Asakura shocks Horiguchi with first-round KO at Rizin 18
Kai Asakura was able to overcome the odds by scoring a shocking upset victory over one of the best bantamweights on the planet today in a non-title bout.
Horiguchi, the Rizin and Bellator bantamweight titleholder, was stunned by Asakura with a leaping knee to the chin in the opening moments of the match.
Seeing Horiguchi on wobbly legs, Asakura swarmed on the champion as he started to swing a series of staggering punches and then hurt him once more with a second jumping knee to the jaw.
Asakura dropped Horiguchi with a right straight and then rained down a volley of punishing blows that compelled the referee to intervene and call a halt to the contest at 1:08 of the first round.
With his astounding performance against Horiguchi, Asakura improves his standing to 13-1 and is now riding high on a five-fight winning streak.
The victory also made a strong case for Asakura to challenge Horiguchi for the Rizin bantamweight title in a rematch later this year or in early 2020.
Meanwhile, Horiguchi tastes his first setback since 2015. The loss also snaps his remarkable 13-bout victory parade. His record now stands at 28-3.
Hailed as the No.1-ranked atomweight in the world today, Hamasaki had to squeeze herself through the eye of a needle to get her hand raised in triumph as Boonsorn put up a gallant effort to break the Japanese’s mystique of dominance in the division.
Hamasaki needed to fend off her foe’s suffocating advances on the mat, putting herself in danger as she left her back exposed.
A boisterous scramble on the ground enabled her to pull a limb for an armbar submission, which forced Boonsorn to wave the white flag.
Best of the rest
In other matches, Portuguese combatant Manel Kape (14-4) authored a highlight-reel knockout victory, stopping former WEC title challenger Takeya Mizugaki (23-14) in the second round of their bantamweight clash.
Kape finished the task at hand by rocking Mizugaki with a thunderous uppercut before quickly sidestepping in order to clobber a strong right straight to the jaw to lay him flat on his back.
Meanwhile, Nagoya-based Brazilian striker Danilo Zanolini pulled off a surprising win at Rizin 18. He denied Australian legend John Wayne Parr his 100th career win with a split decision victory.
In addition, UFC veteran Justin Scoggins (12-6) arrested his four-fight losing skid and picked up his first win under the Rizin banner. He defeated Japan’s Kazuma Sone (23-19) by way of unanimous decision.