Kyoji Horiguchi Vacates Bellator Bantamweight Title Due to Injury

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Darrion Caldwell vs. Kyoji Horiguchi Bellator 222
Darrion Caldwell vs. Kyoji Horiguchi Credit: Bellator MMA

Japanese star Kyoji Horiguchi has opted to relinquish the Bellator MMA bantamweight title due to an ACL injury requiring a lengthy layoff.

Bantamweight standout Kyoji Horiguchi (28-3) has vacated the Bellator MMA bantamweight championship.

Horiguchi, who had claimed double gold earlier his year by adding the Bellator MMA 135lb title to his RIZIN FF championship, was forced to relinquish the belt after an ACL injury put him on the shelf. Bellator officials announced the news Wednesday via press release.

“I feel terrible for Kyoji [Horiguchi] about the injury he suffered to his knee, but in the true spirit of martial arts and being a true champion, he has elected to vacate his title and allow the division to move forward in his absence,” Bellator President Scott Coker said. “After fully healing, we plan to give Kyoji an immediate title shot.”

Bellator added that a bantamweight title fight is expected to be booked in the coming months.

Horiguchi defeated Darrion Caldwell to capture the belt at Bellator 222 back in July. That fight was the second meeting between the two, as Horiguchi also defeated Caldwell to claim gold in RIZIN last December.

The Japanese star had been expected to face Kai Asakura in a rematch under the RIZIN banner on December 31, after suffering a shock upset knockout defeat against the prospect this past August. However, RIZIN previously announced that Horiguchi had offered to vacate his title with that promotion as well, while he remains on the mend.

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