Three days after Horiguchi’s shocking 67-second loss at the hands of Asakura, Bellator president Scott Coker said he’d be happy to promote a second fight in Japan under the Viacom-owned promotion’s rules.
“We’d invite Horguchi to fight, and maybe we could have him fight Kai in the cage,” Coker told MMA Junkie on Tuesday.
Coker and Bellator share talent with Japanese promotion Rizin, which hosted a non-title bout between Horiguchi and Asakura in its 18th event.
Asakura landed a picture-perfect right to hand Horiguchi his first loss since a last-second submission to then-UFC champion Demetrious Johnson in 2015. Asakura was a considerable underdog leading up to the fight despite a four-fight winning streak in Rizin.
Horiguchi, who captured the Bellator and Rizin bantamweight belts in a pair of wins over Darrion Caldwell, is obligated to defend the Bellator title once a year. Coker said he hasn’t spoken to Rizin promoter Nobuyuki Sakikibara on the plans for Horiguchi, though he expects the two-promotion champ to return to the Rizin ring in October or December.
MMA Junkie was unable to reach Rizin for comment at the time of this writing.
Coker said he wants to fight Horiguchi “as soon as possible” but also cautioned the fighter against burning out.
“He wants to fight four times a year or more,” Coker said. “I said, ‘That’s just too much. You need to slow down.’ He just feels like he’s young, he’s ready to go, and he hasn’t taken that much damage.
“Now that he’s gotten stopped, maybe he feels differently. But to this point, he’s felt like he’s been unstoppable.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Bellator chief Scott Coker welcomes Kyoji Horiguchi-Kai Asakura rematch