The year end Rizin 20 card has taken a big hit as Bellator MMA/Rizin Bantamweight Champion Kyoji Horiguchi has been pulled from a title defense against Kai Asakura due to a knee injury.
Marc Raimondi of ESPN reports that Horiguchi tore his ACL and damaged the meniscus of said knee, surgery has already been performed and the fighter is already in recovery. There is no word yet on how long that Horiguchi is expected to be out of action for, but more should be known as the fighter heals up from the surgery.
Rizin issued the following statement on the matter through Twitter:
本日の記者会見で発表しましたが、堀口恭司vs.朝倉海の試合は堀口選手の怪我により、中止とさせて頂きました。楽しみにしていたファンの皆様にお詫び申し上げますと共に、堀口選手の回復を心よりお祈り致します。又、海選手の対戦相手も早急に決めて来週中には追加カードと共に発表したいと思います。 pic.twitter.com/dHnUyXUtnH— NOBUYUKI SAKAKIBARA (@nobu_sakakibara) November 14, 2019
Here is a translation of what the tweet stated, provided by Google Translate:
“As announced at today's press conference, Koji Horiguchi vs. Asakura Umi match was canceled due to Horiguchi's injury. I apologize to all the fans who have been looking forward to them, and sincerely pray for the recovery of Horiguchi. Also, I will decide the opponent of the sea player as soon as possible, and I will announce it with an additional card next week.”
Another move has been made by both Horiguchi and Rizin, as the fighter has elected to relinquish the Rizin Bantamweight Title due to the injury according to Bloody Elbow.
Rizin 20 takes place on Tuesday, January 31 from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan with Kai Asakura and an opponent to be announced headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, which streams live on Fite TV.