Kyoji Horiguchi

PhotoCred: Asian MMA

Kai Asakura vs. Kyoji Horiguchi title rematch official for RIZIN 26 on New Year’s Eve

The 28-3 former dual-organization bantamweight champion of RIZIN and Bellator is back. Kyoji Horiguchi has his return date officially booked.

RIZIN announced on Friday the first fight for their big 2020 New Year’s Eve show that is RIZIN 26. And that fight is the highly anticipated rematch of the 2019 upset of the year, Kai Asakura (16-2) vs. Kyoji Horiguchi 2.

At the time of their first bout at RIZIN 18 in August 2019, Horiguchi was the champion of both Bellator and RIZIN but wasn’t defending either strap against the younger Asakura brother. What was supposed to be a typical Horiguchi showcase turned into quite the opposite as a new star was born.

In just 67 seconds, Asakura knocked out the reigning champion to snap his 13-fight five-year undefeated streak. Since then, Horiguchi has recovered from a torn ACL while Asakura has gone on to claim Horiguchi’s vacant RIZIN throne.

Kai Asakura believes Kyoji Horiguchi win ‘probably means more’ than title win

Looking better than ever despite a loss to Manel Kape thrown into the mix, Asakura’s three wins have all ended in brilliant fashion. The first of which saw him smash the jaw of UFC vet Ulka Sasaki before he scored back to back soccer kick knockouts on Hiromasa Ogikubo and Shoji Maruyama. The former of which was Asakura’s title capturing performance.

“I’m very excited that this fight has finally been confirmed,” Asakura said via press release. “Horiguchi is a globally respected fighter and he is very tough, but I have fought four times while he was injured and I am a much better fighter than last time so I plan to knock him out again. This fight will determine the best bantamweight in Japan so everybody stay tuned.” 

“I got finished when we last fought so I plan to get him back,” Horiguchi said. “I have been watching all of his fights and I do believe that he has evolved a lot. I feel obligated to deliver an exciting fight to the fans who waited for my return for a year.” 

The title fight rematch was not announced as the RIZIN 26 main event. Stay tuned for more fight announcements in the coming months.

RIZIN 25 is set to take place on November 21.

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Drake Riggs
Drake is an MMA writer based out of Brush Prairie, Washington, USA who specializes in feature pieces, the women's fight scene, lists, news coverage, and rankings. He has been a passionate fan of MMA ever since 2009. Drake has most notably written for, FanSided, The Body Lock, South China Morning Post, MyMMANews, WhatCulture, Cageside Press, Sherdog, The Scrap, and MMA Today. He has also written for and created video content for RT Sport. As for other sports, Drake is a longtime fan of the NFL's Green Bay Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @DrakeRiggs_ . Also check out all of his video content on YouTube at where he uploads fighter interviews, podshows, and various other types of content.