Eight fights announced for RIZIN 44 including ex-champion Kleber Koike, UFC veteran Todd Duffee
Former RIZIN featherweight champion Kleber Koike will get another chance at 145 pounds when he returns to the ring on Sept. 24 opposite Masanori Kanehara. Koike was the featherweight champion but lost his title on the scale in June, missing weight for his title bout with Chihiro Suzuki.
Koike (31-6-1, 1 no contest) made short work of Suzuki with a first-round submission victory, but the official result stands as no-contest since he had missed weight the day before.
Kanehara, 30-14-5 in MMA and a veteran of the UFC, Sengou and many other Japanese promotions, looks for his fourth straight victory under the company banner at RIZIN 44, going 5-1 since parting ways with the UFC in 2016.
The Japanese promotion announced seven other match-ups for RIZIN 44, including the debut of UFC veteran and former KSW heavyweight contender Toidd Duffee.
Duffee (9-4, 1 no contest) recently returned to the sport after more than three years to challenge Phil De Fries at KSW, losing via first-round stoppage. He faces Tsuyoshi Sudario in his first match in Japan since 2010, battling a former sumo wrestler who holds a 7-2 record in MMA.
Check the current RIZIN 44 lineup below.
Kleber Koike vs. Masanori KaneharaJuntaro Ushiku vs. Kyohei HagiwaraSpike Carlyle vs. Yoshinori HorieYoshiki Nakahara vs. Rikuto ShirakawaKazumasa Majima vs. Takeji YokoyamaTaichi Nakajima vs. Ryo OkadaShoma Shibisai vs. Janos CsukasTsuyoshi Sudario vs. Todd Duffee