(James Goyder is the owner/editor of AsianMMA.com)
Kyoji Horiguchi recaptured the Rizin bantamweight title with a first-round stoppage win over Kai Asakura at Rizin 26 on Friday. The UFC veteran was returning after a lengthy layoff and coming off a loss to the same opponent.
Horiguchi was back to his brilliant best and Asakura simply had no answer for his striking. The champion was on the receiving end of a series of right low kicks at the start of the fight.
Asakura tried to counter with a high kick, but Horiguchi made him miss and continued to punish the lead left leg. The champion was in visible discomfort and tried to turn the fight around with a flying knee.
He only succeeded in throwing himself into Horiguchi’s right hand. The challenger dropped him hard. Seconds later the fight was over with the referee stepping in to save a stricken Asakura from further punishment.
The finish came at 2:47 and Horiguchi regains the Rizin bantamweight belt, improving to 29-3. Asakura dropped to 16-3 after seeing his three-fight winning streak snapped
In the first title fight of the night, Ayaka Hamasaki needed just 102 seconds to submit Miyuu Yamamoto. The fight had the super atomweight belt vacated by ONE Championship bound Seo Hee Ham on the line.
Yamamoto’s right leg was heavily bandaged and Hamasaki set out to target it with kicks. The strategy appeared to backfire when her veteran opponent caught one and completed the takedown.
Undeterred, Hamasaki looked to lock in a Kimura from the bottom. Yamamoto locked her hands together to ward off the submission, but was swept from top position with her arm still trapped.
Hamasaki had one leg wrapped either side of her opponent’s neck with the arm trapped and she cranked on the submission long enough for Yamamoto to tap twice. The finish came at the 1:42 mark courtesy of a leg scissor choke.
With the win, Hamasaki recaptured the Rizin 108-pound belt she lost last year and improved to 21-3. Her opponent dropped to 6-5 and Yamamoto’s title ambitions appear to be over.
Rizin 26 full results
- Kyoji Horiguchi def. Kai Asakura by TKO (Punches) at 2:48 of Round 1 (Wins bantamweight title)
- Kickboxing: Tenshin Nasukawa def. Kumandoi Phetjaroenvit by unanimous decision
- Mikuru Asakura def. Satoshi Yamasu by Knockout (Head kick and punch) at 4:20 of Round 1
- Boxing: Takanori Gomi def. Kouzi by Decision (Majority)
- Ayaka Hamasaki def. Miyuu Yamamoto by Submission (Leg-Scissor Choke) at 1:42 of Round 1 (Wins vacant super atomweight title)
- Naoki Inoue def. Yuki Motoya by Submission (Rear-naked choke) at 3:00 of Round 1
- Kleber Koike Erbst def. Kyle Aguon by Submission (Brabo choke) at 4:22 of Round 1
- Kyohei Hagiwara def. Ren Hiramoto by TKO (Punches) at 1:29 of Round 2
- Hideo Tokoro def. Shinobu Ota by Submission (Armbar) at 2:45 of Round 2
- Kickboxing: Yoshinari Nadaka def. Phetmalai Phetjaroenvit by TKO (Three knockdowns) at 2:20 of Round 1
- Ulka Sasaki def. Kenta Takizawa by unanimous decision
- Kanna Asakura def. Ai Shimizu by unanimous decision
- Mixed Rules: Shibatar def. Hiroya Kawabe by Submission (Armbar)*
- Kazuma Kuramoto def. Taiyo Nakahara by TKO (Punches) at 2:12 of Round 1
- Tsuyoshi Sudario def. Ikuhisa Minowa by TKO (Leg Kicks and Punches) at 3:19 of Round 1
- Sakura Mori def. Eru Takebayashi by Submission (Armbar) at 1:37 of Round 1
*Ruled a draw but result overturned