Not a whole lot going down this week but we got some real good stuff mixed in. And unsurprisingly, it’s primarily coming out of Japan.
PBC on FS1 - Tuesday, Dec. 29th at 9:00 pm ET on FS1: PBC ends the year on FS1 with featherweight prospect Omar Douglas (15-0, 11 KO) faces off with Frank De Alba (17-1-2, 6 KO) in the headliner.
RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2015: Day 1 - Tuesday, Dec. 29th at 1:00 AM ET: I know it’s being aired in Japan and Russia live so there should be streamed for those that want to watch live. Rizin’s first event is actually a two day thing this year but this should be good. Kazushi Sakuraba (26-16-2) and Shinya Aoki (38-6) will headline Day 1. Day 1 will kick off the 8-man 220lb tournament featuring Satoshi Ishii (14-1), Jiri Prochazka (14-2-1), Goran Reljic (15-5), Vadim Nemkov (3-0), Teodoras Aukstuolis (7-2), Bruno Cappelozza (7-3), King Mo (16-4), and Brett McDermott (5-2). That’s a pretty damn good line up. In the reserve bout, they also have a Wado Karate world champion in Yuta Uchida (0-0) debuting against undefeated Valentin Moldavsky (2-0). Kickboxing standout Kizaemon Saiga (2-0) takes a huge step up in competition when he faces off with JMMA mainstay Hideo Tokoro (32-28). Japanese flyweight prospect Yuki Motoya (15-4) faces off with Felipe Efrain (9-2). Bellator will send middleweight AJ Matthews (8-3) will face off with Anatoly Tokov (21-2). “Baby Fedor” aka Kirill Sidelnikov (7-4) returns to MMA to face off with Carlos Toyota (6-7). All in all, this is a pretty solid card.
Javier Mendoza vs Akira Yaegashi - Tuesday, Dec. 29th at 5am ET: Former Japanese world champion Akira Yaegashi (22-5, 12 KOs) goes for another title as he challenges Javier Mendoza (24-2-1, 19 KOs) for IBF World light flyweight title. Also on the card will be top ranked super flyweight champion Naoya Inoue (8-0, 7 KOs). The 22 year old world champion has expressed interest in a super fight with P4P great Roman Gonzalez and wants to come to the U.S. in 2016 get to the ball rolling on that fight. First, he will face Warlito Parrenas (24-6-1, 21 KOs). Inoue’s little brother Takuma Inoue (5-0, 1 KOs) will defend his OPBF super flyweight title Rene Dacquel (15-5-1, 5 KOs). And their cousin Koki Inoue (0-0) is set to make his pro debut. 21 year old Japanese super bantamweight prospect Ryo Matsumoto (16-0, 14 KOs) will face off with Jestoni Autida (9-3, 4 KOs).
Kazuto Ioka vs Juan Carlos Reveco - Thursday, Dec. 31st at 4am ET: We got a trio of Japanese fighters fighting in world title fights. WBA World flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (18-1, 10 KOs) will rematch with Juan Carlos Reveco (36-2, 19 KOs) in the main event. Katsunari Takayama (30-7, 12 KOs) defends his IBF World minimumweight title against Jose Argumedo (15-3-1, 9 KOs). 19 year old Kosei Tanaka (5–0, 2 KOs) defends his WBO minimumweight title against Vic Saludar (11-1, 9 KOs).
Takashi Uchiyama vs Oliver Flores - Thursday, Dec. 31st at 7:30am ET: Longtime Japanese world super featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama (23-0-1,19 KOs) seems to be entering the last days of his career. He’s hinting at retirement in the foreseeable future. Before then, he’ll have to face Oliver Flores (27-1-2, 17 KOs). Also on the card will be Ryoichi Taguchi (22-2-1, 9 KOs) vs Luis de la Rosa (24-5-1, 14 KOs).
RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2015: Day 2 - Thursday, Dec. 31st at 10:00am ET on Spike TV (tape delay): Day 2 of Rizin’s debut definitely has more of that “freak show”-ish thing going for it. ‘The Last Emperor’ is set to return to competition this Thursday in the main event of Day 2 of Rizin’s event. Fedor Emelianenko (34-4) will face off with Glory kickboxer Jaideep Singh (2-0). Kid Yamamoto’s 19 year old nephew Erson Yamamoto (0-0) make his MMA debut. Erson, being born of a family of incredible amateur wrestlers, is considered a prodigy. He’ll be facing former ADCC champion Kron Gracie (1-0). Kickboxing cosplayer Yuichiro Nagashima (4-2) will face kickboxing gawd Andy Souwer in an MMA match. Bob “motherfucking” Sapp (11-18-1) and Akebono (0-4) will have the rematch we all deserve. Former BJJ champion and part Amazon Gabi Garcia makes her MMA debut against pro wrestler Lei’d Tapa. Former One Championship bantamweight champion Soo Chul Kim (11-5-1) faces off with Maike Linhares (9-0). K-1 -55kg champion and absolute god of violence Takeru will face Chinese fighter Yang Ming in a kickboxing match. Bellator welterweight contender Brennan Ward (12-3) will represent the brand against Ken Hasegawa (10-0-1). Shootboxing legend RENA makes her MMA debut against Team Petrosyan fighter Jleana Valentino.
Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2015 - Thursday, Dec. 31st at 2:00am ET: With Satoshi Ishii taking part in Rizin’s tournament earlier in the week, there’s no Ishii vs Old Guy fight going down this year. Instead, we’ll have the main event featuring the last participants of Inoki’s heavyweight tournamentL Fernando Rodrigues Jr (9-1) vs Oli Thompson (16-8). Heavyweight Chris Barnett (13-2) will try to bounce back with a win over Shinichi Suzukawa (2-3).
UFC 195 - Saturday, Jan. 2nd. Fight Pass Prelims at 6:30pm ET; FS1 Prelims at 8pm ET; Main Card at 10pm ET: The UFC is kicking off with one hell of a title fight. Welterweight champion Robbie Lawler (26-10) will defend his title against Carlos Condit (30-8). That’s an early FOTY contender. In the co-main event, Andrei Arlovski (25-10) and Stipe Miocic (13-2) to try to establish some type of order in the heavyweight title chase. After that, the PPV portion falls off in terms of “relevance” but they’re all fun fights. We have a welterweight bout between two rising welterweights in Albert Tumenov (16-2) and Lorenz Larkin (16-4). Featherweight prospect Brian Ortega (9-0) takes on TUF 14 FW winner Diego Brandao (20-10). Abel Trujillo (12-7) and Tony Sims (12-3) close out the PPV portion. The prelims feature the return of Michael McDonald (16-3) as he faces off with Japanese veteran Masanori Kanehara (25-12-5). Former Kickboxing champion Justine Kish (4-0) finally gets to make her UFC debut after tearing her ACL during the filming of TUF 20. She’ll face Nina Ansaroff (6-4). Lightweight Scott Holtzman (8-0) faces off with Drew Dober (15-7). On the Fight Pass Prelims we got a great fight between Dustin Poirier (18-4) and Irish uberprospect Joseph Duffy (14-1). We also have a bang up fight between Michinori Tanaka (10-1) and former bantamweight title challenger Joe Soto (15-4).