Thanks for joining us as we live blog the Rizin Fighting Federation World Grand-Prix tournament that begins at midnight. And with 12 action packed match-ups, this baby should be going into the wee hours of the morning.
There are just over two hours until the fireworks begin, so if you have the time, please check out this in-depth interview with RIZIN bantamweight contender Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall from earlier this week.
SWACK! will be blogging each fight for anybody who can’t watch the stream or just wants to talk about the action as it happens. Excelsior!
12. Kyoji Horiguchi vs Gabriel Oliveira
Kyoji comes out with a nasty inside kick. He looks sharp.
Big jab puts Oliveira on the canvas.
Both men are exchanging knees. Kyoji eats a low blow with 2:34 left in the round. Kyoji is letting his hands go. Oliveira closes the distance, but Kyoji closes the distance.
Kyoji lands a big roundhouse and puts Oliveira on the mat with a tremendous combination. Oliveira is standing in their, but WOW that was a bad idea.
This one is over.
Kyoji by first round knockout.
11. Ian McCall vs Manel Kape
McCall opens with some low kicks and Kape lands a right.McCall is cut.
The fight goes to the ground. MCCall is bleeding profusely. He’s in a guillotine.
They stopped to look at cut. It’s bad. His cut men are working on him.
The fight has been stopped.
Kape wins on first round stoppage.
10. Kevin Petshi vs Shintaro Ishiwatari
Petshi comes out and throws two spin kicks in the first 10 seconds. He’s setting the pace with leg kicks.
Petshi went in for the takedown, got caught and killed his own momentum. Ishiwatari gets the takedown. He’s got Petshi on his back. No spin kicks from there.
They’re fighting for dominance on the mat. Ishiwatari is on top with about 2:00 to go. But he’s not in particularly good position to gain any dominance.
With 1:00 to go, it’s become a dance against the ropes. Petshi landed a nice high kick but he slipped.
Ishiwatari with a huge right hand on the button. This fight is over.
Ishiwatari wins by first round knockout.
They’re back up, grappling for position.
9. Khalid Taha vs Takafumi Otsuka
Taha come out aggressively, throwing kicks and punches. He’s pressing the action.
Taha is controlling the pace, but nobody landed much in the first minute. Otsuka wen for an awkward takedown and missed.
Taha is starting to land his right.
His jab looks good too. He’s throwing a variety of jabs to keep Otsuka on the run. He bounces Otsuka off the ropes with a big right!
With about 2:15 in the first round, Otsuka gets the fight’s first takedown. He’s got Taha on his back, but he can’t slide his leg through. He is landing a short armed punch here and there. Taha is doing a good job surviving.
He’s out! With about 1:00 left, Taha powered his way out and now he’s getting the best of an exchange in the middle of the ring.
The round ends in the middle of a lull. Taha probably too the round, but it was far from action packed.
Taha picks up where he left off, throwing ineffective punches in the middle of the ring. He lands one or two though.
They’re tied up in the ropes, and Otsuka goes for a takedown and misses. But Taha counters with a takedown of his own and he has top position!
Halfway through the second round and it’s become a ground contest. Taha seems to be getting the best of it.
They’re tied up in the corner. Otsuka tried to spin and he pays for it. Taha has his back on the mat,
30 seconds to go in the second ground and not much action. Otsuka scores a takedown with 15 seconds to go, but it probably wasn’t enough to win the round.
Taha is throwing combos and giving angles. But Otsuka catches him with a two legged takedown. This has become a grappling contest, and neither man is getting an advantage.
Scratch that!! After being dominated by Taha, Otsuka chokes him out of nowhere!
Otsuka by third round submission.
7. Jiri Prochazka vs Karl Albrektsson
Both men showing respect for the other’s power. The men engage in the middle of the ring, but no payoff.
Albrektsson gets the takedown. He passes the half guard and into mount. He sneaks in a few punches.
Albrektsson has Prochazka’s hand cuffed, and he’s administering mild damage. He’s in full control, but not doing much damage. With four minutes gone in the first round, Albrektsson is in full control.
5:00 left; and Prochazka is on his back. But he escapes with 4;30 to go!
