Kyoji Horiguchi and Takeya Mizugaki are among the names announced for August’s RIZIN 18 card.
The first batch of fights for August’s RIZIN 18 were announced Monday by Japan’s RIZIN Fighting Federation. And the promotion is wasting no time getting one of its biggest stars, Kyoji Horiguchi, back in the ring. Horiguchi, who recently won the bantamweight title at Bellator 222 in New York, is a two-promotion champion, almost unheard of in the mixed martial arts world. With so much attention on him, he’s getting a quick turnaround, and will fight fellow Japanese standout Kai Asakura next month.
Seven other fights were also announced for the card in a press release distributed by the promotion Monday. But lots of attention will go to Horiguchi (28–2), who has won 13 straight fights dating back to his 2015 loss against Demetrious Johnson. During that span, Horiguchi has picked up wins over Darrion Caldwell, Ben Nguyen, Ian McCall, Ali Bagautinov, Hideo Tokoro, Manel Kape and more.
Horiguchi has, in fact, compiled the sort of resume that may put him in the talk among the greats some day, if he keeps competing at this level. His only career losses have come to Mighty Mouse, and a majority decision defeat against Masakatsu Ueda early in Horiguchi’s career.
Asakura will be no easy test for the double champ, however. On a four fight win streak, and 12-1 overall, he’s peaking at just the right time. However, the bout against Horiguchi will be a non-title affair.
Quoted in Monday’s press release, RIZIN CEO Noboyuki Sakakibara stated that “Kyoji Horiguchi may just be the best Bantamweight in the world at the moment. And out of all the options we had, I do believe that Kai Asakura is the best option who would be able to fight Horiguchi with the most motivation and determination. He’s young, hungry and has been our rising Bantamweight and most of all, he will be taking on the greatest fighter in his home town in front of hundreds of his supporters.”
Also announced for RIZIN 18, former UFC bantamweight Takeya Mizugaki (23-13-2) will face Manel Kape (13-4). Kape, who has fought against Ian McCall and Horiguchi among others, is getting another tough test against a seasoned veteran here. Mizugaki, meanwhile, will be making his RIZIN debut after appearing in ACB and DEEP subsequent to leaving the UFC.
As it has done with Bellator, RIZIN has also fostered a relationship with Invicta FC, and that effort will see Invicta’s Alesha Zappitella (5-1) face RIZIN 2017 Super Atomweight GP winner Kanna Asakura (14-4) on the card.
The full list of bouts announced Monday can be found below. RIZIN 18 takes place August 18 at the Dolphins Arena in Nagoya, Japan.
Kyoji Horiguchi vs Kai Asakura
Kanna Asakura vs Alesha Zappitella
Manel Kape vs Takeya Mizugaki
Hiroto Uesako vs Yves Landu
Takaki Soya vs Yutaro Muramoto
John Wayne Parr vs Danilo Zanolini
Ryuji Horio vs Uchu Sakurai
Shota Takiya vs Kazuki Osaki