The second full-fledged cross-promoted show between Bellator MMA and RIZIN Fighting Federation has been announced.
Set to take place at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan on July 30, 2023, Bellator X RIZIN 2 will see a slight change to the format. Rather than featuring fighters from each promotion going head-to-head, this year’s card will instead feature some of the best talents from both companies, including A.J. McKee vs. Patricky Pitbull in the main event — a quarterfinal match-up in the promotion’s ongoing lightweight grand prix.
Bellator officials announced the news via press release on Saturday.
McKee (20-1) last fought in January as part of Bellator MMA vs. RIZIN, defeating Roberto “Satoshi” Souza in a non-title bout. Prior to that, in his lightweight debut, McKee had defeated Spike Carlyle. The 28-year old has spent his entire career with Bellator MMA, and is a former featherweight champion and grand prix tournament winner.
Pitbull (24-11) is a former lightweight champion, who lost his 155lb title to Usman Nurmagomedov in his last fight. He’s the elder brother of Patricio Pitbull, who had a heated rivalry with McKee at featherweight.
Also slated for the Bellator X RIZIN 2 card on July 30, the inaugural title fight in Bellator’s newly announced flyweight division, previously reported by MMA Junkie. That fight will see Kyoji Horiguchi (16-9) take on fellow Japanese star Makoto “Shinryu” (16-1-1).
Horiguchi had been expected to fight Ray Borg earlier this year, only for the fight to be scrapped when Borg missed weight and subsequently retired. Shinryu enters the bout on the strength of a ten-fight win streak.
Rounding out Saturday’s announcement, a third match-up will see #3-ranked women’s flyweight Kana Watanabe (11-2-1) face #7-Veta Arteaga (7-5).
Bellator stars Juan Archuleta and Tofiq Musayev, who have both competed under the RIZIN banner, will compete on the RIZIN FF portion of the July 30 card. RIZIN’s fights will take place inside their traditional ring, under the Japanese ruleset. Bellator fights will take place in the cage, under the Unified Rules of MMA.
More fights are expected to be announced shortly.