CB Dollaway

画像: CB Dollaway

How do you feel?
I feel great. Classic striker vs wrestler. I feel like I'm the more well rounded fighter. it's going to be a great fight. a very exciting fight. Travel went well, everything is on point. I’ll be ready to go on new years eve. Impression of opponent?
He's very tough, fierce striker. he does lack a ground fighting game. that happens to be my speciality. How do you think the match will develop?
I can see my finishing the fight by ko or sub. I'm a very well rounded fighter, I'm dangerous everywhere, and I'm looking to finish.
Do you have a wrestling background?
I have a deep wrestling background. but I've been doing mma for 12 years - kickboxing, boxing. I started wrestling when I was 5 years old.
Tell us about your nickname.
My first trainer said in sparring and wrestling I fight like a dog, so it mixed with my last name, Dollaway, doberman.
On the card, your training partner Yusuke Yachi will fight. How do you feel about him being on the same event?
it's great to see a lot of familiar faces, I also saw Rampage and Fedor. Rampage was my coach on the ultimate fighter. Johnny Case was a teammate of mine too. It makes you feel at home. It's not a strange place, a lot of familiar faces.
You’ve had a suspension from USADA and then you come to RIZIN. do you think rizin will be your main stage for a while?
I'm very excited. I've always wanted to fight in Japan, its similar to PRIDE. I watched PRIDE fights coming up, RIZIN has the same rules, same arena. I always knew in my heart I would get to come here and fight and now the moment has arrived. I'm gvery grateful to fight for a title in my first fight. On new years eve it's going to be a grand event and I'm very excited.
Would you tell us a little bit about USADA?
I had a stem cell procedure done in Mexico. They added peptides to the these things they gave me to take. I was unaware of it and we do a thorough investigation. USADA still upheld their 2 year suspension, but the UFC gave me my release to fight somewhere else instead of holding me for 2 years. You've had about 20 fights in the UFC, you're a household name. how dangerous do you view Jiri in comparison to your past opponents?
Of course. He’s coming in with a lot of confidence, he's a champion. I've faced the who's who of MMA, I'm not gonna back down from anyone. He's 28 years old, I'm sure he’s gonna come and try to knock me out. I'm excited for the opportunity. It's going to be an amazing experience.
Do you feel that moving up to light heavyweight will allow you to show more in your fight?
Yeah, it wasn't even an option to stay at middleweight. people who saw me make middleweight said I gotta move up. I kinda died out it was hard to get down to middleweight. I start my camp at 225, going down to 186. when I was younger you make weight and snapback easily. it's like going out and drinking,
you don't recover as fast when you're older. just getting older I needed to move up. I keep a high pace, so I need that gas tank.

Miyuu Yamamoto

画像: Miyuu Yamamoto

How do you feel right now?
It's been a long time since my last match. It was a disappointing feeling last match. I’d like to get a win and release that frustration.
Impression of opponent?
My feeling on the opponent is that she is dangerous, I need to use all my moves to win against her. What kind of fight will it be?
She’ll probably come out kicking. But I don't want to get into her pace. I want to get her into my pace. That's a must.
What is your theme to color of hair?
It’s similar to the singlet I'm going to wear. It's kind of a marble rainbow-colored. the image is sort of like a mermaid. so I dyed my hair pink, orange, blonde. came up with that I haven't done any blue. I chose blue, and it's also a cool color so I’ll try to keep my head cool.
What did your children say?
They were surprised, it's sort of like an anime so it looks cool.
Last time looking back, did you see any good points through the loss?
I needed to try to take the match into my pace. I was adjusting to her.my frustration started building. I need to be cool and also sometimes get hot.
Your whole crazy family is joining the event. What do you think you need to do to have a party type of event?
I think Yachi will do his thing, so I’ll just be concentrating on my match and going to Guam afterwards.
This will be your 3rd time on NYE, how do you feel about that?
My goal is always to be on the year end match. I begged Mr. Sakakibara to put me in on one of the matches.
Is there anything different between training in Japan and Guam?
I'm very familiar with my training. I put 100% into it. This time I've been concentrating more on my standing. I've trained at AACC under Coach Abe with women.
Do you think you'll be fighting standing striking type of match?
That's one thing, but it's necessary. if I don't do that, it'll probably be the same sort of match like the last match I had. I need to be prepared to try to be effective in the standing and striking also. I also want to be a fighter like that, and then go into my tackle.
You've trained with Hamasaki and other women fighters. How was that experience?
Of course I was very excited having to train with Hamasaki. Totally, I've had to train with women fighters getting to feel directly their abilities. It's much different than training with men.

Luiz Gustavo

画像: Luiz Gustavo

How do you feel about the match being 2 days away?
I'm very happy coming here to Japan and being able to fight. I'm ready, I'm very confident.
What kind of match do you think it will be?
I’d like to show these fans a good fight. I hope everybody enjoys it and I’ll have a good win. I’ll just do my best, I think it will be a very interesting match.
What is your impression of Patricky?
He's a very well known fighter. He has a very excellent capabilities so it's gonna be a match.
Are you concentrating on the first match or alaso looking ahead to the finals?
I've been considering thinking overall. ive been training that way. but first I'll just concentrate on my first fight and then I’ll think about the next match. I will be a champion.
Do you have any impressions on the other semi finals match?
I don't really think about the other side. My match of course I'm gonna win. Whoever wins the other side, I’ll think about that later.

Amp the Rocket

画像: Amp the Rocket

I feel a little bit nervous.
What is your impression of the opponent?
I just met her in the hallway. I only saw her on video. I was very happy to meet her in person.
What kind of match do you think it will be?
Miyuu’s got a great wrestling ability. I’d like to try to knock her out before she can come to me with her wrestling skills.
This is your second fight in RIZIN. What is your impression of RIZIN after having actually fought your first match going into your second match?
This time will be my second match in RIZIN, so I know having experienced my first match what the atmosphere is. This time is a year end big event. I feel a little bit nervous.
Could you tell us your impression of the Japanese fans?
Last time the Japanese fans were cheering for me, so I appreciate that fact. But they know well about mma and they cheer for everybody, so I have a good feeling for the Japanese fans.
Is there anything that you've been specifically training for this match?
I've trained in Thailand with my national team. I haven't specifically trained anything but just tried to improve my MMA skills overall.
Which national team?
Thai’s jiu-jitsu national team.
Does that mean you’ve sort of emphasized jiu-jitsu this time?
There's an event called C-games in asia. I've entered that tournament in jiu-jitsu so absolutely yes my jiu jitsu capabilities.
Can you tell us your results at the C-games?
I was third at the C-games.
An opponent you fought against Loma has gone to the UFC and doing very well. do you have any feelings about that fact?
For a Thai fighter in MMA everybody has a possibility of fighting in the UFC. If she can fight in UFC then I think that I have the capability to fight in the UFC also.

