The Rizin 2016 World Grand Prix quarterfinals kicked off on Thursday from Japan. The main event matched up former UFC and Prife FC legend, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic against Bellator superstar Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal. The fight began with King Mo catching a low kick from Cro Cop and ground and pounding him for most of the first round. However, Cro Cop began to stuff some takedowns from King Mo in the second round and started to land his legendary left leg kick. The climax of the fight happened when Cro Cop was able to stuff a takedown attempt from King Mo and countered with several uppercuts that ended King Mo’s night. Cro Cop will now face Beruto Kaito, who beat Tsuyoshi “TK” Kohsaka by unanimous decision earlier in the night, in the semi finals on Saturday.
The return of Heath Herring didn’t go as planned in a controversial fight. Herring, a UFC and Pride FC veteran, return to action after a 8 year layoff to face Amir Aliakbara. Aliakbara, a former Greco Roman wrestling world champion, battered Herring in the first round. He took him down, and even supplexed Herring. The tide changed in the second round, where Aliakbara appeared to be very tired and Herring landed several shots in the round. To the surprise of the crowd, the fight did not go to a sudden death third round, and Aliakbara was awarded the decision.
In the final quarterfinal matchup, Valentin Moldavsky beat Szymon Bajor by unanimous decision. Moldavsky will face Aliakbara in the semi-finals on Saturday.