May 27, 2023


TOKYO — Following last year’s historic New Year’s Eve co-promotion, BELLATOR MMA and RIZIN Fighting Federation will bring another industry-altering, star-studded event to fight fans in Japan on Sunday, July 30. Headlining the event, which departs from the head-to-head format of last year’s iteration of the crossover card, will be a BELLATOR Lightweight World Grand Prix Quarterfinal matchup between former Featherweight World Champion AJ McKee (20-1) and ex-Lightweight World Champion Patricky Pitbull (24-11).


In addition to the highly anticipated clash between McKee and the second of his Pitbull family foes, former BELLATOR and RIZIN champion Kyoji Horiguchi (31-5) will return to fight on home soil when he fights for the inaugural BELLATOR Flyweight World Championship against MakotoShinryu” Takahashi (16-1-1), who enters the bout on a blazing hot, ten-fight winning streak.


Plus, Japan’s own Kana Watanabe (11-2-1) puts her No. 3 flyweight ranking on the line former title challenger Veta Arteaga (7-5), who ranks No. 7.


Fans in attendance at the historic Saitama Super Arena will get to watch both portions of the event with the BELLATOR fights taking place in the cage with the iconic red and blue BELLATOR gloves, plus white gloves for the World Grand Prix competitors. The BELLATOR contests will be adhere to the Unified Rules of MMA.


The RIZIN FF fights will be taking place in their normal ring, and BELLATOR stars Juan Archuleta (28-4) and Tofiq Musayev (20-5) are scheduled to compete during the RIZIN portion of the event.


Broadcast details and ticket information will be announced at a later date.


McKee, 28, is one of the most prominent faces of BELLATOR MMA, having competed under the promotion’s banner for the entirety of his impressive professional career. McKee reached the pinnacle of the sport in 2021 when he dethroned rival Patricio Pitbull, the brother of upcoming opponent Patricky, in the finale of the $1,000,000 Featherweight World Grand Prix to become the Featherweight World Champion. After their rematch, McKee moved north to the lightweight division, where he has proven his worthiness of the promotion’s No. 5 pound-for-pound status, besting Spike Carlyle and RIZIN champion Roberto Satoshi — the latter in the main event last year’s BELLATOR vs. RIZIN card — on his path to the Grand Prix. At BELLATOR X RIZIN 2, McKee will look to advance to a semifinal matchup against Alexander Shabliy by adding another Pitbull to his lengthy list of victories.


Seeking to put an end to the McKee saga in emphatic fashion for his family is former lightweight title holder Patricky Pitbull. BELLATOR’s all-time knockout leader, Pitbull is known throughout the sport as a fearsome striker with dangerous punching power. While he came up short against the prodigious Usman Nurmagomedov in his last outing, the sting of losing his title has only strengthened the hunger Pitbull has to reclaim the championship gold he wore across his waist. Armed with the knowledge of two outings against McKee fought by brother Patricio, Pitbull hopes to dispatch of the American in front of an adoring Japanese crowd this July 30.


Despite fighting at flyweight for much of his professional career, Japan’s Kyoji Horiguchi dominated the bantamweight division in both BELLATOR and RIZIN, becoming champion on the strength of his artful karate-based style and well-honed fight IQ. However, the desire to fight at 125 pounds has remained for the American Top Team-trained fighter, who has won two straight fights in dominant fashion — including a decision over Hiromasa Ougikubo on last year’s BELLATOR vs. RIZIN event. On July 30, Horiguchi will compete for the inaugural BELLATOR Flyweight World Championship as he ushers in a new division for the promotion, one sure to bolster the overall talent of the BELLATOR roster.


“Shinryu” will make his second appearance for the BELLATOR brand when he challenges Horiguchi in this championship bout. Originally from Miyagi, Japan, “Shinryu” has become a fan favorite in Japan over his impressive, young career. At just 22-years-old, He’s already secured championships from DEEP and CFFC and now hopes to add BELLATOR gold to his growing trophy room.




BELLATOR X Rizin 2: McKee vs. Pitbull



Lightweight World Grand Prix Quarterfinals: #5-AJ McKee (20-1) vs. #2-Patricky Pitbull (24-11)

Inaugural Flyweight World Championship: Kyoji Horiguchi (16-9) vs. Makoto “Shinryu” (16-1-1)

Women’s Flyweight Bout: #3-Kana Watanabe (11-2-1) vs. #7-Veta Arteaga (7-5)




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Updated schedule of BELLATOR events - click links for updated fight cards

Fri. June 16 // BELLATOR 297: Nemkov vs. Romero // Wintrust Arena // Chicago, ILL

Sun. Jul. 30 // BELLATOR X Rizin 2: McKee vs. Pitbull // Saitama Super Arena // Tokyo, JP

Fri. Aug. 11 // BELLATOR 298: Storley vs. Ward // Sanford Pentagon // Sioux Falls, SD

Sat. Sept. 23 // BELLATOR 299: Eblen vs. Edwards // 3Arena // Dublin, IRE



BELLATOR MMA is a leading global mixed martial arts organization featuring many of the best fighters in the world. Under the direction of veteran fight promoter Scott Coker, BELLATOR events take place in major cities worldwide and can be seen on television in over 160 countries to an available audience of over one billion people. In the United States, BELLATOR can be seen on SHOWTIME. BELLATOR is comprised of an executive team that includes top industry professionals in television production, live event orchestration, fighter development/relations, venue procurement, sponsorship creation/development, international licensing, marketing, advertising, publicity, and commission relations. BELLATOR is based in Hollywood, Calif. and owned by entertainment giant Paramount, home to the world's premier entertainment brands that connect with audiences through compelling content across television, motion picture, online and mobile platforms.


Top Featherweights Aaron Pico and Pedro Carvalho Added to BELLATOR 299: Eblen vs. Edwards on Saturday, Sept. 23 in Dublin