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Pride Grand Prix

November 9, 2003

Post-fight comments by 

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira,  Vanderlei Silva, Yoshida Hideki, Sakuraba Kazushi, and Kevin Randleman

From Kakutougi Tsushin 格闘技通信


Translated by Kondo Yoko & Roberto Pedreira



Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

Q: What was your impression about the fight with Mirko?

A: I think it was really a hard fight, the hardest fight that I've ever had in my life. I had the impression before the fight that Mirko is dangerous and speedy. And I knew it was right. But I took countermeasures against him very well and fought the way I planned. So I'm very happy that I could finish him in the end. I am very honored that I could fight Mirko. This time Pride featured strikers vs grapplers, but I think I could prove that our technique is superior to theirs. While Mirko is a striker and a K-1 fighter, I am a Pride fighter. I am very honored that I could represent Pride. I think I proved that Pride has the best fighters. 

Q: How were you feeling at the end of the first round?

A: Mirko moved really well The first round was really difficult for me. I couldn't get my rhythm, and it was really difficult to get him to the ground. It seemed like that Mirko was trying to escape from the ground, but I think it was a natural thing to do for him as a striker. After all, we exchanged blows for 10 minutes, but I could finish him on the ground in one minute. Today I think I could prove to everybody that I am a more complete fighter than Mirko. Thanks to all my Top Team team mates, and thanks to Mario Sperry and Murio Bustamante who always advise me, I can be what I am. I intend to keep on winning from now on too. 

Q: Tell me about the last moment when you finished him.

A: . I was composed at that time, so I thought that an armlock would be best. 

Q: Counter strategy against the high kick?  

A: I have been training since before August. 

Q: How do you feel about ending Mirko's winning streak?

A: As I said before, somebody has to stop him.

Q: A rematch with Fedor for the title will happen. How do you feel about about your chance of victory?

A: Next time I  want to prove that the belt belongs to me. Last time, I couldn't train  hard enough. There was a period during which I couldn't train physically because of the damage on my hip caused by the last four successive fights.  I don't think my preparation for the fight was enough last time, but I learned from the loss and that's why I was able to become stronger. Therefore, in the next fight there absolutely won't be any problem.  



Sakuraba Kazushi

Q:  How do you feel about the fight?

A: Happy.

Q: Your impression of the opponent? 

A: I tried to tackle him a few times, but his response was fast.  He was so overpowering that I felt scared. 

Q: Did he have power too?

A: From the bottom I tried triangle and arm lock but he had more than an ordinary person's degree of strength, so I didn't know what to do. 

Q: Strategy?

A: First of all I decided to be Mario (a character in a video game). If I became Mario, I thought I could beat him somehow. 

Q: It seems that Randleman's right arm was hurt in the middle of the fight. 

A: I didn't feel that at all.

Q: What is the meaning of the word "water" on the new t-shirt you were wearing?

A:  It's because I  can't eat a meal without water.

Q:  Your feeling about middle GP?

A: I felt that Silva was strong, as I expected. 

Q: Your feeing about Yoshida?

A: I think it was a good fight. 

Q:  What are you going to do on the new year's eve of this year?

A: I will go to my grandparents' home and show them their grandchildren. And to get my New Year's present money from them [otoshidama wo moraimasu--Otoshidama is a small amount of money that kids and others who aren't officially adults, get from parents or grandparents as a present on the first day of the year Sakuraba is joking about it.}. 


Kevin Randleman 

Q: The fight ended with a regrettable result, but....

A: For me personally, the result was bad, but I'm ok. I'm happy I was able to give the fans a good performance. Super Mario defeated Don King. This time Mario won.

Q: What was your impression of Sakuraba?

A:  He was speedy like a fox, [fokkusu no you ni, hayaku] and he moved floatingly like a fish, [sakana no you ni sui sui ugoite] He made extremely good moves. Really, he's a good athlete. I will train more like Sakuraba to be a good fighter. [jibbun mo Sakuraba no you ni renshuu wo shite, ii fai-ta  ni naritai to omoimasu]. 

Note: Even though the Japanese word for "fox" is kitsune, they used a katakanaized version of the English word. The Japanese kakutougi magazines often use English words (or as close as they can get with their limited and not entirely coextensive phonemic inventory and syllabic orthography) to make the foreign interviewee seem more "foreign" (even though the rest of the interview is translated into Japanese.)  


Q: Until before the armlock [ude juji gatame] happened,  I don't think you were losing. 

A: . When I tried to launch a right hook to Sakuraba, my arm became numb [ude ga shibireteishimaimashita] So my arm strength was gone when Sakuraba came to try an armlock. But I have no excuses.  What I need to do is just train more..

Q:  I heard that you were involved in a traffic accident?

A: I appreciate your worries about me, but that had nothing to do with the loss. My condition today was good. I was beaten by Sakuraba, which isn't good,  but it wasn't caused by the accident.  I want to fight in Pride again in the future.. I thank the fans for their energetic support.     


Yoshida Hideki

Q: What was you impression of Silva?

A: He was strong. I'm sorry that I lost. 

Q: What do you think about the decision?

A: I took a lot of punches....I wish there had been one more round. But whatever I say, it would be just an excuse......

Q: Even an amateur could see that there were a few times when you could have finished Silva.

A: I couldn't do it because he studied my style well. I thought too much about Silva's strategy. I knew that Silva wouldn't initiate the attack so I was waiting for him to attack. That turned out bad. I shouldn't have waited. If I have another chance, I will initiate the attack myself. [Yoshida refers to the phrase, often used in the fight game, 先手必勝 sentehisshou, which means the one who attacks first is certain to win].

Q: Were Silva's knees or high kicks effective?

A: His kicks were not at all effective. In general, I don't feel pain during a fight.

Q: How about his punches?

A: His punches felt heavy but they didn't hurt so much to me. His punches were very different from those of Tamura Kiyoshi. Tamura's punches were sharp. Silva's punches just felt heavy (zushin) but not to the extent that I was in danger of being knocked out.. Maybe because I can take a good punch (sou iu imi de wa, utarezuyoi no kamo). [Yoshida laughs bitterly here].

Q: Silva tried sanjaku jime (triangle choke) in the first round but couldn't finish it.

A: I didn't expect him to try sankaku jime. The sankaku jime was not on tight enough to choke me and the rope was in the way also so it was a question of how long I could endure. I think he got tired too. I practice sankaku jime myself often so I know that doing sankaku jime consumes a lot of strength. Looking back at it, I think I should have been more active in that situation. I knew he would be tired at that point so I should have attacked aggressively after the sankaku, but instead I let him rest. That had an effect on the decision. The kids from my dojo have matches today too so I wanted to keep trying along with them. The team took second place and so did I. Ah, not really, I took third place. I can't show my face to them (kodomotachi ni kao wo muke dekinai.).


Silva Vanderlei

Q: What was your impression of Yoshida?

A: A big surprise. I knew he was tough and very strong too. I think he was also a great warrior.

Q: How was his striking?

A: His power surprised me. I was really surprised. His punch was really strong. I am really honored that I could fight him.

Q: Immediately after the start you were taken down, does that mean Yoshida's technique was good?

A: He's a judoka so he's good at throwing. After that I took him down so we were even in that department, I think. 



For other Post-Fight comments following previous Pride events, go to interviews.


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