Kyoji Horiguchi signs with Bellator

Kyoji Horiguchi signs with Bellator MMA in unique deal

Kyoji Horiguchi signs with Bellator MMA after a short free agency timeline.

The Rizin bantamweight champion will be making the jump over to Bellator MMA. A promotion he was the bantamweight champion within and he never lost that Bellator belt in the cage.

Kyoji Horiguchi will remain the Rizin bantamweight champion as he looks to primarily compete with Bellator MMA.

He regained the Rizin FF bantamweight crown for his second reign at Rizin 26. Horiguchi bested the only man to have beaten him in Rizin competition. He stopped Kai Asakura, to regain his crown on New Year’s Eve 2020.

Horiguchi’s first reign with the Rizin belt came against the man he would capture his Bellator gold from, Darrion Caldwell. Kyoji Horiguchi submitted Caldwell with a third-round guillotine choke at Rizin 14 on New Year’s Eve 2018.

Kyoji Horiguchi signs with Bellator MMA

Horiguchi integrates into Bellator’s talent pool of supremely talented 135 pounders. A division includes combatants like Raufeon Stots, Magomed Magomedov, Josh Hill, Patchy Mix, Leandro Higo, and James Gallagher to name a few.

While Horiguchi is in a multi-bout agreement with Bellator MMA, the connectivity with Rizin FF remains.

One of the reported main reasons for Horiguchi signing with Bellator MMA is the pandemic-related travel difficulties. Challenges that have been making it arduous to get fights in Japan for the ATT product.

It would seem like Rizin would want to use Horiguchi for New Year’s Eve-type cards. To have him be a bit of a special annual attraction as their 135-pound king.

Horiguchi captured the Bellator bantamweight championship against Darrion Caldwell at Bellator 222. That June 2019 unanimous decision victory marked Horiguchi’s last time competing with Bellator MMA. Prior to this recent re-signing.

On the “Punchin’ In” podcast, Kyoji Horiguchi mentioned wanting a fight with reigning Bellator bantamweight champion Sergio Pettis. Less in a pointedly combative way towards Pettis. But more in a way that’s mindful of regaining the championship he never truly lost.

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