Darrion Caldwell, Brandon Halsey Answer Questions Before Rizin 14


RIZIN Fighting Federation held media-day interviews with each fighter for the 12/31 card, please see below for the quotes from each fighter, provided unedited

Lion Takeshi

Q: How is your condition?

A: It’s 60kg, so i feel very good.

Q: We’ve heard about your opponent based on wrestling, how do you plan to fight him?

A: I think he’s very thinking, we maybe looking at each other for a while, but gradually we might start striking each other, so we’ll see how it goes.

Q: How was it when the offer from RIZIN came?

A: I was surprised, I didn’t understand what was going on. IT was like “oh, RIZIN came to me!” it was pretty short notice so I really wanted to be in the match, because its short preparation i didnt really think it would be possible. but after discussing with my trainers we gave it a go.


A: because its nye, and its very exciting to fight on nye.

Q: its been about 7 years

A: yes its been 7 years since my last time on nye

Q: there was a qhile where you havent fought, you started fighting again back in may, why did you come back?

A: i didnt win for a while, and i thought maybe i wouldnt be able to fight even if  i wanted to. but iw as still training, trying to com eback . and i made the last decision to fight a match, was very difficult for me to change my mind, move a step forward to actually taking on hard training thats involved in fighint.g but now i own a gym, inside myself i wanted to show my gym my students me fighting.


A: The last 3 years my physical condition has been good and improving.

Q: You just mentioned that youve been improving physically, could you explain in more detail?

A: The distance i have between my opponent in striking, i have more moves taking my opponent down, i have more ground moves, striking, takedowns, ground moves, ive improved in all those aspects.

Q: what about your style of fighting?

A: its very different from 7 years ago. 7 years ago i wasnt as strong as i am today. i thought i could take someone down, my striking. all or nothing type of fight, but now i don't have to take that position, because im better overall.

Q: who would you like to fight in the future at rizin? what goals do oyu have as a fighter?

A: when i was coming back in may, ive won two belts in shooto, id like to become a 3 time champion in shooto, thats my definite goal.

Q: until what age would you like to fight?

A: i havent thought of any age of quitting. i don't have any age in mind. i don't think age matters, thats how i strongly feel right now.

Q: is there any athletes other than mma that you look up to?

A: I look up to Kazu, the soccer player, over 50 still, playing.

Q: What do you do in your free time?

A: I own a gym, so i coach my people in my gym.

Q: What do you feel about mikuru asakura’s young age? anything freightining about him being young?

A: i think they have the energy, of course hes young, sharp. on the other hand, they don't have as much experience as i do. there still some parts they need to fine tune, so i see some weaknesses. theres both sides to fighting being young.

Q: ????????

A: ill just try to fight as always. i like to try to expose what ive been learning. i think his defense is strong also, but the key point might be the straight right hand.

Q: I just want to confirm with you, when you say your 3rd title in shooto, is that featherweight?

A: yes.

Q: When you usay youre learnign again from scratch of mma, what do you mean by that?

A: probably 10 years ago there were many fighters who were very strong in only striking or only ground moves, but now there are many many fighters that are good in both ways. and anything in between theyre well trained, so of course, this mma is progressing, improving, so the level is much higher right now. thats why i say i needed to learn from scratch again.

Q: In asakuras last match, he beat hioki, a veteran, what do you think about that?

A: it was shocking to be honest. hioki was one of the superstars, but maybe his knees werent as good after looking at the video of the match. if your knee is bad, you cant really move or put yourself in a condition to fight.


Brandon Halsey

Q: How is your condition right now?

A: Physically mentally im in a good place, took this fight on short notice, 3 weeks. we had a short but intense camp. I feel fresh, im in a good place.

Q: What kind of fight do you expect from your opponent?

A: I’m gonna control the pace in this fight. I’m going to pressure him, i think he’s going to fold, he cant handle my explosiveness and quickness. He’s gonna be a fish out of water. My pressure is too much for him, he’s going to be like a fish out of water.

Q: Your opponent is training with latifi and gustafsson, does that concern you at all?

A: Not at all. no one is going to imitate what i do. It’s going to be really hard to train for someone like me. the sheer pressure and wrestling, theres nobody who does it like me. I’m like the mike tyson of mma. If he can find someone who’s even close to my style, good luck to him.

Q: What do you do in your free time?

A: I have 3 girls, so lots of family time. my whole world outside of training are my daughters. i take them out and dress them up. Im a good daddy so i let them do whatever they want. thats pretty much what i do outside of training.

Q: Do you plan on staying at light heavyweight?