Lots of bobbing and weaving. But not much contact. Albrektsson gets him in a body lock, but they are quickly back in the middle of the ring throwing punches.
They’re back on the ground, and Albrektsson is bleeding from his nose.
2:00 to go, and Albrektsson is in control, but he’s bleeding all over the place.
Just over a minute to go, and we have a stalemate on the matt.
Albrektsson lands some hammer fists! But Prochazka gets in his feet, and he rocks Albrektsson!
Prochazka by first round stoppage.
6. KING Reina vs Cindy Dandois
These two start by trading in the middle of the ring, but it quickly goes to the ground.
Dandois has Reina’s back, and she has her hooks in. She’s around the chin but not under it.
Things look very good for Dandois after the first 1:30. She looks close to earning a submission.
Misha trait is yelling at her to cover Reina’s mouth from the corner. A dominant performance so far by Dandois.
Reina is surviving. She’s in a body triangle, but she’s not taking damage. Nonetheless, she’s a hair away from disaster.
Dandois attempted an armbar but missed. The round ends. No doubt who won that round.
Reina is getting the better of the early exchanges so far this round. She’s shown flashes of potential power.
The fight has moved more into King Reina’s wheelhouse, but Dandois is holding her own.
With 3:00 in the round, it goes to the ground. Reina is on top. Reina isn’t doing anything spectacular, but the round is hers to lose.
It’s been a solid 1:30 of ground fighting. Dandois has Reina’s head in a scissors lock, but it doesn’t do much.
Reina has top position! With 30 seconds left, Reina is going for the submission, but…the bell rings ending the round.
It looks like Reina took the second round.
Reina opens the round with a throw and gets Dandois on the ground. Reina has top position, and Dandois has to be uncomfortable.
Dandois is fighting to escape, but Reina is using leverage to maintain dominance.
Dandois manages to get on her feet, but Reina has her against the ropes. With about 2:30 left, both fighters are fighting for position on the rope.
But suddenly they’re standing in the middle of the ring. But no major fireworks. Until there is!!
Reina is landing with her right. She’s going for the finish. An explosive takedown with 1:30 by Reina. Dandois worms free. She’s on her feet, and she takes Reina down!
Dandois has her in half guard. Reina seems like she’s going to weather the storm, but what a great ending for Dandois.
This could go either way.
Dandois wins a split decision.
5. Hiroyuki Takaya vs Azjavkhlan
Azjavkhlan opens with a big kick, but nobody lands anything in the first minute. They’re feeling each other out aggressively.
Now they’re not so aggressive. Not much action. Azjavkhlan lands a nice combination and Takaya counters with a kick to the body.
Takaya has Azjakhlan on his heels, but not much action. Takaya is maintaining distance with his legs. But with 3:30 gone in the first round, this is the slowest fight so far.
Takaya throws a nice high kick through his opponent’s left guard. It’s the best strike of the fight so far.
Another big kick by Takaya into the guard. Five minutes into the first round and nobody has attempted a takedown. Not even a clinch.
Azjavkhlan lands a combination. But the pace remains slow. Takaya is controlling the center of the ring on the strength of his sweeping kicks.
But nobody has really established a clear advantage. There’s just not much going on.
Takaya is best hunting.
He’s throwing one kick at a time. It’s gets Azjavkhlan’s attention, but it doesn’t make for much excitement.
There has been a lot of patty cake in the first round. Takaya has arguable controlled the action, but not by much.
With a minute left, Azjavkhlan has his chin out waiting to get got, but Takaya isn’t landing.
A methodical first round by Takaya. He didn’t do much, but he did move forward the entire round.
The pace starts off quite a bit faster in the second round, which is five minutes. Takaya is still controlling the middle of the ring and controlling distance.
With only four minutes left in the fight, there still hasn’t been a fight.
Takaya is active with his hands, but he’s not landing. Takaya just landed a nice kick to the head. With only about 2:30 left in the fight, that could be the difference.
Takaya remains in the middle of the ring throwing kicks. Six in a row before Azjavkhlan answers.
With one minute left, this seems destined to be a dud.
A big kick from Takaya into Azjavkhlan’s guard, but that’s about it.