Manel Kape

画像: Manel Kape

Could you tell us your feelings with the match a few days away?
I'm in very good condition.
What is your impression of your opponent?
I think Asakura is an excellent fighter. His style is very aggressive and he needs to put his life on the line. I like that, I think it's gonna be great.
What kind of fight do you hope it will be?
I have a good strategy this time. I hope he comes to me aggressively, I just hope we have a good match. I hear that you have 5 brothers. Is everybody into MMA or any other sports, can you tell us about your family a little bit?
Thank you for asking. The biggest brother is a boxing champion in Africa. He had possibilities of going to the Olympics, but unfortunately he wasn't chosen as the angola representative. I'm the 2nd, the 3rd one is participating in boxing and mma. The smallest brother is boxing and soccer. The 4th brother is boxing and mma.
When have you turned into a full time professional fighter?
I was playing soccer until I was 18 years old. back at that time I started to injure the referee. I turned into mma since then. I was about 18 or 19 when I started in MMA. But, I have to. I lived in Portugal and my mother moved back to Angola. I was working as a bouncer at the restaurants and bars in Portugal. when I started fighting full time is when I debuted at RIZIN.
Where is the biggest point that you've improved since your last fight?
It's not that something has changed since my last fight to this fight. Every time I look back, I adjust and change things anytime I have a match. so overall i've been improving. I'm not a fighter that used to be very explosive, but i'm able now to think about what is happening in the match.
what is the most important point or aspect do you think in trying to beat Asakura?
I know his weaknesses and strong points. I've fought against his brother mikuru, I thought I had won that match. I know everything about the Asakura brothers. About the match, I think I will win in the 2nd round. ive been saying that from before. so id like to make that happen.
How do you feel right now?
I'm not really thinking that much about Asakura. I'm concentrating on myself and what I need to do. the fans I understand its a very interesting and important fight for the fans. but it's just another match for me. of course id like to win but maybe after I get the win the importance will sink in.
If you win, you will win the championship belt. if you take the title, what kind of plans do you have defending the title next year?
I'm only thinking about the match on 31st that all. Following the bout, defending the title next year, but that's up to RIZIN. It doesn't matter who comes. Who ever RIZIN puts up against me I'll fight them. I've heard you've been training in Thailand. Is Thailand the place where you train before matches?
Yes. I've trained this time in Thailand and also previously too.
How do you feel about your match being the main event at the Saitama Super Arena?
I am thankful to God. It feels like I’ve finally gotten this opportunity. I've been fighting very hard at RIZIN. I feel very proud to be the main event and it's a very exciting feeling. For me personally, my feeling is that I’ve won every match at RIZIN. Thats my personal feeling. I've had a great experience with RIZIN. everyday I strive to fight here and looking back on my matches, preparing for my next matches. I wish to improve my mental and physical. I always look forward to the future. This year end match also is exciting and I'm looking forward to it.
Where have you been working out in Thailand?
AKA gym. American Kickboxing Academy.
There are other African champions in other promotions. Does that give you inspiration or motivation seeing that?
Everyday I look in the mirror, I am my own motivation my own inspiration. Since I was born, I am my own inspiration.
You said you feel like you havent lost in RIZIN. If you win next time, you winning streak will be going?
Yes, I feel that I haven't lost any matches in RIZIN. The results might be different, but within myself I don't feel that I have lost any matches here in RIZIN. If I win the next match the streak will be continuing myself.
In RIZIN you and Vitaly Shemetov take a lot of attention from fans. You are the popular non-Japanese fighters. Do you think when you get the belt you can improve your popularity in Japan?
I don't think about this. I think that in my life everything that I do is a consequence of what I do. I don't think about “I'll be more popular”. I think money, popularity just comes. I don't think about this. I just think about being a champion, be a winner in every fight and learn about everything. It all just comes together. I don't think about being popular, I don't force anything, I let life give me this.

Jake Heun

画像: Jake Heun

How do you feel right now?
Outstanding! it's great to be in Japan for the NYE card. gonna put on a show for everybody and have a few drinks after the win!
Impression of opponent this time?
My opponent is a former Olympic champion. It's a big deal and I'm looking forward to getting him into a fist fight, not having a judo match.
What kind of fight do you want?
I think he will circle and fight boring. I'm gonna try to push the pace and get some blood on tv.
You've fight at 205 and hw. Which weight class do you want to settle at?
Whichever one they wanna give me the belt at. I feel great at 105kg. it doesn't allow me to get fat. the cut to 93 is getting more difficult as I age . I want that fight back with jiri. but if they give it to me at heavyweight I want that too.
What will your entrance theme be?
You gotta stay tuned, I can't tell you that!
So last time you hinted it was disco, what genre now?
It might be some Freddie Mercury action this time!
You’ll show us something?
Having Ishii as your opponent, have you prepared any judo throws?
Yeah to an extent. You always practicing against those sort of things. At the event of the day its not a judo match, there's no ippons. It's gonna be a fist fight. he's gonna have to get into my world to do that. Do you think you can take down Ishii?
My favorite takedown is a right hand, so we’ll see if we can take him down with that.
Inspiration for that tattoo?
A friend gave it to me for free in Thailand. I wanted a samurai mask on my neck, but I got it on my hand to look scary. It's hard to get into the sauna.
Do you want to fight for a belt soon?
100%. I don't know about next. by the end of 2020 I will have one of these belts straight up. 205, hw, openweight, I will have one of them.
Did you believe in 2020 you’ll fight in a tournament or just title fight?
100%, if they do a tournament, sign me up tomorrow. do an openweight grand prix. get all the big boys out here and let's have a good time.

Shintaro Ishiwatari

画像: Shintaro Ishiwatari

How do you feel?
I look forward to my match.
What is your impression of your opponent?
I think he has strong grappling abilities.
What kind of match do you think it will be?
I think it's gonna be a pretty close ability wise. The match itself won't be as close.
Tell us what do you mean by that?
I'm not gonna say anything about that.
Do you think that it will be a match that you're going to dominate?
That's what I imagine.
You’ve been training in Japan?
Yes, i've been honing my skills here.
It looks like you're a little skinnier than usual.
I've been losing weight ok, so it's as usual. If my opponents going to win he's going to the distance.

Johnny Case

画像: Johnny Case

How do you feel?
I feel great man. I feel my energy is good. ever since I landed, I feel ready to go out there and win this title.
What is your impression of your opponent?
3 of the best guys in the division. they're all good. not taking anything away from them. but were all fighting for a title. everybody should have some skills. just looking forward to going out here and showcasing my skills, I'm looking to show the Japanese fans who I am. I will be the RIZIN lightweight champion.
What kind of match will it be?
I've been thinking about it a lot. it's really like whos gonna take the most damage in the fight. idk if the other fighter will take a fast win or come with damage. you gotta be prepared for the worst and hope for the best. Tofiq is a dangerous kickboxer a really exciting fighter. he presents a lot of danger. ive prepared for that, I'm just ready to go out there and implement my tactics and show the game plan that is going to beat him.
Does it help going into a fight with respect?
I don't care dude. at the end of the day, it's really all on my shoulders and how I carry myself and how I present myself. its cool the thing is. out of 30 pro fights, you're usually best friends after you fight, you're almost always cool after the fight. were two warriors, we do what we love it wouldn't be possible without each other. it's all love but he still gotta get his ass kicked.
You are looked as one of the best contenders to win. What do you think?
I agree.
What are the points you think you are superior to Tofiq?
The tactics. How to fight. seeing the fight as a whole. understanding his strengths, stay away from his strengths, dictate the fight in my strengths.
You think that you'll be able to probably be one of the healthiest or least damage of the 4 going in?
that's the goal. I came here prepared to fight all 3 of these guys if that's what it takes. going in with a broken hand, a broken nose, I'm know how far I'm willing to go. it'd be nice to go in even. I'm pretty realistic, everybody here belongs here, everyone is dangerous. the probability of getting out of a fight unscathed is slim, I'll take whatever comes my way and deal with it.
You are always looking for the finish. But you have a corner, doctor stoppage and an unconventional finish vs souza. do you feel any pressure to do it by yourself?
I mean yeah dude I don't really care. but, the last 2 fights, I haven't gotten hit once in my last two fights. id like to keep that theme rolling.
The two fighters in the other bracket, what kind of impression do you have against them.
tough dudes. both coming to fight, ready to fight, and I expect nothing less. but I want that, because when I win this tournament, there will be no excuses. I'll beat the best guys with no questions.
Did you study Japanese?
Yeah, I have a from who lives in LA, ive been trying to learn japanese. learning another language is not easy. definitely trying to learn a little bit.
Could you tell us your favorite Japanese word?
Why did you dye your hair?
Just wanted a change. I grew up in iowa. it's a rite of passage when you make state wrestling tournament you dye your hair.
The entrance is important. did you prepare anything?
that's one thing that RIZIN does, is the entrance and the spirit of the fighter, the fans really want that to show thru just as much as the fighting. I have a hard time being a professional and being in the right mindframe to fight while also being a character and showing that. we;ll see how I feel on that walkout, if it's all business, then no. But if I'm feeling nice and light, I'll show something. The finals, for sure, I'll put on a show for the finals.

