First Match-Ups Announced for Bellator MMA vs. RIZIN New Year’s Eve Show

Kleber Koike, RIZIN 39
Kleber Koike, RIZIN 39 Credit: RIZIN FF

RIZIN 40 will take place on December 31, 2022, and as previously announced, the card will be set up as a Bellator MMA vs. RIZIN cross-promotional event.

In a press conference on Wednesday, the promotions revealed that the main card of the show, set to take place in the RIZIN ring rather than Bellator cage, will air on Showtime in the U.S.

Also announced were the first four match-ups to be featured on the card. While Bellator’s participants were unveiled a day earlier, their RIZIN counterparts had not been. That changed Wednesday, and as expected, there are a number of spectacular match-ups awaiting fight fans.

Headlining the event will be a lightweight contest between Bellator’s A.J. McKee (19-1), a former featherweight champ who recently made the move to 155lbs, against Roberto “Satoshi” Souza (14-1). In the co-feature, meanwhile, will be a champion vs. champion match-up as Patricio Pitbull (34-5) faces Kleber Koike (35-5-1).

A former RIZIN champ now fighting for Bellator, Kyoji Horiguchi (30-5), also a former Bellator bantamweight champion, will face Hiromasa Ougikubo (25-6-2) at RIZIN 40. The pair have met twice previously, with Horiguchi winning both meetings.

Finally, former Bellator bantamweight champ Juan Archuleta (26-4) will take on South Korea’s Kim Soo Chul (18-6-1).

The Bellator MMA vs. RIZIN card will take place at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan on December 31, 2022.