Horiguchi Vacates Bellator Belt, Will Receive Immediate Title Shot Upon Recovery

By Tristen Critchfield Nov 27, 2019


Kyoji Horiguchi’s reign as a two-promotion champion was short-lived.

Approximately two weeks after revealing that a serious knee injury would force him to withdraw from Rizin 20 and relinquish the Japanese promotion’s bantamweight title, Horiguchi has vacated the Bellator 135-pound strap, as well.

“I feel terrible for Kyoji [Horiguchi] about the injury he suffered to his knee, but in the true spirit of martial arts and being a true champion, he has elected to vacate his title and allow the division to move forward in his absence,” Bellator President Scott Coker said. “After fully healing, we plan to give Kyoji an immediate title shot.”

According to a release, Bellator plans to book a bout for the vacant bantamweight crown in the coming months.

Horiguchi recently underwent surgery for a torn ACL and damaged meniscus and could be sidelined until November 2020. He was scheduled to face Kai Asakura in a rematch at Rizin 20 on New Year’s Eve after Asakura scored a first-round knockout of the American Top Team representative in a non-title affair at Rizin 18 on Aug. 18.

Horiguchi claimed the inaugural Rizin crown with a submission win over Darrion Caldwell last December at Rizin 14. He then went on to capture Bellator gold with a decision over Caldwell at Bellator 222 on June 14. The upset loss to Asakura snapped a 13-bout winning streak for the former UFC competitor.

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