Kazuo Misaki and Akihiro Gono held a public training session at the GRABKA Gym in Ochiai, Tokyo on August 23rd. Misaki and Gono will put advancement to the Welterweight Tournament Final Round on the line as they face Dan Henderson and Gegard Mousasi, respectively, at the August 26th BUSHIDO SURVIVAL 2nd ROUND, to be held in Nagoya's Rainbow Hall.
The workouts were light, just enough to give a hint of their conditioning. Misaki sparred for one round of three minutes and kicked pads for two minutes. Gono did pad work for two minutes and then did two rounds of three minutes each of striking-only sparring. Misaki primarily worked on attacks from the bottom but also showed off his knee-kicks from the four-points position, in addition to flying-knees and follow-up combinations on the punching mitts. Misaki commented, "I wasn't working any harder that usual. I was just working out as my usual self, at my natural pace. Flying knees are just one of my regular weapons, not a special strategy for Henderson."
From late July to early August, Misaki went to America to train with his old enemy, Ricardo Almeida. "We mainly focused our training on grappling but we did MMA sparring, too. I've always wanted to fight (Almeida) one more time but he retired, so that goal disappeared. My feelings when this revenge match with Henderson was confirmed were similar to my old feelings, and I decided to try to take in some of Almeida's techniques. He taught me a lot of techniques, even some that I had never seen before. It really reminded of how I felt when I began doing judo and mixed martial arts," Misaki said of the return to his training roots.
Little time has passed since their previous match but, apparently, this rematch was made a quick reality because of Misaki's strong desire to fight Henderson again.
"My only goal is to take him out. I want a victory as soon as possible. He will probably change his strategy and I don't expect the fight to turn out the same way, so I will have a strategy that suits me," Misaki strongly declared. "I will be the first Japanese fighter to overcome Dan Henderson. I can't lose to the same fighter twice. If he wants to slug it out, that's fine with me and if he wants to fight on the ground, that's fine with me, too. I want us to have a good mixed martial arts fight."
"I feel that Japanese are the strongest. Dan Henderson is mentally tough, too, and I want to have a battle of wills. And I really want to win, even if it's only by a slight margin."
Henderson previously commented, "I think he disrespected me in our last fight. I want to fight straight up but if he will do anything to win, I can play that game, too. There will be no more mister nice guy this time. I am going to knock Misaki out and win." Asked for a response, Misaki replied, "I don't have any idea what he's talking about."
However, Misaki added, "It's a fight in the ring, so if he wants to go all out, I'll go all out too. I want to fight a fast-paced match, right down the middle."
After watching Misaki get excited over his revenge match Henderson, Akihiro Gono said, "Fighting Dan Henderson twice is amazing. I went out with some friends to eat recently. Apparently, one of their friends got beaten up by some thug but this guy turned out to be someone that Misaki had tossed around rather easily at a judo tournament in Chiba. They said that Misaki is the toughest thug in Chiba! He gets respect from everybody." Hearing that, Misaki replied, "I'm no thug. I just look like one!"
Gono seemed happy with his training thus far, "Recently I've been focused on reenergizing myself so I have been resting well. I was testing things out a little today. I moved well and my balance was good."
Gono didn't show off his boxing skills as he usually does in public training but he did show some kicks. Asked about this Gono replied, "I always practice kicks. Nobody knows that I can kick, though, so I always hide it.damn, now I've given away my secret." When Gono was younger, he had an invisible high-kick but recently he's kept it under cover. "I'm going to bring out the old high-kick and take off Mousasi's head."
"I've seen three of Mousasi's fights against Japanese fighters but that is all the material I have," Gono said, revealing one of his concerns. "No one has the information that I want. I want to see him attack but he only defends. The next person to fight my opponents always has it easy because I always bring out everything in my opponents, no matter who they are. Everyone that fights my opponents next should be grateful to me. Next time, I want 5% of their fight money as a fee for providing all that information!"
"None of my fights are quick. If there are, it was me getting manhandled. (laughing) I will provide everyone with a full 15 minutes of data," Gono said, predicting a long fight. "I expect that I will finish it in the 2nd round with only one or two minutes remaining. Slowly wearing him down and then finishing him is ideal for me. At one time, I thought that winning at the decision would be fine but this time, I want to finish it."
Gono also spoke about his popular DJ GOZMA entrance performance. "I've got a bigger budget than last time, so I will be able to show an improved version of my entrance. I'm working on it. It's difficult, so I haven't finished it yet we'll be working on it backstage when all the other fighters are getting warmed up. (laughing) I haven't improved my fighting, though."