Right before Summer heats up, the premier Japanese fighting organization will put on their first fiery card of 2018 on May 6th. Perched atop of the card will be two former UFC fighters going at it in what may be the highest level of MMA to take place within the RIZIN ring. Newly crowned RIZIN bantamweight grand prix champion Kyoji Horiguchi will take on former UFC flyweight title challenger Ian McCall. Respectful Horiguchi is eager to test his skills.
“This will be my first fight in Fukuoka against a top fighter Ian McCall. I would like to put on a good performance to show the greatness of fighting. I would like to take on challenges this year, and would like start this year 2018 by winning against Ian McCall in a good way. Manel Kape versus Ian McCall was an accident, I don’t take anything away from Ian because of that fight.”
— Ian McCall (@Unclecreepymma) February 17, 2018
“What he has done, and how he fought in the UFC, I have nothing but respect for him. I had plans for fighting Ian in the tournament, so I think I have a head start on my training camp I terms of strategy. He’s a very strong wrestler, so I think he’s going to try to take me down and grind. I don’t think he is going to want to stand with me at all. I
have been training hard, and I will be ready to take on everything he delivers.” — Kyoji Horiguchi via official RIZIN press release.
Ian McCall was the favorite to face Kyoji Horiguchi in the finals of the bantamweight tournament, but his head was sliced on the ring ropes and he lost his fight with Manel Kape. Just when it looked like his luck had reached its all-time worst, fate shines on McCall and he gets the the fight with Horiguchi anyway. This is not only a huge shot a redemption, but a way to prove he’s still one of the very best in the world. At 23-2, Horiguchi’s fight with McCall is the next best thing to a Demetrious Johnson rematch.
The RIZIN 10 card so far:
Kyoji Horiguchi vs Ian McCall
Kanna Asakura vs Melissa Karagianis
Manel Kape vs Kai Asakura
Weili Zhang vs Kanako Murata
Tenshin Nasukawa vs TBD
Tomohiro Kitai vs TBD
Issei Ishii vs Daishin Sakai
— Punch-Drunk Pauly (@punchdrunkpauly) December 29, 2017
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/28/2018.