RIZIN FF, the combat sports promotion led by former PRIDE FC head Nobuyuki Sakakibara, announced during a press conference yesterday, that it has inked five new bouts for its much-anticipated event in Nagoya, Japan on Sunday, April 17, including a lightweight (155 pounds) contest between newly signed striking sensation Daron Cruickshank (16-8, 1 NC) and submission expert Shinji “Torao Supernova” Sasaki (16-8-3), as well as a heavyweight matchup between fellow knockout artists Chris “Huggy Bear” Barnett (14-2) and Kirill Sidelnikov (8-4)
In women’s open weight action, decorated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion and women’s MMA heavyweight prospect Gabi Garcia (1-0) will collide with two-time Pankration champion Anna Malyukova (1-0).
Recent RIZIN FF Grand Prix tournament semifinalist Teodoras Aukstuolis (8-3) will square off with former K-1 champion Jaideep “Heart” Singh (2-1 MMA; 40-10, 13 KO’s kickboxing) in a 216- pound catchweight fight.
Sambo world champion Vadim Nemkov (5-1) will take on undefeated, aggressive-minded striker and top Nordic prospect “King” Karl Albrektsson (4-0) in a light heavyweight (205 pounds) tilt.
Daron Cruickshank vs. Shinji Sasaki
Cruickshank of Wayne, Mich. will set foot in the RIZIN FF ring for the first time, following a 4-year, 13-fight stint with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) that included wins over rival stars Yves Edwards, Erik Koch and Anthony Njokuani.
A two-time NCAA Division III wrestling national qualifier for Olivet College and a second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, the 5-foot-8, 30-year-old Cruickshank has gained admiration from fans worldwide with his set of explosive striking skills.
Sasaki of Hiroshima, Japan is a former Shooto Pacific Rim champion in the midst of a three-fight win streak. In his last start on March 12, the 5-foot-9, 35-year-old who has earned 10 of his 16 career wins by way of submission, scored a thunderous, 40-second TKO on Won Sik Park with a storm ….View full article