Kleber Koike clashes with Patricio Pitbull at Bellator vs Rizin on December 31st.
Koike appeared on Bowks Talking Bouts and touched on multiple topics before this hugely consequential cross-promotional fight. Excerpts from our chat are below.
Koike’s history with Rizin NYE shows (having debuted on their 2020 New Year’s Eve event) and if this one is the biggest NYE effort of his career so far
“So yeah you know, all my fights are big fights and I take every fight seriously. I train hard for every fight. But it’s just natural that for this fight at this point in my career, I have been training the most. I’ve been constantly training hard, constantly taking fights.”
“So I put this fight definitely as one of the biggest fights in my career. But again, I have been training the most for this fight and I think I am the most ready to take this fight throughout my career. So my thing is to continue to train hard, continue to evolve, and continue to take great fights. This one is definitely a great, tough fight.”
Kleber Koike having only gone the distance five times in nearly 40 MMA fights, his flawless submission rate in Rizin, and how he sees this Pitbull bout playing out
“So I think the most important part for me is that I have to believe. I believe that I can get that submission. I need to go in there being confident in my abilities to get that submission win. Obviously, you know, Pitbull is no pushover. He’s got great power in his hands, he’s got knockout power, and he’s a different opponent. He’s a different breed, definitely something special. I know that this is going to be a very tough fight. But I believe in my style, I believe in my jiu-jitsu. I trust my jiu-jitsu and I’m confident that I can get that submission.”
Bellator vs Rizin
The feelings associated with sharing prominent spots on this historic event with Bonsai Jiu Jitsu compatriot/Rizin lightweight champion Roberto ‘Satoshi’ de Souza
“So I’m very grateful for this opportunity and it means a lot for me to be competing on the same event as Roberto. We’ve done this before, we’ve fought on the same event before, and we both won. ‘Satoshi’ became a champion. I followed, I became a champion. So it’s a great story that we’re writing here in Japan. I’m also very happy and grateful that I can be representing Japan; my home country.”
“I can be representing Japan with Roberto and that also makes me very happy. Like I said earlier, we fought on the same card before. We both won. Both had some significant accomplishments. But now we’re fighting on the same card again and we’re both taking on the world. So you know, I think this is a great way for us to just kind of leave our names. Just leave our legacy in the new era of the fight industry.”
I’ve been enamored with combat sports for as long as I can remember. I’ve hosted MMA talk shows Lights Out and Pure Fight Radio with featured guests like Jens Pulver, Roy Nelson, Miesha Tate, Mark Coleman, and more. I’ve been an MMA broadcaster for XFFC as well as BTC and have done play by play commentary on live pay per view on GFL as well as FITE TV. I’ve provided written, audio, and video content covering some of the biggest MMA promotions like Rumble in the Cage, Unified MMA, and King of the Cage. I’ve worked as a sports entertainment personality for over five years and given play-by-play or featured promotions of KSW, ONE Championship, TKO, and Invicta FC. My work can be found in the USA Today Sports affiliate MMA Torch, Cageside Press, MMA Sucka, and Liberty Multimedia.