A heavyweight fight is among six which were confirmed for the Rizin 43 card. The event is set for Sapporo on June 24th and will see Hideki Sekine take on Mikio Ueda.
Sekine (12-6) is big even by heavyweight standards. But the 49 year old has stood the test of time and has four wins from his last five fights even if he was stopped by Tsuyoshi Sudario last time out.
Ueda (1-1) is a world champion in karate. But he has had mixed fortunes since transitioning to MMA and was stopped by Tsuyoshi Kosaka on his pro debut at Rizin 35.
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Also added to the card this week was a lightweight fight pitting Yusuke Yachi against Zach Zane. The latter will be looking to snap a five fight winning streak.
Zane (15-14) was last seen losing to Koji Takeda at Rizin 39 and is on the worst run of results of his entire career. Yachi (24-13) is a former lightweight title challenger and is coming off a win over Boyd Allen at Rizin 39.
Meanwhile Suguru Nii (14-12) has been matched with Tateo Lida (12-6-2) in an all Japanese featherweight fight. The former is coming off back to back Pancrase wins while the latter was last seen losing to Keisuke Sasu in a featherweight title fight at Shooto 1903.
Yusuke Yachi used his wrestling to secure a unanimous decision victory over Boyd Allen 💪
— RIZIN FF English (@rizin_English) October 23, 2022
As previously announced Kleber Koike Erbst will be putting his featherweight title on the line for the first time at Rizin 43. The newly crowned champion faces Chihiro Suzuki at the Makomanai Ice Arena in Sapporo on June 24th.
Despite being the champion Erbst (32-5-1) is coming off a loss. He was last seen in action at Rizin 40 where he lost to Bellator featherweight king Patricio Freire in a non title fight.
That defeat snapped a run of seven straight wins for Erbst and ruined his 100% winning record for Rizin. But the Brazilian remains the champion and will be facing another contender from Japan in June.
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Suzuki (10-3) earned his title shot by winning five fights in a row for Rizin. It has been a remarkable run of results for a fighter who was knocked out in the opening minute when he made his promotional debut.
The 23 year old has beaten the likes of Yoshiki Nakahara, Masakazu Imanari and Ren Hiramoto during this run. He has also continued to compete regularly in kickboxing and currently holds a title with Japanese promotion Knockout.
With Erbst being a BJJ black belt this looks to be a straightforward clash of styles, pitting the kickboxer against the grappler. With a decision win over leg log wizard Imanari on his resume this does not exactly represent a step into the unknown for Suzuki.
But he faces a big step up against an opponent who has dominated the competition since leaving KSW and returning to his adopted home of Japan to compete. Erbst has won 15 fights in a row against Japanese fighters and will be looking to continue that streak.