Kyoji Horiguchi Guillotines Darrion Caldwell; Mayweather Stops Nasukawa at Rizin 14

By: Brendan Tindall
Dec 31, 2018
Former UFC flyweight title challenger Kyoji Horiguchi (26-2) earned his 11th straight victory and secured the inaugural Rizin Fighting Federation bantamweight title with a guillotine finish of Bellator 135-pound champion Darion Caldwell at Rizin 14 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan on Sunday.

In an interesting cross-promotional match, Caldwell(13-2) used his wrestling to control round one and nearly finished the fight with a very tight kimura. Caldwell continued his wrestling into the second round but was unable to inflict any damage or pass to any dominant positions as Horiguchi peppered him with short punches.

It was much of the same in the third, with Caldwell holding Horiguchi down against the ropes until Horiguchi was able to turn the tables and secure the choke finish at the 1:19 mark of the period.

The evening’s official main event, an exhibition boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Tenshin Nasukawa, proved to be a short-lived affair. “Money” dropped the Japanese kickboxer three times in the opening two minutes before Nasukawa’s corner smartly threw in the towel. Mayweather toyed with Tenshin for the first minute and was never in trouble, and as soon as he turned it on the match was over.

Elsewhere, Ayaka Hamasaki(17-2) claimed Rizin’s inaugural atomweight crown with a second-round submission of Kanna Asakura in a featured bout. Hamasaki never allowed Asakura to get her rhythm and was able to control the pace of their title bout by winning the exchanges on the feet. In round two, Asakura(13-3) looked likely to secure a takedown, but Hamasaki was able to reverse the position and land in side control.

From there, the Invicta veteran controlled well, stepped over and applied an armbar. Asakura did all she could to resist the finish, but Hamasaki was able to get the submission 4:34 into the second stanza. It was Hamasaki’s third consecutive win under the Rizin banner.

Earlier, the Czech Republic’s Jiri Prochazka forced former Bellator middleweight champion Brandon Halsey to submit to punches 6:30 into the opening round of their light heavyweight clash. Halsey (12-5), who looked enormous at 205 pounds, was able to secure the takedown quickly, take control on the ground and almost get the finish. However, Prochazka (23-3) scrambled to his feet, and that’s where the fight took a Japanese-wrestling style turn for the bizarre.

Halsey went through the ropes on two separate occasions, and on the second time fell to the ground and was given a yellow card for his trouble. The former Bellator champion looked exhausted at that point, and Prochazka was able to defend the ensuing takedown attempt and put Halsey on the mat, where he delivered some heavy ground-and-pound, forcing Halsey to tap. Prochazka has won seven fights in a row.

Gabi Garcia was able to make quick work of kickboxing specialist Barbara Nepomuceno in a 225-pound affair. After some feeling-out exchanges, Garcia (6-0) was able to get a trip takedown on Nepomuceno and land straight into side control. After some roughing up, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt secured a keylock for a submission victory at the 2:39 mark of round one. What followed was Japanese pro wrestling at its best, as Shinobu Kandori entered the ring in a colored jumpsuit and was held back as she tried to attack Garcia.

Meanwhile, Daron Cruickshank was looking like he was going to have an enjoyable ending to his 2018 campaign, as he got the better of Australian Damien Brown in every exchange during their lightweight scrap. For his part, Brown (18-12) continued to move forward but always found himself on the end of Cruickshank’s glove during the opening stanza.

Cruickshank (21-11) was on the verge of banking the first round on the scorecards when “The Detroit Superstar” shot for a takedown late in the period. Brown grabbed a hold of a guillotine, locked up his guard and secured the submission 4:10 into the first round. Brown, in his first appearance following a six-bout UFC stint, halted a three-fight skid.

44-year-old Miyuu Yamamoto (14-3) took a page from her late brother’s book, as she dominated Mika Nagano with heavy ground-and-pound en route to a unanimous decision triumph at strawweight. Nagano shot for takedowns in every stanza, but Yamamoto was able to defend and secure dominant position control, where she pounded away at her opponent with punches, elbows and knees.

In earlier action: Kazuyuki Miyata (16-9) submitted Erson Yamamoto (2-4), the nephew of “Kid” Yamamoto, with a hammerlock at the 3:23 mark of the second round in a catchweight contest; UFC veteran Johnny Case (25-6-1) earned a doctor stoppage against Yusuke Yachi (20-8) after a series of straight right hands damaged the Japanese fighter’s right eye 4:47 into the second frame of their lightweight tilt; Yuki Motoya (23-5) tapped out Justin Scoggins (11-6) with a leg scissor choke 3:28 into the first round of their bantamweight clash; Nine-time Octagon competitor Yuta Sasaki (22-6-2) outpointed Manel Kape (12-4) in a 130-pound contest; Justyna Zofia Haba (1-0) put Shinju Nozawa-Auclair (2-1) to sleep with a rear-naked choke at the 3:41 mark of the second round at flyweight and Tofiq Musayev (14-3) used ground-and-pound to take a TKO triumph against Nobumitsu Osawa (12-5) 1:19 into the second round of their lightweight encounter.

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