A: I feel alot better at light heavyweight. Being at middleweight was ridiculous. I’m a big light heavyweight. I feel fresher and more explosive. Even play around at heavweight, because i feel so good.

Q: You have a lot of experience competing in USA, russia, other places. will that experience help you against jiri prochazka?

A: The more fights you have the more experience you have. I traveled all over the world fighting and wrestling. Its nothing new to me. Its a day in the park for me. I think its going to present a big problem for him, stylistically. The pressure, the wrestling, its going to be too much for the guy.

Q: What are you expecting when you come to the arena, the fans the enegry?

A: I’m excited, nye events for rizin is one of the biggest events. being in the presence of 35k plus people, hearing the crowd, the famous announcer, its going to be great. its a new experience and im going to rise to the occasiion. I’m going to hae fun and put on a great fight for you guys.

Q: I know you love your 3 daughters, but youre away from them, are the daughters complaining?

A: I do this for them. This is work, this is how i provide for my family. I’m gonna put the best show on for them. At the end of the day i get to come home with a victory, its an even sweeter present for them.

Q: What is your impression of your opponent?

A: Me and my coach antonio mckee, we don't see anything thats really going to present a problem for us. As long as we stick to our gameplan, it should be a short night for him.

Q: Are you planning to keep fighting in Japan in the future as well?

A: Yeah I’d love the opportunity to return to japan. Im here to put on a show, id love to come back and continue to put on big shows.


Darrion Caldwell

Q: How is your condition right now?

A: I feel great. I havent felt better. I got bellator behind me, i got my team behind me, i got the world behind me. at the end of the day im here to do one thing and thats take over. I’m ready to put on a performance on monday.

Q: What kind of bout do you expect?

A: I don’t gameplan too much. I expect this guy to come at me full force, a lot of action the 1st round. hes like a ball of fire, he explodes well and comes forward. im expecting to get my hands on this guy and its going to be an early night for him. The way we match up, hes going to come forward and i thrive on fighters like that. You could call my game plan like my girls, sticking and moving.

Q: We’ve given you the questionnaire previously, there was a question asking who is your favorite fighter, you said yourself, could you tell the japanese fans whats your best part?

A: I’m the only fighter in the world who can take a fighter and throw him out of the cage or ring. Stay tuned - somebody’s getting tossed out of the ring.

Q: Could you tell us your current weight and target goal number of weight on the matchday?

A: Right now, I’m 142. fight night, im gonna get as big as i want to get. If I can gain 30 lbs, walk in at 165, ill go. We’ll see how the japanese food holds in.

Q: Have you been preparing for the RIZIN rules? Do you feel it favors you or not?

A: a fight is a fight, im there to take his head off, choke him out, break a limb. The rules don't really matter. I’m going in there to take his head off.

Q: What do you think about Bellator and RIZIN bringing a champion from USA to fight their champion.

A: Id like to thank bellator to send their champion. not a lot of big time organizations are willing to send their champions out to fight. we believe we got the best 135er in the world. credit to them for showing that. were here to prove were the best in the world, theres no one better in any other organization. Alot of organizations keep their champions safe at home. hopefully this snowballs into more organizations sending their champions to prove who is the best.

Q: Would you be interested in fightin in RIZINs leightweight grand prix?

A: You think i should join the light weight grand prix? I think so too. I’m coming for the 155ers too in RIZIN. Be on the lookout.

Q: Are you expecting horiguchi to come over to bellator?

A: I think if horiguchi to bellator it would beef up the division. We got alot of studs in our division. to add another one would be amazing. I think it would be a great idea for him to join the ranks.


A: In my free time im chillin with the homies, posted, chilling with the dawgs, playing video games. party a little bit. i just like to have fun. im usually a go owith the flow type of dude. you can catch me anywhere, from beasting it up at the YMCA courts to just chillin on my couch. innocent partying, not sniffin coke or anything like that.

Q: Do you think its time to show the fans and everyone that the guys coming froward and we have tough guys besides the ufc?

A: its important that the world realizes that fighting doesnt stop. the ufc is a global sport. theres fighters that havent even been tapped into that can take onufc guys. its just about where you are in life. everyones got different whays of getting somewhere. I train with all the guys, you are who you are, it doesnt really matter which organization youre in. If youre the best youre the ebst. thats what im trying to prove. Ill go to other organizations and fight to prove whos the best.



Q: How is your condition?

A: Physiclaly everything is good. mentally im not really nervous, but seeing all the press here, right now im a little bit nervous.

Q: hwo do you think the fight will turn out?

A: I think my opponent will come out striking. I’m not really a striking fighter. I hope to bring my opponent to the ground and hope i can finish them on the ground.

