RIZIN FF has announced it’s kick-off show for 2018, and Kyoji Horiguchi will take on Ian McCall at the event, held in Fukuoka this May.
Japan’s RIZIN FF has announced the initial fights booked for the promotion’s 2018 kick-off. The event will take place May 6 in Fukuoka, Japan. Among the fights are three RIZIN 2017 Grand Prix winners in Kyoji Horiguchi, Kanna Asakura, and Tenshin Nasukawa. The promotion announced the news is a press release distributed Wednesday.
First up, headlining the Fukuoka card will be bantamweight grand prix winner Kyoji Horiguchi (23-2). The former UFC title challenger at flyweight will face another UFC ex-pat, ‘Uncle Creepy’ Ian McCall (13-6-1).
Horiguchi has not lost since his title fight against UFC flyweight champion and pound-for-pound great Demetrious Johnson in 2015. Since then, he has rattled off eight straight wins between the UFC and RIZIN. The match-up between the Japanese star and McCall was hotly anticipated for RIZIN’s 2017 Bantamweight World Grand Prix. However, McCall exited the tournament in the first round after suffering a doctor’s stoppage TKO loss against Manel Kape.
Despite the loss, McCall remains one of the highest profile fighters in RIZIN’s bantamweight ranks, along with Horiguchi. As a result the pairing is really no surprise.
The man who bounced McCall from the bantamweight GP, Manel Kape (9-2), will appear on the card as well. He’ll face Kai Asakura (9-1)
Also on the RIZIN FF card in May, super-atomweight champion Kanna Asakura (10-2) will face former King of the Cage atomweight champion Melissa Karagianis (3-3). Still on the women’s side, in a battle of Asian superpowers, Japanese wrestler Kanako Murata (6-1) faces China’s Weili Zhang (16-1).
RIZIN 2017 Kickboxing tournament champion Tenshin Nasukawa will also appear, though no opponent has been announced for the teenage standout.
The promotion additionally announced the following shows for 2018:
RIZIN 10 – July 29th. Saitama Super Arena
RIZIN 11 – August 12th. Aichi Gymnasium
RIZIN 12 – September 30th. Saitama Super Arena
RIZIN 13 – December 31st. Saitama Super Arena