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Kleber Koike explains his submission scream — ‘It’s kind of become my trademark’

“As a professional athlete, I don’t think I should be doing it.”

Kleber Koike is arguably the world’s most dangerous Featherweight when it comes to the art of the submission — and he’ll let everyone know it before his opponents are even able to tap.

A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blackbelt with 24 submission victories on his resume (28-5-1 overall) in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), the former Konfrontacja Sztuk Walki (KSW) titleholder has been flawless in the RIZIN Fighting Federation ring since making the move in Dec. 2020.

3-0 inside the RIZIN ring with two triangle chokes and a brabo choke, Koike has played to the crowd in all finishing sequences by screaming at his opponents as they’re drifting off to sleepville. The Bonsai Jiu-Jitsu product admits that he never intended on displaying this level of savagery... it just kind of happened.

“It’s kind of funny because it’s what the fans expect from me now,” Koike said on BROADENED HORIZIN. “It’s kind of become my thing when I have the submission secured. It’s something that hasn’t been thought out, I didn’t even think about it. But it just kind of came naturally. I think it’s because I’m very confident in my submission skills and I know exactly when it’s set. Now it’s kind of become my trademark and it’s very exciting.

“As a professional athlete, I don’t think I should be doing it. That kind of performance is kind of unprofessional in my mind. But from a business point of view, fans like it and it kind of gives me that extra edge as a fighter and character. I think I should continue to do it. I know I shouldn’t, but at the same time I think I should.”

Koike’s last victory was one of his personal career highlights. The Sao Paulo, Brazil native defeated Mikuru Asakura in the RIZIN 28 headliner last June. Just under two minutes into the second round, it was vintage Koike once again as he had the Japanese superstar snoring after being locked in a deep triangle.

A title shot was logical prior to the win for Koike but instead, he would just further solidify his spot as the top contender. However, a foot injury kept him out for an extended period which led to him missing out on his shot against then-champion Yutaka Saito.

It’s the dream of both Koike and his teammate, RIZIN Lightweight champion Roberto “Satoshi” de Souza, to hold titles together. They’re halfway there and Koike will do whatever it takes to make their goal a reality.

“We do want to become the champions together,” Koike said. “But for me, I understand that there is an order for the title challenge, but I don’t understand why it’s not me, right? If there were rankings in RIZIN, I should be the next in line to fight [current champion Juntaro] Ushiku. If there’s rankings in RIZIN, I should be above Asakura, although Asakura’s been on a two-fight winning streak, he’s been fighting lesser competition and I beat Asakura so I should still be above him.

“But with all that said, I’m gonna wait, I’m good with waiting for the opportunity and as we said in our last interview, Satoshi and I will both be champions at the same time, it’s just a matter of time.”

Next standing in Koike’s way is former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweight competitor, Ulka Sasaki who has bulked up to 145-pounds. The pair will headline RIZIN Trigger 2nd on Feb. 23, 2022.

The bout acts as a return to the cage for both men as they’ve recently battled in the RIZIN ring. For Koike, he finds additional comfort in the chain-linked enclosure as he believes it benefits his grappling approach.

“There’s always a risk of him pulling a surprise move on me and he’s always wanted to fight me so I’m sure he has a plan and I’m sure he’s confident, I’m sure he’s motivated,” Koike said. “But everybody has a plan coming into the fight. And I know that. His confidence, his motivation, that doesn’t really matter to me.

“Talking before the fight and executing is something completely different. You can do all the trash talk you want, promote the fight all you want, say what you want, once the cage door shuts it’s just you and me.”

Watch the full episode of BROADENED HORIZIN in the video above or you can listen on Spotify.



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