Q: About your career, at what age did you start wrestling?

A: I don't remember my age, but from a very young age. the reason was my mother started mein wrestling so i wont get bullied. probably i think in kindergarten.

Q: Have you seen rizin before?

A: Maybe half of the matches.

Q: Would this be your professional debut?

A: Yes.

Q: Maybe you had some blank period where you didnt fight?

A: I was teaching kids wrestling and coaching yoga. So I left onece crazy bee gym was going to yoga.

Q: What made you come back to mma?

A: I  thought it was somethign i could enjoy.

Q: What do you think about the striking aspect of mma?

A: theres some parts to that that im still afraid. and theres parts that im not, because im not experience so i don't know what to expect.

Q: You mentioned that youve improved in the last few months, what do you mena about that?

A: I’ve been able to gain weight, since ive been teaching yoga, i was 46kg, now i gained about 5 kg since then. I have improved in my power and when i was active in wrestling in high schol/college, i don tthink id go back to that point but ⅔ of it. Ive been able to recover.

Q: Which part is the hardest to come back?

A: Probably trying to gain weight is the hardest part. when i was still in wrestling, im still about 4kg lighter. so thats probably the hardest part. i still want to gain 4 or 5 more kg back to my wrestling weight.

Q: What is your beset move?

A: My tackel.

Q: is there any fighters that you look up to?

A: as far as fighting style, i look at fighters who have wrestling background, and plus i also would like to be good overall.

Q: is there any specific fighters you look up to?


Q: Is there anyone that youd like to fight in the future?

A: i don't know really yet, i probably need to get to know more people as i get along.

Q: theres a long way to the ring at SSa. do you have any performance in mind?

A: i havent thought about any performance yet.

Q: Could you tell us about the entrance theme?

A: I don’t know the title of the song. the reason i chose it was that it sounds a little traditional japanese, so i thought thatd be cool. not much deep reson to my choice.

what were you doing last year new years eve?

i was eating, sleeping at home.

no partiesS?

i don't party very much.

Q: Youve only been in mma for 3 months.

A: i don't know the backgrounds much but the krazy bee gym recommended me for the fight. so i will fight for kid yamamoto.


A: I could only do wrestling when i started, but i never thought that i would be fighting in professionally in mma.

Q: your opponent was training for mma but also still doing live performances, what do you think about that?

A: I havent been starting mma since 3 months ago, but my opponent has 1 and ½ years expereince, so she has a little more. i don't really mind about what she does.

Q: what do you do when youre not training or fighting?

A: i don't have anything that i could call as a hobby. i just rest at home.

Q: maybe fighting and training is your best enjoyment?

A: yes, other than that i rest at home. Im not really interested in many things, im not sure how to answer. anything i was interested up to now, even wrestling i cant say is my interest.


Yachi Yusuke

Q: How is your condition?

A: I feel really great. my training has been very good. its been great, its perfect.

Q: what about your hairstyle?

A: i was told not to show it as much, so im trying to hide it.

Q: what do you expect for the match?

A: i think the opponent likes to strike, he has a wrestling background, hes able to do anything overall. Looking at his videos i don't think that i should be scared of him. I was able to make a gameplan, i don't think that should be much of a problem. im trying to work on my weaknesses also. ive been trying to overome the weaknesses. its going to be a really good show, i hope all of you look forward to the match.

Q: could you tell us abou your weaknesses?

A: maybe midrange distance, ive been working on my ground moves. overall i think ive improved in mma.

Q: do you have any image of how youd like to finish the match?

A: i think my opponent likes striking, so maybe it will come down to striking abilities, i hope i can knock out my opponent.

Q: What do you have planned in the future?

A: i need to win this match, and then maybe the light weight grand prix next year, i look forward to that.

Q: What do you do in your free time?

A: Just hang out and have food, go for strolls.

Q: Who do you want to face in the light weight grand prix?

A: Im not sure but i heard there might be a collaboration with bellator, if thats the case id be happy to fight with those guys, all in all id like to face the strongest guy right away.


Kazuyuki Miyata

Q: How is your condition?

A: I need to lose about 3 more kg. Drop some fluids, other than that i feel good.

Q: What kind of match do you look forward to? Any specific plans?

A: I have much more experience, i don't hae any specific strategy but id just like to show what ive been doing.

Q: this time will be your retirement match, any thoughts about that?

A: A match is still a match, but its going to be my last match, i just want to have no regrets. when i was fighting in dream, i was just japanese against japanese trying to beat each other, if you lose, you have no chance. but this time i just want to put on a god show.

