RIZIN 43 is set to go down Saturday in Sapporo, Japan — and a massive shake-up has hit the card following weigh-ins.
While the main event of Kleber Koike vs. Chihiro Suzuki is still intact, featherweight champ Koike missed weight for the event on Friday — and has been stripped of his title.
RIZIN Fighting Federation CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara announced the news on social media, stating that “Kleber missed weight by 400g and tomorrows Championship bout has become quite chaotic! If Chihiro wins, he will be crowned as the rightful Champion, if Kleber wins, the Featherweight Championship will be vacant.”
Koike (31-6-1) is a former KSW featherweight champ who captured RIZIN gold last October. The match-up with Suzuki at RIZIN 43 was to have been his first attempt at a title defense, after the Brazilian-born Japanese star lost a non-title fight against A.J. McKee in December as part of the Bellator MMA vs. RIZIN supercard.
Prior to the loss to McKee, Koike had won seven straight fights, including bouts with RIZIN star Mikuru Asakura, and former UFC fighter Ulka Sasaki.
Chihiro Suzuki, who is now the only man able to win the featherweight title on Saturday, has won his last five bouts in MMA, while also competing in kickboxing and Muay Thai.