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Rizin Fighting World Grand Prix results: Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Frank Shamrock ends in a lackluster draw

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Frank Shamrock
Frank Shamrock (pictured) and Kazushi Sakuraba fought to a draw in a grappling match.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

One of the most anticipated matchups at Saturday’s Rizin event in Fukuoka, Japan, was a grappling exhibition between Pride legend Kazushi Sakuraba and former UFC champion Frank Shamrock, but the submission-only match had no winner.

Sakuraba attempted a couple of ankle picks, while Shamrock, who replaced an injured Dan Henderson, worked on the clinch the entire match, but neither veteran was able to get close to taking his opponent to the ground. The clock ran out, and both competitors went back home with a draw.

The main event featured a women’s atomweight tournament bout between kickboxing star and undefeated MMA fighter Rena Kubota, and former King of the Cage atomweight champion Andy Nguyen. Kubota proved to be too much for Nguyen, finishing her with a body shot in the opening round.

In the other atomweight tournament fights, Maria Oliveira and Kanna Asakura advanced with unanimous decision victories over Alyssa Garcia and Sylwia Juskiewicz, respectively, while Irene Cabello finished Miyuu Yamamoto with a second-round armbar.

In the co-main event, rising flyweight talent Tenshin Nasukawa went the distance for the first time in his mixed martial arts career, defeating Yamato Fujita via unanimous decision to improve to 4-0 in MMA.

The fight card also featured a men’s bantamweight grand prix. Shintaro Ishiwatari and Kevin Petshi defeated Akhmed Musakaev and Je Soon Moon via decision, respectively, to advance to the quarter-finals. They will join Kyoji Horiguchi, Khalid Taha and Anthony Birchak on the Dec. 29 event.

Longtime veteran Tatsuya Kawajiri attempted to enter the bantamweight tournament as the wildcard, but came up short against undefeated Brazilian Gabriel Oliveira. The winner of the catchweight bout would enter the grand prix on Dec. 29, and Oliveira guaranteed his spot with a vicious second-round knockout.

Click here for complete results from Sunday’s Rizin show.