Bellator will send bantryweight champion Darrion Caldwell to Japan to fight Kyoji Horiguchi for the Bull Rizin FF class title at the organization's traditional year-end event.
The promotion today announced an agreement that would allow Bellator champ Caldwell (13-1) to fight Horiguchi (25-2) for the title on Rizin FF 14 on December 31 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama. The promotion of the first 135-pound title will be at stake (through Twitter):
Rumors about a potential fight between Caldwell, No. 9 in the latest USA TODAY Sports / MMAjunkie MMA rankings, and former UFC title challenger Horiguchi began circling in recent weeks. President Bellator Scott Coker teased the fight on Wednesday through social media, and battles and bets were finally confirmed during the FF Rizin news conference in Japan.
Coker commented on the fight and said he wanted to see the 135-pound champion who ruled from his country go abroad and try to grab the second belt.
"Working for a Japanese fight company K-1 was a magical moment during my promotion career and I always felt strong that the MMA at & # 39; Land of the Rising Sun & # 39; would rise again," said Coker. "It's amazing to see what Nobuyuki Sakakibara has done so far with Rizin FF, so when he reached out to me about putting Darrion Caldwell against Kyoji Horiguchi for Rizin's belt, we talked to Darrion and he jumped at that opportunity. Bellator wants to support Rizin, and by sending our bantam champions to compete during their New Year's Eve event, we look forward to this leading to more collaboration between the two promotions in 2019. I want to wish Darrion luck in his efforts to prove he is the best 135-pound fighter in the planet. "
President Rizin FF Nobuyuki Sakakibara thanked Coker for willingness to collaborate and send Caldwell to Japan against Horiguchi, who was unbeaten in 10 battles since losing to Juve Demetrious Johnson for the UFC bantam class belt in April 2015.
"I am very grateful and honored that Bellator and Scott Coker will send us the undisputed bantam class champions to fight for the first world title at Rizin. This title battle will be a true champion vs. "The champion is to determine the best bantam class fighters in the world," said Sakakibara. "We hope this kind of movement will start a series of interesting battles between the two promotions in 2019. My dream is that in the end we can promote big events in both countries with & # 39; Champion Carnival & # 39; which takes place where stories and competition can be built and told. "
According to the announcement, a three-round title battle (15 minutes) will be held on a ring under the Rizin regulation. The title of Bellator Caldwell will not be at stake.
The latest FF 14 Rizin fight cards now include:
- Floyd Mayweather vs. Nasukawa Tenshin
- Darrion Caldwell vs. Kyoji Horiguchi – for his first class bantam title
- Kanna Asakura vs. Ayaka Hamasaki
- Samantha Jean-Francois vs. Rena Kubota
- Johnny Case vs. Yusuke Yachi
- Kazuyuki Miyata vs. Erson Yamamoto
- Manel Kape vs. Ulka Sasaki
- Yuki Motoya vs. Justin Scoggins
- Tofiq Musayev vs. Nobumitsu Tyson
- Emanuel Newton vs. Jiri Prochazka
- Justyna Haba vs. Shinju Nqzawa Auclair
- Daron Cruickshank vs. Damien Brown
For more about Rizin FF 14, check the MMA Rumors section of the site.