Rena Kubota to face Lindsay VanZandt at Bellator 222

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Rena Kubota is heading to Bellator. Photo: Akihito Tatematsu.

One of RIZIN’s top female stars is heading to Bellator.

The Japanese promotion has confirmed a long-running rumour that Rena Kubota will join Kyoji Horiguchi on the Bellator 222 card at Madison Square Garden on 14 June.

Rena will face Lindsay VanZandt in a catchweight bout at 50.8 kg. The fight will allow elbow strikes.

For years Rena reigned supreme as the Shoot Boxing Queen. Rena was on a 28-fight win streak until she faced Kanna Asakura in the RIZIN atomweight tournament finals in 2017. She faced Asakura again at RIZIN 11, but lost via unanimous decision.

Her opponent VanZandt (5-1) has competed in Bellator only once, in addition to Invicta FC and King of the Cage. She will come to Bellator 222 with two back-to-back wins.

“It was my big dream to play in the US,” Kubota said in a statement.

“I’ve heard that it’s the first time a Japanese female professional fighter has a match at Madison Square Garden.”

RIZIN bantamweight king Kyoji Horiguchi will challenge Darrion Caldwell for his bantamweight belt at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The pair first met at RIZIN 14 on New Year’s Eve for the inaugural RIZIN bantamweight title where Horiguchi submitted Caldwell via guillotine choke in the third round.

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