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05th Apr 2016

Wanderlei Silva has received a tag team partner for unique grappling match at Rizin FF


Darragh Murphy

What’s better than one-on-one grappling matches?


Tag team style competition in any martial art seems, well, unusual but that’s the kind of the angle that Rizin FF is going for.

The recently founded promotion headed by former Pride president Nobuyuki Sakakibara will host its second event in Japan on Sunday, April 17, with some superstars on show for fight fans.


The stand-out bout is a tag team grappling match featuring former Pride and UFC middleweight legend Wanderlei Silva who teams up with fellow veteran and former opponent Kiyoshi Tamura to take on the pairing of Kazushi Sakuraba and Hideo Tokoro.

Silva fought Sakuraba on no less than three occasions, all in Pride and all resulting in TKO victories for ‘The Axe Murderer.’

Tamura, meanwhile, has fought all three other men involved in the bout with victories over both Sakuraba and Tokoro coming in Tamura’s final three professional bouts and a loss against teammate Silva back in 2002.

“I’m gonna fight on Sakuraba is better, supposed to be better than me,” Silva said on The MMA Hour. “I stopped training fighting for close to three years and this happened (too) fast, and I have more time to prepare myself. I like to do my best and make good shows, and this is like a warm-up to come back to the ring.”

Other notable names competing at the upcoming Rizin event include former UFC lightweight Daron Cruickshank and multi-time ADCC and world gold medallist Gabi Garcia.

The card, in addition to the tag team grappling contest, looks like this.

Daron Cruickshank vs. Shinji Sasaki
Gabi Garcia vs. Anna Malyukova
Chris Barnett vs. Kirill Sidelnikov
Teodoras Aukstuolis vs. Jaideep Singh
Vadim Nemkov vs. Karl Albrektsson
Hisaki Kato vs. Yuta Watanabe
Kazuyuki Fujita vs. Jiri Prochazka
Allan Nascimento vs. Yuki Motoya
Kanako Murata vs. Natalya Denisova