Q: its your first match in a awhile, how do you feel about getting back into match form?

A: of course training and a real match is different, but i don't see a real problem, ill be ok.

Q: this is your final match, its a memorial match for your oppnent, what do you feel of the latter?

A: im of course good friends with kid in the past, and i was watching him perform on tv. he made me think that i want to stop wrestling and goto mma, so i feel very strongly about that. my opponent being a nephew of kid, i think its very fitting for me to try to end my career against him.



Q: How is your condition?

A: I can say that its as usual. its been pretty good, i just need to drop off some fluid. i think its been pretty good so far. mentally i just need to fight the match. i look forward to the match very much.

Q: youve volunteered for the first match, what is your feeling going into the match?

A: i just like to show myself naturally how i am. in 2015 i been in the opening match of riin, i wasnt really sure of what was going on. but this time i like to leave some impact in the opening match and hopefully pass it over to the other matches.

Q: So you’ve just mentioned about the opening match, what is it to you the feelings about an opening match?

A: my very first mma match was the opening match at rizin, so its really a start a kick off for me. looking back i face myself honestly so i like to make a restart with this opening match.

Q: You’ve also fought in the main event. do you feel the opening match was very important in building up to the main event.

A: i really didnt feel anything back then, but now i feel the importantce, so hopefully i can ignite the crowd.

Q: were there any changes/adjustments you need to make?

A: last time i was wearing black, i was bringing out the darker image of rena. this time i just like to show what i have, i think ive improved overall, im probably the only fighter in the womens division who can knock out someone with striking, but d like to show my grappling too.

Q: was there anything different about your training for this fight?

A: to be honest it was a little bit earlier than i had planned. i first planned coming back in april. i wanted to help rizin make it more exciting. so im very happy that rizin thought i could be of use in the nye event. I gained weight since taking time off, so i had some challengines in dropping the weight ive gained, but other than that im looking forward to the match.

Q: youve met many people in shotboxing and mma. is there any particular word that inspired you in fighting.

A: theres been so many advices ive been given. i cant say specifically one, but all the advices ive gotten from everyone has been helpful and im grateful for that.

Q: Can you tell us a little more about the book you released?

A: the photos in there are probably like a gift from myself, theres swimsuit shots so i hope people enjoy that. ive written what i could tell about myself being a 27 year old girl, and some things i havent talked to the media or my family. its not published in english but i hope you cna look and enjoy.

Q: Do you think you inspire other women to fiht in MMA here in Japan?

A: if ive given some inspiration to people thats great. but theres many people involved in mma, not just myself. if ive given some inspiration thats great, but its not just myself, so everyone involved in womens mma can start creating a bigger wave.

Q: what do you expect about your fight against samantha?

A: i think shes a very aggressive, she has power and competitiveness. id like to try to bring her in striking. i think she wants to bring me down in her ground moves . ive practiced to go along or stay away from her. ill be just looking for the timing ti finish her. mainly ill see how it goes.

Q: You showed a jumping armbar in yourdebut match. will you bring any surprises like that?

A: i couldnt think of any other surprises than that move. that was the only move i could make back then. so i think id just like to show that my ground moves have improved i don't think therell be much surprises. If I can get a submission that would be great.

Q: What is your advice for tenshin against floyd?

A: i really have no advice. i know its an exhibition. but theres some excitement i feel towards the match. im hoping tenshin will do something against floyd. i just feel honored to be in the ring with a champion as floyd mayweather.


Damien Brown

Q: How is your condition?

A: I feel fantastic. Ive had a great training camp. I’m ready to go the distance if i need to. I am excited to put on a performance for the japanese fans.

Q: What kind of bout do you expect from Daron? What is your gameplan?

A: I think that hes going to hit and move, look for the ko when he gets the chance. i plan on pushing the pace and make the fight as exciting as i can. get the finish.

Q: I looked over the questionnaire, i found out that youre really fond of your fans. do you always try to show a performance for you fans?

A: I like that my style suits what fans want to see. I don't necessarily fight a way for the fans. I fight my fight, but its that entertaining style. every single fight, i plan to go in and do exactly what i do. if fighters don't appreciate the fans, the fans don't appreciate the fighters. at the end of the day, they are what makes the sport.

Q: You were the army veterea, can you tell us about your career?

A: i joined the army in 2006, i was an infantry soldier. 13 months after i joined, i was deployed. i did one tour in afghanistan. after i returned, i retained my position in the infantry for a few years, then i became a physical instructor. then i got out in 2013.

Q: When you were in afghanistan, what was your role?

