Kyoji Horiguchi relinquishes Bellator bantamweight title due to injury

Kyoji Horiguchi | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Kyoji Horiguchi’s reign as Bellator bantamweight champion has come to an unfortunate end.

Injuries have forced the 29-year-old Japanese star to relinquish the 135-pound title, according to a press release from Bellator on Wednesday.

“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 in the release. “After fully healing, we plan to give Kyoji an immediate title shot.”

Horiguchi won the title in July with a unanimous decision nod over Darrion Caldwell at Bellator 222. It was the second time the two had fought, with Horiguchi defeating Caldwell in their first meeting last December to become the inaugural RIZIN FF bantamweight champion.

Horiguchi was scheduled to defend his RIZIN title against Kai Asakura on Dec. 31 after losing by first-round knockout in a non-title bout to Asakura in August, but he withdrew from that booking after undergoing surgery to address a knee injury.

Per Bellator’s release, a bout for the vacant bantamweight belt will be booked “in the coming months.”

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