RIZIN 43: Three reasons you can’t miss this card

RIZIN 43 is on tap for this weekend. Here are three compelling reasons you shouldn't miss out on Japan's premier MMA outfit.

By: Victor Rodriguez | 3 months ago
RIZIN 43: Three reasons you can’t miss this card
Imago/Motoo Naka AFLO

RIZIN 43 takes place this weekend, adding to a bevy of fight cards for the summer featuring amazing talent. It’s not one of their larger, grand events. We need to establish that early, because this is a focused event with an emphasis on action and less on their bigger stars.

Headlined by a stellar title fight, there’s a fiery co-main and some fun items to catch. There’s more kickboxing matches than usual on this one, and that helps bolster the card a fair bit. Five of them, actually, plus 12 MMA bouts scheduled. So if you’re in the US, I personally hope you’re ready to pull another all-nighter here.

Kleber Koike Erbst is a king

Some of you may not be familiar with the name Kleber Koike Erbst. But if you’ve really been around with the international scene, you’ll remember him as the man that ran the roost at featherweight in KSW. And he really was the man during that time. Starting his career in DEEP, the BJJ ace had some early stumbles, made his way to Poland, and ran the show for a few years.

Now in RIZIN, he’s basically achieved his final form. His last outing was an understandable loss to Patricio Pitbull on New Year’s Eve. Prior to that? Mateusz Gamrot back in 2018. The guy’s just a brilliant tactician on the ground.

He’s up against Pancrase vet and venemous striker Chihiro Suzuki (10-3). The 24-year-old prospect has some kickboxing experience and really loves launching counters. His finishing instincts are great, as he has all of the necessary composure to really wait to pour it on when it counts.

This could be seen as a striker vs grappler match, or at least as close as you can come to that these days. But that’s also a disservice, seeing as Suzuki has shown capable defense on the ground in some prolonged exchanges and Erbst has improved his striking. Now, that comes with the caveat that Erbst’s striking is more calibrated to facilitate his takedown and ground game. But it’s there, and it’s served him magnificently. Suzuki has some dynamite followups to his punches once he connects, and his snappy kicks keep opponents guessing constantly.

This should be crazy fun, and would be a sensational upset if Suzuki ended up upstaging the veteran Erbst.

Striker showdown

Krazy Bee’s Yusuke Yachi (24-13) has been in some wild battles, and this next matchup almost guarantees that this will be another one to add to the collection. He’s scheduled to face well-travelled Zach Zane (15-14), who has a very kill-or-be-killed style. That’s landed him in hot water, as you can tell by his record, but he’s fun as hell to watch.

January 27, 2022, MIAMI, FL, Miami, Florida, United States: MIAMI, FL- JANUARY 27: Zach Zane steps on the scale at the Eagle FC 44 - Spong vs Kharitonov event at FLX Cast Arena on January 27, 2022 in MIAMI, FL, United States. MIAMI, FL United States - ZUMAp175 20220127_zsa_p175_009 Copyright: xLouisxGrassex
Zach Zane – IMAGO/Louis Grasse

He’s got a vicious submission game when he’s on, and can trade on the feet with a lot of other guys. Sometimes he does have a tendency to take his foot off the gas, and that’s obviously a problem. But against Yachi, it’s likely to be fireworks.

All Shrek, no Donkey

Hideki “Shrek” Sekine (12-6) is a longtime grappler and pro-wrestler that might not look like the most coordinated guy, but he makes up for that with violence. His clinch takedowns are money, and his social media game is pretty dope too, while we’re at it. He’s not as well-known to a lot of US-based fans, but he’s certainly fun to watch.

He has the pleasure of tangling with Kyokushin Karate fighter Mikio Ueda (1-1), who braved the infamous 100-man Kumite not long ago.

RIZIN 43 takes place Friday night into Saturday morning for those of us stateside. More viewing information available here.

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About the author
Victor Rodriguez
Victor Rodriguez

Victor Rodriguez has been a writer and podcaster for Bloody Elbow since 2015. He started his way as a lowly commenter and moderator to become the miscreant he is now. He often does weekly bits on fringe martial arts items across the globe, oddball street combat pieces, previews, analysis, and some behind-the-scenes support. He has trained in wrestling, Karate, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and the occasional Muay Thai and Judo lesson here and there. Victor has also been involved with acting and audio editing projects. He lives in Pennsylvania where he plays way too many video games and is an S-rank dad.

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