Patricky Pitbull

画像: Patricky Pitbull

How do you feel right now with the match coming up?
I'm 100% ready. I'm very confident. I’d like to become champion in Japan where mma is considered the starting point.
Could you tell us about your impression of the opponent?
He's a very excellent and aggressive opponent. but I'm the pitbull there's no one better than me. I'm going to be champion, so I'm gonna beat him. I was born to become a champion. and I'm going to break down my opponent.
What kind of match do you think it will be?
All I know is that I'm going to beat him and become the champion. It will be my era, I will win, and there is no one that is able to beat me.
What do you think about your opponent being a brazillian and 10 years younger?
I think he's a tough opponent. I am going to beat him and I'm going to become champion.
What is your impression about Tofiq and Johnny?
I think both are very excellent fights. very aggressive and very tough. The other bracket will be interesting, but I don't choose opponents. I don't mind who I fight. all I know is that I'm going to be the winner. I'm just gonna concentrate on my first opponent. I don't think about him.
In the confessions video, Kawajiri talked about you when they had your match with you. he was surprised because you were so aggressive. Do you think that you'll fight in the same style as you did against him?
Of course my style is very aggressive. Its not intentional, it comes out naturally. I’ve been training hard and I'm here to become champion. In my daily life I'm not that way. I might get heated during training, but it's because I strive hard to become the best. That's not related to my personal character. I always strive for the best.
If you become the lightweight tournament champion, you'd also with Bellator, would you try to balance RIZIN and Bellator together?
I have the opportunity to become champion in Japan and the USA. I want to be champion in both countries, that's it. In order to realize that I have to work harder.
It seems like at RIZIN 19 in Osaka, you enjoyed. Are you enjoying Tokyo for this fight?
I went around Osaka a bit. I couldn't enjoy fully unfortunately. Osaka was a very nice city. I think Tokyo is a very nice city too. I wish I had more time to visit more places. I feel the samurai spirit, so in many ways Japan is very excellent country, education, and such. I admire the japanese.
what do you think is most necessary to win 2 matches in one day?
I don't know what is necessary, but it's just that to defeat my opponent in two matches. I'll show that in the ring. I won't be depending on the ref. If it goes to decision, it would probably hurt so much by then. You're on a 6 fight win streak with 5 kos.
of course I would like to keep this streak going.
have you experienced any 1 day tournaments even in your amateur career?
This is my first time experiencing a 1 day tournament. I’ve been training hard since I was a small kid. I dreamt of having this kind of opportunity, so I would love to win.

Kai Asakura

画像1: Kai Asakura

How do you feel right now?
It feels like the match is coming up. I'm looking forward to it
Impression of opponent?
I think he's a very smart fighter. Building his strategies into the match, executing his gameplans. he may be conservatieve.
What kind of match do you think it will be?
Maybe striking, maybe I can move around but it's gonna be a fun match.
you are the main event on NYE. do you think the pressure to be a star makes it a little hard to keep focus on your performance?
It doesn't really bother me, I don't think about it much. I just prepare for the match and try to win the match, that's what I concentrate on.
Is that the impression you have against Manel, is it the most recent one or something you had from before?
Its overall but I think recently he's becoming a little conservative. I think he's improving, but the recent two matches were opponents against fighters that were really good at striking, so he may have won the match by KO but I don't know how those two matches are going to compare against mine.
Have you been practicing your striking as from before?
Yes i've emphasized my boxing skills.
Manel Kape just mentioned that he'd like to finish the match in the 2nd round. What do you think will happen?
I don't think I need to knock him out or anything like that. I just try to show my skills and if a ko is the result, that's fine.
did you cross paths with manel at the hallways?
No I haven't.
You have a lot of success on youtube. A lot of people who aren’t mma fans are now looking. 2 guys try to intimidate you, and after you reveal who you are, they calm down and don't want to fight you in the street. Do you think those kinds of things make people want to watch your fights? After I started YouTube I was very happy that people got more interested into rizin and started going into martial arts and fighting and training themselves. I think that was a very good reaction and a good thing for us. id ike to continue to show my abilities in the ring and bring more people into RIZIN or MMA and provide them more interesting match so there is more interest in the general public.
Last match with Ulka Sasaki, you practiced with Nakamura K-Taro, how is that?
I’m more emphasized on boxing this time, so I haven't had training much with K-Taro. I’ve also put some emphasis on wrestling also. I felt that it was necessary for this match. I think he's gonna try to take me down so I'll defend that and try to take him down from my side also. I think that's necessary for the match.
is that wrestlign with amatuer wreslter?
No, not with pure wrestler, but wrestling moves in training.
The open session training, you think this ending will be very matching finish to your year?
Yes I think its a title match so it's going to be a good finish for the year of 2019.

