RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2017 1st Round Fight Forecast

Fight Forecast is a recurring series at StrikeScoreMMA.com that provides a stats based preview of upcoming events. Since striking stats are not available outside the UFC, we need to get a bit creative. The following uses Fight Matrix rankings, peak rank, Tapology user votes, betting odds and Rankings Momentum.

In this case, the period used for Rankings Momentum was 10/1/2015 to 7/1/2017. Fighters must have been ranked in at least four quarters during the period to be includedTapology scores are as of July 29 at 4:10 p.m. ET. Betting odds are from 5Dimes as of July 29 at 4:10 p.m. ET.

*The Nasukawa vs. Saiga match is a custom rules bout

*The Nasukawa vs. Saiga match is a custom rules bout

Rizin 2016 NYE Night2 Fight Forecast

Fight Forecast is a recurring series at StrikeScoreMMA.com that provides a stats based preview of upcoming events. Since striking stats are not available outside the UFC, we need to get a bit creative. The following uses Fight Matrix rankings, peak rank, Tapology user votes, betting odds and Rankings Momentum.

In this case, the period used for Rankings Momentum was 1/1/2015 to 10/1/2016. Fighters must have been ranked in at least four quarters during the period to be includedTapology scores are as of Dec. 30 at 11:00 a.m. ET. Betting odds are from 5Dimes as of Dec. 30 at 11:00 a.m. ET.

Rizin 2016 NYE Night 1 Fight Forecast

Fight Forecast is a recurring series at StrikeScoreMMA.com that provides a stats based preview of upcoming events. Since striking stats are not available outside the UFC, we need to get a bit creative. The following uses Fight Matrix rankings, peak rank, Tapology user votes and Rankings Momentum.

In this case, the period used for Rankings Momentum was 1/1/2015 to 10/1/2016. Fighters must have been ranked in at least four quarters during the period to be includedTapology scores are as of Dec. 28 at 9:00 a.m. ET.

RIZIN Fighting World Grand Prix 2016: 1st Round Fight Forecast

Fight Forecast is a recurring series at StrikeScoreMMA.com that provides a stats based preview of upcoming events. Since striking stats are not available outside the UFC, we need to get a bit creative. The following uses Fight Matrix rankings, peak rank, Tapology user votes, betting odds and Rankings Momentum.

In this case, the period used for Rankings Momentum was 10/1/2014 to 7/1/2016. Fighters must have been ranked in at least four quarters during the period to be included. Tapology scores are as of Sept. 24 at 2:45 p.m. ET. Betting odds are from 5Dimes as of Sept. 23 at 4:30 p.m. ET.

Winners of the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championships have gone 382-149-7 in MMA. Kron Gracie won the 2013 under 77 kg division and is 2-0 in MMA heading into this fight.

Hideo Tokoro is 1-0-1 against the Gracie family after competing against a pair of Kron’s uncles. Tokoro drew with Royce in 2005 and defeated Royler the following year.

As a 36-fight Shootboxing veteran, Andy Souwer is much better prepared for MMA than your average kickboxer. His last loss under Shootboxing rules came against former Bellator title challenger Toby Imada in 2010. They ran into each other in the semifinal of the 2010 S-Cup. Souwer was unprepared for Imada’s upper body throws and it cost him the match. He gave up seven takedowns and multiple “shoot points.” However, Souwer was prepared for the grappling game and basically shut Imada down en route to a dominant decision victory.

Despite having the ability to throw wild kicks, Daron Cruickshank still comes from a wrestling base. During his UFC career, he averaged 2.04 takedown attempts per 15 minutes.

Kizaemon Saiga is a kickboxer with a 2-1 MMA record. He is mostly known for having a celebrity wife who you can hear yelling from the front row. He struggled in his Rizin debut against Tokoro last winter.

Asen Yamamoto is back after falling to Gracie in his MMA debut on New Year’s Eve. He is the son of Miyu Yamamoto who is also fighting on this card and the nephew of Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto. In 2013, he won a cadet world championship in Greco-Roman wrestling. His performance in the final was quite dramatic.

Minoru Kimura is a 23-year-old kickboxer from Brazil. He has yet to fight MMA, but he should easily pick up a victory here. He is 21-6-1 in kickboxing including a victory over K-1 posterboy Hiroya.

These days "Krazy Horse" is basically a jobber, but he did knockout K.J. Noons that one time, so he has that going for him, which is nice. It is pretty crazy to think he was a top-20 lightweight in 2002.

“Cro Cop” certainly seems to be nearing the end of his career, but he is riding a three-fight winning streak and has won nine-straight fights in Japan.

In his last fight, Hyun Man Myung was submitted by “Mighty Mo” with a schoolyard headlock. That is about all that needs to be said about him.

StrikeScore named Amir Aliakbari the tournament darkhorse.

Joao Almeida has won back-to-back fights for Jungle Fight and is 4-1 overall.

