Rizin 26: Kyoji Horiguchi’s Triumphant Return

Rizin 26, held on December 31, 2020, was a thrilling event that showcased the best of mixed martial arts and kickboxing. The event took place at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, and featured 16 exciting fights.

The main event of the evening was a bantamweight championship bout between Kai Asakura and Kyoji Horiguchi. This was a highly anticipated rematch, as Horiguchi had previously lost to Asakura in a non-title bout at Rizin 18. However, this time around, Horiguchi made a triumphant return to the ring after having to vacate his Rizin and Bellator titles in 2019 due to injury. He defeated Asakura via a first-round TKO, reclaiming his position at the top of the bantamweight division.

Another highlight of the event was the vacant atomweight title bout between Ayaka Hamasaki and Miyuu Yamamoto. Hamasaki emerged victorious, securing the title with a first-round submission. This win further solidified her status as one of the top fighters in the atomweight division.

The event also featured kickboxing star Tenshin Nasukawa, who faced off against Kumandoi Phetjaroenvit. Nasukawa, known for his exceptional striking skills, did not disappoint his fans. He won the bout via a unanimous decision, adding another victory to his impressive record.

Rizin 26 also saw the return of retired PRIDE and UFC standout Takanori Gomi, who faced Koji Tanaka in a “special standing bout rules” match. The bout ended in a majority decision in favor of Gomi, marking a successful return for the veteran fighter.

The event was not just about the veterans, though. Newcomers also had the chance to shine. For instance, Sudario Tsuyoshi made a name for himself by defeating Minowaman via a first-round TKO.

Rizin 26 was a testament to the growth and popularity of mixed martial arts in Japan. The event showcased a mix of seasoned veterans and promising newcomers, all delivering thrilling performances that kept the audience on the edge of their seats. As we look forward to future events, one thing is certain: the world of mixed martial arts will continue to evolve, and Rizin will be at the forefront of this evolution.

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