画像2: Kai Asakura

John Macapa

画像: John Macapa

How do you feel?
I have made preparation so I'm ready.
Impression of opponent?
I respect my opponent. I respect every opponent that I fight against. After this match was made, I've been analyzing his moves and I thought he was an excellent fighter. I look forward very much to this match.
What kind of a match do you think it will be?
I think this match will probably go into the 3rd round. But I’d like to show the fans an entertaining match. I hope they have fun and come up with a good result and I hope to get called again for the next match. How do you feel about fighting in the Saitama Super Arena?
Saitama Super Arena was a dream place to fight and top Brazillian fighters like Shogun, Wanderlei, Minotauro have fought. So it's been a dream place for me. The fact that I'm going to fight in the arena this time I feel really proud. I'd like to show my team and Brazilians a proud result.
Why have you put your home city of Macapa in your name?
When I started fighting, I was just fighting as John. I didn't have any nicknames. The organizer named me Macapa from my hometown. I really like that so since then ive been using John Macapa as my name. Tattoo you have a cage and in the middle is a japanese kanji for belief (shin). Why is that?
I'm still a young fighter but I've been fighting my whole life since I was born. I was poor. I've had the lows in life. My house was caught on fire. After started MMA I tore my knee. I'm from Macapa. in order to continue my MMAcareer I needed to move to Rio de Janeiro and be away from my family, my home town. I was very homesick, had no one to talk to. I was feeling very low. I had surgery on my stomach. I didn't know if I should be able to continue my MMA career after that surgery. it was a big surgery. Fortunately, I was able to come back. I’ve had so many experiences but nothing can stop me from trying to continue my MMA career. I believe I'm going to succeed in MMA. I believed in myself to make this a living, so that's why I have the tattoo with the belief character.
Did you like my tattoo?
I love the Japanese culture. Including that, I put that character.
Your mentor what has he told you about fighting in Japan?
My mentor is quite busy right now. He's always thoughtful of me. He gives me advice and he's been analyzing my opponents. He's also fought in japan, he knows the culture, he knows the japanese. so he's told me to respect the Japanese people and be disciplined.
Where do you think is good about Mikuru Asakura, which points do you think you are superior to mikuru?
Like I said, he's very excellent fight, very impressive. I wanna have a good fight against him, and in order to do so, I believe that it's going to the 3rd round, maybe a decision. I'm able to bet him. to keep my
condition fit, and my condition will lead to the result of the match. but I think ive been well prepared and I think I can believe I can win against Mikuru.
How do you feel about the RIZIN vs Bellator series of fights, what do you think about being one of the representatives for bellator?
This is a very special opportunity. Fighting in Japan, this is a very big opportunity fighting in japan. because of bellator I was able to come. so I wouldn't want to disappoint Bellator and Japanese fans. I’d just like to have an excellent match.
There is discriminations in Brazil. Being from a small town like Macapa, have you felt any discriminations after coming into the world of MMA, keeping that in mind, Do you think it would be difficult to go to the top in mma?
It's a very important question. personally growing up in a poor family, I’ve had many difficulties growing up. but when I was living in Macapa, I had a good physical ability so I tried many different sports. Swimming, soccer, basketball, but nothing really stuck with me. just one day, friends brought me into jiu jitsu, I gradually shifted into MMA and I felt that MMA was good for me. I entered an event in Macapa, I fought 3 matches in one day, and the money was good. I thought in a very short period I could earn so much money and it was something that I like. I thought I could make this a living for me. I definitely felt this was my goal. I felt some limits in macapa because it's a small town, it's not that there aren't many great fighters, so I decided that the move to Rio de Janeiro was far but I thought I could continue and enhance my mma career. I didn't know nothing about Rio I didn't have any friends. I just became homesick. I just left my family my friends and came out in the big city unsure if I could succeed or not. I just happened to go on a reality TV in Brazil. It was a major network in Brazil. I was able to move onto the finals and my popularity grew nationally. and people in my hometown saw that and then I was able to move. With the reality show The Ultimate Fighter, my popularity grew and in no time I went back to macapa. there were many kids who went into MMA trying to become like myself, they've asked for advice from me, they're looking up to me. there are many initiatives to help the town of macapa. I try to be there as much as possible, so I'm trying to help my home community.

Patrick Mix

画像: Patrick Mix

How do you feel right now?
I feel great, a healthy weight cut. I just have 2 days to go so I feel great.
Impression of the opponent?
Hes tough, very experienced a lot of fights. but I plan to do what I always do. I run through my opponents.
What kind of fight do you think it will be?
We’re both pressure high pace fights and submission fights. He hasn't been finished in 8 years, so I plan to be the first one to finish him in 8 years.
You'll be fighting in the Saitama Super Arena, how do you feel?
There's no better feeling, it's the mecca of the PRIDE era, they’re saying its supposed to sell out. to fight in front of 40,000 people, it's more than I ever have. I plan to relish this opportunity.
I've heard that your background was at 15 you started wrestling, and I heard you’re a high school coach.
I started wrestling when I was in high school and started going to the gym my buddy here brought me in. He was a pro first. I was just a young kid going to the gym. 10 years later I'm here. I also coach in the high school. We coach at Sweethome high school. it's in Amherst New York. it's not my high school, just a local school where I work. Ironically it's a rival school of my high school.
What color belt do you have in jiu jitsu?
I specialize in no-gi. Black belt level. Catch wrestling.
Do you have any titles in catch wrestling?
No. High level wrestling, high school and college. No gi, I'm a specialist and I plan to show that on RIZIN 20.
Motoya has a jiu-jitsu background. How would you like to fight him?
I don't care about his jiu-jitsu background, none of that stuff. Patchy Mix, ichiban number 1. I don't care about his background at all. My grandparents gave me my nickname. My name is Patrick, but I go by patchy.
Grapplers tend to stifle each other, do you feel like you'll be able to demonstrate your striking or have you seen anything you can exploint in him?
No, I think I'm well rounded. It's not that I don't intend to beat my opponents, it's just that I dominate in one area. I look to dominate him in every single aspect. Not just on the mat, in between, on the feet and on the mat.
Did you expect to fight more here?
Bellator sent me over here so I'm just planning on doing my job here. My last name, in the mix, I'm in the mix. Once they see what I have. I want RIZIN to be excited about my game too. With this opportunity I want to make a long lasting impression with RIZIN as well.

Hiromasa Ogikubo

画像: Hiromasa Ogikubo

How are you feeling?
I feel excited.
Impression of opponent?
I think he’s a very strong fighter.
What kind of a match do you think it will be?
I won’t know until the match starts. so I can’t say anything much. If I can fight at my own pace that will be good.
When you saw youre on your own pace, does that mean slowly gradually wear him out into the 3rd round?
I’m not sure but maybe what I’d like to do.
Your opponent mentioned you don't have any finishing moves besides submissions.
I know I just have to fight him and see what happens. I think I have a chance of winning.
Many fans are looking forward to this match, what do you have to say?
I hope to show them a match they deserve to look forward to.
Have you done any different training towards this match?
I've been doing my usual training. Just maybe choosing southpaw training partners, that's it. other than that is usual.
On NYE match, do you think it's going to be a little different kind of match?
I don't think so, but just the environment being year end is special. Maybe mentally it will be a little different, I need to be prepared.
With your match against Ishiwatari, you like to show the people the best match?
Yes, I'd like to show an exciting match. The most exciting match on the event. If we both put it together hard, we can show the best match.
What will be the key point to winning?
I think, concentration. keep my concentration level up for the whole 15 minutes.
Maybe you've been said you're the 4 horsemen of bantamweight in RIZIN. That being said, do you feel as if this match may be the deciding one of whos the top in the 4?
I don't think that. I'm not worried about it. I don't think think much about it.


