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RIZIN 33 bantamweight grand prix semifinals set

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Kai Asakura
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The final four is set for RIZIN’s bantamweight grand prix.

The Japanese promotion announced Tuesday that RIZIN 33 at Saitama Super Arena on Dec. 31 will host the semifinals of the ongoing bantamweight tournament, with former champion Kai Asakura (18-3) taking on Kenta Takizawa (13-7), and Hiromasa Ougikubo (23-5-2) fighting Naoki Inoue (15-2).

Also on the show, lightweight champion Roberto Souza (12-1) defends his title against a yet-to-be-announced opponent. “Satoshi” has won three straight fights in addition to a number of victories in grappling bouts for RIZIN and recently claimed 155-pound gold with a first-round submission of Tofiq Musayev.

Asakura, Takizawa, Ougikubo, and Inoue are the remaining competitors in a tournament that began with 16 fighters. The winner of the grand prix will be awarded 10,000,000 yen (approx. $88,600 USD).

Presumably, the tournament winner will also be in prime position to challenge current bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi, who recently signed with Bellator and challenges for that promotion’s title this Friday at Bellator 272. RIZIN has not yet made an official decision regarding the status of Horiguchi’s title. Horiguchi previously held both the RIZIN and Bellator bantamweight belts simultaneously.

RIZIN 33 will be broadcast on LIVENow in the United States with English commentary provided by Joe Ferraro and Damien Brown.