RIZIN champion Kyoji Horiguchi opens up the Bellator 222 main card in a cross-promotional fight for Darrion Caldwell’s title in Madison Square Garden.
New York, NY – Kyoji Horiguchi was one of the top flyweights in the UFC before heading to Japan in 2017, accumulating a 7-1 record in the Octagon with the lone loss coming to Demetrious Johnson. He is 8-0 since joining RIZIN, and will look to capture the Bellator bantamweight title at Bellator 222 in a special cross-promotional fight with Darrion Caldwell.
A big angle to this contest between Darrion Caldwell and Kyoji Horiguchi is where the fight is taking place. Last time the two met, it took place in the ring in RIZIN, with Caldwell controlling most of the fight before a late submission by Horiguchi. The RIZIN bantamweight champ assured that his UFC experience equates to the success he’ll have in the cage on Friday night.
Looking back on his fight with Caldwell, Kyoji had a short and simple review of Caldwell’s abilities.
“He’s a great wrestler… that’s it.”
His translator/manager added that Kyoji believes Caldwell is a very good fighter in general.
This has been a great experience for the former UFC flyweight title challenger. On top of representing Japan and RIZIN, he’ll be fighting in the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden. The entire build-up has been “exciting” for Horiguchi.
One of the biggest moves of Horiguchi’s career was moving to American Top Team in 2016, winning 11 straight fights since then. His head trainer there is former WEC champion Mike Brown, who has helped bring Horiguchi’s already great skills to another level.
“[Mike Brown’s] a nice coach, nice mentor. They bring me things that I don’t have. So I learn a lot from them.”
Another benefit of fighting with ATT is the great stable of fighters he spends time with every day, like UFC champions Amanda Nunes and Dustin Poirier.
“Fighters like Nunes inspire me. Also, I think I have to be much more, to inspire them also.”
Henry Cejudo is the talk of the smaller weight classes after capturing the UFC bantamweight title, his second belt, last weekend. That is a matchup Kyoji would love in the future.
“First of all, this Friday, I’m focused on this fight, but next, I wish to become an opponent of Cejudo.”
Kyoji Horiguchi predicts a knockout victory to open the main card at Bellator 222. See if he’ll be able to do so tonight at 10 p.m. EDT on DAZN.