RIZIN 2021 Japan Bantamweight Grand Prix Full Roster, Dates Revealed

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RIZIN bantamweight grand prix
Credit: RIZIN FF

Japan’s RIZIN, like its predecessor PRIDE, is no stranger to grand prix tournaments. And in 2021, it will be the bantamweight division looking to run the gauntlet to an eventual title fight.

On Friday, the Japanese promotion hosted a press conference and grand prix draw to determine the opening round match-ups in the 2021 Japan Bantamweight Grand Prix. Prior to Friday, only one name had been announced for the 16-man tournament. That was former champ Kai Asakura. The remaining 15 were also on hand Friday, and took part in a blind selection process to determine their opponent for the opening round.

The match-ups break down as follows:

Yuki Motoya vs. Ryo Okada
Kintaro vs. Kuya Ito
Shooto Watanabe vs. Kai Asakura
Kenta Takizawa vs. Imanari Masakazu
Kazuma Kuramoto vs. Alan “Hiro” Yamaniha
Takeshi Kasugai vs. Hiromasa Ougikubo
Naoki Inoue vs. Shintaro Ishiwatari
Shian vs. Takafumi Otsuka

Promotion President Noboyuki Sakakibara stated during Friday’s press conference that “I’m excited. Having these 16 warriors all lined up, I’m very much looking forward to these opening bouts and to see how the story will be told.”

The opening round of the RIZIN 2021 Japan Bantamweight Grand Prix is expected to take place starting at RIZIN 28, the promotion’s next event. The tournament will carry over to the subsequent card, RIZIN 29. Those cards are expected for May, with RIZIN 28 on May 23 at the Tokyo Dome, and RIZIN 29 on May 30 at the Maruzen Intec Arena in Osaka.

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