PRESS CONFERENCE AFTER THE OPENING ROUND OF THE PRIDE 2005 MIDDLEWEIGHT GP
A press conference was held in Osaka on April 24th, the day after the Opening Round of the PRIDE 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix. Seven of the eight remaining fighters were present and Sakuraba stole the show, as usual. Sakuraba couldn't wait until the noon conference and said that he started drinking at 9 in the morning.
Of course, everyone is wondering about the Second Round match ups. "We will decide what everyone wants to see the most after looking at the questionnaires we handed out at the event yesterday and the fans' opinions on the official website," Sakakibara explained. "I'd like to decide the card after listening to the fans and the press," Takada added. "I want to make the June 26th event as great as possible, having four fights as evaluation matches for the upcoming Heavyweight Grand Prix and a reserve match."
Wanderlei Silva, at the invitation of the Brazilian Embassy in China, set off on a trip to promote both PRIDE and martial arts in general this morning so he wasn't present at the conference. Yoshida, Silva's opponent the previous night, went directly to the hospital after the fight. However, "he has no serious injuries and only a little bruising and inflammation around the knee. I think the biggest damage was done to his spirit. I don't think it was broken, though. I think he's already thinking about his return," Sakakibara explained.
I think I had a good fight yesterday. It was unfortunate that I couldn't get a KO or submission, even though I was trying. Lister is a fighter with incredible ground skills and the ground fight was so tough, we could have been in Abu Dhabi then. That's why I planned on standing with him but I couldn't knock him out. Next time, I want to win by KO or submission.
I'm glad that I won yesterday. I'm glad that my training showed and I was able to represent Chute Boxe well.
I won yesterday but I wasn't able to get a KO or submission, even though I had the chance. I will improve myself and show everyone the new version of me in the next fight. I planned on going to sleep right away yesterday but Sakuraba called me and asked me to go out drinking with him. I'm still drunk, now.
(smiling) Give me a shochu and water, please. [Note: shochu is a clear liquor]
Pride Fighting Championships :
There are 2 fighters each remaining from Chute Boxe and Brazilian Top Team. It's possible that you will have to face each other after the Second Round. What will you do in that case?
That's a very tough question. Rogerio, sitting here at my side, is my training partner and we always train together. If we have to fight, it will be tough. I don't even want to think about it. I'd like to avoid it, if possible.
I feel the same as Arona. If we have to fight, then there's nothing we can do, though, except do our best.
Actually, I've already talked to Wanderlei and Fujimar about what we should do if that happens. Fujimar told me that if we have to fight, fight as hard as we can. We always spar hard and I think I will just imagine that we are sparring in a new place.
Alistair, you lost to the UFC representative in the last Middleweight Grand Prix but had an amazing victory over Vitor this time. How do you feel?
I feel really happy. Vitor was like a role model for me. When I was 17 and started martial arts, he had already taken out several tough opponents in the UFC. I think it's an honor that I was able to beat him.
Who do you want to fight in the Second Round?
Everyone is tough and it will be a difficult fight, no matter who my opponent is. I will leave that decision up to PRIDE. I want to fight whoever they decide.
All eight fighters are strong and they will all be difficult. I would like to fight Vovchanchyn. He is also a role model to me. I wanted to do martial arts after I saw him fight. And Shogun. He's young and his style is similar to mine so I think it would be a great fight.
I also think these eight fighters are all high-level and it will be a difficult fight. I will let PRIDE choose my next opponent and I will absolutely give a good fight.
I want to fight whoever PRIDE chooses for me.
Everybody is great. I don't want to choose my opponent so I will fight whoever PRIDE decides.