A.J. McKee, Patricio Pitbull set to fight RIZIN champions on NYE card in Japan


Bellator and RIZIN stars will collide in the final hours of 2022 in Japan as A.J. McKee and Patricio Pitbull face Roberto Satoshi and Kleber Koike, respectively, at RIZIN 40 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

The fights will be contested under RIZIN rules, which includes soccer kicks and knees to a grounded opponent, it was a revealed on a press conference Wednesday. The event will be broadcast live in Japan but air on tape-delay in the United States (8 p.m. ET on Dec. 31).

No belts will be on the line when those champions meet, MMA Fighting has confirmed. McKee-Satoshi will serve as the main event, with Pitbull-Koike co-headlining the show.

McKee recently scored his first lightweight win in Bellator with a decision over Spike Carlyle, while Satoshi defended his 155-pound title with a first-round armbar against Johnny Case, his fourth straight submission in RIZIN.

Pitbull last defended his Bellator featherweight throne against Adam Borics. Koike, on the other hand, captured the RIZIN title this past weekend against Juntarou Ushiku.

The main card also includes former Bellator titleholder Juan Archuleta versus two-division ROAD FC champion Soo Chul Kim. Former two-promotion king Kyoji Horiguchi will make his return to the flyweight division to battle RIZIN grand prix winner Hiromasa Ougikubo.

A fifth RIZIN vs. Bellator matchup is still yet to be announced.

Watch the official trailer and face-offs below.