Rizin Fighting Federation signs Daron Cruickshank
By Edward Carbajal
Former UFC Lightweight competitor, Daron Cruickshank (16-8, 1 NC) has signed with Rizin Fighting Federation (Rizin FF). The promotion made the announcement earlier this morning along with the addition of five more bouts to their April 17 event in Nagoya, Japan. Also announced was the signing of Chris Barnett (14-2), known as “Huggy Bear” to the same card as well as their opponents which completes the card.
Cruickshank fought in the UFC for four years, having fought more recently at UFC Fight Night 81 last January. He lost to Paul Felder in that event and accrued two more losses before that. Sometimes a change of scenery helps to snap a bad streak like that. If you need proof of that, just look at Tamdan McCrory who has come back to the UFC after a long hiatus. Then, fighting in other promotions and making his way back to the UFC.
Cruickshank will face submission specialist Shinji Sasaki (16-8-3) of Hiroshima, Japan. He is a former Shooto Pacific Rim champion in the midst of a three-fight win streak. In his last fight on March 12, the 5-foot-9, 35-year-old who has earned 10 of his 16 career wins by way of submission, scored a thunderous, 40-second TKO on Won Sik Park with a storm of punches.
Chris Barnett is an interesting character and should find a lot of success at Rizin FF. Not only is he heavy handed, but the Tampa Florida native earned his nickname “Huggy Bear” by making ring entrances wearing a full-body bear suit and celebrates his victories by performing break-dance moves and cartwheels in the ring. He has earned 12 of his 14 career wins to date by way of KO/TKO. In his last fight, he scored a first round TKO on Shinichi Suzukawa, in Tokyo on December 31.
See the update card below:
Updated Rizin Fighting Federation 1 card
Kazuyuki Fujita vs. Jiri Prochazka
Daron Cruickshank vs. Shinji Sasaki
Chris "Huggy Bear" Barnett vs. Kirill Sidelnikov
Hisaki Kato vs. Yuta Watanabe
Allan Nascimento vs. Yuki Motoya
Gabi Garcia vs. Anna Malyukova
Jaideep Singh vs. Teodoras Aukstuolis
Vadim Nemkov vs. Karl Albrektsson
Kanako Murata vs. TBA
Grappling Tag Match:
Wanderlei Silva, TBA vs. Kazushi Sakuraba, Hideo Tokoro
Edward Carbajal is a contributing writer for MMA at Page2sports.com and Frontproof Media. You can follow Edward on Twitter @Carbazel or at his website TheBlogBoardJungle.com. Check out his podcast on Spreaker.