The first-round pairings for Rizin FF’s lightweight grand prix tournament have been announced, with Bellator’s 155-pound star Patricky Freire drawn to face a former UFC veteran in his first matchup as he looks to punch his ticket to the semi-finals. Freire (21-8 MMA) will make his promotional Rizin FF debut in the tournament as he looks to extend his five-fight win streak at the expense of 41-year-old veteran Tatsuya Kawajiri (37-13 MMA, 2-3 Rizin), who booked his place in the tournament after handing Russian Ali Abdulkhalikov the first defeat of his MMA career at Rizin FF 17 in July. Pitbull tweeted his reaction to the draw, saying: “I’m honored to face such a legend. Hope it’s a dream fight for the fans with all our pride on the line.
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