Bellator is sending their bantamweight champion to Japan to try to collect some more gold. During a press conference to announce their New Years Eve show, Rizin announced that Darrion Caldwell will challenge Kyoji Horiguchi for Rizin’s inaugural 135-pound title. Bellator also put out a press release confirming the bout, stating that it will be a three-rounder:
“Bellator is pleased to announce that the organization’s current bantamweight titleholder Darrion Caldwell (13-1) will represent the promotion in an exciting matchup against 2017 Rizin Bantamweight Grand Prix winner Kyoji Horiguchi (25-2). The two will compete for the inaugural Rizin bantamweight championship at Rizin 14 on Monday, Dec. 31 from Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
In the three-round (15-minute) Rizin FF world championship bout – which will be held in a ring under Rizin’s unique rule set – the victor of Caldwell vs. Horiguchi will leave Japan’s historic combat sports venue a Rizin FF champion. Caldwell’s Bellator bantamweight title will not be on the line in the contest.”
Caldwell picked up the Bellator bantamweight title by defeating Eduardo Dantas in October 2017, and has defended it twice since. After challenging for the UFC flyweight title, Horiguchi returned to Japan and won the Rizin Bantamweight Grand Prix last year. He has won seven in a row in the organization overall, including a nine-second knockout of Ian McCall.
The promotion also added four other bouts to the card, with two featuring familiar UFC names. Rizin announced that ex-UFC flyweights Ulka Sasaki and Justin Scoggins have signed with the organization and will debut on New Years Eve. Former Bellator light heavyweight champion Emanuel Newton is also on the card. Here are the bouts:
Ulka Sasaki vs. Manel Kape
Daron Cruickshank vs. Damien Brown
Jiri Prochazka vs. Emanuel Newton
Yuki Motoya vs. Justin Scoggins
Rizin 14 will go down on December 31st in the Saitama Super Arena, and is expected to be headlined by some sort of matchup between Japanese kickboxing sensation Tenshin Nasukawa and boxing legend Floyd Mayweather.