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Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Ben Nguyen among fights announced for RIZIN 15

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Yokohama Arena gets some serious heat with a handful of fights announced by the marquee Japanese organization.

After closing out 2018 with a wild event that included the oddity of Tenshin Nasukawa vs Floyd Mayweather, RIZIN is taking their sweet time building up to their next event — and the buildup to their next card looks great.

Former RIZIN Grand Prix winner (and later runner-up) Muhammad Lawal (a.k.a. King Mo, 21-8) will be fighting for the inaugural light heavyweight title in a rematch against former GP competitor and violence machine Jiri Prochazka (23-3, 1 draw). The bout will be contested under RIZIN rules, conventionally known to most fans as PRIDE rules. A 10 minute first round is followed by two more rounds consisting of five minutes each.

A Czech native, Prochazka rose up the ranks in his home country and then burst onto the international stage in a big way when he obliterated former Olympic gold medalist Satoshi Ishii in 2015. This performance led him to the second round against Lawal with considerably high expectations, but Lawal put a definitive end to that one with a screaming right hand to seal the deal. He’s been undefeated since, with wins over Vadim Nemkov, Jake Heun, Kazuyiki Fujita (yikes), Jungle Fight’s Bruno Cappelozza, and a throttling of Brendan Halsey this past New Year’s Eve, which extended his win streak to seven. He’ll undoubtedly be looking forward to avenging his loss and capture a major title in the process.

On the other hand, Lawal had a rough 2018 with massive losses to Ryan Bader and Liam McGeary, both by strikes. This will be his return to RIZIN after being away since late 2016, where he was finished by ground strikes courtesy of Mirko Cro Cop after being stunned with an uppercut. It will be interesting to see how an ascendant young talent like Prochazka will be able to deal with an experienced fighter that’s taken a lot of damage as of late, and an opportunity for Mo to finally claim another championship, which has not happened since his Strikeforce victory over Gegard Mousasi.

Another announced bout is on deck between the seemingly invincible Kyoji Horiguchi (26-2) against recently-released UFC fighter Ben Nguyen (17-8) at 132lbs. Nguyen left the UFC during the release of various flyweights, going 4-3 in the organization. During this time, he managed impressive performances against Alpetkin Ozkilic, Ryan Benoit and Tim Elliott. Horiguchi has enjoyed a tremendous amount of success since his loss to Demetrious Johnson and subsequent UFC release, going on an 11-fight win streak. During this time, he’s had highlight reel-worthy performances against Hideo Tokoro, Gabriel Oliveira, Shintaro Ishiwatari, and striking threat Manel Kape. His last fight was a rough affair against Bellator bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell, which ended in third round submission.

The Asakura brothers will also return on the same card, with Kai Asakura (12-1) taking on another UFC vet in Ulka Sasaki (22-6, 2 draws), and Mikuru Asakura (9-1) facing Wanderlei Silva protege Luiz Gustavo (9-0). Rising star and Karelin Lift enthusiast Koji Takeda (8-0) will also be on the card.

RIZIN 15 is scheduled for April 21st.