Despite major shakeups to the Bellator Bantamweight Grand Prix, Kyoji Horiguchi is convinced it’s for the better.
The Japanese MMA star discussed his expectations for the tournament. Several of the original participants are injured, including the champion, Sergio Pettis. Fans would have undoubtedly hoped to see a rematch between Horiguchi and Pettis, but that will have to wait.
But, according to Horiguchi, the prize of the interim title to the tournament winner only makes the fight bigger.
“I think it’s gonna be more fun, you know. Fun and more exciting. The titleholder vs. the interim title- it’s good for Bellator,” Horiguchi told The AllStar.
In contrast to the original plan of Pettis defending his title with every round he fights, the title shot is more valuable and the fight larger the more belts enter the cage, Horiguchi believes.
This Saturday at Bellator 279, the tournament begins as Horiguchi battles number two-ranked Patchy Mix in Honolulu, Hawai’i.
“He has good jiujitsu skill, and tall…I add more skill…His arm is long, you know. It’s a little bit scary, you know because I’m short, so I have to step in,” Horiguchi said about Mix.
Mix’s only loss came to former champion Juan Archuleta as “The Spaniard” held the title. Horiguchi has reviewed that fight as a guide to how to attack Mix this weekend.
Of Archuleta’s performance against Mix, Kyoji said, “Archuleta used a lot of body shots. His step [was] used a lot, so Patchy Mix [was] really confused…Archuleta’s gameplan I think is the best,” Horiguchi revealed.
Eventually fighting Pettis at the tournament’s conclusion isn’t the only rematch Horiguchi is thinking about, however.
With the success of the special rules bout against Rodtang and Demetrious Johnson at ONE: X last month, Horiguchi would be open to a similar kind of fight against Tenshin Nasakawa, who is considered one of the pound-4-pound best in the kickboxing world.
“Ya, if they offer to me, ya, why not, because fights get exciting. MMA fans know Kyoji has to win, right?”
Even though Horiguchi has his hands full with the 2022 Bellator Bantamweight Grand Prix, the former Rizin/Bellator champion has a few options that are titillating to fans in the combat world.
Kyoji Horiguchi is a 31-year-old male fighter from Japan with 29 pro wins and 4 losses. Horiguchi is scheduled to fight Patchy Mix at Bellator 279: Cyborg vs. Blencowe 2 on Saturday, April 23, 2022.
Kyoji Horiguchi’s recent form coming into this matchup
Kyoji Horiguchi has gone 3-2 in the last 5 professional MMA fights.
- Loss vs Sergio Pettis • KO/TKO R4 3:24 • 2021-12-03
- Win vs Kai Asakura • KO/TKO R1 2:48 • 2020-12-31
- Loss vs Kai Asakura • KO/TKO R1 1:08 • 2019-08-18
- Win vs Darrion Caldwell • Decision R5 5:00 • 2019-06-14
- Win vs Ben Nguyen • KO/TKO R1 2:53 • 2019-04-21