Two of the top flyweights in the world will meet later this year and it won’t be in the UFC.
Kyoji Horiguchi will take on Ian McCall at Rizin FF 9 on May 6 in Fukuoka, Japan, the promotion announced Tuesday. The bout will be contested at 61kg or about 134 pounds — nine pounds off the flyweight limit they both competed at in the UFC.
Horiguchi (23-2) is coming off a victory in the 2017 Rizin Bantamweight Grand Prix tournament. He knocked out Shintaro Ishiwatari in the second round of the final to win Dec. 31. Horiguchi, 27, has won eight in a row since falling to Demetrious Johnson in a UFC flyweight title fight in 2015. He left the UFC as a free agent early last year.
McCall (13-6-1) made his Rizin debut in the Bantamweight Grand Prix, falling in the second round to Manel Kape by first-round TKO in controversial fashion after cutting his head on the ropes. The California native was making his comeback after nearly three years away from fighting due to injuries and other unforeseen circumstances. McCall, 33, was the last fighter to enter a cage with Johnson and not come out with a loss, fighting “Mighty Mouse” to a draw in 2012.
In other bouts announced for Rizin FF 9, Kape will take on Kai Asakura and Kanna Asakura will meet Melissa Karagianis. Tenshin Nasukawa, the 19-year-old wunderkind, will also compete against an opponent to be named.
Rizin FF 9 takes place at Marine Messe Fukuoka. It is the first event of the year for Rizin and the first since the big, two-day New Year’s Eve event at Saitama SuperArena.