RIZIN 41 Sees Multiple Fights Announced, Including Return of UFC Vet Horie

Former UFC fighter Yoshinori Horie, now fighting for RIZIN
Yoshinori Horie, UFC 240 Ceremonial Weigh-In Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

April 1’s RIZIN 41 will mark the first card of the year for the Japanese fight promotion, with the organization touching down in Osaka for the event.

On Wednesday, multiple bouts for the show were announced, by both promotion officials and a number of the fighters involved. Among them, UFC veteran Yoshinori Horie (12-3) will return, taking on Vugar Karamov (17-4) of Azerbaijan.

Horie competed once under the UFC banner, losing a fight against Hakeem Dawodu at UFC 240 in 2019. Since then, he has posted a 4-1 record fighting in Pancrase and RIZIN, the latter of which has housed his last three bouts.

Karamov, who previously competed for Bellator MMA, is 3-1 under the RIZIN banner to date.

Kickboxing standout Kouzi will also return at the event, taking on Ryusei Ashizawa. No ruleset has been officially announced for that match-up. However, Kouzi certainly didn’t have nice things to say in a quote attributed to the fighter regarding his opponent.

“I have many followers and supporters from my K-1 days so I want to meet their expectations. I mentioned Ashizawa but he’s weak as hell. You can [touch] his face and he’ll go down. I have no interest in fighting him but if that’s what sells, I’ll fight him.”

The full slate of fights, including several kickboxing match-ups, announced by the promotion is as follows:

  • Kouzi vs. Ryusei Ashizawa – Ruleset not announced
  • Makoto Shinryu vs. Daichi Kitakata
  • Vugar Karamov vs. Yoshinori Horie
  • Kintaro vs. Koichi Ishizuka
  • Yusaku Nakamura vs. Mehman Mamedov
  • Shun vs. Motoki — kickboxing
  • Shingeki no Yuuki vs. Sota “Cerberus” Kimura — kickboxing
  • Asataro vs. Shin Sakurai — kickboxing (opening fight)

RIZIN 41 is expected to take place at the Maruzen Intec Arena in Osaka, Japan on April 1, 2023.