RIZIN announced the first four matches for its final card of the year at the Saitama Super Arena on Dec. 31, and half are championship bouts.
Juan Archuleta will defend his bantamweight belt against Japanese superstar Kai Asakura, while Kyoji Horiguchi and Makoto Shinryu rematch for the vacant flyweight throne. RIZIN 45 will also feature Hiromasa Ougikubo vs. John Dodson and Kleber Koike vs. Yutaka Saito, the promotion revealed Thursday.
Archuleta (29-4) captured the belt in July by beating Hiromasa Ougikubo via unanimous decision, scoring his third straight victory in Japan. The three-time Bellator championship challenger has now won four in a row in 12 months.
Asakura (20-4) was expected to face Archuleta in July but withdrew from the bout due to an injury. The former 135-pound titleholder won 12 of 15 under the RIZIN banner, including victories over Horiguchi, Manel Kape and Ulka Sasaki.
Horiguchi (31-5, 1 no contest) scored wins over Yuto Hokamura and Hiromasa Ougikubo before the 25-seocnd no-contest against Shinryu (16-1-1, 1 no contest) due to an unintentional eye pole. Shinryu entered that bout on a 10-fight winning streak with four submissions to his credit.
RIZIN has also officially announced the finalized card for its upcoming event RIZIN Landmark 7, which goes down Saturday at the Baku National Gymnasium in Baku, Azerbaijan. Check the lineups below.
RIZIN Landmark 7 – Nov. 4, 2023
Vugar Karamov vs. Chihiro Suzuki — featherweight title
Tofiq Musayev vs. Koji Takeda
Nariman Abbasov vs. Ali Abdulkalikov
Mehman Mamedov vs. Justin Scoggins
Tural Ragimov vs. Kyung Pyo Kim
Anastasiya Svetkivska vs. Farida Abdueva
Jaures Dea vs. Ilkhom Nozimov
Iliyar Askhanov vs. Vladislav Rudniev
Quentin Domingos vs. Shota Betlemidze
Hasan Mezhiev vs. Konstantin Merkulov