MMA Fighting confirmed with officials that Horiguchi and Caldwell will meet in a rematch for Caldwell’s Bellator bantamweight championship at Bellator 222 on June 14 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. ESPN was first to report that the bout was official, citing Bellator president Scott Coker.
Horiguchi (27-2) and Caldwell first met at Rizin 14 last December in a champion vs. champion bout with Horiguchi’s Rizin Fighting Federation bantamweight title on the line. It was Horiguchi who emerged victorious, submitting Caldwell with a guillotine choke in the third round. Afterwards, there were talks that the two would fight again at some point with Caldwell defending his title.
After a 7-1 run in the UFC (Horiguchi’s lone loss was to then-flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson at UFC 186), Horiguchi has yet to taste defeat competing for Rizin and has won his last 12 fights. Most recently, he beat fellow former UFC fighter Ben Nguyen by first-round TKO in a 132-pound catchweight bout at Rizin 15.
Caldwell (13-2) has not fought since the loss to Horiguchi. Prior to that encounter, Caldwell had won four straight, including a unanimous decision win over Eduardo Dantas to capture the Bellator bantamweight title and a successful defense against Leandro Higo.
Bellator 222 is currently scheduled to be headlined by a light heavyweight bout between Lyoto Machida and Chael Sonnen. Bellator welterweight champion Rory MacDonald is also expected to defend his title against Neiman Gracie in the semifinals of the Bellator Welterweight World Grand Prix, though MacDonald’s post-fight comments at Bellator 220 have cast some doubt over that booking.