画像: Taiga

How do you feel?
My condition is very good. I'm well prepared. I’d like to have the match as soon as possible.
Impression of opponent?
I fought him last time so I know how he will come. He has long arms and legs. that's the biggest point.
Rematch, but how do you think it will turn out?
I’d like to have a KO. If it goes to the DEC there's no reason of having this rematch. I’d just like to finish the match.
Anything you've improved since your last match?
I worked on my weak points and I'm looking into his weakness.
Tell us some details?
Sorry I wont be able to do so. If I lose this match I won't have a long career. I’d like to have a solid match, show my capabilities and show my determination to win.
After this match, what do you have planned?
Right now I'm only thinking about this match but if I win then things should turn out to be good. Have you had training partners who were tall and long?
Yes thats what ive been doing. I felt that ive been able to adjust to that. I feel confident and like to have the match as soon as possible.
How do you view your previous match?
I should've stayed back, settled more. I can do that and start throwing punches.
After you win, do you want to enter world series match?
I don't know, I can't say anything about the future. I'm only worried about this match. If it's 63kg maybe that's too heavy for me. I can increase weight but after that it's going to be difficult to bring it down.
Last time after you lost up until this match, how have you prepared mentally?
I’ve lost once, so no matter what I'm determined to win. Determination is the point. The last match I had I wasn't satisfied with the referee's decision. But this time I'd like to have a fight that doesn't matter about what the referee decides. I felt that I would have a rematch, I don't think it would be this soon but I'm happy that it happened.
Where did you disagree with the ref?
The 2nd round that he made a decision that I was knocked down, I didn't get the punch so I don't think I was knocked down. The match is around the corner.

Ayaka Hamasaki

画像: Ayaka Hamasaki

How is your feeling?
This will be my 3rd time. having this match on year end is exciting.
Impression of opponent?
She’s a very good striker. I think she has not so many weak points.
What kind of a match will it be?
She’s got good striking abilities. I’d like to duck under her striking and bring her to the ground.
You work at the clinic?
Before the match I took time off. Other than that I still work
You went to Hiroshima to train this time? What did Fujii teach you?
Yes, I think I can use it in the match.
I've heard that you’ve been training against southpaw partners. Are you able to tell from anyone you trained with?
RENA can fight in southpaw to. she trained with me and other girls have the southpaw style. I'm sorry I'm not able to tell much in detail what I’ve done.
You trained together with Miyuu? Is there any sort of bond building between the rizin womens fighters?
This is the first time I trained with her. It sort of was like cheering each other on.
Have you sparred with Miyuu?
Yes. Grappling, standing, MMA style.
Did you feel anything you might face each other in the future?
Not really, it was just normal training. it was just training exchange. It was nothing that one teaches the other or vice versa. It was just a normal training session.
Going full throttle against Miyuu in training, knowing that your opponent Ham has sort of defending that tackle, how do you feel about that?
Yes I got tackled by miyuu a few times so I know that's incredible but we’ll see how the match goes. Using my legs, you don't really need power, it's just timing, so if there's time to use my legs I'll try to do that.
Your third match with ham seo hee, did you feel back then you would be fighting in NYE match? I didnt think about a third match back then. but at the best event and the best time I look forward to fighting her.

Lindsey VanZandt

画像: Lindsey VanZandt

Feeling before the fight?
I'm ready to go!
Impression of opponent?
I think RENA is a great fighter. I beat her once so I can beat her again. I'm excited to show even more of my skills.
It's a rematch, but what kind of match will it be?
I think it will go similar to last time. I know she has good credentials standing up. I'm not afraid of her standing up. It'd be smart of me to take it to the ground where I have more of an advantage.
This will be your 5th match this year. it feels like you have that toughness to fight 5 times in one year. where does that come from?
I love this sport. I'm passionate about this sport. I have a great team behind me that keeps me strong. I have a lot of ways to keep my body healthy and strong.
Maybe this is your first rematch in your career. how do you feel?
I'm excited, I'm open to new experiences. I want to check things off. I'm excited to be in Japan! Women's MMA is getting popular in Japan. After this match, is there any japanese fighters you'd like to face?
I would love to keep fighting in RIZIN. I would love whoever wins the atomweight title match.
RENA mentioned that she had confidence in her striking.
She caught me with one good punch in the beginning. I hit her with a lot of kicks, so I feel confident in my standing as well.
Being honest, having won by submission clearly, is there any sort of frustration towards a rematch?
I'm excited. It doesn't bother me it's another challenge. I feel like I have an advantage. pressure is on her, not me.
Looking back at RENAs fights, there was a certain point where she said maybe she wasn't fit for MMA. But she came back. What do you think of that mentality that she had?
She's an amazing stand up fighter. I was excited the first time because it's a challenge. ive been working a lot on my stand up, so I'm excited to test them against another stand up. I give her props for keeping on learning mma. were all here to get better.
Do you think RENA is fit for MMA?
I think anyone that puts their mind to it and keeps trying and getting better. she knows her weaknesses, I know her weaknesses. she knows what she has to work on. We’ll she if she's gotten better. I hope she has because it will push me.

Taiju Shiratori

画像: Taiju Shiratori

How do you feel?
Normal, I'm prepared for the NYE match. I also feel like I could fight right now.
What is your impression of your opponent?
I think he has KO capabilities. Some agility and speed.
What kind of match do you think it will be?
Last time it went into the 3rd round. I think it was an exciting match overall, but what I have in my mind is a dominating win. I'm not gonna give him anything. I will just be fighting and putting him down. So I've been practicing that way, I'd like to show that on nye.
Anything that you've been working on since the last match?
Last match I caught one punch. Thats dangerous occasions, but I’ve been trying to defend that in training. It went to decision, so ive been training to put him down.
Last time you won, and by accepting the rematch, what is the merit?
To be honest, I would've liked to had a different opponent. Having a rematch I feel to early. but it was decided so I'm gonna fight the merit for me is the nye match. some people who aren't normally watching mma might tune in. I’d like to show those new people about my strength. About my dominant
performance. Also, last time there were some dangerous occasions near the end. People think I might lose next time, but I want to prove them wrong. My image is beating Taiga.
Taiga mentioned that one of the downs he received wasn't really a down. What do you think about those comments?
Well you can say anything afterwards. Even though he doesn’t think it was a proper down, he went down so he can say anything he wants to. But this time I beat him properly. Fair and square. There's no meaning in a decision win. Last time I won by decision, so I need to win by knockout.
Do you have any future plans, maybe Bellator kickboxing?
If I win this time, I’d like to try to have matches with foreign fighters. There's going to be a rise tournament next year, so id like to do great in that tournament too. I hope I get a match with a foreign fighter next year.

Tofiq Musaev

画像: Tofiq Musaev

How do you feel?
Normal, I'm prepared for the NYE match. I also feel like I could fight right now.
What is your impression of your opponent?
I think he has KO capabilities. Some agility and speed.
What kind of match do you think it will be?
Last time it went into the 3rd round. I think it was an exciting match overall, but what I have in my mind is a dominating win. I'm not gonna give him anything. I will just be fighting and putting him down. So I've been practicing that way, I'd like to show that on nye.
Anything that you've been working on since the last match?
Last match I caught one punch. Thats dangerous occasions, but I’ve been trying to defend that in training. It went to decision, so ive been training to put him down.
Last time you won, and by accepting the rematch, what is the merit?
To be honest, I would've liked to had a different opponent. Having a rematch I feel to early. but it was decided so I'm gonna fight the merit for me is the nye match. some people who aren't normally watching mma might tune in. I’d like to show those new people about my strength. About my dominant
performance. Also, last time there were some dangerous occasions near the end. People think I might lose next time, but I want to prove them wrong. My image is beating Taiga.
Taiga mentioned that one of the downs he received wasn't really a down. What do you think about those comments?
Well you can say anything afterwards. Even though he doesn’t think it was a proper down, he went down so he can say anything he wants to. But this time I beat him properly. Fair and square. There's no meaning in a decision win. Last time I won by decision, so I need to win by knockout.
Do you have any future plans, maybe Bellator kickboxing?
If I win this time, I’d like to try to have matches with foreign fighters. There's going to be a rise tournament next year, so id like to do great in that tournament too. I hope I get a match with a foreign fighter next year.

