter selected turned out to be Yuta Hamamoto – Japan’s first Lethwei champion. Lethwei, otherwise known as Burmese bareknuckle boxing, allows elbows, headbutts, and does not allow fights to end in decision. Wins must come via a finish; if two fighters remain standing, the bout is declared a draw.
Also part of Tuesday’s announcement was a fantastic poster for the event, which you can check out below. UFC, take note.