This fight is over, such as it was. I imagine it will be a unanimous decision for Takaya.
Takaya wins by unanimous decision.
4. Anthony Birchak vs Jae Hoon Moon
Birchak throw a nice body punch to open the round, but just grazes Moon. He’s got Moon in the corner, but he can’t take him down like he wants to.
Moon create distance where he can use his striking to do damage. Birchak lands some nice body kicks.
Birchak with a big trip!
Birchak has him on the matt, but Moon escapes. Moon is throwing high kicks that are doing damage. Moon walks through a body kick.
Just when Birchak looks like he’s winded, he scores the takedown and is trying to pass guard. Witt just over a minute in the round Birchak is controlling Moon on the ground. But nobody is taking much damage.
30 seconds left and Birchak still has control, but he can’t mount Moon. But he probably did enough to win this round.
Moon throws a huge round house to create distance to open the ground. But Birchak takes the fight right back down to the ground. Birchak is throwing punches, but they’re cotton candy.
Birchak is digging in with his head. He’s not doing any damage, but he’s got to be taking some of wind out of Moon’s sails.
Or does he? Moon with a big spinning kick!
Birchak has Moon’s back, and they’re against the ropes. Birchak is stomping, but it doesn’t seem too effective.
Big double leg takedown by Birchak!
Moon is holding the right wrist and throwing punches with his right. Moon goes to a triangle…can he set his feet?
But he punishes Birchak with some soccer kicks. A very even alternate bout for the Bantamweight Grand Prix.
Moon lands a low blow, and time is called. Birchak is given time to recover with 14 seconds remaining in the round.
Moon with a huge kick to Birchak’s body but the red hadn’t called for action yet!
They restart the round with 10 seconds and Birchak seems to be fading.
Moon finished strong. He has taken over the striking game.
They open the round in a clinch. Birchak lands a knee. He’s looking for a trip, but Moon gets the reversal!
Birchak creates distance with some jabs. He’s starting to show Moon some new angles. But Moon is aggressive, and won’t let Birchak go off.
Birchak’s corner yells at him to look sharp not tired. Both men are exhausted, but Moon is more energetic. They’re in the middle of the ring throwing hands.
Big jumping knee by Moon!
Birchak lands a left and a right!
A minute and a half left in the fight, and Moon is pressing the action. Birchak is showing fatigue.
One minute to go and Moon lands a left and a combination.
Birchak throws a nice combination but Moon answers in kind and then some.
That’s it. Moon throws is hands up in victory. It looks like the underdog took this one.
Moon wins a split decision.
3. Kizaemon Saiga vs Kai Asakura
These guys looked hype. Not much feeling out. Asakura just misses with a huge right.
Asakura scores the first takedown. He has Saiga pressed into the corner, but they separate and are back in the center of the ring. Asakura is keeping the pressure on.
Nice combination by Saiga! But Asakura responds with a huge right and a takedown.
With two minutes left in the round, Saiga is taking over. But it has been a back and forth round.
Asakura misses with a roundhouse to the head and Saiga respond with a nice counter. Both men are standing toe to toe and Asakura landed a big right.
Referee warns both fighters about head butts.
Late punch by Saiga just misses after bell. An even round.
idekicks, but neither fighter is landing. Asakura goes for a takedown, but Saiga stuffs it. Asakura closed the distance but can’t get him on the ground.
The ref is calling for action, but he isn’t breaking them up.
He finally broke them up.
Time called to check out Askaura’s bloody nose.
Asakura is throwing a lot of looping punches, but he’s not landing to many.
He just did! Huge left hook by Asakura follows by an even bigger combination.
This fight is over! Asakura ends it with a huge knee.
Asakura by third round stoppage.
2. Shizuka Sugiyama vs Kana Watanabe
Both ladies are gauging distance. The first minute was a lot off feeling out. But right at 4;00, Watanabe lands the first punch of the fight.
Watanabe lands an overhead right and then takes Sugiyama down with a leg sweep. Sugiyama lands a big left hook!
Watanabe answers back with a right hook. With two minutes left, not much damages has been done by either fighter.
