RIZIN.19 confirms 8 Lightweight GP participants

RIZIN Fighting World GP 2019 will kick off on October 12, at the Edion Arena in Osaka. Today, RIZIN CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara announced the 8 participants for the GP. Patricky Pitbull Freire (21-8), Johnny Case (26-6-1), Luiz Gustavo (9-1), Tatsuya Kawajiri (37-13-2), Tofiq Musaev (15-3), Roberto de Souza (9-0), Damien Brown (19-12) and Hiroto Uesako (16-7).

Event doors will open at 12:30PM with Opening Ceremony at 2:00PM on Saturday October 12th at the Edion Arena. International tickets can be purchased at www.stubhub.com.

The matchups for the opening rounds are yet to be determined, however a drawing is scheduled next week. RIZIN will announce further details later. RIZIN Light Heavyweight Champion Jiri Prochazka (24-3-1) will be making his first appearance after capturing the title after beating King Mo, and will be taking on Brazilian striker Fabio Maldonado (25-13).

UFC veteran Keita Nakamura (34-10-2) will be making his RIZIN debut against BJJ specialist Marcos Sauza (8-1), who is Satoshi’s big brother. CEO Sakakibara mentioned that RIZIN will be looking to build the welterweight division in a longer run. After a shocking loss at the Madison Square Garden in June, Rena Kubota (8-3) makes her return against Canadian striker Shawna Ram (1-0).

Fighter quotes

Jiri Prochazka
“I’m really happy for this opponent. It’s a real challenge for me. I saw him one time, when he fought with Fedor Emelianenko and he showed a very good and tough fight. He’s a different type of opponent than I’ve ever had, but this is the right challenge for me. I  want to win without compromise and to show all Japanese fans that my strategy is on the next level. I’m looking forward to Japan and RIZIN!!”

Fabio Maldonado
“I am very happy to be able to fight in RIZIN. I am sure that the Japanese fans will love my style. Jiri is a very tough opponent and the perfect one for an epic battle”

Shawna Ram
“I am fighting on RIZIN 19 in Japan against a very very experienced fighter. Myself and RENA both have the skill set to make this a very exciting fight. I am honored to live my dream and fight for RIZIN.”

Rena Kubota
“I am sorry to have disappointed you all in New York. I hit rock bottom but I am now back on track and ready to start climbing the ladder once again. I am nothing but grateful that RIZIN gave me an offer in my hometown Osaka, so I would like to show my hometown fans an exciting finish.”

Marcos de Souza
“I want to thank RIZIN and Nakamura for making this fight happen. I will train hard every day and will make a good fight. I won’t be looking for a specific finish, I just want to make sure it will be a great fight. Please look forward for my fight.”

Keita Nakamura
“I hope to meet Sakakibara’s expectations so that RIZIN can start putting more efforts in the welterweight division.

[Confirmed fights]
Jiri Prochazka vs Fabio Maldonado
Seo Hee Ham vs Miyuu Yamamoto
Marcos de Souza vs Keita Nakamura
Rena Kubota vs Shawna Ram
[Light weight GP participants]
Patricky Pitbull Freire
Johnny Case
Luiz Gustavo
Tatsuya Kawajiri
Tofiq Musaev
Roberto de Souza
Damien Brown
Hiroto Uesako