In recent years Kleber Koike has had more issues making weight than he has had beating Japanese opponents. But the Brazilian suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Masanori Kanehara at Rizin 44.

Their featherweight fight headlined the card at the Saitama Super Arena. The opening of the first round was entirely uneventful but Koike eventually got his man down with a throw even if he did have to eat a couple of right hands to do it.

When Kanehara got back to his feet he jumped for a guillotine but the Japanese fighter eventually popped his head up. He finished the round in top position with the former Rizin featherweight champion struggling to impose his grappling game.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by RIZIN FF OFFICIAL (@rizin_pr)

Wild scramble

It was Kanehara who got the takedown in the second round after a couple of minutes of inactivity from both fighters. He moved from the BJJ black belt’s guard into his half guard which stirred the crowd at the Saitama Super Arena.

Kanehara threatened with a head and arm choke and landed some ground and pound from mount at the end of the round. Kleber needed to to something dramatic to turn things around in the third but he looked tired by this stage.

Kanehara took him down at the start of the final round and finished in top position following a wild scramble. He remained there until the end of the round to pull off a major upset.

The decision was always going to go in favour of Kanehara who moves up to 31-14-5 and has now won four Rizin fights in a row. By contrast Kleber drops to 31-7-0-1 and is winless in his last three.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by RIZIN FF OFFICIAL (@rizin_pr)

Best of the rest

The co-main event featured another former featherweight champion. Juntaro Ushiku (23-10-1) got the nod over Kyohei Hagiwara (7-8) to get his career back on track after back to back defeats.

Rizin 44, Tokyo, September 24th
Masanori Kanehara def. Kleber Koike via Decision (Unanimous)
Juntaro Ushiku def. Kyohei Hagiwara via Decision (Unanimous)
Yoshinori Horie def. Spike Carlyle via Decision (Unanimous)
Kickboxing: Rukiya Anpo def. Sho Patrick Usami via Decision (Unanimous)
Yoshiki Nakahara def. Rikuto Shirakawa via Decision (Unanimous)
Kazumasa Majima def. Takeji Yokoyama via Decision (Unanimous)
Ryuya Fukuda def. Erson Yamamoto via TKO (Doctor Stoppage) at 1:37 of R3
Taichi Nakajima def. Ryo Okada via Decision (Unanimous)
Shoma Shibisai def. Janos Csukas via Submission (Heel Hook) at 2:27 of R1
Ramazonbek Temirov def. Takaki Soya via KO (Punches) at 3:15 of R1