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RIZIN FF Grand Prix 2017: Fukuoka live stream, results, and discussion

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Japan’s fight carnival kicks off another great event for tonight

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RIZIN marches onward as the Japanese promotion provides a more subdued offering this weekend, favoring more compelling and relevant matchups while scaling back fights that are mostly spectacle.

Also known as Rizin World Grand Prix 2017: Opening Round - Part 2, this event will feature the first round of both the men’s bantamweight as well as women’s bantamweight tournaments.

The card will be headlined by a women’s atomweight bout between Japanese talent Rena Kubota (4-0) taking on Louisiana’s own Andy Nguyen (5-4). Kubota has trained with the AACC team, which has featured notable fighters such as Megumi Fujii, Hitomi Akano, Ayaka Hamasaki and Takafumi Otsuka, and has straddled the line competing in both MMA and shootboxing fights. Her most notable wins are against Italian kickboxer Jleana Valentino (whom she defeated one time each in both shootboxing and MMA), Hungarian fighter Dora Perjes and RIZIN’s own Miyuu Yamamoto (sister of famed Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto) in Miyuu’s MMA debut. Kubota brings a very physical style, utilizing a kickboxing style with stiff kicks and decent defensive wrestling as well as good submission defense.

Andy Nguyen was the King of the Cage inaugural women’s atomweight champion, and is a teammate of Karate Mafia alum, LFA champion and recent UFC signee, Andrea “KGB” Lee. After a rocky amateur career taking fights at flyweight and strawweight, she found more stable footing as a professional defeating Cassie Robb, Miyuu Yamamoto and avenging an earlier career loss to Jackson/Winklejohn prospect Bi Nguyen. Andy has improved her striking, but mostly has really worked on her transitions on the ground with better chained submission attempts. She did miss weight, though - that may play a part here.

Yet the most notable set of names on this card doesn’t even involve an MMA fight, but rather a submission grappling match between Japanese legend Kazushi Sakuraba and Frank Shamrock. For those that may need reminding, Shamrock was the inaugural UFC champion, as well as a former WEC and Strikeforce champion, as well as former King of Pancrase.

Sakuraba’s career has been a long and storied one, having competed in Japanese professional wrestling and owes his catch wrestling lineage to the famed Billy Robinson. Sakuraba’s only competitive submission grappling match was against Renzo Gracie at Metamoris 5, which was a thrilling affair that ended in a draw. As for Shamrock, this will be his first submission grappling match since 1997, when he defeated Dan Henderson by heel hook.

Kickboxing phenom Tenshin Nasukawa (3-0 MMA) will be facing top-level boxer Yamato Fujita (pro debut). Fujita appears to have had at least two amateur MMA fights, winning one by armlock. Still, this is a battle of standup fighters, and Nasukawa is amazing. Seriously, he’s just that good. This should deliver heavily on the action front.

Also, you still have plenty of time to check out the Vivisection hosted by Zane Simon and D.E.O., joined by a guy running from child support. Bout order is as follows:

Rena Kubota, a.k.a. RENA vs. Andy Nguyen

Tenshin Nasukawa vs. Yamato Fujita

Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Frank Shamrock (grappling exhibition)

Akiyo Nishiura vs. Andy Souwer (1st round 10min, then two 5min rounds)

Reina Miura vs. Crystal Stokes

Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Gabriel Oliveira

Shintaro Ishiwatari vs. Akhmed Musakaev

Jae Hoon Moon vs. Kevin Petshi

Manel Kape vs. Erson Yamamoto

Jerome Le Banner vs. Roque Martinez

Alyssa Garcia vs. Maria Oliveira

Kanna Asakura vs. Sylwia Juskiewicz

Irene Cabello Rivera vs. Miyuu Yamamoto

Jin Mandokoro vs. Issei Ishii (kickboxing rules)

Yuuki vs. Darvish Kurogi (kickboxing rules)

Ryota Renseigym vs. Yoshihisa Morimoto (kickboxing rules)

The event will be available for purchase via live on October 15th, starting at 1:00am EST. It airs live from Marine Messe Fukuoka Arena/Convention Center in Fukuoka, Japan.