DREAM 12: Manhoef Off, Sakuraba In
Although the reason for the change is not yet known, Melvin Manhoef is now off DREAM 12 on 10/25. He was to have faced Zelg Galesic. FEG announced that the replacement is Kazushi Sakuraba, fighting for the second time in just 19 days-he last fought at DREAM 11 on 10/6.
20 Questions for the Machida patriarch
Sherdog.com: Did you see Lyoto rescuing the real Karate?
Yoshizo: Yes, because the fight can’t only be about taking points from the opponent. For example, the guy can score 20 points in Judo, but if he takes an Ippon, he will loose, just like in jiu-jitsu. For what reason are the points important? If the guy is submitted or knocked out, it’s over. I always tell Lyoto that he has to finish the fight, not just take points. Once it starts, he has to try to finish as soon as possible. Of course, sometimes someone who paid to see five rounds will probably be disappointed to see the fight end in the first round, but the real fighter wants to see the fight finished as soon as possible.
Sherdog.com: Can you describe your first trip to Brazil?
Yoshizo: It was a very hard trip, a total of 40 days. The ship stopped in Hawaii, Argentina, Uruguay, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and finally in Belem. The ocean was so powerful that I remember that I spent the first 15 days vomiting. When I was down to 120 pounds, someone gave me whisky. Then I found out that if I got drunk, I couldn’t feel the ocean shaking the ship. After that, I got used to it and started to teach karate to everybody on the ship, and it was really nice.
Sherdog: What was it like after you arrived?
Yoshizo: When I arrived in Belem, I got a job thanks to Japanese immigration and a Japanese company that used to build roads. I worked on that for one year and then went to Rio de Janeiro, where I spent two weeks with Master Tanaka. Right after that, I went to Sao Paulo, where I met Inoki’s brother, and I started to take care of their academy. Later on, I went to Bahia, where I opened my own academy. Since then, I’ve taught more than 10,000 students, but only 250 received the black belt. I arrived here with only two pairs of clothes, nothing else, and I only knew how to say three things -- good morning, good evening and hungry. I didn’t sleep in the streets, but in the academies, without food, I dealt with hard times. After some time, I had my own academy and students. Today, I can say I’m a happy man. I believe every man has to do what he really likes in life, no matter if it’s common or different from other people. You have to try your best to be different from others. Today, that’s very difficult.
Sherdog: How do people in Japan see karate today?
Yoshizo: In the past, karate was just for self-defense and was used in fighting. Today, it’s much more like a sport and focused on competitions. I, just like many of my teachers, think the karate philosophy is being left out. Karate needs to be used to finish the opponent. Today, the fighters are faster, stronger and better prepared, but they fight to take points from the opponent. I think it should return to its origins in self defense.
Sherdog: How do you feel when Lyoto’s fights go the distance and people call him a boring fighter?
Yoshizo: The fighters need to work on his defensive positions; that’s why my son has never been seriously hit. But for the promoter, sometimes it was not a good show. There are many strong guys out there, and each fighter needs to have his strategy. Against Rashad, I told him to forget about the belt and take him down as fast as he could, and that’s what he did. This is martial arts. Anyone who practices a martial art knows about it, no matter which martial art it is. Our son is not making a show yet because, to make a show, you have to be really superior. In his last two fights, he has given a great show. Now, he understands he’s strong. I love Anderson Silva’s fights because he’s an artist inside the Octagon. A lot of people don’t like it because they think he wants to play and have fun. I don’t see it that way. I see him as a showman who’s very strong. Deep in his heart, he knows he can finish the fight when he wants. Anderson was born like that. Lyoto is different. He wasn’t born like that, but as he trains more, trusts his karate and believes in his style, he’s getting more confident and is giving a better performance each time out.
Sherdog: As competitor, were you more like Chinzo or Lyoto?
Yoshizo: Certainly Chinzo, because I was really fast. Between 23 and 36, nobody could touch me. I used my wrists very well. I’m very small, and I used to fight against guys who were stronger and heavier; if they touched me, I’d fall down, so I trained my speed a lot. I’m teaching that to Lyoto because he’s big, but when compared to some of his UFC opponents, he’s small.
