Tokyo (July 25, 2023) — There has been a shakeup to this week’s BELLATOR x RIZIN event, which takes place Sunday, July 30 (Saturday, July 29 in America). RIZIN Lightweight World Champion Roberto “Satoshi” De Souza (15-2) has replaced AJ McKee, who has been forced to withdraw from the bout due to medical reasons. “Satoshi” joins the star-studded Lightweight World Grand Prix and now faces former BELLATOR Lightweight World Champion Patricky Pitbull (24-11). BELLATOR x RIZIN: Pitbull vs. De Souza emanates from the world-famous Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
The bout will take place at a contract weight of 161-pounds and remains a five-round BELLATOR Lightweight World Grand Prix quarterfinal fight. SHOWTIME is set to air the BELLATOR portion of the event LIVE in the US on Saturday, July 29 at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT. Please note, RIZIN’s portion of the event which follows BELLATOR’s will air in the US on FITE TV. In Japan, both portions will air on U-NEXT.
In the co-main event former BELLATOR and RIZIN Bantamweight Champion Kyoji Horiguchi (31-5) challenges Makoto “Shinryu” Takahashi (16-1-1) for the inaugural BELLATOR Flyweight World Championship.
While the five BELLATOR matchups will be taking place in the BELLATOR cage under the Unified Rules of MMA, the RIZIN fights will be taking place in their normal ring and feature a trio of BELLATOR stars. With today’s news, BELLATOR Featherweight World Champion Patricio Pitbull is set to take on Chihiro Suzuki (10-3, 1 NC) in a non-title fight at a contract weight of 154 lbs., while former champion Juan Archuleta (28-4) faces Hiromasa Ougikubo (25-7-2) at bantamweight and Tofiq Musayev (20-5) squares up with Akira Okada (19-9-4) at lightweight.
BELLATOR X RIZIN 2’s headliner, Patricky Pitbull, is one of BELLATOR’s longest-tenured and most accomplished athletes. Tied for the promotion’s all-time knockout record, Pitbull captured the Lightweight World Championship previously in 2021 and now Pitbull hopes to make one last, valiant run at the 155-pound title by blitzing his way through the talent-stacked BELLATOR Lightweight World Grand Prix — starting with the dangerous RIZIN champion Roberto de Souza.
De Souza, known by many as “Satoshi,” has been a force to be reckoned with throughout his ten-year professional MMA career. The reigning RIZIN Lightweight Champion earned his BJJ black belt from his father Adilson De Souza and won multiple jiu jitsu world championships. The 33-year-old De Souza most recently scored a unanimous decision victory over Spike Carlyle at RIZIN 42 in May.
Patricio Pitbull, the reigning BELLATOR Featherweight World Champion, is among the greatest MMA fighters to ever compete professionally. The 36-year-old stands alone atop the BELLATOR record books in the categories for wins, fights, and championship victories, and he joined the elite few to ever hold championships in two weight classes with his 2019 first-round knockout of then-Lightweight World Champion Michael Chandler. Today, Pitbull continues to helm the 145-pound division and most recently dared to challenge for the bantamweight title in a bid for an unprecedented status of triple-champion.
The latest in a long line of young Japanese prospects eager to make their mark on the combat sports world, Chihiro Suzuki has amassed a stellar MMA record while simultaneously competing at a high level in kickboxing. Suzuki, 24, has been electric since joining RIZIN follow a flyweight tournament championship-winning run in Pancrase, most recently facing then-RIZIN Featherweight Champion Kleber Koike. With four of his ten wins coming by way of knockout, it is no surprise that Suzuki also captured the inaugural KNOCK OUT Super Lightweight Championship while going 12-1 (10 KOs) as a kickboxer.
BELLATOR X RIZIN: Pitbull vs. De Souza:
Sunday, July 30 at Saitama Super Arena in Japan
SHOWTIME (U.S.) – July 29 at 11 pm ET / 8 pm PT
Lightweight World Grand Prix Quarterfinals: #2-Patricky Pitbull (24-11) vs. Roberto De Souza (15-2)
Inaugural Flyweight World Championship: Kyoji Horiguchi (31-5) vs. Makoto “Shinryu” (16-1-1)
Flyweight Bout: #3-Kana Watanabe (11-2-1) vs. #7-Veta Arteaga (7-5)
Bantamweight Bout: #4-Magomed Magomedov (19-3) vs.#5-Danny Sabatello (14-2)
Welterweight Bout: #5-Andrey Koreshkov (26-4) vs. #9-Lorenz Larkin (25-7, 2 NC)