Having missed weight by 0.88lbs for his last title fight Kleber Koike has been stripped of the Rizin featherweight title. The promotion has not wasted any time in looking to crown a new champion with Mikuru Asakura facing Vugar Karamov for the featherweight belt.
As well as being stripped of the belt Koike saw his last submission win changed to a no contest and has been overlooked for a shot at the vacant title. Instead Mikuru Asakura will be given a chance to follow in his brother’s footsteps by becoming a Rizin champion.
Asakura (17-3), who was submitted by Koike at Rizin 28, has been rewarded for his three fight winning streak with a shot at the belt. He has beaten two former champions during this spell, Juntarou Ushiku and Yutaka Saito.
Karamov (18-4) has won three in a row for Rizin and is coming off a stoppage win over UFC veteran Yoshinori Horie. He will be looking to go one better than compatriot Tofiq Musayev who came up short in a lightweight title shot against Roberto de Souza.
CEO Sakakibara has announced that Mikuru Asakura vs Vugar Keramov will be for the vacant RIZIN featherweight title!
— RIZIN FF English (@rizin_English) July 9, 2023
Returning to Japan
Tofiq Musayev will return to Japan to compete on the Super Rizin 2 card. The lightweight Grand Prix winner has been matched with Akira Okada at the Saitama Super Arena on July 30th.
Musayev has not fought for the promotion since 2021. He was submitted by Roberto de Souza in a lightweight title fight at Rizin 24 and promptly signed for Bellator afterwards.
He has enjoyed mixed fortunes competing in the US. Musayev needed just 27 seconds to knock out Sidney Outlaw on his Bellator debut but was stopped by Alexander Shabliy in his sophomore appearance.
Musayev (20-5) has a big reputation in Japan having won five fights out of six for Rizin. Okada (19-9-4) was recently crowned the interim Pancrase lightweight champion and has won six out of his last seven fights.
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) July 23, 2022
There are currently two title fights on the Super Rizin 2 card. Seika Izawa will be putting her super atomweight belt on the line when she faces Claire Lopez at the Saitama Super Arena on July 30th.
Lopez submitted Rena Kubota at Rizin Landmark 5 in April. Her reward is a shot at the undefeated champion in what will be just the French fighter’s second appearance in the Rizin ring.
— RIZIN FF OFFICIAL (@rizin_PR) June 16, 2023
Kai Asakura will be looking to recapture the Rizin bantamweight title. He has been matched with Bellator’s Juan Archuleta in a fight that will have the vacant belt on the line.
In the welterweight division UFC and ONE Championship veteran Daichi Abe will be looking for his fourth straight Rizin win. He lost his Deep welterweight title recently and faces Brazilian submission specialist Igor Tanabe in a middleweight match.
In the bantamweight division Kenta Takizawa takes on Shinobu Ota. The former is coming off losses to Naoki Inoue and Kai Asakura and will be hoping to get back to winning ways here.