Sherdog: You said Lyoto’s defense is very good. Do you think he would have won as many fights in MMA if he had a style similar to you and Chinzo?
Yoshizo: No. He would have lost already. Me and Chinzo have a real offensive style. We attack. Lyoto is more cautious, and thanks to that, he developed a lot of his defense. One of the best things about our karate in MMA is that it combines defenses and attacks. That’s why he’s doing so well in this sport.
Sherdog: What’s the difference between Machida karate and Shotokan karate?
Yoshizo: Shotokan nowadays is pretty much focused on competition. Machida karate thinks competition is very important -- we have many champions -- but we separate Machida karate. In the ring, our goal is to punish and take down an opponent. On the other side, Shotokan karate, which I also teach, is pretty much an educational sport.
Sherdog: Did you participate in any karate competitions in Brazil?
Yoshizo: I couldn’t compete in the Brazilian national championships because I’m Japanese. But in 1970, I was invited to participate in the Champions of the Champions Cup, where I beat five state champions from Minas, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Bahia. In the final, I defeated the Brazilian national champion, Caribe, who was very famous at that time. Back then, the competition was much more violent; the goal was to take down the opponent.
Sherdog: We see a lot of fighters win championships and take 20- or 30-day vacations. But Lyoto, after nine months of training without break, could not even take an eight-day vacation. On the second day, he called his trainer and said he wanted to train.
Yoshizo: Lyoto likes the routine of training. He likes to train every day. His goal is to always improve, not only to defend his belt but to test new techniques; that’s very important in martial arts.
Sherdog: What about urine therapy. How did you start doing that?
Yoshizo: Actually, this technique was used in China and India a long time ago. I started doing that after reading a book about a Japanese doctor who was in World War II. When the medicines ran out, he told the soldiers to drink their urine, and it worked as a vaccine. I started doing that three years ago, and it’s working fine. I never get sick anymore. Lyoto is doing the same, and he also likes the results.
Sherdog: Did your master send you to Brazil to make karate popular there?
Yoshizo: No, I wanted to go because I love to train. If I go two days without karate training, I get mad. When I got here, I received some support from Japanese friends who helped me financially so I could take care of the academy. There are other Japanese masters in Brazil who faced the same situation. Later, I was able to open my own academy in Belem.
Sherdog: Is it true that you took care of Conde Koma’s bones?
Yoshizo: About 30 years ago, there was a heavy rain in Belem that destroyed Mitsuyo Maeda Koma’s grave in the cemetery. His friend, Sakaeoti, who was about 80 years old at the time, told me about it. He always told me many stories about Mitsuyo, about how much he helped Japanese people who came to Brazil. Sakaeoti and I went to the cemetery, and I collected Koma’s bones and cleaned them. With the support of Kokushikan University, which rebuilt Koma’s tomb, we buried his bones again in a new grave paid for by the university.
Sherdog: Koma was a great fighter and was the man who taught jiu-jitsu to the Gracies. If it were not for him, we probably wouldn’t have MMA or the UFC. Do you believe his Samurai spirit may be helping Lyoto in the Octagon?
Yoshizo: My family and I believe in spiritualism and reincarnation. Koma is probably helping Lyoto.
Sherdog: Having spent 70 days with Satoshi Ishii, do you believe he can become an MMA champion?
Yoshizo: I can’t tell. He’s an excellent athlete. He never gets tired. I think he’ll adapt really fast to MMA. In the beginning, he was getting beaten badly by Lyoto, but after two months, he improved a lot. I corrected his posture, taught him how to walk in the ring. Sometimes during training, he cried, not because he was tired but because of the high humidity near the Amazon. He has the Samurai spirit and always finished every exercise I gave to him. I’ve heard he visited and trained at the Renzo Gracie academy in New York and people liked him.
Sherdog: What do you expect from Lyoto’s next challenge against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 104? How long do you expect Lyoto to keep the title?
Yoshizo: I can’t say anything because it depends on him. He has to train and believe because he’s going to face Shogun, who’s also strong and well-prepared. Lyoto’s preparation for this fight will be very important. He needs to be strong, not only physically and technically; his spirit and his mind also need to be well-prepared.