A: I was an infantry soldier, front line soldier. foot patrols, security kind of role.

Q: You were in kazakhstan as well?

A: No, just afghanistan.

Q: You had a surgery in 2008?

A: When i returned from afghanistan, i injured myself there. i had some reconstructive surgery. thats when my professional career started, about 12 months later. It was an ankle surgery.

Q: Which ankle?

A: I don't want to give that away.

Q: Waht made the surgery start your professional career?

A: i did martial arts in my childhood into my teens. when i looked for some fitness after my surgery, i did kickboxing and jiujitsu. one thing led to another, and i started fighting professionally.

Q: when you were a boy, you were in a zendoukai? who made you join that?

A: my father put me in martial arts. i did zendoukai until it wasnt possible for me to do it because of where i lived. i was a junior black belt, and then a year later i stopped.

Q: Your opponent daron, do you have anything in particular that youre watching out for?

A: not really, he likes to throw lots of kicks. just keep my hands up and fight my fight, the result will take care of itself.

Q: There will be a light weight grand prix, do you want to get in the gp?

A: yeah, my whole intention was to get in the gp. hopefully we’ll win and get the spot.

Q: what do you do in your free time?

A: spend time with my family. going and doing aything with my baby boy. when im not fighting or working, its all about family for me, go to the beach.

Q: Who do you want to fight in the lightweight grand prix?

A: Not really. I want to fight the biggest card against the most challenging opponent there is. I’ve never shyed away , never said no to a fight. In first round of the gp, give me the toughest dude. anyone.

Q: Do you hope that more australians can come to fight in Japan?

A: I hope so, we got a lot of great mixed martial artists, jmma has been around the longest, its such a great culture here and hopefully that can open the door for more australians for sure.

Q: Do you have any predictions for the fight?

A: I don't think the fight goes the distance, thats the only prediction i got. i come in believing ill win, but i don't think the fight goes the distance.


Mikuru Asakura

Q: How is your condition?

A: Condition is perfect.

Q: After last fight in rizin, you mentioned that you hope they can avoid putting you with not flashy but strong fighters. what do yout hink of your opponent this time?

A: ive been looking at the matches, i see that he has experience. i think he has the ability to avoid critical damage. i hear hes #1 ranked in shooto. i just try to do my best against him.

Q: how do you plan to fight you rmatch?

A: i will try to finish him standing, avoid the ground moves he puts on me. Hopefully i can win.

Q: You said that you have more striking skills, do you have anything as a finishing move that you’d like to show on nye?

A: i really cant say much about that that, i don't want to show what im thinking to my opponent. theres a few things i have in mind. i think i have more speed, i like to use my speed to try to finish him off.

Q: by fists or legs?

A: i cant say that also.

Q: ive heard also that youve been practicing wrestling and ground moves?

A: probably i practice 80% on my wrestling and ground moves this time.

Q: is there anything that you like to show in your ground moves?

A: i don't really try to use my ground moves as much, but when he tries to take me down, he might be surprised about the strength of me.

Q: what do you have your goals for the future in rizin?

A: i think theres a difference in how people evalutae me and how i think of myself. i think im a little bit underrated so id like to try to prove that im strong.

Q: as a fighter, would you like to become #1 fighter or star?

A: i just want to make money.

Q: is there any model of fighter that you look up to?

A: no, i don't hae any.

Q: so you like to make a name for yourself?

A: yes, thats probably about it. if people start looking up to me i htink thatd be great.

Q: how was this year for year?

A: ive started joining rizin at about the middle of the year. doing event in august and september. i gradually started proving myself. i want to finish off this year on a god note.

Q: what is your level right now?

A: 20%. i want to make money, i havent made enough as i wanted. so i don't think theres really any definition of success, but if people look up to me thinking how i want to make money as much as he does, then i think that will be a success for myself.

Q: what is the biggest reason you started mma?

A: there wasnt much more other people to fight on the streets? it was just an extension of street fights for me. i started winning, so that gives me confidence that i could win against pros.

Q: anything that you felt as challenges after turning pro?

A: there were few times i lost 2 matches including my amateur career. even close matches that i won i felt i needed to prove myself.

Q: anything technically or physically you need to improve?

A: i need to train more. ive been partying and playing around. i fel tthat i need to really seriously take this on and train much more seriously.

Q: is there anything that has changed since becoing pro?

A: its changed my life, my life is centered in mma. previously it was just playing around and having fun. its been about 1 year since i came up to tokyo, so ever since ive been to tokyo, its been mma 100%.

Q: What is the best memory you have on nye up til now?

A: maybe last year, when my brother entered rizin and won the match. maybe thats the best impression i have.

