Having defeated Darrion Caldwell once at RIZIN 14, Kyoji Horiguchi will have a chance to do it again, with a second belt on the line at Bellator 222.
New York, NY — At Bellator 222 this Friday, Kyoji Horiguchi and Darrion Caldwell will meet for the second time in little over six months. The pair first collided at RIZIN’s annual New Year’s Eve show to cap 2018, and the Japanese star won big via submission. In the process, he won RIZIN’s inaugural bantamweight title.
Now, Horiguchi has a chance to pick up another belt, this time in Bellator. It’s almost unheard of among major MMA promotions, but Bellator and RIZIN how been sharing talent for some time now.
“Very excited. Very, very excited,” Horiguchi told Cageside Press about being back in America for the opportunity. His last fight outside Japan was in 2016, in North Ireland. He hasn’t fought in the U.S. since 2015.
Horiguchi will enter Bellator 222 on a 12 fight win streak, but it’s not just another fight to him. He has the chance to show the first Caldwell win was not a fluke, for starters. “I do believe that this fight is going to be one of the most important fights that I’ve had in my career,” he said Wednesday at the Bellator 222 media day.
Is the plan to defend belts in both organizations? Well, yes, but the details still need to be ironed out. “Yeah, that’s the idea. But specifics-wise, it’s still up to discussion,” Horiguchi explained.
Being back in the U.S. and in Bellator means being back in a cage, after fighting in a ring the past several years. However, Horiguchi said that “I think in a cage it will give an advantage to me.” He’s also expecting another fast start from Caldwell, as with their first fight. “I don’t think he’s got too much stamina, so I’m sure he’s going to come in a fast pace in the beginning.”
As for which he prefers, his old division at flyweight, or bantamweight, the Japanese fighter said “Yeah of course, bantamweight is better. Don’t [have much to] cut weight. Healthy.” Which may in part be the reason for the massive amount of success Horiguchi has had in recent years.
Bellator 222 takes place Friday, June 14 at the famed Madison Square Garden in New York, NY.