Sherdog: Do you think Shogun will be a tougher opponent than Rashad Evans?
Yoshizo: No, Rashad was much more difficult and not just because of the technique. Against him, we were also fighting against the pressure of the crowd. He was the local champion. But, for sure, Shogun is a very tough opponent who will give us a lot of work studying his game.
Sherdog: What was the party like here in Belem when Lyoto returned with the belt?
Yoshizo: It was a big party. The mayor even invited us to have breakfast with him. Last week, we were invited by the Japanese consulate to have dinner with the Japanese community in Belem. It’s very good to have my son so recognized, as long as it doesn’t bother his training. If the event doesn’t bother his training, he will go. I already explained to him that a lot of people want this belt, so he has to be in great shape always.
Sherdog: Besides your son, who do you like to see fight in MMA?
Yoshizo: I like [Antonio Rodrigo] “Minotauro” [Nogueira] very much, because even when he’s on the ground, he can solve the situation very calmly. He’s a real fighter. Standing up, I like Anderson Silva, because he plays with the opponent. He’s a showman.
Sherdog: How do you think a fight between Lyoto and Anderson Silva would play out?
Yoshizo: It’s hard to say. They have a similar style. It would depend on how well-prepared each one would be. I can’t say who would win.
Joe Warren vs. Rumina Sato at Vale Tudo Japan '09
At today's "GIG TOKYO" show in Shinjuku Face, Shooto promoter Sustain revealed the addition of a major fight to the rapidly approaching Vale Tudo Japan '09 (10/30). Previously announced participant Rumina Sato (24-14-2) has found an opponent in former DREAM Featherweight Grand Prix semifinalist Joe Warren (2-1). The bout will be contested at 63kg (~139 lbs.) under "VTJ Rules," which include legal stomps and knees to the head of a downed opponent.
Can CBS bring Fedor to the masses?
The new CBS commercial featuring Fedor Emelianenko drew a mixed reaction from the MMA faithful this week – a slick product, yes, but late in the game.
The 33-year-old Emelianenko, who faces heavyweight hopeful Brett Rogers Nov. 7 at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers on CBS, has been the people’s champion for legions of fans who live and breathe the sport.
Most of them, however, know that those outside their circle will spell success or failure for the network event.
CBS had some of both when they promoted three MMA cards last year under the banner of the now-defunct EliteXC. The first and last events, bolstered by Kimbo Slice and Gina Carano, were unqualified ratings triumphs. The second, void of fighters with crossover appeal, drew poorly.
Advertising for the Strikeforce event began a little over a month ago, leading many to question the network’s commitment to the promotion, and by proxy, the sport.
CBS Senior Executive Vice President Kelly Kahl said his network will put its best foot forward in the buildup to Nov. 7, but asked the faithful to help CBS hit a home run.
“MMA fans seem to seek a greater acceptance, and nothing helps better than calling your friends and saying ‘you’ve got to check this out,’” he said.
The network ran several 10-second spots for the event during the past two weekends of NFL coverage, the first salvo in what Kahl said was the start of a comprehensive campaign. He said the network was assembling footage for new promotional spots and said the volume – and scope – of advertising would be increasing shortly, expanding to cable, radio, and the web.
WEC 45 Likely For December 19 In Vegas
Although no official announcement has been made yet, WEC 45 likely will be December 19 in Vegas. The Saturday event was to have been held at The Pearl at The Palms, but with a scheduling conflict they could return to their old homebase, The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The event may be headlined by Jamie Varner vs. Benson Henderson but that's in question because of a Henderson injury. The only other fighter set for the event at this time is Bart Palaszewski.
Chris Leben vs. Jay Silva In The Works For UFN 20
Although UFC Fight Night 20 still hasn't been announced by UFC, the card continues to come togeter at what seems like a record pace. The 5th fight to be revealed in less than 24 hours is Chris Leben vs. Jay Silva, a fight that Leben has verbally agreed to.
