RIZIN Announces Lightweight Grand Prix Opening Round Match-Ups, Pitbull Gets Kawajiri

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Tatsuya Kawajiri RIZIN
Satoru Kitaoka def. Tatsuya Kawajiri by split decision Credit: RIZIN FF

Japan’s RIZIN FF has announced the opening round pairings for their lightweight grand prix, kicking off with RIZIN 19 in October!

RIZIN Fighting Federation has revealed the opening round match-ups for their upcoming lightweight grand prix. In a press release Friday, the Japanese promotion announced all four fights, which will take place at RIZIN 19.

The bouts, determined by a random drawing, are as follows:

Tofiq Musaev vs Damien Brown
Johnny Case vs Roberto de Souza
Patricky Freire vs Tatsuya Kawajiri
Luiz Gustavo vs Hiroto Uesako

Notables in the grand prix include Patricky Pitbull (properly Patriky Freire, brother of Bellator double-champ Patricio Pitbull), opponent Tatsuya Kawajiri, former UFC fighter Damien Brown, and Johnny Case. RIZIN 19 takes place October 12 at the Edion Arena in Osaka, Japan.

Fighting Roberto de Souza, Case, for one, was quoted in Friday’s press release as saying that “I cannot be happier with the match-up. I’ve always thought we would have to fight someday. We’ve fought on the same cards, and have won in impressive ways. It’s going to be an awesome fight. Rock’n Roll.”

Fighting Tatsuya Kawajiri, Pitbull said that “I respect Kawajiri a lot. I have been watching him fight from 10 years ago. I have always wanted to fight a top PRIDE fighter. This is a great fight for me and for my career.”

Following the opening round of the grand prix, a second drawing will be held to determine the match-ups for a four-man, one-night tournament on New Year’s Eve.

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