Bob Sapp is an MVP, just as I thought. His fighting style wasn't more than I expected, just different than what I expected. I figured he would just come out right after the bell like he usually does and when I saw him get in his (American) football stance, I knew it. But, I knew I had to do it so I went out and met him in the middle. My second told me to stop trading strikes with him. When I looked to the side after he punched me in the face, that's when he got my arm and submitted me. He didn't really use a lot of power to do it, either. It was just like it's supposed to be done. Strike the face, cover the eyes and take the arm. He felt like an intelligent monster. His punches didn't feel like I was being punched, it belt like my eyes were being stabbed. I can usually strike a lot in my fights but this one was tough. I plan on fighting in both Vale Tudo and pro-wrestling in 2003. If I can open my eyes, I'll still wrestle with New-Japan on January 4th. I was very happy before the fight that I could fight in INOKI BOM-BA-YE as the main event.
As a member of Team Beast, I want to tell the fans Happy New Year. This fight went well and I was able to prove to everyone that I can do submissions. I wasn't able to do the "flying beast" but I did do the "running beast." Takayama is a tall, strong fighter and I took some punches and kicks from him. I had planned on finishing the fight with submission, rather than strikes, from the beginning. I gained popularity in 2002 and I was also able to fight fighters that I personally respect. I learned a lot this year. I plan on working even harder in 2003.
Bob's fight went just as we planned it in practice. We had a very compact training period for this fight but he learns fast so I want to teach him a variety of submissions.