Fight Announcement

Rizin 45 Fights Announced, John Dodson Returns

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On Thursday, Rizin held a press conference that announced their first fights for their final show of the year on New Year’s Eve, Rizin 45. The promotion announced four fights which included two title fights. Here are the fights that have currently been announced.

Rizin Announces Two Title Fights for Rizin 45

Juan Archuletta vs. Kai Asakura

Juan Archuletta makes his first bantamweight title defense against Kai Asakura. Photo courtesy of Rizin FF.

Juan Archuletta (29-4) has a very storied career beating some of the best bantamweights including Patchy Mix (the only person to beat him so far), Naoki Inoue, Soo Chul Kim, and Hiromasa Ougikubo (who he beat to get the vacant bantamweight title from).

Kai Asakura (20-4) is one of the most popular Rizin fighters. He has a YouTube channel with over 1.3 million subscribers and his fights that are uploaded always cross the million view mark. The former bantamweight champion has wins over Kyoji Horiguchi, Manel Kape, and Hiromasa Ougikubo.

The two were initially set to fight in the summer but Asakura got injured before their fight. “Last time Asakura bailed out and ran. We all deal with injuries as fighters,” Archuletta said speaking via Zoom. “He wasn’t man enough to step up and continue his path to victory and it shows who he is as a fighter so I’m ready to go in there and dominate and put him to sleep.

Asakura had a harsh rebuttal for his opponent. “Let me just say it. If we fight in the ring, I’m stronger than you. I want to defeat him by KO,” Asakura said. “He’s a good fighter with good movement and composure. However, the fights are boring. I want to liven things up with a flashy KO.”

Kyoji Horiguchi vs Makoto “Shinryu”

Kyoji Horiguchi and Makoto “Shinryu” will rematch for the inaugural Rizin flyweight championship. Photo courtesy of Rizin FF.

This is a rematch from Bellator x Rizin this year.  That match barely showed anything from both fighters as it ended in a no-contest due to an accidental eye poke 25 seconds into the first round.

Kyoji Horiguchi is a former Rizin and Bellator bantamweight champion. He dominated all but Demetrious Johnson in UFC as a flyweight and made his return to the weight class by beating Hiromasa Ougikubo at Rizin 40.

Makoto “Shinryu” is a former Deep flyweight champion and is the current Cage Fury Fighting Championships flyweight champion. He is currently on a 10-fight win streak.

Kleber Koike vs Yutaka Saito

Former featherweight champions meet in this match at Rizin 45. Photo courtesy of Rizin FF.

Kleber Koike is a former Rizin featherweight champion and is one of the most dangerous submission fighters in the promotion. All his wins have come by way of submission in Rizim. Also of note, he never lost the belt while champion. He missed weight in a defense against Chihiro Suzuki and submitted him but the fight was rendered a no-contest and he was stripped of the belt.

Yutaka Saito is also a former Rizin featherweight champion and Shooto lightweight champion. After suffering a 3-fight losing streak, he eaked out a close split decision win over Ren Hiramoto this year.

This fight was initially inked in 2021 but Kleber had to cancel due to injury.

John Dodson vs Hiromasa Ougikubo

John Dodson returns to Rizin to take on Hiromasa Ougikubo. Photo courtesy of Rizin FF.

John Dodson is a former UFC fighter and one of the best flyweights in the world. He is the current Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship flyweight champion and won The Ultimate Fighter 14 by knocking out T.J. Dillashaw. He also wins over Hideo Tokoro and Tatsuki Saomoto in Rizin. He is on a 3-fight winning streak. Dodson wrote on Instagram “It’s gonna be another great fight for me to climb one step closer to a title in Rizin.”

Hiromasa Ougikubo is also a veteran of TUF having made it to the finals of TUF 25. He lost to Tim Elliot. He won the 2021 Rizin Bantamweight Grand Prix. Ougikubo is currently on a 3-fight losing streak.

Other News

During the press conference, CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara said that at least 10 more bouts would be announced, that Mayweather vs. Pacquiao is in negotiations, and that Ren Hiramoto, Kyohei Hagiwara, and Mikuru Asakura could also be on the card. The full press conference can be watched here:

Announced Lineup

Juan Archuletta (c) vs Kai Asakura for the Rizin bantamweight championship
Kyoji Horiguchi vs Makoto “Shinryu” for the inaugural Rizin flyweight championship
Kleber Koike vs Yutaka Saito
John Dodson vs Hiromasa Ougikubo

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Andrew has been a long time MMA and pro wrestling fan. When he isn't writing about MMA, he is usually training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, playing video games, or going bar hopping (he only drinks on days that end in "y"). He also co-hosts the RIZIN focused podcast "We are RIZIN" which you can listen to on Soundcloud & Stitcher.

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