Tenshin Nasukawa

画像: Tenshin Nasukawa

How do you feel right now?
I just need to lose some more weight. My condition is great. There's no problem.
What is your impression of your opponent?
He's a strong fighter. but I know that I’ve been working to put him down. Just not the sort of thinking that I can beat him. I'm going to beat him. I’d like to have a dominating win. Like NYE party. I’d like to shoot some firecrackers up.
Most people outside of Japanese believe Ebata is your toughest opponent. Do you believe that? I'm not sure if he's the toughest, but maybe one of the toughest. That's how I feel about him.
Scott Coker expressed some interest in signing you and bringing you to compete in Europe.
Yes I heard that. it's an honor. I'm very happy that he mentioned that. Bellator is an MMA main event. To mention to have me in a kickboxing event is truly honorable. I’ve been receiving different offers from different people but for Scott to mention that, if the timing is right, I would definitely be interested in being that event.
What do you think about fighting Kai Asakura?
I'm really not sure if so many people are saying that. If there are and if Asakura is willing to try kickboxing then I would definitely be interested. If the opportunity comes that everyone is talking that they want to see, then that would be the opportunity.
You changed your hair color to black?
My costume is black, so I adjusted to that.
The Japanese fans say that it's the #1 deciding match for 55/56kg weight.
Yes, my feelings are motivated. I feel happy that fans are saying that. It's been awhile since I fought in 56kg. Maybe it's been over a year. This past year I’ve been probably fighting at 57/58kg. I'm interested in myself how I can show my best performance at this weight. It's also in RIZIN so I’d love to show RIZIN previals.
You saw the open training to the media. Do you have any images that were different on video?
Not really much. video were within my expectations. I see from a wide perspective and train from a wide perspective. I felt again he has not so much weaknesses so I have to look from that point.
He says you fit his fighting style. Do you feel the same way?
I don’t know, I really need to fight him to know how I feel. I don't know how he's gonna fight me but I feel I fit his fighting style so I'd like to make a situation that he doesn't feel he fits my style. But, I fit his style very much. To create that difference. This time my father was my training partner and I hit him so much that he's aching right now.
It’s been awhile you haven't had an mma fight. are you thinking of doing one soon or just continuing kickboxing? if so, when?
I don't think I'm still in a situation to turn to MMA. Schedule-wise, all aspects. I don't think I should be doing mma and kickboxing at the same time. I would need to concentrate kickboxing or MMA. When the time comes I may decide to do so. Right now I'm only thinking about kickboxing.

Simon Biyong

画像: Simon Biyong

How do you feel?
I'm feeling good. I have traveled safely to Japan. I'm really happy to be here. Japan is a nice place. it's a dream come true to fight for RIZIN. I can't wait to perform.
Impression on opponent?
I don't know too much about my opponent. I only know he's a veteran kickboxer, he's got a lot of power and I'm prepared to face him. for me this opportunity is a big thing. I am ready to bring the show to the Japanese fans. I don't think a lot about my opponent. I'm only focused on my performance. I'm only focused to give the show to the Japanese fans and make people record my presence.
What kind of a fight do you think it will be?
It's an mma fight. Not kickboxing. This is not boxing, this is not wrestling, so I'm here to do MMA. I have a background as a kickboxer. I have a background as a basketball player. For me, I'm ready on all aspects of the sport. Wrestling, striking and I hope to finish my opponent. This is my goal, to finish him. I don't want to let the judge decide. I'm coming for the finish.
You just mentioned you have kickboxing and basketball background. when you started in MMA, it was when you went to Italy for university is that true?
I went to Italy for fine arts. I am painted. I'm an artist. in italy I have discovered mma 2 years ago. It was a new thing for me, and exciting thing for me. I found on the internet and tv. The first gym and I went there, my coach give me all the aspects of MMA. This is the kind of sport I want to learn. This is the sport I want to feel in my body. It gives me a new feeling, I said ok, I'm ready to learn a new sport.
I've also heard that you've had some struggles with earning money while you were studying fine arts. can you tell us about those times?
This was a hard time for me. Because I'm an African in Europe without family. My parents live in Cameroon. I was alone in this moment in the new country in a new continent. I was finding some jobs to support my study. It was not easy for me to study work and try to learn a new sport. In this period, I was helped by my coach and other friends. Today I can say this period of struggle taught me to be strong and never give up on what you want to do in you life.
There I'll be a light heavyweight championship. How do you feel about that fight? Also, there are many new African fighters coming along, how do you feel about them getting stronger?
Definitely, I want that opportunity to fight for the title. before to get the title, I have to get the win against vitaly. for me I'm focused one step at a time before the title, I need to be vitaly, then we can talk about the title. I also see this card, the current champion will fight an American. I'm also interested by this title. Maybe next year, who knows. We are in the right moment. In the beginning, Africa was put behind the other continents, but I think Africa got so much talent, but we need the support, the place to express ourselves. The place like RIZIN to give the opportunity to African athletes like me to perform and show the world we have something new, some heat to bring, and I think it's just the beginning. More African athletes will rise and put the continent on the map.
Would you like to follow the footsteps of francis ngannou?
he is in an american league, for me I really enjoy that opportunity to be here in japan and to be part of the story of rizin. I want to fight here more times I want to build my career also here. it's a nice place for me, I think Japanese fans got something different between all MMA fans around the world. I want to discover japan.

Mikuru Asakura

画像: Mikuru Asakura

How do you feel right now?
As usual. Nothing different.
What is your impression of your opponent?
I think he’s pretty good. He’s good more experience worldwide. I think it will be a good match to see where I am right now.
What type of a match do you think it will be?
It will be a striking match.
You wore the Hachimaki at opening weigh in. How did that feel?
I wasn’t cool looking, I just had to wear it, that’s why I wore it.
It was announced that there would be an event in Hammamatsu next year, close to your home. Any special feelings towards that event and maybe having a match there?
Your opponent tomorrow will be a good match to see where you are in the world. If you win, you might be well known worldwide. Do you have any plans after that?
No, I don’t have any.
What do you think about the success of your YouTube channel?
So it’s nothing that relates to the matches, winning and losing. It’s something that maybe if a new fan that gets interested into MMA that’s good for us. Maybe they see another side of me besides fighting in a match.
What do you think about the level of your opponent? He’s a veteran in MMA. Is it good for you to take this type of level of fight right now?
He may not be the very best, but the 4 losses he’s had are against top fighters. I think he’s at a pretty good level. I’d like to give him a 5th loss.
RIZIN is co-promoting with Bellator. Are you interested in anyone from Bellator?
Darrion Caldwell.
Caldwell will be having a match in January. Would you be looking into that?
I don’t know about that. I'm not interested too much.
Have you practiced any ground game to defend against him?
I haven’t done anything special. Basically just striking. My style is not to be taken down. So I don’t think I will be taken down. In case I do, I just have to get up and fight.
Your brother Kai is the final match. your match is a few matches before. Kai mentioned that he would like for you to be in the corner. How do you feel about that?
I wish I could be able to be in his corner. I'm just concentrating on my match. I don’t think he really needs me in his corner. I'm not worried about that.

