Kleber Koike To Face Featherweight Champion Juntaro Ushiku At RIZIN 39

Kleber Koike speaks on a microphone while in a RIZIN ring
Kleber Koike will challenge champion Juntaro Ushiku next month (RIZIN FF)

Dominant featherweight Kleber Koike will get his first crack at a RIZIN belt next month, facing 146-pound champion Juntaro Ushiku in the main event of RIZIN 39.

The bout is scheduled to headline a card on October 23rd from the Marine Messe Fukuoka Hall in Fukuoka, Japan.

Koike has yet to lose since he made his RIZIN debut in late 2020. All five of his wins for the promotion have come via submission in either the first or second round of a fight.

Koike’s last appearance came on a “LANDMARK” card in May, when he stopped Kyohei Hagiwara in the first round with a rear naked choke.

Ushiku will look to defend his RIZIN belt for the second time. He first gained the belt in 2021, as a doctor stoppage caused former champion Yutaka Saito to lose.

The pair fought once again this year, with Ushiku walking away with a unanimous decision win that time.

A win for Ushiku would undoubtedly make him the top featherweight name in RIZIN, a status that Koike currently has a solid case for.

Five Bouts In Total Set For RIZIN 39 Thus Far

Four other fights were announced for RIZIN 39 last week.

Koji Takeda will look to keep his momentum rolling when he faces Zach Zane. Takeda’s returned to the win column in July, defeating Johnny Case on scorecards.

On the other hand, Zane is currently in a slump. The Bellator alum has lost four consecutive fights this year via stoppage.

Veteran Motonobu Tezuka will search for his first RIZIN win when he faces promotional newcomer Mehman Mamedov. Tezuka’s previous RIZIN fight was a submission loss to Alan Yamaniha.

Both coming off recent wins at featherweight, Vugar Karamov and Yoshiki Nakahara will appear.

Daichi Abe will look to score his third win of the year when he faces experienced opponent Yukinari Tamura.

Updated Lineup

Here’s how the card looks thus far:

Bout 5: Juntaro Ushiku (22-8-1) vs. Kleber Koike (30-5-1) (RIZIN Featherweight Championship) (146 lbs)

Bout 4: Koji Takeda (14-3) vs. Zach Zane (15-13) (157 lbs) (MMA Bout)

Bout 3: Motonobu Tezuka (34-14-6) vs. Mehman Mamedov (5-5) (134 lbs) (MMA Bout)

Bout 2: Vugar Karamov (17-4) vs. Yoshiki Nakahara (16-5) (146 lbs) (MMA Bout)

Bout 1: Daichi Abe (11-5) vs. Yukinari Tamura (16-13-9) (170 lbs) (MMA Bout)

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