Asakura is a YouTube star with a big fan following who is expecting a second featherweight title shot if he wins this fight. But Erbst has 23 submission wins on his record and wants to make it a night to forget for his opponent’s sizeable fanbase,
“Everybody is in for a surprise. I’ll make him tap, he’ll break something if he doesn’t. Snap.”
Titles and tournaments
The two men are familiar with one another. Much has been made of the fact that they once trained together but Erbst is not reading too much into that,
“I’ve sparred with Asakura a long time ago but that was a very long time. We’ve both change styles since, and practice and an actual fight are two different things,” he said.
The Brazilian, who is of Japanese descent, has won titles and tournaments before but never in his adopted home of Japan. He was the KSW featherweight champion in Poland and won the Rebel FC featherweight tournament in China.
He hasn’t lost to a Japanese fighter since 2009 and thinks Asakura will have no answer for this submission game,
“I’m not worried at all about his grappling, it won’t be a problem. Six months of training won’t change your style (and) if it goes to the ground he’s going to have a bad time.”
He has won two fights out of two for Rizin since ending his stint with KSW to sign with Japan’s premier promotion. But Erbst says that fans have yet to see the best of him,
“This will be my third fight in Rizin. I haven’t fought at 100% yet, maybe only 50% until now so I’m eager to show my all in this next fight.”
Having fought in front of a reported 56,600 Polish fans in Warsaw and beaten a Polish fighter to win the KSW lightweight title Erbst knows a thing or two about pressure,
“There’s pressure (because) Mikuru is a top fighter in Japan but I’ll handle it. I will do my best to beat him.”
Erbst thinks his advantage on the ground is so great that one opportunity will be all he needs to finish Asakura,
“I will finish this fight with a submission, one opening is what it will take for me to finish this fight.”
While no official announcements have been made this is a de facto title eliminator. The winner is likely to challenge for the featherweight title next and this thought is very much on Erbst’s mind,
“My dream is to get that belt, he’s standing in my way.”