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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Remarkable run

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.


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Top contender

Last weekend Rizin 41 took place in Osaka. Vugar Karamov submitted UFC veteran Yoshinori Horie in a featherweight fight and called for a title shot immediately afterwards.

Karamov will have to join the queue because Suzuki’s status as the #1 contender was confirmed just a few day’s later. It is currently the only fight confirmed for Rizin 42.

Rizin 43, Sapporo, June 24th
Kleber Koike Erbst (c) vs. Chihiro Suzuki (For featherweight title)