There is truly nothing like MMA in Japan, as evidenced by today’s Inoki Bob-Ba-Yae x Ganryujima event.
The event served as a tribute to the late Antonio Inoki. A noted fan of professional wrestling as well as MMA, he fought Muhammad Ali in a mixed-rules bout. Their 1976 draw is considered one of the earliest MMA contests, and a precursor to the rise of the UFC.
Given the Japanese star’s impact on MMA, it seemed fitting that there were some massive stars on the card earlier today. Former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett took on Shoma Shibisai in a mixed-rules bout, while former Bellator middleweight titleholder Rafael Lovato Jr. also returned. He famously retired due to health issues following a win over Gegard Mousasi.
Both former champions earned stoppage victories in their returns, but Melvin Manhoef wasn’t as lucky. The Bellator veteran retired earlier this year following a loss to Yoel Romero. However, he decided to return to face jiu-jitsu ace Igor Tanabe earlier today.
‘No Mercy’ wound up losing by submission in the main event, but the highlight of the event took place earlier in the night. In the second contest of the evening, Marcus Aurelio took on Hidenori Ebata at 185 pounds.
It’s worth noting that all of the fights on the card took place on a platform. Beside the platform was a padded area, but was invisible due to the mist. During the contest, ‘Lelo’ decided to get creative.
This was absolutely insane pic.twitter.com/mgPmHNlJPy
— Marc Raimondi (@marcraimondi) December 28, 2022
During the fight, Marcus Aurelio picked up Hidenori Ebata and dove off the platform into the mist. The scene was one for the ages and resulted in a win for the Brazilian. Sadly, Ebata was unable to continue to injury, handing him a loss in his first career MMA fight.
What do you make of this highlight? Did you watch the event? Sound off in the comment section below PENN Nation!