Three 1st Round Fights Set For Rizin Bantamweight Grand Prix, Including Horiguchi


Three first round fights for the upcoming Rizin Bantamweight Grand Prix are set as Kyoji Horiguchi faces Hideo Tokoro, Takafumi Otsuka faces Anthony Birchak and Keita Ishibashi faces Khalid Taha.

Horiguchi (19-2-0) is currently undefeated under the Rizin banner, having defeated Yuki Motoya at Rizin 5 in April of this year. Horiguchi has also challenged for the UFC Flyweight Title, losing to current champion Demetrious Johnson at UFC 186.

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Tokoro (34-29-2) has won two of three in Rizin competition, with those two victories coming over Kizaemon Saiga and Erson Yamamoto. Tokoro has also fought once in Bellator MMA, where he suffered a defeat to LC Davis at Bellator 135.

Otsuka (22-13-2) is going to be making his Rizin debut in this fight and he is a longtime veteran of the Deep promotion. Otsuka is also entering the fight riding a three fight winning streak and he hasn’t suffered a defeat in almost two years.

Birchak (13-4-0) is winless thus far in Rizin competition, having dropped a fight to fellow UFC veteran Tatsuya Kawajiri at Rizin 5. Birchak also won two of four fights during his time in the UFC, with those victories coming over Joe Soto and Dileno Lopes.

Ishibashi (8-5-2) is going to be making his Rizin debut in this fight, having spent his entire professional MMA career in Shooto. Ishibashi has also competed already once this year, which was a majority draw against Shoko Sato at a Shooto event this past March.

Taha (10-0-0) is going to be making his Rizin debut in this fight and he has been undefeated thus far for over four years. Taha has seen six of his ten professional MMA fights ended by KO/TKO, while the rest of the wins coming by submission or decision.

Rizin Bantamweight Grand Prix begins on Sunday, July 30 from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan with no main event announced at this time. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, while no broadcast plans have been announced at this time.

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