Vitaly Shemetov

画像1: Vitaly Shemetov

Feelings right now?
Today I'm feeling the best. I'm very happy to come to Japan.
Impression of opponent?
I think you’ll be able to see on the 31st at the Saitama Super Arena. My opponent came from a warm place. I came from a cold place.
What kind of match do you think it will be?
I want to win just like any other fighter. My team has a game plan. I just need to execute the game plan on the 31st.
Have you been able to get into contact with Achiko-san?
That’s a very good question. The conversations have been going on. You’ll find out a little bit later on how it turns out. I won’t lie to her on this matter.
You will be in the red corner this time. Of course, you’re wearing red. Does that red corner give you extra power?
The red color in our country is the color of winning and the color of love. So I love this sport, and I love to express that love to the fans. New Years will be coming, this is a celebration. I’d like to celebrate together with everybody at the Saitama Super Arena.
What have you worked on since your last fight in order to win this fight?
Myself, my team have been working hard on everything in order to win. Nothing special, but we’ve done our best to try and win. Maybe just some training in the mountains. The area we live snows up to my height. I'm running through the mountain and snow with my trainer.
Being in a match as brothers, it should be like a dream come true for you. Tell us about being in the same event as your brother.
I really thank our fans who supported us. Under any circumstances, the support of the fans becomes powerful for us. The cheers and support really motivates me. I really appreciate that support online from the Japanese fans. They’ve sent us messages like “Shemetov, gambatte kudasai!” In order to answer such support, I would like to win the match and welcome the New Year.
You will be at the same event with Fedor. How do you feel about that?
It’s an honor for me. It will probably be Fedor’s final match in Japan. 3 Russians are participating at these events, its a very wonderful thing for Russia. So I’d like to enjoy it. This New Years Eve event is a very big event, so it’s a very big honor for us to be participating in it.
Did you meet Fedor this week?
So we’ve passed by each other. that’s about it, maybe exchanged some hellos. We don’t want to bother each other before the match. That’s about it.
This is a big opportunity to show your home country how special you are in Japan. What do you think?
I am from Siberia. There’s many different regions and fans. I'm still pretty popular. I have many fans in my home country. I've been fighting since 2002. If I start talking about my personal history in MMA that's really long. But I pretty much have fans in the home country.
What will you do differently in this fight?
I don’t really care much about his height. We’re in the same weight category. 2 legs, 2 arms. I also have fought bigger fighters in the past, so I'm not worried. We’ll see how it goes in the match when it starts. It is almost new years. From Siberia, we’re wishing everyone a happy new year. We bring the biggest love from Siberia. I hope to celebrate the new years with you. I look forward to that.

画像2: Vitaly Shemetov


画像: RENA

How do you feel?
It’s a very special event. This time it's a revenge match for me. Different than past years, so I'm into the fight.
Impression of opponent?
She’s a really strong fighter. Last time I couldn’t really believe in myself, I couldn’t bring out all that I have. Maybe that’s what she did to me. I don’t think that’s my capabilities. Maybe she said in the past that even if I go 100% she’d still win. Then I'm going to go 200% and beat her.
What kind of match will it be?
Striking I think I'm much more superior. I've planned my striking, I know she’ll try to take me down. This time it's a ring instead of a cage. She might be circling around and try to find a timing to come into me. If I have a change, I'm going to try to finish her.
It looks like this time you trained with all the RIZIN women fighters.
I trained at AACC with Ayaka Hamasaki. With excellent fighters, bringing in others. Both Miyuu Yamamoto and others. It was a wonderful opportunity to train with different types of fighters. It’s become a good experience for me. We have a common goal of ‘must win’.
You just mentioned on your Twitter hours ago that there’s going to be a live music performance when you enter.
I was trying to realize that and it was one of my dreams. I contacted them and it was realized so I would like to try to use that.
Last time it was in her home ground, this time it's in your home ground. You think you can bring everything out?
Yes, I think so. The fans are going to be a great motivation for me to win. It’s like a team effort. All for one, one for all.
You just mentioned in your last fight you couldn't believe in yourself. This time are you able to? Yes of course. I've pushed myself to the limit, probably over the limit. I think the results will be different this time. But I've been working hard since I started. I’d also like to have the fresh fighting that I felt when I started MMA. Last time was a first time in a cage for me. While I was fighting my corner man was leaving the cage. That was a concern, but this time I don’t have any worries. With the ring, there’s a corner, so I can try to push her into a corner and use my striking abilities. That will be an advantage for me.
At ground zero, when the card was mentioned, president of shootboxing, Cesar Takeshi, in a weak way that she might lose.
He’s just mentioned it that way so that I don’t feel the pressure of winning. I'm not worried about it, I just need to do my thing. I needed to change that into my motivation and power. I think that’s what’s his love against myself.
Any advice from Cesar?
Just be yourself. I hope I win and I’d like to make him happy.
What do you feel Lindsey’s strengths are?
I felt her striking was not as good as other opponents. But there’s many ways of winning an MMA match. It’s not just striking. Open finger gloves, if you get a punch, you might get knocked out in one punch, so you have to be careful.
What difference do you feel in fighting in America as opposed to Japan?
The difficulty of communication was difficult for me. Just before my entrance, I didn’t know if I could wear my gown or not. That made me more nervous than usual. But the experience itself was the pinnacle of sports. That experience was very big for my MMA career.
Are you interested in being more active in 2020 than previous years?
Next year there’s the Olympics in Japan. It might be chaotic. Kickboxing, shootboxing, MMA aren’t Olympic sports. We’re sort of away from that chaos. On the other hand, I'd like to make the other sports much more popular. If that’s one way of making the sport more popular, then I’d like to do so.

Rui Ebata

画像: Rui Ebata

How are you feeling?
NYE is coming right up. My condition is perfect.
Impression of opponent?
Tenshin is one of the main guys that are making martial arts exciting.
What kind of match will it be?
I think it will be something that no one has ever seen before. and I hope to make it that way.
Like you said, no one has ever seen. The training session that was on RIZIN Confessions video, is it something you’ve felt since you’ve seen that?
Yes pretty much.
You mentioned that you haven’t seen Tenshin move very much. But maybe it was the first time you actually saw him move, how did you feel?
His speed, the way he distances himself from his opponent, how he meets his punches. It’s pretty much impressive.
Is there any difference with the image you had of Tenshin?
The feelings became much more of a reality.
You’ve been on a 11-fight winning streak. You haven’t lost in the last 3.5 years. is that true?
Tenshin just mentioned that both of us are carrying each others organizations on our shoulders. He’s very excited. How do you feel?
I feel the same way. I've always carried my organization on my shoulders. I carry all of them on my shoulders. There’s so many things. It’s not that I'm gonna enjoy because of those things. Just being on NYE and trying to fight a very good opponent is something that I look forward to.
What do you think will decide the match?
With me being in New Japan Kickboxing, I'm very down to fundamentals. I can fight any type of fighter. That’s my strength, my fundamentals. If I just be myself, and give everything I got, I should win. Tenshin mentioned he fits his opponent, but his opponent does not fit him.
Fitting a fighter is something I think that won’t be a problem because I have solid fundamentals. I can build up on my fundamentals and adjust to anything because of that. That is my style, trying to adjust to any type of style with my fundamentals. If it becomes that kind of fight, I look forward to it.
Last year Tenshin fought Mayweather. How did you see that match?
I think he decided to take that match to try to make martial arts more popular in general. I was watching that on TV. I thought I could understand where he was coming from. This year its a much different match. But everyone should be able to enjoy our match.
Next year, a knockout tournament will take place. Do you look forward to that?
Yes, very much.
RIZIN has mostly MMA matches, but your match will be kickboxing. What kind of match would you like to show to the fans?
The speed, the enjoyment which only a standing martial arts fight could show. I’d like to show all the fans that everything I have.
Was there any routines that you have been doing on NYE?
I usually spend time with my family on NYE.

