Rizin FF free fight: Kyoji Horiguchi finishes Kai Asakura to reclaim bantamweight crown

Kyoji Horiguchi’s victorious return at Rizin FF 26 saw him exact revenge over Kai Asakura, as he dethroned the hard-hitting champion to reclaim the bantamweight title he never lost in the ring.

Horiguchi (29-3) relinquished the belt after tearing his ACL in 2019 and spent a year on the sidelines rehabbing his injury ahead of his long-awaited return.

While he was away from the ring, Asakura (16-3) – who had stunned the Japanese MMA world by knocking out Horiguchi in a non-title fight at Rizin FF 18 in August 2019 – captured the vacant title in his second attempt at it with a devastating knockout of Hiromasa Ogikubo.

It set up a mouth-watering rematch, and a revitalized Horiguchi was determined to make sure history didn’t repeat itself in their second meeting, as he picked apart Asakura from the outside, with his chopping leg kicks having notable success.

Perhaps a little frustrated at shipping so much punishment to his lead leg early on, Asakura looked to close the distance and unleashed a flying knee attempt that Horiguchi met with a perfectly timed right hand.

Horiguchi kept hold of Asakura as the champion landed, then connected with two big right hands to the temple that decked his man. A couple of ground strikes put the seal on a first-round TKO finish, and Horiguchi returned to the summit in spectacular fashion and round out the year as the last MMA champion crowned in 2020.

Relive Horiguchi’s victorious return at Rizin FF 26 via the video above.

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