Karl Albrektsson will look to make it 2-0 against Russian opponents in Rizin. In his last bout, he scored a split-decision upset over Vadim Nemkov. The victory improved his professional record to 5-0.

Valentin Moldavsky is a combat sambo veteran with a 3-0 record. In his last bout, he scored a first-round submission victory over Daniel Doerrer on the undercard of Emelianenko vs. Maldonado.

After defeating veterans Satoshi Ishii and Vadim Nemkov, Jiri Prochazka found himself in the finals of the first Rizin tournament. In the final, he fell to Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal. However, the Czech fighter got back on track with a first-round knockout over Kazuyuki Fujita.

Mark Tanios is a 5-1 fighter who trains with Tristar Gym Lebanon. In his last fight, he was physically overwhelmed in the first round against Luc Ngeleka. However, Tanios was able to outlast his opponent and eventually take the decision.

Teodoras Aukstuolis has reached his highest ranking ever after defeating Jaideep Singh on the last Rizin show.

Since signing with KSW in 2014, Szymon Bajor has gone 2-1 in the promotion.

Kazuyuki Fujita is over 15 years removed from his peak ranking in 2001.

During his nine-year professional sumo career,  Baruto built a 431-213 record.

Fight Matrix groups all fighters above bantamweight into one category, which is how Gabi Garcia is listed at the #14 women’s featherweight. She weighed in for this bout at 245 pounds. 

Destanie Yarbrough is a former collegiate field athlete who specialized in shotput and discus. Since finishing her career, she has been playing football. Last April, she made her MMA debut with a knockout victory over Crystal Parson.

StrikeScore looked at Rena Kubota’s prospect in MMA prior to her debut last year.

Miyu Yamamoto recently competed at the 2016 Senior Canadian Championships, StrikeScore broke down the film.

Kanako Murata is a two-time junior world champion and has represented Japan at the women’s wrestling world cup. She is 3-0 in MMA after beginning her career last year.

Kanako Murata defeated Helen Marioulis in 2011 Junior World Final

The card’s highest ranked fighter is in the opening bout. Kyra Batara is the #7 atomweight. She has gone 3-0 for Combate Americas since joining the promotion last year.

Amir Aliakbari is a darkhorse in the Rizin tournament

Most of the attention paid towards Rizin’s openweight grand prix has been directed toward the return of Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic and the eventual entry of Wanderlei Silva. However, the tournament also features the big show debut of one of the most intriguing heavyweight prospects in recent memory, Amir Aliakbari.

Aliakbari is a two-time Greco-Roman wrestling world champion. He won the worlds at 96 kg before moving up to heavyweight in 2013 and winning another gold medal. He missed the 2012 Olympics due to a doping violation. After a second doping offense following to 2013 world championships, Aliakbari was stripped of his gold medal and banned from the sport.

In three world championships, he went 14-1 and outscored his opponents 61-11. That is good enough for a 97.88 Wrestler’s Pythagorean Expectation. 

“He won the worlds a few years ago, popped positive though. Beastly talent, unfortunate,” said Tim Hands of Greco-Roman wrestling website FivePointMove.com. “He had a power game. He had a lot of typical Iranian qualities too, quick technical. But again, he’s tainted.”

Aliakbari made his MMA debut last October. He has dispatched both his opponents, Hyung Chul-Lee and Radu Spinghel via first-round knockout, while only spending 1:19 in the cage. His opponent Joao Almeida holds a 4-1 record and is ranked #89 by Fight Matrix.

With the UFC bringing in USADA and coming down harder than ever before on performance enhancing drugs, it will be interesting to see where Aliakbari’s career goes. However, there is no denying his natural talent, and there is a good chance he will make a long run in the Rizin tournament.

Amir Aliakbari Record at World Championships
2013 UWW World Championships at 120kg
Def. Oleksandr Chernetskyi (UKR) 3-1 (Fall)
Def. Johan Euren (SWE) 7-0
Def. Eduard Popp (GER) 7-0
Def. Riza Kayaalp (TUR) 4-1
Def. Heiki Nabi (EST) 4-0

2010 UWW World Championships at 96kg
Def. Davyd Saldadze (UZB) 1-0, 1-0
Def. Mohamed Abdelfatah (EGY) 1-0, 1-0
Def. Kaloyan Dinchev (BUL) 3-0, 1-0
Def. Aslanbek Khushtov (RUS) 1-0, 1-0
Def. Tsimafei Dzeinichenka (BLR) 2-2, 1-0

2009 UWW World Championships at 96kg
Def. Jesper Viholt (DEN 5-0, 4-0
Def. Kaloyan Dinchev (BUL) 3-0, 3-0
Def. Alin Alexuc-Ciurariu (ROU) 2-0, 1-0
Lost to Balasz Kiss (HUN) 1-0, 0-5, 0-1
Def. Davyd Saldadze (UZB) 1-0, 2-2