Kyoji Horiguchi came up short in his kickboxing debut on Sunday, as the former UFC flyweight title challenger lost on points to 20-year-old striking phenom Tenshin Nasukawa in the main event of Rizin 13 in Saitama, Japan.
Horiguchi, 27, held his own against fellow Rizin poster boy Nasukawa for the majority of the three-round, 128-pound contest. Through six minutes, the most significant strikes landed were two accidental low blows committed by Nasukawa, the second of which left Horiguchi on the ground in agony.
Nasukawa’s best moment came in the final frame, when he put Horiguchi on wobbly legs with a spinning heel kick. Horiguchi slowed the assault by instinctively double-legging Nasukawa to the canvas, but the American Top Team product appeared unable to fully clear the cobwebs. The judges sided unanimously with Nasukawa (30-28, 30-29, 29-28), whose pro kickboxing record improves to 27-0.
Pride heavyweight icon Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, making a rare non-New Year’s Eve appearance, extended his current winning streak to nine in a row with a doctor stoppage victory (R1, 4:58) over Guam’s Roque Martinez. A standing elbow strike from the Croatian left a deep cut on the hairline of Martinez, who was visibly upset after referee Ryogaku Wada waved off bout on the advice of the ringside physician.
Towering light heavyweight Jiri Prochazka made his case for a future matchup with “Cro Cop,” as the 6-foot-4 Czech battered outsized American Jake Heun with a variety of strikes until referee Wada had seen enough to stop the fight (R1, 4:29).
Lightweight slugger Daron Cruickshank scored his third straight knockout inside the Rizin ring, flattening fellow UFC vet Diego Brandao with a perfectly timed flying knee (R2, 0:17).
In a clash of fan-friendly UFC vets, Daron Cruickshank (22-10, 1 NC) obliterates Diego Brandão with a flying knee! The second-round KO is #14 in Cruickshank's career; "The Detroit Superstar" is 5-2 in RIZIN. #RIZIN13 #RIZINFF #RIZIN2018 pic.twitter.com/eJXddk1cTf— Kyle Johnson (@Maldobabo) September 30, 2018
Competing less than two weeks after the death of her brother, 44-year-old Miyuu Yamamoto wrestled her way to an emotional and one-sided decision victory in her rematch with Andy Nguyen.
Deep champion Haruo Ochi can lay claim to the title of Japan’s top strawweight after ending the 7-year, 16-fight winning streak of Mitsuhisa Sunabe with a late knockout (R3, 2:53). Ochi outmuscled the 115-pound King of Pancrase for two rounds before flooring Sunabe with an overhand right and soccer-kicking him into unconsciousness.
Another era came to an end on Sunday, as super-heavyweight character Bob Sapp snapped his 7-year losing streak. The 45-year-old “Beast” took a unanimous decision over debuting sumo Abdelrahman “Osunaarashi” Shalan after three three-minute rounds, the end of which saw both fighters on the verge of collapse.
In a clash of Japan’s top atomweights, Invicta FC champ Ayaka Hamasaki steamrolled reigning Deep Jewels titlist Mina Kurobe, forcing the 41-year-old to verbally submit to a brutal kimura (R1, 4:45).
Following his Aug. 12 upset knockout of Hatsu Hioki, featherweight Mikuru Asakura collected his second Rizin victory with a unanimous decision over Kazakhstan’s Karshyga Dautbek. Younger brother Kai Asakura moved to 3-0 in the Rizin ring, as he exploited the deficient ground game of striker Thanongsaklek Chuwattana -- a.k.a. “Topnoi Tiger Muay Thai” -- en route to a three-round unanimous nod.
The show’s opener saw flyweight troublemaker Manel Kape snap a two-fight losing skid by putting to sleep Team Alpha Male Japan representative Yusaku Nakamura with a rear-naked choke (R3, 4:27).