Pettis to defend Bellator title against Horiguchi


Bantamweight might be the best division in mixed martial arts and that extends to outside the UFC, as well.

In a marquee matchup at 135 pounds, Sergio Pettis will defend his Bellator title in the weight class against former champion Kyoji Horiguchi on Dec. 3 at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut, Bellator officials confirmed with ESPN.

Last month, Bellator announced the signing of Horiguchi, a former UFC flyweight title contender who once held both the Bellator and Rizin bantamweight titles at the same time. Horiguchi is still the Rizin champion and will defend that title next year for the Japanese promotion, which has a strong working relationship with Bellator.

Pettis (21-5) has won four straight, the most recent a unanimous decision win over Juan Archuleta in May to win the Bellator belt. The Milwaukee native left the UFC as a free agent following a September 2019 win over Tyson Nam. Pettis, 28, is the younger brother of former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis.

Horiguchi (29-3) has won 14 of his last 15 fights. The Japan native returned from knee surgery to beat rival Kai Asakura via first-round TKO and win back the Rizin bantamweight title last December. Asakura beat Horiguchi in August 2019, his only loss since he fell in a UFC flyweight title fight to all-time great Demetrious Johnson in 2015. Horiguchi, 31, has fought only once previously for Bellator, when he defeated Darrion Caldwell to win the Bellator belt in June 2019.

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