RIZIN and Bellator have co-promoted several times in the past, at one point creating an opportunity for Kyoji Horiguchi to become a two-company champion. Roberto Satoshi, champion in Japan, also wants to participate.
The jiu-jitsu ace is due to defend his lightweight title at RIZIN’s New Years Eve show in Saitama, against former title holder Shooto Yusuke Yachi on Friday, and he is interested in a clash with fellow Brazilian Patricky Pitbull for Bellator Gold in 2022.
“It would be really cool, like a Japan vs. USA title fight,” Satoshi said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “It would be very cool. I get a little [sad] because I have a lot of respect and a friendship with Pitbull. We talked when he came to Japan, he texted me when I beat Tofiq [Musayev], I texted him wishing him good luck every time he fights.
“So on a personal level I would be a little sad, but on a professional level… it’s a business. If we both made a lot of money, that wouldn’t be a problem for me. It would be really cool, it would be historic.
Satoshi won the RIZIN belt with a 72-second submission victory over Musayev in June, sending off the man who beat Pitbull for the first lightweight gold medal in the RIZIN Grand Prix Final in late 2019. Pitbull a recently knocked out Peter Queally in Ireland to win the vacant post. Title Bellator.
Satoshi celebrates that “Brazil leads the lightweight division” with Pitbull as the Bellator title holder and Charles Oliveira holding UFC gold, and he admires both champions.
“Pitbull and Charles are a motivation for me,” he said. “Whenever I get tired of training I watch them fight and I’m like, ‘I’m in the same division, I have to fight at least half of what they are fighting to represent and be a champion. respected instead of another there.
Champion RIZIN is 12-1 in MMA and considers himself an experienced purple belt after eight years in MMA. He hasn’t come out of the first round since 2019, winning four of five fights. But he guarantees that his cardio is not a weak point since he has made a career of participating in “five 10-minute games in a single day in jiu-jitsu”.
Satoshi said the original plan was to book him against an “international” fighter, but RIZIN had to choose someone from Japan because travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic were still in effect. This is how Yachi’s rematch was booked for the Saitama Super Arena.
“I don’t like revenge,” he said. “I didn’t like revenge in jiu-jitsu either. I don’t like to fight the same opponents again, but I think this fight is completely different now. He has changed a lot. He moved to another venue after losing to me and I think his style has changed a lot. He’s no longer going for knockouts like crazy. He’s won two by decision since losing to me and he’s in control more in the times when I thought he could go for the finish. It tastes like a rematch, but it also tastes like a first time at the same time. “
The Brazilian grappler needed less than two minutes to finish Yachi the first time in 2020, stopping him with punches at RIZIN 22, and he’s hoping to stick with his wins in his last appearance in 2021.
“I took a fight after we fought, and also the one against a world class fight in Tofiq, which gave me a lot of experience,” Satoshi said. “But we’re not changing the things that work. Submissions are my go-to in a fight, but I also want to use my typing. “