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Tatsuya Kawajiri asked for UFC release, signs with Rizin FF

Tatsuya Kawajiri celebrates winning his bout against Dennis Siver at UFC Fight Night in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, June 20, 2015. Kawajiri defeated Siver in round 3. (AP Photo/Axel Schmidt)
(AP Photo/Axel Schmidt)

After a semi-successful run in the UFC, Japanese MMA legend Tatsuya Kawajiri is going back to fighting in his home country.

“Crusher” is officially no longer under a UFC contract, and has signed a new deal with Rizin Fighting Federation, according to MMA Fighting.

Kawajiri reportedly asked for a released from the UFC earlier this month. UFC granted his request, seemingly without any issues or requirements as he has quickly turned around and gotten himself a deal with the fairly new MMA promotion in Japan.

His debut fight under the Rizin banner has not been officially established, but the expectation is Kawajiri will fight before 2016 is over, either on Rizin’s Dec. 29 show or the Dec. 31 show.

Kawajiri made his way to the UFC in 2014, fighting on UFC Fight Night 34. “Crusher” fought six times under the UFC banner, going 3-3.

He is currently riding a two-fight losing streak for the first time in his professional career dating all the way back to 2000. His most recent bout took place at UFC Fight Night 92 where he took on Cub Swanson. Swanson took home the unanimous decision in an exciting fight.

Prior to making it to the UFC, Kawajiri made his name in the sport fighting domestically in Japan. He fought in all the top promotions of the country over the years, becoming a staple fighter for Shooto, Dream, and Pride Fighting Championships.

Since beginning his pro MMA career in April 2000, Kawajiri has built an overall record of 35-10-2.

Rizin’s year-end shows are scheduled to host a two-day openweight tournament featuring such fighters as Mirko Filipovic and Wanderlei Silva.

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