Kyoji Horiguchi will challenge for the inaugural flyweight title at Rizin 45. He has been booked to face Makoto Takahashi in a rematch at the Saitama Super Arena on December 31st.

Traditionally the New Year’s Eve event is the biggest of the year in Japan. In the past these shows have featured the likes of Floyd Mayweather, Mirko Crocop and Fedor Emelianenko.

The first four fights have been confirmed for Rizin 45 and two of them will have titles on the line. Former Rizin and Bellator bantamweight champion Horiguchi (31-5-0-1) will be challenging for the newly minted flyweight strap.

He challenged Takahashi for the inaugural Bellator flyweight title recently but that bout ended in a no contest after an accidental eye poke. Horiguchi had a successful UFC career competing at 125lbs but moved up to bantamweight after signing with Rizin.

Takahashi (16-1-1) had won ten in a row heading into the first fight. He is the former Deep flyweight champion and hasn’t lost a bout since 2018.

Bantamweight belt

One of Horiguchi’s former opponents will continue his quest to win the bantamweight belt at Rizin 45. Kai Asakura has challenged for the title twice before and will be hoping to make it third time lucky when he takes on Juan Archuleta.

Archuleta (29-4) won the vacant title at Super Rizin 2. He outpointed Hiromasa Ougikubo, who had beaten Asakura in the bantamweight tournament final in 2021.

Asakura (20-4) returned from injury earlier this year to take on Yuki Motoya at Rizin 42. He won that fight with a knee to the body in the third round to earn his third shot at the bantamweight title.

Best of the rest

Two more fights have been confirmed for the card. UFC veteran John Dodson (24-13) takes on Ougikubo (25-8-2) in what could turn out to be a title eliminator in the flyweight division.

Two former Rizin featherweight champions who have fallen on hard times will collide when Kleber Koike (31-7-0-1) takes on Yutaka Saito (21-7-2). The Brazilian is winless in his last three while the Japanese fighter has lost three out of his last four.

Rizin 45, Tokyo, December 31st
Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Makoto Takahashi (For flyweight title)
Juan Archuleta (c) vs. Kai Asakura (For bantamweight title)
Hiromasa Ougikubo vs. John Dodson (Flyweight)
Koike Kleber vs. Yutaka Saito (Featherweight)