A middleweight division attraction has been added to next year’s Bellator 170 card as Ralek Gracie does battle against Hisaki Kato.
Gracie (3-0-0) will be making his Bellator MMA debut in this fight and will also be competing for the first time in well over six years. Gracie previously fought primarily in Japan, where he defeated Kazushi Sakuraba and long New japan Pro Wrestling star Katsuyori Shibata. Gracie is also the promoter for the Metamoris promotion, which has come under fire for their financial issues and inability to pay talent.
Kato (7-2-0) has won three of four fights under the Bellator MMA banner, defeating Joe Schilling, Yuta Watanabe and AJ Matthews. Kato also competed once as a kickboxer, where he defeated Joe Schilling by knockout at Bellator MMA Dynamite II. Kato has fought a total of nine times as a professional MMA fighter and none of those nine fights have gone past the second round.
Bellator 170 takes place on Saturday, January 21 from The Forum in Inglewood, California with Tito Ortiz and Chael Sonnen headlining.
You can see a press release Bellator sent to Fightful.com below.
The second main card fight announced for “Bellator 170: Ortiz vs. Sonnen” at The Forum on January 21, 2017 features the Bellator MMA debut of Los Angeleno Ralek Gracie (3-0), who will meet Hisaki Kato (7-2) in a middleweight bout.
The fight joins a card that already features a contest that many mixed martial arts fans thought they’d never see, whenTito Ortiz (18-12-1) and Chael Sonnen (28-14-1) return to action. The event will be broadcast live and free on SPIKE at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT, while preliminary action will stream on Bellator.com and the Bellator Mobile App.
Tickets for this massive event start at $36 and are on sale now at Bellator.com, as well as Ticketmaster.com Additional main and preliminary card bouts will be announcing in the coming weeks.
At only 22, Ralek made his MMA debut in Japan, where he defeated his opponent, Kastuyori Shibata with a devastating armbar. Nearly a year later, Ralek returned to Japan for his second MMA fight and again was victorious, this time defeating Gahdzhiev Alavutdin with an armbar from the mount. These two bouts led to a highly anticipated matchup with Kazushi Sakuraba, where again the Los Angeles native left “The Land of the Rising Sun” with the victory. That was the last time Ralek would fight under MMA rules, until now. Ralek is the third son of Rorion, the nephew of Royce, Rickson, and Royler Gracie and received his black belt from Grand Master Helio Gracie. The Gracie Family is famous for putting Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu on the map around the globe.
Since joining the Bellator MMA roster, you would be hard-pressed to find a fighter who has been involved in more exciting matchups than Hisaki Kato. Nicknamed “The Japanese Mouseketeer,” the 34-year-old French-Japanese competitor has finished Joe Schilling on two separate occasions, and was involved in what many called a “Round of the Year” candidate during his lone Bellator MMA loss against Melvin Manhoef in 2015. Now, Kato sets his sights on Gracie, looking to nullify the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu of his Jan. 21 foe.