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Gabi Garcia, Takanori Gomi added to Rizin’s year-end cards in Japan

Gabi Garcia
Gabi Garcia returns to action against Shinobu Kandori.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Rizin Fighting Federation has announced new match-ups for its upcoming events in Saitama, Japan, including the return of Gabi Garcia and the promotional debut of Takanori Gomi.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Garcia (4-0, 1 no-contest) will take on 53-year-old Shinobu Kandori (4-1) in a three-round, 95-kilogram bout on Dec. 29. Both fighters were originally scheduled to fight in 2016, but Kandori pulled out due to an injury.

Garcia competed twice this year, but both of her fights in shootboxing and MMA ended in no-contests due to fouls. Kandori enters the bout riding a four-fight submission streak.

Two days later, on the Dec. 31 event, Gomi (35-14, 1 no-contest) faces Yusuke Yachi (18-6). “The Fireball Kid” was recently released by the UFC after losing five in a row, all of them in the first round, while Yachi scored three knockouts finishes inside the Rizin ring.

Rizin will hold two tournaments in December. The first fight card features four bantamweight tournament quarterfinals (Anthony Birchak vs. Jae Hoon Moon, Shintaro Ishiwatari vs. Kevin Patshi, Takafumi Otsuka vs. Khalid Taha, and Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Gabriel Oliveira).

The 135-pound tournament semifinals and final takes place two days later, the same day where the promotion crowns a women’s atomweight grand prix champion. In the semifinals, Kanna Asakura takes on Maria Oliveira, while Rena Kubota battles Irene Cabello.

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