Kyoji Horiguchi will return for his third fight of the year to headline RIZIN 18 in Nagoya.
The undisputed bantamweight king has been lined up against Kai Asakura in the main event of RIZIN 18, the promotion has announced.
Asakura (12-1) comes to the bout with an unblemished record with RIZIN, having defeated the likes of Topnoi, Manel Kape and Moon Je Hoon.
The 28-year-old Horiguchi brings an impressive 13-fight win streak to the Dolphins Arena. Last month Horiguchi (28-2) claimed Bellator’s 135-pound title with a unanimous decision win over Darrion Caldwell at Bellator 222.
“Many people say it’s too early for Kai, maybe that’s so, but people are going to say negative things to anything we decide,” said RIZIN general manager Nobuhiko Takada.
“Kyoji has labelled himself as the greatest, but on the other hand we have up-and-coming Kai Asakura who is undefeated in RIZIN. Who doesn’t want to see this fight?”
“People around me have very high things to say about both of these fighters.
Speaking at today’s press conference in Tokyo, Asakura described Horiguchi as a well-rounded fighter with very few holes in his game.
“He can do everything,” he said.
“He has very few holes, but I have been able to identify some patterns he has in a fight. I would like to go in there and expose these to my advantage. My plan is to fight Horiguchi in a style that nobody has fought him.”
Several other bouts were announced for RIZIN 18, including Manel Kape vs. Takeya Mizugaki; Kanna Asakura vs. Alesha Zappitella; Takaki Soya vs. Yutaro Muramoto and Hiroto Uesako vs. Yves Landu.
RIZIN 18 is set for the Dolphins Arena in Nagoya on 18 August.
Confirmed fights include:
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