BKFC, RIZIN announce talent swap partnership with bareknuckle fights headed to Japan

Bareknuckle boxing is headed to Japan’s most prominent MMA promotion.

BKFC and RIZIN have formed a talent-share partnership with the intention of co-promoting full bareknuckle boxing cards in 2025 under a newly formed brand name. BKFC president David Feldman and RIZIN promoter Nobuyuki Sakakibara announced the news Wednesday on “The MMA Hour.”

The first talent crossovers have already been mapped out. RIZIN star Tatsuki Shinotsuka (1-0) will head to the United States for BKFC Fight Night: Pechanga on July 12 in Temecula, Calif. and will face Cary Caprio (2-1). Shinotsuka partook in a RIZIN bareknuckle test run on April 26 when he defeated Justyn Martinez (0-3) in 93 seconds.

Then on July 28, BKFC will reciprocate. At Super RIZIN 3, BKFC stars Tai Emery (1-1) and Charisa Sigala will square off. Additionally, John Dodson(1-4-1), who BKFC permitted to compete in MMA bouts for RIZIN while under contract, will face an opponent TBA. The card will be a combination event, meaning MMA fights and bareknuckle fights will both be in the same lineup.

The partnership appears to be similar to the one RIZIN and Bellator held for years prior to Bellator’s acquisition by PFL (though it remains to be seen if that partnership will be maintained in the same capacity).

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie