Both Horiguchi and Asakura made weight ahead of their championship bout in the Rizin Fighting Federation 26 headliner. Horiguchi tipped the scales at 134 pounds, while Asakura checked in at 133.9 pounds. Rizin 26 takes place on Dec. 31 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan and and is available via pay-per-view for $25.
Asakura and Horiguchi initially squared off in a non-title bout at Rizin 18, with Asakura scoring a surprising 68-second knockout victory on Aug. 18, 2019. Horiguchi, who was then 135-pound champion in both Rizin and Bellator MMA, vacated both titles after suffering a knee injury and has not competed since that defeat.
“I started sparring and training fully in July. I feel like I am close to 100 percent,” Horiguchi said. “I’ve been adding new stuff to my original style during this period. I never think about the fight until right before the fight so things are as usual. My absence from the ring really doesn’t affect me.
“Once I take back my Rizin belt, I feel obligated to take back my belt in Bellator. I feel terrible that I wasn’t able to defend it.”
Asakura, meanwhile, saw his first bid for the bantamweight belt fall short when he was stopped by Manel Kape in the second stanza of Rizin 29 approximately one year ago. Since then, the Tri-Force Akasaka representative has rebounded with back-to-back first-round finishes of Hiromasa Ougikubo and Shoji Maruyama.
“Everything about me has gotten better and I want to show that in my fight. I will make a statement in this fight,” Asakura said. “I’m not worried if Horiguchi is back 100 percent, he can’t change his style that easily. I know what he’s capable of doing. I can adjust to any changes that he may bring to the fight.
“I plan to defend my belt against Horiguchi and then go after the Bellator belt.”
Rizin 26 Weigh-in Results:Kai Asakura (133.9) vs. Kyoji Horiguchi (134)
Mikuru Asakura (149.9) vs. Satoshi Yamasu (149.5)
Ayaka Hamasaki (107.9) vs. Miyuu Yamamoto (107)
Yuki Motoya (134.3) vs. Naoki Inoue (133)
Kleber Koike Erbst (147.1) vs. Kyle Aguon (146.6)
Ren Hiramoto (149.4) vs. Kyohei Hagiwara (149.9)
Hideo Tokoro (133.8) vs. Shinobu Ota (134.2)
Yuta Sasaki (133.9) vs. Kenta Takizawa (134.37)
Kanna Asakura (107.9) vs. Ai Shimizu (107.4)
Kazuma Kuramoto (138.3) vs. Taiyo Nakahara (137.3)
Tsuyoshi Sudario (252.7) vs. Ikuhisa Minowa (182.3)
Sakura Mori (116.1) vs. Eru Takebayashi (111.55)
Tenshin Nasukawa (125.4) vs. Kumandoi Phetjaroenvit (124.5)
Nadaka Yoshinari (110) vs. Phetmalai Phetjaroenvit (110.1)
Special Standing Bout Rules
Takanori Gomi (171.9) vs. Koji Tanaka (143.3)
* Mori missed weight by 3.7 pounds and has been fined 50 percent of her purse. Additionally, she will begin her fight with a red card, which is a 50 percent deduction from the judging criteria. If Mori finishes the fight, it will be ruled a no contest. If her opponent wins, the result will be official.