Q: how is your little brother to you?

A: hes a buddy of course. hes my brother but hes like a comrade to me in mma.

Q: do you think he would be a rival to you?

A: i don't think so.

Q: ???

A: to be honest, im not really familiar with shooto. i just know that its a pretty strong organization in japan. i don't really look at peoples records in the past. or whatever rumors i hear, its just that if i win against #1 ranked shooto fighter, it means im #1 in that organization. thats it.


Ayaka Hamasaki

Q: How isyour condition?

A: I don't have any injuries so i think im feeling very good.

Q: how is your mental condition, youre the favorite?

A: i know i cant lose. ive been to usa and became champion. I have some good nervousness.


A: I hear my opponent asakura is a very good wrestler. id like to try to defend against that, but i will try to do what i do best and win the match.

Q: what is your feelings about such an important fight for womens mma?

A: i want to thank all of the rizin organization, it is an amazing feeling.

Q: what is your gameplan?

A: my prepration is not for asakura in particular but my acc wrestling training in daily base is very helpful.

Q: What do you do in your free time?

A: i hang out with my cats and i go out with my motorbike.

Q: Darion caldwell from bellator is fighting. looking into the womens division, is there anyone youd like to fight in particular?

A: bellator is a very big organization. i don't know much about the weight classes, but i feel in general they have a good relationship. thats about it.

Q: Is this the first time to be in a match on nye?

A: In the past i had one.

Q: ??????

A: When the match time comes, then either of us will be looking to try to bring the opponent into what theyre good at, so we’ll see how it goes.


Kai Asakura

Q: How is your condition?

A: I’m in very good condition. This time, I’ve raised one weight class, so i didnt have to try to cut weight.

Q: Mentally, you will have a rematch what are your thoughts about that?

A: I previouslly fought against him. Theres a little bit of different excitement than my usual matches.

Q: How will you fight him this time?

A: I know now how he’s going to try to fight me. This time it’ll be a striking match. I could look for a submission. I’ll just try to win the match.

Q: Since your last match, you started training right away again, what adjustments did you make?

A: Probably the game plan wasn’t good. I tried to be on the safe side, so I regret that. This time I’d like to try to show a very thrilling and dangerous type of match.


A: Of course I need to work on my physical, technical and mental self. I will try to prove it.

Q:What do oyu think is the reason you lost last time?

A: I think he has a strong mentality and a strong striking ability. Last time i think i wasn’t really good, if i change the training environment, ive become much stronger, i think i can show my improvements in the match.

Q: Where have you improved specifically?

A: I think i’ve grown overall.

Q: Last time he intimidated you. What do you thinka bout that?

A: Yes, it was a little bit frustrating last time, but i think ill let him do whatever he wants. I might retaliate a little bit, but we’ll see what happens.

Q: What is your strong point right now?

A: The strong feeling that i have going into the match is that my mentality is that whatever happens to my body, im going to win.

Q: is there anything that you have as a finish?

A: i think im able to finish a match standing or on the ground, whichever comes is fine.

Q: what is your plan for 2019?

A: the lightweight division is having a grand pri, so ill try to keep my competitiveness in that category. id like to fight manel kape. i think the fans look forward to that rematch. also sasaki. any other strong opponent, im welcome to fighting them.

Q: is there any fighters that you look up to?

A: no, not really.

Q: what do you see your future as a fighter?

A: i’d just like to excite the japanese mma world, and i need to get more stronger, improve myself and lead the jmma.

Q: what has changed since moving up 1 weight division?

A: previously, ive been offered at match moving up 1 class, but this time i really don't have to worry about cutting weight, so thats an advantage for me. i also have speed, but ill just have strong mentality going

Q: What do you do in your free time?

A: Probably chilling out at my home.


Takuma Konishi

Q: How is your condition?

A: At the best condition right now. I have good training so i just need to show up on match day.

Q: What kind of a match do you think it will be? How do you plan to win?

A: I don’t have much information on the opponent, but its not the first time i don't have much information. I’ll try to fight with the skillsets that ive learned and with what ive been doing throughout my career. I’ll try to dominate the match and win the match.

Q: You started mma in your school days, what was the reason for starting?

A: There was boxing, judo and nihon kempo. Boxing was just using hands, judo was throwing opponents, but i thought maybe kempo had both mixes.

Q: Did you have that kind of desire since you were small?

A: Yeah, I watched nye events on tv. There was some excitement i didnt feel watching baseball, so i wanted to do it. I started playing baseball since i was 5. But i didnt think continuing on with baseball.

