Bruno Cappelozza (center) will ring in the new year in Japan. | Photo: Rizin Fighting Federation
The bracket for Rizin Fighting Federation’s inaugural heavyweight tournament officially began to fill up over the weekend.
The nascent Japanese organization on Monday announced Brazilian Bruno Henrique Cappelozza as the first entrant in the eight-man grand prix, which is set to take place over the course of Rizin’s three-day fight festival in December. The remaining seven spots in the tourney will be filled by competitors from around the world sent by Rizin-affiliated promoters.
Cappeloza earned his berth Saturday at Jungle Fight 82 in Sao Paulo, where Rizin founder and CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara was on hand to witness the Brazilian org’s talent first-hand. Fighting for the newly minted Jungle Fight 220-pound title, Cappeloza needed just over four minutes to punch out previously unbeaten Francisco “Apaga a Luz” Bezerra. The stoppage victory was Cappeloza’s fourth in a row and his third straight inside the opening round, though the 6-foot-2 fighter previously competed at 205 pounds.
The opening round of Rizin’s heavyweight grand prix will be contested during the first of the company’s events on Dec. 29, with the semifinals and finals taking place on New Year’s Eve. The winner of the bracket takes home a grand prize of $500,000.