Henderson, UFC Fail To Come To Terms
Dan Henderson’s career with the Ultimate Fighting Championship has ground to a close in a contract stalemate, and the former two-division PRIDE champion appears on the verge of signing a deal with the rival Strikeforce promotion.
Henderson, 39, devastatingly knocked out Michael Bisping in the second round of their heavily hyped fight on July 11 at UFC 100 in Las Vegas, in the final fight of his contract.
Ben Rothwell Says He's About to Make The Gamblers Happy
After nearly ten years in the fight business, moving from one small organization to another, Ben Rothwell will finally make his UFC debut next Saturday night at UFC 104 in Los Angeles. There he meets highly-touted AKA fighter and former All-American wrestler Cain Velasquez. Talking with Rothwell for this week’s SI.com column on the heavyweight clash, he says he has some surprises in store for the people who are still basing their opinions of him off the Andrei Arlvoski fight, and if Velasquez found himself in a little bit of trouble against Cheick Kongo, he’s really in for it on October 24.
Henderson still open to UFC, but ready to go
Dan Henderson hasn’t closed any doors yet with the UFC, but he’s ready to move on if necessary.
Henderson, 39, fought the last fight of his latest contract at UFC 100, knocking out fellow “The Ultimate Fighter” coach Michael Bisping in the second round.
A Friday report from Yahoo! Sports said that UFC president Dana White has been unable to come to terms on a new contract with Henderson, all but confirming an exit for the former two-division Pride champion.
EDIT: According to mania, it looks like Dan may be headed to Strikeforce.
Josh Koscheck vs. Mike Pierce In The Works For UFN 20
Capping off a busy day of fight announcements is word that Josh Koscheck vs. Mike Pierce is being put together for the yet-unannounced UFC Fight Night 20 in Virginia. Verbal agreements are in place, paperwork pending. Pierce is coming off an upset win over Brock Larson while Kos quickly beat Frank Trigg at UFC 103.
Efrain Escudero vs. Nik Lentz Set For UFN 20
The second fight announced today for the still-unannounced UFC Fight Night 20 in Virginia is a matchup of TUF 8 winner Efrain Escudero and Nik Lentz. Escudero will go for his 13th win in 13 career fights while Lentz goes for his 10th straight win.
Province Suspended 9 Months, Fined $4K
The NSAC today fined WEC fighter Cole Province $4,000 and suspended him for 9 months for failing a post-fight drug test after WEC 42 in August. The fine equals 1/3 of his show money for the fight plus his entire win bonus. Province can return in May 2010.
Yvel granted license in Nevada; UFC next stop?
LAS VEGAS – Dutch heavyweight Gilbert Yvel has been given another chance to fight in Nevada. After a face-to-face meeting Friday with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, he was given a one-fight license to compete in the Silver State.
During the meeting, he addressed concerns about his controversial past and made assurances he would behave honorably in competition.
Yvel was denied a license to fight Sergei Kharitonov for Pride 33 in February 2007 due to several well-publicized incidents involving disqualification and misconduct towards a referee.
Wanderlei confirms Akiyama fight for Sydney, Australia
Wanderlei Silva has confirmed his next opponent. In a video blog entitled ‘Wanderlei Silva vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama’, the legendary Brazilian confirms the fight for Sydney, Australia on February 21st.
“Finally I have the date for my next fight. I am going to fight on 21st of February in Sydney Australia. I am so happy because this is the first event there and my boss has chosen to put me there, it is a great honour for me because it is the main event,” he says in the video.
Ninja turns down DREAM fight to help Shogun, negotiating with Strikeforce
Murilo ‘Ninja’ Rua has turned down a fight at DREAM 12 in Japan because he is helping his brother Shogun (Mauricio Rua) prepare for his title shot against Lyoto Machida in the UFC.
Like his light-heavyweight brother, middleweight Ninja was a star of PRIDE FC but lost his way somewhat after the organisation folded. But his last outing was a return to form, as he KO’d Alex Stiebling in 45 seconds at Bitetti Combat in Brazil last month.
"I would fight, but I better not because I am helping my brother for his fight in the UFC," Ninja told Tatame. "He is well, very focused, and goes in search of victory."