Luiz Gustavo cemented his status as a top contender in the featherweight division by beating Yoshinori Horie at Rizin Landmark 8. He scored a unanimous decision win over the UFC veteran to potentially move into pole position for a shot at the belt.

Gustavo had won three fights in a row coming into this bout. With Horie having won four out of his previous six both men had a lot of momentum behind them.

Horie looked to score with inside leg kicks at the start of the fight. Gustavo responded with a high kick but the Japanese fighter caught it and drove him back into the cage.

Left hook

Horie continued to attack with low kicks as they both exchanged straight right hands. Towards the end of the round Gustavo dropped him with a left hook although the UFC veteran bounced straight back up.

Gustavo looked to score with more strikes at the start of the second and Horie countered with a takedown. He kept him down for most of of the round but was unable to capitalize with any significant strikes or submission attempts.

Horie was looking to get the fight down at the start of the third round but this time Gustavo was alert to the danger. With the fight seemingly in the balance the Brazilian picked up the pace and attacked with hard punches.

A straight right hand from Gustavo connected clean and dropped Horie as well as drawing blood. From top position, the Brazilian was relentless with his ground and pound to put the seal on a unanimous decision win.

All three judges scored the fight for Gustavo who improves to 14-2 and puts himself right in the title mix. Horie drops to 13-5.

Best of the rest

In the co-main event Masakazu Imanari rolled back the years to submit Kazumasa Majima in the second round. The veteran had only taken this fight at short notice but utilized his legendary grappling skills to good effect

The 48 year old finished the fight with a second round armbar. It was the 29th submission win of Imanari’s career and he improved to 40-22-2 while his opponent drops to 16-5.

Rizin Landmark 8, Saiga, February 24th
Luiz Gustavo def. Yoshinori Horie via Decision (Unanimous)
Masakazu Imanari def. Kazumasa Majima via Submission (Armbar) at 1:37 of R2
Yusuke Yachi def. Rikuto Shirakawa via Submission (face crank) at 5:00 of R2
Saori Oshima def. Claire Lopez via Submission (Armbar) at 3:18 of R2
Hiroaki Suzuki def. Takahiro Ashida via TKO (Soccer kicks & punches) at 4:29 of R1
Daichi Abe def. Japan Kota Ossman via KO (Punch) at 1:35 of R1
Shohei Nose def Japan Kenta Takizawa via TKO (Elbows) at 2:48 of R2
Yuki Ito def. Masatoshi Ueda via Decision (Unanimous) 3 5:00
Kickboxing: Takumi Terada def. Takekiyo Tominaga via TKO (Three Knockdowns) at 1:54 of R1
Modified MMA: Ryuhei Sakai def. Ryoga Fukuchi via Decision (Split)
Modified MMA: Daiki Yahiro def. Yuto Araki via Submission (Rear-naked choke) at 2:36 of R1
Kickboxing: Reito Bravely def. Kyohei Furumura via KO (Punch) at 1:49 of R1
Kickboxing: Rikito def. Hannya Hashimoto via Decision (Unanimous)
Kickboxing: Satoshi Katashima def. Keito Ishigo by Decision (Majority)