Q: Have you had any experiences in your career ending with a nye event?

A: Its my very first experience so im very excited.

Q: Who did you tell first?

A: I called my parents and family. Unfortunately they cant come this time, i think they’ll be watching, hopefully i’ll get on air.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

A: Mainly i like to stay home so I like to watch dvds.


Manel Kape

Q: How is your condition?

A: I’ve been trainging, so I’m in good condition.

Q: youve been saying hes probably one of the weakeset opponents youve faced, but now youre gradually changing your comments.

A: I watched his matches, and i think his strongest points is his height. hes a fighter that is tall. my height is lower compared to his. if i try to bringhim to the ground, i think that would be a disadvantage for me, but ive ben preparing very well for this, so i think ill be able to have a good fight.

Q: Do you think the match would end in a fast time?

A: I think speed is very important, not just the speed but timing as well. Everytime I fight, I bring out my condition, i don't know how my opponents condition is but i think we’ll have a pretty good match.

Q: do you have an image going into this match?

A: i don't have any specific image going into the match. all i can say is that every time i go into the match i try to use my experience and improve every time. my condition is getting better as i get more experience. i just try to move forward everytime.

Q: Is there something where youre going to be cautious of in this match?

A: I don’t think i need to be cautioius or worries. i hope i can surprise my opponent. he might surprise me. So i try to look at his videos his matches, so those surprises don't happen to me.

Q: Any plans for the future?

A: Of course i have plans but i would like to say later. Its not that i try to hide something, but coming to japan and fighting in japan everytime, it feels like home. i feel happy that im able to fight in front of the crowd in japan.

Q: youve trained in thailand for 3 months, have you trained muay thai?

A: yes ive done some muay thai training, but not just muay thai. i looked over my overall plans and ive put more emphasis on the basics, the fundamentals up to now, maybe ive not looked at it as seriously as i should have. the game is becoming more complicated so i thought i would return to my basics. i thought to train in a more simplified way.

Q: what is your best finish?

A: I would like to welcome  a very good new year, so i want to finish the match in a second round ko.

Q: Why not 1st round?

A: If i try to finish the match id like to try to show more of my skills and my moves. so id like to have the fans enjoy the match, its better if i fought longer.

Q: Would you want a revenge match with kai?

A: i wasnt satisfied with the results against asakura. i definitely wouldve liked to have had anothe rmatch if he feels that way, i think that he really hasnt truly won the match. so thats a reason he wants to fight me again. ive changed my thought, i just would like to move forward, thats the only thing im thinking. right n ow i don't have any thoughts of a rematch with asakura. even though he mentioned that, i don't think i would take that match.

Q: theres a match between floyd and tenshin. many people will be watching this event. how do you feel about that?

A: i think both fighters are very good, but i cant comment on anything except my match, i have nothing to say about it.

Q: having a fight on nye in japan, do you have any special feelings towards the japanese fans?

A: i like for the japanese audiences to see the manel kape improving. i have been training hard. i give everything i have, so i hope the japanese audience sees that.


Shizuka Sugiyama

Q: How is your condition?

A: Physically, there was some time since my last match, so ive been able to rebuild my self. I need to cut a little more weight, but I have time.

Q: How do you feel right now, before the match?

A: I’m not really nervous. I’m very relaxed, its because i had good training.

Q: I think this would be your return match against her, how do you feel about that?

A: Fighting an opponent that you faced once, its much easier for both of us.

Q: How would you like the match to go?

A: As a team, we don't think weve had any major mistakes in the last match. There are some things we need to tweek, but its been a year since we fought. After giving birth to my child, my body is back to a point where i can fight with confidence. Maybe those are things that would be different from my previous match a year ago.

Q: Your husband won his fight in the UFC. Is that inspirational for you?

A: I was happy for the win. More so, rather than a motivation, its pressure for me to win my next match.

Q: What is different about yourself from one year ago.

A: Last time the match was announced shortly after i joined the team, so i didnt have time to build my stamina. Last match i tried to save my stamina as it went along. This time, i can fight the way i want to. We brought in a new coach, he’s teaching me new moves and a new style of mma, so those are the things that have changed since last time.

Q: Are you bringing any regrets from last time?

A: This time will be revenge for me, so i will give everything i have.


Taiju Shiratori

Q: How is your condition?

A: The match was decided a little sudden, but I don’t think it really matters, I’m ready for the match.

Q: How do you feel mentally?

A: The match was decided 2 weeks ago. But I was wanting to be in this event for a long time, so ive been preparing for it. nothing much to it.

Q: Your opponent said he wanted to intimidate you. how do you think the match will go?

