Rising heavyweight star Tsuyoshi Sudario has been added to the Rizin 45 card. The former sumo wrestler will face Mikio Ueda at the Saitama Super Arena on December 31st.

Sudario (8-2) transitioned to MMA in 2020 after being banned from competing in sumo. He has spent his entire career with Rizin winning eight fights out of ten for the Japanese promotion and beating the likes of Ikuhisa Minowa, Hideki Sekine and Roque Martinez.

Ueda (2-1) was a Kyokushin Karate world champion before embarking upon a career in MMA last year. He also has kickboxing experience and competed on a K-1 card earlier this year.

Drug ban

Minoru Kimura’s drug ban appears to have ended. He demanded to be tested in order to put an end to accusations that he was using performance enhancing drugs.

The move backfired badly when Kimura tested positive. He was suspended by Rizin and saw three of his most recent wins retrospectively overturned.

The Brazilian will be taking on former K-1 super lightweight champion Rukiya Anpo. The two are set to face off in a lightweight kickboxing fight.

Inaugural title

Kyoji Horiguchi will challenge for the inaugural flyweight title at Rizin 45. He has been booked to face Makoto Takahashi in a rematch

Horiguchi challenged Takahashi for the inaugural Bellator flyweight title recently at Super Rizin 2 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 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 won the vacant title at Super Rizin 2. He outpointed Hiromasa Ougikubo, who had beaten Asakura in the bantamweight tournament final in 2021.

Asakura 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

Three more fights have been confirmed for the card. UFC veteran John Dodson takes on Hiromasa Ougikubo 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 takes on Yutaka Saito. 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)
Tsuyoshi Sudario vs. Mikio Ueda (Heavyweight)
Kickboxing: Rukiya Anpo vs. Minoru Kimura (Lightweight)
Shinobu Ota vs. Ryusei Ashizawa (Bantamweight)