A plethora of bouts have been announced for the upcoming Bellator Japan card during a press conference held earlier today in Japan, including fights pitting Bellator fighters against Rizin fighters as Goiti Yamauchi (Bellator) faces Daron Cruickshank (Rizin), Ilara Joanne (Bellator) faces Kana Watanabe (Rizin) and Lorenz Larkin (Bellator) faces Keita Nakamura (Rizin).
Other fights that have been announced for next months card include Andy Nguyen versus Ai Shimizu, Ryuichiro Sumimura versus Jon Tuck, Haruo Ochi versus Jarred Brooks and Yusuke Yachi versus Hiroto Uesako.
Yamauchi (24-4-0) has won five of his last six heading into this encounter and four of those victories came by way of submission. Cruickshank (21-12-0-1NC) enters the bout while in the midst of a two fight losing streak, dropping bouts to the duo of Damien Brown and Tofiq Musaev.
Joanne (9-4-0) is undefeated under the Bellator MMA banner, defeating Bec Rawlings by second round submission at Bellator 231. Watanabe (8-0-1) is undefeated thus far as a professional MMA fighter and three of her victories have come by way of submission.
Larkin (21-7-0-1NC) comes into the bout while riding a three fight winning streak, defeating the trio of Fernando Gonzalez, Ion Pascu and Andrey Koreshkov. Nakamura (35-10-2-1NC) won four of eight during his time in the UFC, with those wins coming over Jingliang Li, Kyle Noke, Alex Morono and Salim Touahri.
Nguyen (6-7-0) has won just one of her last five bouts, with that lone win coming over Cassie Robb at King Of The Cage: Under Siege. Shimizu (6-1-0) comes into the bout while riding a four bout winning streak and she hasn’t been defeated in almost a year.
Sumimura (14-6-0) is back in action for the first time in over a year, with his last bout taking place in August of last year. Tuck (10-5-0) is competing for the first time since being cut by the UFC, which came after a 4-5-0 run win the promotion.
Ochi (19-7-2-1NC) is going to be competing for the third time in 2019, making it his most active year as a professional MMA fighter since 2019. Brooks (14-2-0-1NC) won two of four during his time in the UFC, with those wins coming over Eric Shelton and Roberto Sanchez.
Yachi (20-9-0) comes into the contest while in the midst of a three fight losing streak and he hasn’t picked up a victory in over a year. Uesako (18-8-0) has won three of his last four bouts, but the fighter’s latest fight was a first round TKO loss to Luiz Gustavo at Rizin 19.
Bellator Japan takes place on Saturday, December 28 from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan with Fedor Emelianenko and Rampage Jackson headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, which airs live on the Paramount Network.