RIZIN 45 is officially on the calendar, and it features a handful of names notable to American viewers.
The event takes place Dec. 31 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, the promotion announced at a news conference Thursday. Atop the billing will be two title fights.
An inaugural RIZIN flyweight title has been implemented as former Bellator bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi (31-5) battles Makoto Shinryu (16-1-1). Additionally, RIZIN bantamweight champion Juan Archuleta (29-4) looks to defend his title vs. Japanese star Kai Asakura (20-4).
With Bellator’s future uncertain, Horiguchi makes another appearance for RIZIN, a promotion for which he previously carried a bantamweight title. It’s the first fight for Horiguchi since an inaugural Bellator flyweight title fight in July that ended in a no contest after he was accidentally poked in the eye by Shinryu. The Dec. 31 fight will be a rematch, though this time for RIZIN gold.
After years of asking for crossover fights in RIZIN, Bellator product Archuleta got that in December when he defeated Soo Chul Kim at Bellator x RIZIN 1. Archuleta returned to RIZIN in May when he defeated Naoki Inoue. In July, Archuleta captured RIZIN gold when he defeated the then-champion Ougikubo. His opponent, Asakura is one of the biggest combat sports stars in the region, with wins over Horiguchi, Ougikubo, and others.
The current RIZIN 45 lineup includes:
Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Hiromasa Ougikubo
Juan Arhculeta vs. Kai Asakura
Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Makoto Shinryu
Kleber Koike vs. Yutaka Saito