Bellator and Rizin announced tonight that former TNA Knockout Lei'D Tapa will be competing against Brazilian jiu-jitsu juggernaut Gabi Garcia at the Rizin MMA show that will air on New Year's Eve on Spike TV. Tapa and Garcia had a shoving match on the Bellator 145 broadcast.
Tapa was rumored to have been taking the fight, but it wasn't confirmed until tonight. She's been training at American Top Team with the likes of UFC fighter Amanda Nunes. Tapa has also noted on her Twitter that she's a two-stripe blue belt and competed at the Atlanta IBJJF Open International Championship this year.
Also announced for the card are a light heavyweight grand prix featuring King Mo, as well as Fedor's return fight, and Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Shinya Aoki.
Spike TV sent us the following regarding the show:
"Spike TV is helping MMA fans ring out 2015 with a special late morning broadcast of the highly anticipated return of "The Last Emperor," Fedor Emeliananko, to mixed martial arts on New Year's Eve from Tokyo, Japan. Spike will begin its three-hour coverage of the Rizin World Fighting Grand-Prix at Thursday, December 31 at a special time of 10:00am ET/PT with the main event featuring the worldwide legend, Emelianenko. His opponent will be announced shortly.
Fedor's return is receiving global attention, and we want to give our fans the chance to see it New Year's Eve morning with minimal delay," said Jon Slusser, Senior Vice President, Sports and Specials, Spike. "What better way to end the year than waking up with Fedor."
Emanating from the Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo, Japan, the MMA mega-event marks the debut of a Rizin World Fighting, a new global MMA promotion run by former Pride Founder Nobuyuki Sakakibara. The Grand-Prix includes a tournament and fights on December 29 and December 31.
Spike will broadcast the December 31 card on a short delay in the morning (10:00am-1:00pm ET/PT) along with coverage of marquee fights and highlights from bouts fought on December 29.
Bellator MMA will be among the worldwide combat sports organizations partnering with Rizin World Fighting for the Grand-Prix.
Bellator superstar King Mo will be part of the eight-man tournament that will begin on December 29. Details on the other participating fighters will be announced at a later date.
The MMA extravaganza also includes a catch-weight fight between Shinya Aoki and Kazushi Sakuraba along with Brazilian superstar Gabrielle Garcia, a jiu jitsu world champion, making her long-awaited MMA debut against pro wrestler "Queen of Rings" Lei'd Tapa.
The other organizations participating include BAMMA, KSW, Bushido, Jungle Fight, and Desert Force. Spike will be the U.S. broadcast home of the Rizin World Fighting Grand Prix and the event will be produced by Fuji Television Network. The announce team of Jimmy Smith and Sean Grande will call the action for the Spike broadcast.
Fedor Emelianenko last fought in June, 2012 and scored a first round KO over Pedro Rizzo. The Russian MMA superstar will look to repeat history on Dec 31 in Tokyo. In 2011, on New Year's Eve, Fedor thrilled the Tokyo crowd with a punishing first round KO over Satoshi Ishii."