What’s becoming probably the most exciting tournament in MMA of the year, we continue on with the Rizin World Grand Prix 2017. King Mo became the inaugural Grand Prix champion in 2015 at 100kg and Cro Cop was the Openweight champion last year. This year it’s all about the bantamweights for the men’s and as an added bonus the inaugural Women’s Super Atomweight Grand Prix 8 women tournament. Already, 3 fights in the men’s tournament took place and the Rizin show back in July and the finals will be decided at the end of the year on December 29th. I will do this breakdown in 2 parts. Part 1 will be the 7 tournament fights and part 2 will be the 9 non tournament fights.
As always, card subject to change.
(Atomweight) Rena Kubota vs Andy Nguyen: The first bout in the women’s tournament. Kubota is a Kickboxer who turned to MMA in 2015 and juggled both sports for the year of 2016 but looks as though she is now full time MMA. In her kickboxing career she won the majority of her fights by decision but in the later part of her career, she started finishing her opponents. Since getting into MMA she is 4 – 0 – 0 and has finished every fight. Nguyen has more experience in MMA, been in the sport since 2010 and turning pro in 2015. She has a record of 5 – 4 – 0, winning her Rizin debut on New year’s eve last year with a submission in the first round. Kubota is better on paper but experience could play a crucial part in this one.
(Atomweight) Maria Oliveira vs Alyssa Garcia: Oliveira is making her Rizin debut and at the moment is on a 8 fight win streak. Momentum and experience are on her side with a record of 9 – 2 – 0. She is also a very active fighter having 6 fights last year aswell as this, she has 5 inches in height over Garcia. Garcia is 3 – 3 – 0 and won her Rizin debut at the end of last year by submission. She has a tall order to climb in this fight though. One advantage she does have is she will find it naturally easier to make weight than Oliveira however, if she wants to win then she will have to win the ground game as Oliveira is deadly standing up.
(Atomweight) Kanna Asakura vs Sylwia Juskiewicz: This should be an interesting one. A classic striker vs a ground game. Asakura lost her Rizin debut against Alyssa Garcia last year, but won in her next Rizin appearance in April of this year. Juskiewicz is making her Rizin debut. In her pro debut, she lost to current UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk but since then after a few wins and losses, she is currently on a 5 fight win streak and will want to make a good impression. Asakura is on a 3 fight win and has the better record on paper. It could go either way.
(Atomweight) Miyuu Yamamoto vs Irene Cabello Rivera: Both women need a win. Yamamoto won her last bout but lost her first 2 fights against Kubota and Nguyen respectively. An accomplished wrestler and weightlifter, the 43 year old turned to MMA last year. It’s still undecided if she will fight for a few years, it will all depend on results and marketability. Rivera has age, youth and experience on her side. She lost her last 2 fights and needs a win in what will be her Rizin debut. She has a great ground game and will have to be careful with Yamamoto’s wrestling.
(Bantamweight) Shintaro Ishiwatari vs Akhmed Musakaev: This is not really an even match-up. Ishiwatari has much more experience than Musakaev, fighting professionally since 2006 and is currently the Pancrease bantamweight champion since 2011. Musakaev is 5 – 0 – 0 but is heavily lacking in experience and has a huge mountain to climb. One could argue Ishiwatari is one of the favourites to win the whole tournament.
(Bantamweight) Je Hoon Moon vs Kevin Petshi: Another uneven match-up. Both men are making their Rizin debut. Petshi has a better record on paper with 12 – 3 – 0 and is an all rounder who is proficient on the ground. Moon is 10 – 9 – 0 and is more known for going the distance with a few knockouts. Petshi should win, but Moon is unpredictable and you never know which Moon will show up.
(Bantamweight) Erson Yamamoto vs Manel Kape: The last fight in the tournament, Yamamoto is a Rizin regular with a record of 2 – 2 – 0 and recently joined the roster of KOTC and was victorious in his debut. Kape is more experienced fighting professionally since 2012 and holds a notable victory over current BAMMA Lonsdale champion Daniel Barez. He is an all rounder and on a 6 – 1 – 0 record, so will be the favourite going into this one.
That’s our breakdown, part 2 will be up soon, let us know your thoughts below, on facebook and twitter.