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RIZIN champion Roberto Satoshi welcomes ‘f*cking cool’ fight with Bellator’s Patricky Pitbull

Roberto Satoshi will rematch Yusuke Yachi in his first defense of the RIZIN title in Japan.
Photo via RIZIN FF

RIZIN and Bellator have co-promoted multiple times in the past, at one point creating an opportunity for Kyoji Horiguchi to become a two-company champion. Roberto Satoshi, a champion in Japan, also wants in.

The jiu-jitsu ace is scheduled to defend his lightweight title at RIZIN’s New Years Eve show in Saitama, rematching former Shooto titleholder Yusuke Yachi on Friday, and he is interested in a clash with fellow Brazilian 155-pounder Patricky Pitbull for the Bellator gold in 2022.

“It would be f*cking cool, like a Japan vs. United States title fight,” Satoshi said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “It would be very cool. I get a bit [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 good luck every time he fights.

“So, on a personal side, I’d be kind of sad, but on a professional side…it’s a business. If both of us make good money, I would have no problem with it. It would be really cool, it would be historic.”

Satoshi captured the RIZIN belt with a 72-second submission victory over Musayev in June, dispatching the man that beat Pitbull for the inaugural lightweight gold in the RIZIN grand prix finals in late 2019. Pitbull recently knocked out Peter Queally in Ireland to capture the vacant Bellator title.

Satoshi celebrates the fact “Brazil runs the lightweight division” with Pitbull as Bellator titleholder and Charles Oliveira holding UFC gold, and he looks up to both champions.

“Pitbull and Charles are motivation to me,” he said. “Every time I’m tired from training, I watch them fight and I’m like, ‘I’m in the same division, I have to be fighting at least half of half of what they’re fighting to represent and be a respected champion instead of just another one there.’”

The RIZIN champion is 12-1 in MMA and considers himself an experienced purple belt after eight years dedicated to MMA. He hasn’t gone out of the opening round since 2019, winning four of five bouts. But he guarantees his cardio isn’t a weak spot since he’s made a career of competing in “five, 10-minute matches in a single day back in jiu-jitsu.”

Satoshi said the original plan was to book him against an “international” fighter, but RIZIN had to choose someone from Japan since travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic were still in play. That’s how the Yachi rematch was booked for the Saitama Super Arena.

“I don’t like rematches,” he said. “I didn’t like rematches in jiu-jitsu either. I don’t like fighting the same opponents again, but I think this fight is completely different now. He’s changed a lot. He switched gyms after he lost to me and I think his style has changed a lot. He’s not going for knockouts like crazy anymore. He’s won two by decision since he lost to me and he’s controlling more in moments where I thought he could go for the finish. It tastes like a rematch, but also tastes like 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 hopes to stick with his submission wins in his final appearance of 2021.

“I took a fight after we fought, and also the one against a world-class fight in Tofiq, that gave me great experience,” Satoshi said. “But we don’t change things that are working. Submissions are my go-to in a fight, but I wanna use my striking as well.”