As the rising sun literally lights up my room here in Japan, I’m reminded yet again why Mixed Martial Arts is so special in the country. Their tradition and pageantry were on full display again last night, as the first of two shows took place at the Saitama Super Arena.
As a professional, my job can be dumbed down to simply just calling the fights but it’s more than just that. I believe it’s very important to always be telling the stories of each individual fighter as well as the purpose behind the match they are competing in.
There is also the fine line between be too analytical when the action is taking place. I often try and steer away from the obvious. We can see the punch or kick landing so at times I will not even refer to it; instead, discuss the set-up and/or what can and should be done next to finish the fight.
The beauty of working with Frank Trigg as my broadcast partner is that he has been there. He has done that. He knows the execution required for any suggestions I may make. Yes, I’ve been around the sport for two decades but I have never been in the ring or cage. What I’ve done in my own personal training is technique based and not in competition form. There’s a massive difference there and working with fighters in the broadcast booth is always an exceptional learning experience.
Trigg and witness some epic fights last night during the second round of the Rizin FF Bantamweight Grand Prix. Advancing to the semi-finals were Kyoji Horiguchi, Manel Kape, Shintaro Ishiwatari and Takafumi Otsuka.
These four will now compete on December 31st, with two of them competing twice in one night and only one being crowned the bantamweight Grand Prix winner.
Also on the card is a four-woman super-atomweight one night tournament which features Japanese star Rena as the favorite, as she takes on Spain submission specialist Irene Rivera in the first round. On the opposite side of the bracket is Brazil’s Maria Oliveira, who will square off against Japan’s Kanna Asakura.
Then there’s the four man kickboxing tournament which will definitely appease those fans who love themselves a stand-up battle. The heavy favorite is 19 year old sensation Tenshin Nasukawa, who will take on Yuta Hamamoto. The winner will then face the victor between Mitsuhisa Sunabe and Yamamoto Fujita.
Have you done the math yet? The bout before the co-main event will be the kickboxing tournament final. The co-main event will be the finale of the women’s super-atomweight tournament and the Rizin FF 2017 NYE main event will be the finals of the bantamweight tournment.
If that isn’t absolutely awesome, I don’t know what is.
Actually … I do know what is.
Mirko Cro Cop is also competing on the card and he will take on Tsuyoshi Kosaka before the finale of the kickboxing tournament. Oh, and as soon as the first round of the super-atom weight tournament is done, Takanori Gomi will fight Yusuke Yachi. Not to mention female sensations Shinobu Nozawa Auclair will tangle with Chelsea LaGrasse.
Did I mention I absolutely love coming to Japan on New Year’s Eve?
Make sure you join us live on Fite.Tv as this year-end spectacle promises to be absolutely incredible.