RIZIN lightweight champion Roberto Satoshi wants to make a statement in his cross promotion clash with former Bellator titleholder A.J. McKee at Saturday’s Belator vs. RIZIN event at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
A decorate grappler turned MMA star in Japan, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace said on this week’s episode of Trocação Franca he expects to get the respect he feels he deserves from the western world with a win over a highly touted fighter in McKee.
“To me, it’s going to prove I really am a MMA fighter,” Satoshi said. “Like it or not, people say ‘Satoshi is doing MMA, he has the belt, but it’s in Japan’. People still have that prejudice against Japanese promotions. Even though we have some tough fighters here, the international media doesn’t give it much attention.
“Fighting someone that has the name he has inside Bellator, the respect he has in the MMA world, will be a dream come true for me.”
Satoshi won his past five bouts under the RIZIN banner, all by stoppage, taking the title away from Tofiq Musayev and successfully defending it twice versus Yusuke Yachi and Johnny Case. McKee scored seven of his 19 pro wins via submission, but Satoshi isn’t sure what to expect from him come Saturday night.
“I asked my brothers and they don’t think he’ll grapple, but Johnny Case thinks he will throw some hands but go to the ground if he has the opportunity,” said Satoshi, who invited Case to be part of his camp. “I think he has that confidence on the ground, that he can submit [me]. People take risks in the beginning, ‘let me see if he’ll [do] all that.’ I think he might try to take me down or not defend a takedown attempt, but it all depends on how the fight goes. If he feels it’s too dangerous, he’ll just stay on the feet, but I have both games well-thought. I’ve trained for both possibilities.”
Will Satoshi aim specifically for a submission when he enters the ring this weekend?
“Winning is what matters, no matter how,” he said. “I feel comfortable on the ground. Like, if he makes one mistake, I can submit him from the bottom or from top position, from the mount or on his back. I have confidence in my jiu-jitsu, that one mistake he makes, I can submit [him].”