Ham Seo-Hee

画像: Ham Seo-Hee

How do you feel right now?
I feel so excited and I look forward to the match.
What is your impression of your opponent?
I've seen her for a long time. I feel so close to her.
What kind of match will it be?
It’s a title match on NYE and it will be the 3rd time facing her. It will probably be the most intense match we’ve had.
I saw on IG that you were training to build your power up. What was that for?
It was just to build the strength I need as an MMA fighter.
If you win against Hamasaki, do you feel that being #1 will sink in?
If I win against the world #1 fighter, it might sink it but that’s not my only goal, to be #1.
Then what is bigger than being #1?
Every match I go into with the same feeling. That’s about it.
Media compares you to Wanderlei Silva. What do you think about that?
First of all I thought maybe because I had a fighting style similar to Wanderlei. Gradually people say I'm similar then my face will start looking similar. Then I didn’t really like that comparison.
You and Hamasaki have good experience in Invicta and UFC. Will these experiences make a difference?
Of course we have deep experience. Coming from those experiences, I think this match will be a very exciting match.
Could you explain a little more about going into the match with the same feeling as usual? Every match is the same for me. Whether its a title match or not. I think during the match and I adjust during the match. I also try to enjoy every match.
Maybe your last match with Miyuu was rare. Was there anything that you learned from that match?
It was another experience that I was able to take against a wrestling based fighter. It was something that I could take back from was that the opponent has longevity. It’s possible.
You’ve successfully defended against Miyuu’s tackle. Was that anything you took from that match?
Trying to defend the tackle, I have improved my techniques. I'm trying to take the balance when avoiding the tackle. The type of tackle that she has was much different than my other opponents. I found some ways to defend the tackle, I think that was an experience for me.
The past 2 matches with Hamasaki, you lost by decision and by TKO. If you are to win, how do you imagine the win coming against her?
I would like to win in cool fashion, but I’ll do my best, give everything that I've got, and the result should follow.
In an old Japanese phrase, the third times a charm. Do you believe in that?
I think thats a nice phrase.
You just mentioned that defending the takedown was a good experience. Have you trained to stop Hamasaki’s leg moves?
Before facing Miyuu Yamamoto, I tried hard on my wrestling base. But this time I've tried to defend Judo based moves.
Were you training with Judo fighters?
Not any actual Judo fighters but Judo based fighters.
The last 2 fights were in a small arena. But this one is at the Saitama Super Arena. What would a victory mean to you in this environment?
Going into this match is the same as I said before. I started from 2007, I've come a long way so that’s a reflection looking back I’d be proud of myself.
This will be one of the biggest matches away from your home. Have your coaches given you any advice fighting away from home?
Maybe my coach was a little bit nervous since I lost twice to her. He’s always been telling me during training to keep a strong heart and I will win.
If you get a victory on NYE, what would be your next step?
What I see is only the next match that’s coming up.

Yuki Motoya

画像: Yuki Motoya

How do you feel?
I'm in perfect condition.
Impression of opponent?
He’s strong on the ground. He’s got good submission moves.
What kind of match do you think it will be?
I think there will be many ground moves.
Why do you think there will be many ground moves?
My opponent will probably use more grappling. He will try to catch me.
What type of move do you think he will come with?
I think takedowns, take my back and turn me around. He is excellent in those moves.
What is the best thing you have learned or improved during this training?
I've been increasing more MMA training. So the overall MMA training has been good for me. I've decreased some jiu-jitsu training.
During the weigh-in, all the Bellator and RIZIN fighters lined up. Did you see Patrick?
It was as I thought. We just had to be in the same elevator. We talked, shook hands and said let's have a good match.

Jiri Prochazka

画像: Jiri Prochazka

How do you feel?
I feel very good. I have a good strategy, I just need to execute it.
Impression of opponent?
I think he’s a very nice fighter with good qualities. Somebody coming from another organization and trying to take the title away is something that I do not like. But I think he’s a top fighter, so I look forward to that.
What kind of fight will it be?
I would like to control the match with the hands. I think he is a good wrestler, but for me whether he comes to try to take me down or standing, I'm going to defend that and move around and try to get the win.
For the training coming up to this match, have you trained elsewhere besides your home?
10 days after my last match I trained in Brazil. Jiu-jitsu, specifically jiu-jitsu. I’d like to try to utilize that. Duelo gym.
You just mentioned that people are getting the title shot right away and you don’t like that. But I heard that you had an offer from the UFC and you turned it down before this match. What makes you want to continue fighting in RIZIN?
The offer the UFC gave me was almost a year ago. The reason I turned it down was because I wanted to get a title at RIZIN. Now this time around, I need to defend my title.
Since becoming champion, this is the first time defending the title. You have a strong determination in trying to defend your title. Does that make a difference between your other matches?
Every match, I think that is the only match I'm going to have. It’s not that its a NYE match. Each match is unique. I give it my all in every match.
If you’re not going to the UFC, what do you envision for your future here in Japan?
I will consider what comes next after the match. I don’t have anything right now. I will think very carefully after the match. I will meet with RIZIN and what they consider. I will carefully consider different options. Do you feel like its a problem to fight someone who is suspended?
I think this is a chance to show that I can fight anyone who is taking anything, and it doesn’t matter. I know I'm on another level, and I will show that in this fight.

Satoshi Ishii

画像: Satoshi Ishii

How do you feel?
I look forward to it, it's been awhile since my last fight in Japan.
Impression of opponent?
He’s been fighting in RIZIN. I look forward to fighting him.
What do you think the fight will be like?
I don’t really think much of that. I think about myself and how I’ll fight.
You went to Mirko Cro Cop’s training place. Where do you feel that you’ve improved the most?
Whether I train, it's a matter of if I can use those things in my match. I’ll let everyone decided by watching my match.
What goals do you have in the future?
I’d like to be the best in the heavyweight division, in any kind of situation I would like to go into a match as normal as possible mentally. I would like to try to change Mr. Sakakibara’s mind in that I don’t think that he thinks good of the way I fight. I would like to change his mind. Not just showing I'm a different fighter, but change his mind. I think I need to show him my love to him.
Its been a short while since your last match.
That leads to being normal as possible in every situation. Even if the matches are so short that you can’t prepare for the next match. Going to a super market and buying your groceries, I hope a fight or match would feel like that.
It’s been a while since you fought in a ring.
I don’t really think much about that. I haven’t trained especially for the ring.
What would winning mean to you?
If I can show my fighting style, show what I've been training, that’s what I feel is important. That is my goal and I would like to show that to everyone.

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