PAWEL NASTULA HOLDS PUBLIC TRAINING AT TAKADA DOJO
02/25/2005

Nastula appeared before the reporters wearing the same judo uniform, complete with Takada Dojo patch, that he wore when he made his appearance in PRIDE 29. "It was a great event," Nastula recalled. "I was particularly surprised at PRIDE's event management. The scale of the event was much larger than anything I had imagined. I felt the same excitement there that I did at the Olympics." The fight that he felt the strongest about was Mirko Cro Cop's, an opponent that Nastula himself wants to fight. "Coleman hit him with a few punches but in the end, Mirko put him away with his punches. I think his strategy was really incredible." Natsula evaluated Mirko highly but he's already working on a strategy. "If I fight Mirko, I will train to grab and tackle Mirko. As far as I saw yesterday, he doesn't have any ground techniques. I'll get inside of his punching and kicking range, take him down and attack with submissions." "If I have enough time to train, I'm certain I can beat him."

Kazushi Sakuraba used Natsula as a dummy to demonstrate tackles and positioning used in MMA. Sakuraba started his instructional and set the mood by saying, "I've only been able to get this in a match once." Joking aside, Sakuraba went on to teach some high-level skills, such as tackling while being punched. Natsula was a good student, not only paying attention to Sakuraba's lesson but also asking about how to do takedowns against kicks, escaping from leg locks which don't exist in judo, etc. Sakuraba, of course, carefully answered all of his student's questions.

Just before the photo session, Takada Nobuhiko, PRIDE's General Director, encouraged Natsula, "I strongly believe that we'll see a completely different Natsula in the June Grand Prix. We want him to fight a top-class heavyweight. Someone like Kharitonov, that's also after Fedor, Nogueira and Mirko's positions. Not just Natsula because now Werdum is in PRIDE and a big gap has opened up between the top-3. I expect a very big impact (from their participation)."