Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic was crowned the Rizin 2016 World Grand Prix champion when defeated Amir Aliakbari to roll back the years at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan on New Year’s Eve.
In the tournament’s first semi-final Cro Cop ended sumo wrestler Kaido “Baruto” Hoovelson’s chances of winning the tournament when he delivered a crushing body shot in the opening moments of round one to win the grudge match.
The other semi-final saw Aliakbari remain undefeated, when he edged a closely contested battle with Russian Valentin Moldavsky to earn his second successive split decision win of the tournament.
The final of the Openweight Grand Prix would would almost pan out in almost the same way as the opening semi-final bout with Cro Cop stalking a tired Aliakbari before landing an overhand left which sent the previously undefeated fighter crashing to the canvas. The Croatian would quickly connecting again with more shots to force the referee to end the contest.
Kron’s dominant performance heralds the return of Gracie MMA
In the co-main event of Rizin, Kron Gracie passed the biggest test of his budding mixed martial arts career with flying colours as he defeated UFC veteran Tatsuya Kawajiri in the 2nd round.
Gracie (4-0) used dirty boxing more associated with his training partners Nick and Nate Diaz to land shots to the body and head for much of the 10-minute 1st round against Kawajiri (35-11-2) who was competing in his 48th professional bout.
In the closing stages of the first stanza, Kron would pull guard and would transition to his opponent’s back trying to work for the rear naked choke but was thwarted by the bell.
Once the action resumed in round two it was more of the same as the 28-year-old would again pull guard, taking the action back to the canvas where after a scramble he would pepper his Japanese opponent with shots to the head and body before sinking in the rear naked choke for the win.
Garcia wins farce, Nasukawa makes it two wins in two days
In the Rizin 2016 event’s battle of David and Goliath there was no fairytale ending for pro-wrestler Rumiko Hotta,who proved no match for the mountainous Gabi Garcia. In the opening moments of the fight Hotta (5-5) lead her opponent a merry dance, ulitizing her sports entertainment chops to great effect, bouncing off the ropes to the amazement of those watching.
But her antics would not be allowed to go on for long as Garcia (4-0) who remains undefeated since making the switch to the MMA would quickly grab the 49-year-old, take her to ground and then proceed to pummel Hotta until the referee intervened.
Following the fight, pro wrestler turned mixed martial artist Alpha Female stormed the ring, challenging Garcia to a bout. The pair got heated and had to be separated by Hotta. A match-up between Garcia and Alpha Female will likely take place on the April 18 Rizin show.
In another highlight of the Rizin 2016 event Kickboxing superstar come mixed martial artist, Tenshin Nasukawa capped off the perfect 48-hours and proved he is more then just an elite striker when he submitted Kawika Oligo via 2nd round guillotine choke. The 18-year-old then indicated that he would like to find under kickboxing rules for the Rizin promotion in 2017.
Rizin 2016 World Grand Prix Results
Mirko Filipovic vs. Amir Aliakbari – World Grand Prix 2016 Final
Kron Gracie def. Tatsuya Kawajiri via submission (rear naked choke) in Rnd 2
Hideo Tokoro def. Erson Yamamoto via submission (armbar) in Rnd 1
Rena Kubota def. Hanna Gujwan via TKO (body kick) in Rnd 3
Andy Nguyen def. Miya Yamamoto via submission (armbar) in Rnd 1
Kizaemon Saiga def. Dillin West via TKO (strikes) in Rnd 1
Gabi Garcia def. Yumiko Hotta via TKO (strikes) in Rnd 1
Hayato Sakurai def. Water Sakata via TKO (punches) in Rnd 2
Amir Aliakbari def. Valentin Moldavsky via split decision – Openweight WGP Semi-final
Mirko Filipovic def. Kaido Hoovelson via TKO (body shot) in Rnd 1 – Openweight WGP Semi-final
Tenshin Nasukawa def. Kawika Oligo via submission (guillotine choke) – Rnd 2