Rizin Shine: Lightweights line up for grand prix at Rizin FF 19

The white-roped ring of Rizin FF takes center stage Saturday as the latest installment of the Japanese promotion’s evolution takes place in Osaka.

The main event features Rizin’s light heavyweight champion, Jiri Prochazka, who faces off against heavy-handed, hard-headed Brazilian Fabio Maldonado in a 100-kilogram catchweight contest, while the preliminary card will feature the four Rizin lightweight grand prix quarterfinal matchups, with Bellator’s Patricky Freire and notable former UFC stars Johnny Case and Tatsuya Kawajiri in the lineup.

Here are five reasons to check out Rizin FF 19 this weekend.

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Catchweight fireworks in the main event

Jiri Prochazka and Fabio Maldonado have 49 career victories between them, with a staggering 36 coming by way of KO/TKO, so it’s a fair bet we’re going to see a stand-up war between these two noted knockout artists.

Rizin light heavyweight champion Prochazka (24-3 MMA, 9-1 Rizin) owns an impressive finishing rate, with 21 wins coming via knockout. He’s riding an eight-fight winning streak, with each of his last six wins coming via KO/TKO. His last outing saw him avenge his most recent defeat – to Muhammed Lawal on New Year’s Eve 2015.

He’ll take on Maldonado (25-13 MMA, 0-0 Rizin), whose penchant for getting into toe-to-toe tear-ups has become his calling card over the years. The 39-year-old Brazilian has 15 KOs from 25 career wins and won his last fight by 97-second knockout over an 0-0 opponent in Brazil.

It remains to be seen whether that’s sufficient preparation to face a Rizin champion on a six-fight knockout streak.

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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