Patricky Pitbull will be the next member of the Bellator MMA roster to try his hand at winning big in Japan — as part of the RIZIN Fighting Federation lightweight grand prix.
At Bellator 222 in New York on Friday, MMA fans saw something almost unheard of: cross-promotion between competing organizations. RIZIN fighters appeared on the Bellator-led card, mainly Rena Kubota and Kyoji Horiguchi. While Bellator’s own had traveled to Japan in the past, this most recent event seemed to underline that collaboration between the two companies was here to stay.
This, despite RIZIN President Nobuyuki Sakakibara admitting during fight week that America remains a goal for the Japanese outfit.
Well, coming out of the event, one takeaway is that Bellator has not been stung by one of their own (Darrion Caldwell) twice losing to one of RIZIN’s best (Kyoji Horiguchi). In fact, they’re sending Patricky Pitbull to Japan to take part in RIZIN’s lightweight grand prix later this year. Scott Coker made the announcement during the event’s post-fight press conference.
Sakakibara also confirmed the news Saturday, as did Pitbull himself.
堀口選手の快挙が話題になっていますが、昨夜もう一つビッグニュースを発表しました。今年10月の大阪大会で開幕するRIZINライト級GPに、Bellator を代表してパトリッキー“ピットブル”フレイレ選手が参戦します！とんでもない選手が日本に来ますよ！#rizinff #BellatorMMA pic.twitter.com/QcIe2VRGOa
— NOBUYUKI SAKAKIBARA (@nobu_sakakibara) June 15, 2019
“Thank you for the opportunity. To fight in Japan and win a tournament under PRIDE rules was my dream as a kid & will now come true,” Pitbull wrote on his own Twitter.
Expect to hear more names announced for the grand prix in the coming weeks and months. For starters, Mikuru Asakura vs. Yusuke Yachi at RIZIN 17 next month is expected to serve as a qualifying bout for the tournament.