‘Aztec Warrior’ Juan Archuleta Edges Out Soo Chul Kim to Extend Bellator’s Lead – Rizin v Bellator Highlights

'The Spaniard' came out on top by a split decision following a grand entrance to the ring.

Juan Archuleta
Credit: Rizin FF (via Twitter)

Former Bellator bantamweight champion Juan Archuleta took on Soo Chul Kim in a special Bellator MMA vs. Rizin FF co-promotion event this New Year’s Eve at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

Rizin 40: Bellator MMA vs Rizin FF – Juan Archuleta vs. Soo Chul Kim

Archuleta’s outing with Kim was the second bout on the main card. Bellator lightweight Gadzhi Rabadanov kicked things off to a successful start for the American-based promotion by defeating Koji Takeda by unanimous decision.

’The Spaniard’ faced a tough challenge from Kim. He asserted his striking abilities and appeared to get the better of Kim in the exchanges on the ground. Archuleta managed to get the nod on the judges’ scorecards by a split decision, extending Bellator’s lead to 2-0 on the main card.

The main card will air in the US on Showtime via tape delay at 8 p.m. ET.

Round 1

Archuleta got off to a fiery start as he looked to land a big shot from the gate-go. Kim saw an opportunity to lock in a standing guillotine submission and went for it to avoid the danger of Archuleta on the feet. Archuleta resisted Kim’s choke as they took it to the ground after a brief scramble. He remained in control and on top while Kim ended the round on his back. Archuleta later snuck in a brutal leg kick once they were back to stand-up.

Round 2

Archuleta kept chopping away at Kim’s legs and targeted his feet. They got in a clinch where Archuleta delivered some slicing elbows. The fight went to the ground. Archuleta seems to have the upper hand in grappling exchanges as he remained in top position. They return to their feet and Kim gets through a strong leg kick of his own.

Round 3

Archuleta pressed on the gas tank for the final round. He tried to land a barrage of strikes. Kim avoided getting in the exchange by choosing to grapple. He briefly got on top of Archuleta before the referee intervened and got them back up. Archuleta got to work on the feet while Kim looked for an opening to lock his chokes in.

Official Result: Juan Archuleta defeats Soo Chul Kim by split decision.

“I’m so emotional. I’m not going to lie,” Archuleta said in his post-fight interview (h/t MMA Junkie). “All week it’s been draining on my soul, all you fans lifting me up to have the honor and the power and the strength to come here tonight.”

You can watch the highlights below.

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