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Kyoji Horiguchi relinquishes Bellator bantamweight title

Kyoji Horiguchi defeated Darrion Caldwell for the bantamweight

Kyoji Horiguchi defeated Darrion Caldwell for the bantamweight title during Bellator 222  at Madison Square Garden on Friday, June 14, 2019. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Kyoji Horiguchi's reign as Bellator bantamweight champion lasted five months, two weeks and zero title defenses.

Horiguchi (28-3) relinquished the title after undergoing surgery for a "severe injury," Bellator announced Wednesday.

“I feel terrible for Kyoji [Horiguchi] about the injury he suffered to his knee, but in the true spirit of martial arts and being a true champion, he has elected to vacate his title and allow the division to move forward in his absence,” Bellator President Scott Coker said. “After fully healing, we plan to give Kyoji an immediate title shot.”

Bellator said it plans to book a 135-pound title bout in the coming months.

Horiguchi, from Japan, won the title by defeating Darrion Caldwell via unanimous decision at Bellator 222 in June at Madison Square Garden. Horiguchi also was the Rizin champion at the time, and the fight was part of a cross-promotional between the Japanese company created by former Pride FC president Nobuyuki Sakakibara. 

Horiguchi lost his last fight at Rizin 18 in August, a non-title bout against Kai Asakura.

Earlier this month, Horiguchi pulled out of his scheduled title bout at Rizin 20 on New Year's Eve after tearing his ACL and meniscus.

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