A: ive only seen his match on video once. i think he moved around quite a bit. But i cant be stumbling here. There will be a future here for me, id like to show him whos better. I’ll try to finish him in the 2nd round. Its a great arena, so id like to win with a convincing move. Being in this big event, it wouldnt mean much if i won by decision, there wouldnt be much impact. whats important is to try to leave an impact with your match, so thats why ill try to do.


A: The reason im doing martial arts is because i want to become a big star. Next year i have a title match, from now its very important for me, next year for me will be game changing.

Q: How exciting is it to fight on nye at saitama super arena?

A: this is one of the events that i wanted to be in, excitement has been around since this was decided. I’ll be muchmore motivated, less nervous in an arena like this.

Q: On the questionnaire, it said you were forced into kyokushin karate in 1st grade, can you explain that?

A: Yes, in the beginning i was brought into doing kyokushin. Once I joined i was able to beat the same age boys that i was with. I thought i could be good at karate.


A: I don’t know what the top would be like in kickboxing.

Q: is there any specific stars that you want to be like?

A: Masato.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

A: Nothing special, just hang out with my friends, use apps, find good place and enjoy food.

Q: You’ve practiced with tenshin nasukawa, do you feel any jealousy or rivalry against him?

A: I’ve been training with him since i was in primary school. I left kickboxing for a while but he grew to be a star. While i was watching him improve and become bigger, i was thinking, “what am i doing”, but i wanted to be #1 so id like to try to do that.


Yuki Motoya

Q: How is your condition?

A: My condition is very good. I’m good both physically and mentally. No problem with weight also.

Q: Have you improved since your last match?

A: I think I’ve been able to do what I wanted to do, but maybe in my last match, it was a little bit later, so Id like to try to bring evyerthing out as early as possible. I’d like to finish it as early as possible.

Q: Is there any special feeling on the match on nye?

A: I would just liket o show my aggresiveness and finish the match.

Q: You’ve gone through 2 weight divisions in deep. The match on nye is against a former ufc fighter, any special feelings about that?

A: I’m looking forward to it. Hes had very good matches, so trying to see how i fare will be interesting.

Q: How many matches have you had on nye?

A: This is probably my 3rd match.

Q: There are many matches on nye. What would you like to show how you are different?

A: Aggressiveness and also toughness.

Q: Theres a match between rizin champion and bellator champion. do you want to challenge the winner of th ematch?

A: if i am to challenge the winner, i need to prove myself before that, and then people can decide.


Yuta Uchida

Q: How is your condition?

A: For me its easier to do it in Japan compared to abroad. As always my gameplan i would construct while im fighting, and thats how i prepare for my training, so i think i can do that in my fight. As always, I need to do what I normally do.

Q: What kind of fight would you like to disply for the japanese fans?

A: Its been nearly 12 months since i went to netherlands, i would like the japanese fans to see how i improved.

Q: This match is going to be under kickboxing rules.

A: I’m focusing on kickboxing training-wise, so maybe thats one of the reasons that they set the rule.

Q: Do you think the rule favors you?

A: If it is another rule i could do that. I can prepare for whatever rules they give me.

Q: What do you think about Konishi?

A: I don’t really know about other fighters in Japan, so I don’t have a special impression of Konishi.

Q: Have you seen the videos?

A: I did, but theres not much of an impression for me.

Q: Are you confident with knocking out?

A: Yes, I’m going to finish with a knockout.

Q: 3 years ago on nye, there might be a special memory for you, please give me the impression of rizin.

A: i think in 3 years the rizin has grown in popularity. When i say rizin outside of japan, people know, so i think its becoming very famous.

Q: What kind of inspiration did you get in netherlands?

A: Every other fighter is very big, and at the same time they have speed an dtechnique. I was thrown into those circmstances, so everything is working positively. For my future career, I needed to experience this.

Q: What did you learn from the coach?

A: Not just kickboxing, but Mr. Peter is very wise in game making. In kickboxing you have to playlike chess, you have to make gameplans wisely. I always get advice from him, not just technique, but i learned how to make gameplans from him.


A: At the beginning i did have some kind of excitement training with Peter Aerts. Of course i was watching k1, so i got excited. He was very friendly and now i just take everything for granted and i look up to him as a father or big brother, and also as a mentor.

Q: What do you think winning will do for you?

A: Finally i get to fight in japan, so i have to get asolid win. Im not really sure clearly what would happen after winning. Maybe some circumstances will change. I am expectingthose kind of circumstances.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time?

A: I spend my time with my family mainly, i have a wife a daughter and a son so I spend time with them mainly.



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