NEW YORK - Bitter rivals will rematch with the world title on the line when Karate Combat world lightweight champion Edgars "The Bearslayer" Skrivers meets Pitbull Brothers protege Luiz Rocha in the main event of "Karate Combat Season 4: Event 2" on Saturday, May 28.
The fight brings their rivalry full circle as Rocha comes looking for revenge after suffering a TKO defeat against Skrivers in their 2019 battle for the vacant belt. Skrivers, originally from Latvia, but now training and fighting out of Dubai, is making his third defense of the belt.
Rocha, who trains under Bellator MMA world champions Patricio and Patricky Freire at the Pitbull Brothers gym in Brazil, blasted his way back into title contention with a savage body kick TKO win last season over Nikita Yanchuk. He heads into this rematch looking to find vengeance in similarly emphatic fashion.
After winning the inaugural title fight, Skrivers first defended successfully against Dagestan's Myrza-Bek Tebuev and then last season ended Bruno de Assis' undefeated run with a one-sided unanimous decision.
"There's a lot of history here: Skrivers and Rocha had the first-ever Karate Combat title fight, and now they are ready to run it back," Karate Combat president Adam Kovacs said. "A lot has happened since that first fight: Skrivers has looked dominant, but Rocha never stopped being a contender, and both of them had huge wins last season - now we're going to see how they've evolved."
"Karate Combat decided to give him another shot, and that's fine," Skrivers said. "A lot has changed since then, including his style and my style. We've both evolved, so of course it's going to be a different fight, but I expect it to be a similar ending – I'm going to get in The Pit, smash him and earn a lot of cash in the process."
"If Skrivers can predict the future like this, he should stop fighting and become a fortune teller," Rocha said. "But my aim is the same as his: get in there, smash him, take the belt and take the money. But I will also now predict the future: I think this may turn out to be the best fight in Karate Combat history."
Two key bouts will support the main event: welterweight veterans Dionicio "El Capitan" Gustavo and Nikita Yanchuk meet in a battle to get back on the contender trail, while new lightweight signings Dastonbek Otabolaev and Andres Madera make their Karate Combat debuts.
Navy commando Gustavo challenged welterweight champion Josh "The Preacher" Quayhagen last season but lost a unanimous decision after a five-round war which forced both men to dig deep, while Yanchuk fell victim to Rocha's left body kick and now looks to bounce back with a win over recent contender.
Dastonbek, from Uzbekistan, made history last year when he became the first fighter from central Asia to win the Karate World Championships. He then decided to turn professional, accepting a contract offer from Karate Combat.
Fighting out of Dallas, Texas, Madera represented his native Venezuela in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics before also deciding to turn professional and enter the paid ranks.
Featuring Georges St-Pierre and Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson in sensei roles, "Karate Combat: Season 4" features four events airing at two-week intervals, beginning on Saturday, May 14, and culminating in a live finale airing from a world famous location in Orlando, Fla.