Another left hook for Sugiyama. But Watanabe immediately takes her down. With 1:30 left, Watanabe has her hooks in.
Sugiyama saves herself and escapes the rear naked choke with 1:00 left!
Now Sugiyama is closing strong. The tide has turned, but it’s been a close round.
Sugiyama may have edged out the round, but both announcers picked Watanabe because of her takedowns. But she didn’t do much damage, and Sugiyama landed some straight bombs in the last minute.
Watanabe opens the round with a takedown. She’s controlling the fight and looking to finish it. But Sugiyama reverses the position and takes her back! But she couldn’t get her hooks in.
Sugiyama has Watanabe in the turtle position, but she can’t get her hips over. Right now it’s a grappling chess match.
Watanabe momentarily got back on top, but now they’re up and fighting for position. A good knee by Watanabe, but Sugiyama answers in kind with a knee to the abs.
Both fighters continue to fight for position on their feet. Sugiyama with some strong kicks to the body. Both fighters look tired.
Watanabe continues to look for takedowns but no dice. Fatigue is taking over. The last minute was crawling by but two big eights by Sugiyama to end the round!
Watanabe once again opens the round with a takedown. She has top position but isn’t doing much damage. Neither lady seems to be close to a submission despite all the time spent on the ground.
Watanabe is throwing short punches from top position, but they’re marshmallows. She’s trying to control Sugiyama’s head, but Sugiyama is too crafty.
With two minutes left, there hasn’t been much action in this round. Watanabe has controlled top position from almost the opening bell, but she can’t get Sugiyama in position for a submission.
With 1:20 left Watanabe lands some ground and pound, almost gets Sugiyama in an arm bar, but she escapes and stomps in Watanabe’s face!!!
The fight ends with both ladies tied up in the corner and no obvious winner.
I think Sugiyama should get the nod. Watanabe had her in trouble a few times but never really hurt her. On the other side, Sugiyama was throwing those hands.
Watanabe wins a unanimous decision.
1. Satoru Kitaoka vs Kiichi Kunimoto
Kiichi and Satoru feeling each other out early. Kiichi forces Satoru into first clinch on ropes. After breaking, Kiichi lands first clean punch, an overhand right. Kiichi lands a straight left and seems to be in command after the first two minutes.
Saturo delivers a nice liver kick, but Kiichi continues to step forward and land his right. Kiichi ties Satoru up in the corner and referee separates them.
Kichii is forcing Saturo to his left and landing a steady stream of rights. But Saturo is holding his own with counter kicks. Both fighters are throwing bombs. Another big right hand by Kichii.
Half way through the first round, Kiichi seems to be controlling the fight, but only slightly. This is anyone’s fight to win.
Saturo goes for the first takedown, but a bloodied Kiichi stuffs it. Both men continue to stand toe to toe and Saturo lands a beautiful left hook.
Kiichi is stalking and he just stuffed another takedown. He just seems a little stronger then Saturo, but Saturo is showing incredible durability.
Kiichi puts Saturo on his butt with an overhand right and now the ground and pound is on. Saturo is trying to pass the legs to get into guard, but he’s taking some bombs.
Both men are back on their feet with a minute left. Kiichi lands another flurry before taking Saturo to the ground.
The round ends with Kiichi landing short punches as he controls Saturo in a headlock.
Saturo ate a lot of punches on the button in the first round. There is no doubt Kiichi controlled a fantastic opening round.
Kiichi opens the second just like the first by landing a combination. Saturo goes for the takedown but Kiichi sprawls and takes control. Both men are fighting for control on the ground.
The pace has slowed considerably, which is not surprising. They threw fire for the first 10 minutes. The time on the ground is what Saturo likely wants.
But he just can’t seem to get an advantage on his feet or on the ground.
The referee stands the fighters up with three minutes left in the round. But they immediately lock up on the ground again.
With less than a minute left in the round, both men are struggling for position. With 30 seconds both men are back on their feet throwing bombs!
Nobody really got the best of the last exchange, but it looks like Kiichi did enough to win this one by a healthy margin.
Kiichi Kunimoto wins a unanimous decision.
(Dedicates fight to his dead cat.)