Kyoji Horiguchi competes for the first time since claiming his bantamweight world title when he clashes with former UFC fighter, Ben Nguyen, at Rizin 15 on Apr. 21 in Yokohama, Japan in a catchweight clash at 132-pounds.
Also set for his return to the Land of the Rising Sun on the night, Muhammed Lawal, AKA “King Mo”, will take on surging Czech light heavyweight Jiri Prochazka to determine the inaugural champion of the division.
Kai Asakura (12-1-0) will put his four-fight win streak with Rizin on the line when he faces his biggest test of experience to date against countryman, Ulka Sasaki (22-6-1). Sasaski goes into the bantamweight contest on the back of his win over outspoken bantamweight, Manel Kape.
Wanderlei Silva protégé Luiz Gustavo (9-0-0) will make his second outing under the Rizin banner on the night when he takes on Mikuru Asakura (9-1-0) in a 150-pound catchweight clash. Asukura boasts a perfect 3-0 record with the promotion.
Horiguchi (26-2-0) has become the face of Rizin since his UFC departure and his status as one of the greatest Japanese MMA fighters ever was only strengthened by his submission finish of Bellator champion, Darrion Caldwell, at the promotion’s New Year’s Eve marquee.
Nguyen (17-8-0) will compete for the first time since his UFC exit on the night. He carries a two-fight skid into the contest having come up short against highly rated Brazilian flyweights Wilson Reis and Jussier Formiga in his last two performances. After signing with the promotion in 2015, Nguyen amassed a record of 4-3 in the Octagon.
Lawal (21-8-0) competes in the Japan for the first time since 2016’s New Year’s Eve loss to Mirko Cro Cop. “King Mo” is also looking to turnaround a two-fight skid in Yokohama having come up short against Liam McGeary and Ryan Bader in his last two outings.
In a little over a year, Prochazka (23-3-1) has established himself at the top of the Rizin light heavyweight fray. After a debut win at 2017’s New Year’s Eve show over highly touted Swede, Karl Albrektsson, “Denisa” has continued to gain momentum with three wins over Bruno Henrique Cappelozza, Jake Heun and most recently, Brandon Halsey.