MMA Fighter of the Week: Kyoji Horiguchi
By Kieran Cobley
Kyoji Horiguchi takes this week’s MMA Fighter of the Week honours this week following his impressive submission win over Darrion Caldwell at Rizin 14 on New Year’s Eve to win the bantamweight title.
It wasn’t plain sailing for Horiguchi though, as the Japanese fighter struggled against Caldwell in the first, with the American out wrestling him and keeping him up against the ropes, and at one point looked to have a kimura locked in until it had to be broken due to a rope break, although he did drop Caldwell with a body kick late in the round.
The second round was very similar to the first, with Horiguchi unable to do answer Caldwells very aggressive wrestling game. Added to this problem was the fact that under Rizin rules, soccer kicks and knees to the head of a downed opponent are allowed, so while trying to get back to his feet, Horiguchi had to find a way to make sure he wouldn’t get knocked out.
Towards the end of the round, Horiguchi looked to get back ahead on the judges score cards as he landed strikes to the top of Caldwell’s head while the American maintained a body lock on the Japanese fighter.
In the first minute of the third and final round, Caldwell landed another takedown, but this was a huge mistake by the American, as Horiguchi caught him with a slick Guillotine Choke, quickly getting the tap.
For this come behind victory, taking the Rizin title, and solidifying his status as the best bantamweight fighter outside of the UFC, Horiguchi has to be awarded Fighter of the Week.
Photo Credit: RIZIN FF