A press conference was held in the Tokyo Dream Stage Entertainment office on June 15th to announce 4 additions to the PRIDE BUSHIDO Vol. 8 card, to be held in Nagoya on July 17th. Ryo Chonan, Kazuo Misaki, Masakazu Imanari and Jyutaro Nakao were present at the conference and commented on their upcoming fights.
PRIDE BUSHIDO has been reborn as a new event, specializing in light-middleweight fights. The first event after the rebirth was held on May 22nd at Ariake Coliseum. The fights were consistently exciting, even more than was expected, and proved that there is a bright future for light-middleweight mixed martial arts. DSE Chief Executive Officer Nobuyuki Sakakibara seemed impressed with the May event, "We were able to see a glimpse of the responsibility the fighters feel about how they are the ones that will create BUSHIDO and they are the ones that must make it exciting. It was a good event; an exciting event. We and the event staff were motivated by the fighters to do our best in creating another good event. We want to use this synergistic effect to make the events exciting." Sakakibara continued, "We wanted to create a card that was so good that people from Tokyo would want to come all the way to Nagoya to watch it. I believe this card doesn't lack anything compared to (BUSHIDO) Vol. 7. We are about 80% sure we will have a Grand Prix in September and in that sense, Nagoya will be the final evaluation. There aren't that many fighters that have already guaranteed themselves a spot so I want all of the fighters to try to fight their way to the top." According to PRIDE's General Director, Nobuhiko Takada, the card additions are as follows:
Also according to Takada, the road to the Grand Prix will not be an easy on, "Any of these matchups would be suitable for the Grand Prix in September. We have internally decided on some fighters that will appear but it's possible, depending on the Nagoya results, that they won't be able to fight in September. I want everyone to treat these fights just like PRIDE 29, as both a preview of the upcoming GP and as qualifiers." Takada also said that he gained strong confidence form the fighters showing what is necessary in BUSHIDO in the last event. BUSHIDO's concept is about real strength. Fighters that can't win and aren't supported by the fans will continue to be let go. In addition to the "four kings" of BUSHIDO, Gomi, Chonan, Minowa and Mach, Kawajiri has now entered the field and war has come to the light-middleweight division. Chonan, one of those four kings, plans on taking back his reputation, "The last fight, with Nino, ended without much excitement and I'm very sorry that I let down everyone who had high hopes. I am sorry but I don't think there's any need to be ashamed. I'm going to have one hell of a fight with Baroni." It will be the first time in a year for Misaki to enter the BUSHIDO ring. He's already in fighting mode and will bring his Japanese pride to BUSHIDO, "Whenever I climb into the ring, I always climb in as a representative of Japan and bring my Japanese spirit. My opponent is a good, aggressive striker. I want to have a stand-up battle to see who will fall down first." Imanari had few words to spare but he has set his sights high, "this is a good chance for me so I want to take out Hansen and aim for the top of the world." Nakao, the DEEP Welterweight Champion and first-time BUSHIDO fighter, is already looking towards the Grand Prix, "I'm after the 73kg belt. I'm not going to be satisfied with just fighting (this time). I'm going to show overwhelming strength that will carry me into the tournament." The field is become active and the battles will continue to intensify as everyone has their eyes set firmly on the 73kg and 83kg Grand Prix, scheduled for September. Who will be the last men standing when the battle for the light-middleweight division is over?
He has long arms and legs and his submissions look strong. So, I hope I can submit him instead.
This will be your first time in PRIDE. What do you want to show everyone?
My triangle-choke is my trump card but I'd like to win by striking this time, without using the choke. If I'm attacked, I may use the triangle but, in the beginning, I'd like to put pressure on him in other ways. The fight is at 73 kg so even if I cut weight, I will still have a lot of power. That's what I want to show.
Who do you want to fight in the tournament?
Honestly, I know everyone here. They are like my friends and I don't want to fight them but when it's time to fight, it's time to fight. I don't have a preference about who to fight. I will fight whoever I have to in order to get the belt.
What did you think of PRIDE, looking at it as an outsider?
It's big. The scale is huge. I thought that it also has the highest level (fights) in the world.
Are you nervous about fighting in PRIDE?
I've fought in the UFC twice so I think my first time here will go well.
Are you going after a submission?
I've only won by decision once so I will go after a submission or a KO.
Pride Fighting Championships :
To Mr. Sakakibara, will this event be a Japanese vs. Foreigners event?
I think there will be a lot of Japanese vs. foreigners matchups but this event is about evaluation fighters for the 73 kg and 83 kg Grand Prix. There will also be some Japanese vs. Japanese and foreigner vs. foreigner matches.