Misaki speaks about upcoming Las Vegas PRIDE

Dream Stage Entertainment held a press conference at the Aoyama, Tokyo office on January 23rd to announce four fight cards for the upcoming February 24th event in Las Vegas, Nevada, PRIDE 33 THE SECOND COMING. At the press conference were CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara and four announced fighters Takanori Gomi, Kazuo Misaki, Kazuhiro Nakamura and Hayato "Mach" Sakurai. These four PRIDE samurais will shock America!

After a dramatic comeback victory in the finals of the Welterweight Grand Prix, Kazu Misaki brought the Grand Prix Championship to Japan. The win, however, cost him dearly. Misaki suffered from broken ribs as a result of the Grand Prix Final Round, in addition to an injured elbow tendon and bone separation. As a result, Misaki was unable to compete in the PRIDE New Year's Eve event, SHOCKWAVE, and was only able to restart his training from January.

Misaki's injuries are now completely healed and at the press conference, he strongly declared that he would make his return in his best condition in Las Vegas.

"I want to bring my momentum from last year into this first fight," Misaki commented. "This will be an away game' in Las Vegas and my opponent, Frank Trigg, is a famous fighter in America. The only thing I can do is to bring the Japanese spirit, the spirit of bushido, into my fight. I want to show the fans at the event what it means to be a Japanese fighter."

Misaki is the embodiment of the PRIDE spirit that drives a fighter to fight head-on, no matter who is opponent is, and never back down. Misaki's theme for this fight is to show the American fans the kind of fight that a Japanese fighter gives. Asked about possible "USA!" chanting by fans at the venue, Misaki said it might be better for him if they do, "I'm interested to see how interested the American fans will be in me when the fight ends in that situation.

Misaki seems confident that he can turn chants of "USA!" to cheers for him, and he said that he has always wanted to try fighting overseas. Asked about his opponent, Frank Trigg, Misaki replied, "I went to watch his fight against (Mach) Sakurai in SHOOTO but I haven't seen any of his other fights. I'll watch them from now and create a strategy. I've heard that he's a fighter than comes at you quickly and aggressively."

The February 24th bout will be Misaki's first as the PRIDE Welterweight Grand Prix Champion. A win over Misaki would instantly solidify Trigg's position in PRIDE, so there is no doubt that Trigg will go all out in this battle. Misaki, however, commented that he won't fight a defensive fight, but rather an offensive one, "I'm proud to be the Grand Prix Champion but that's won't be my focus. I want to show a new me. I'm always trying to grow and evolve. I want to build a new me with the same momentum I had last year."

Now that he's become the Champion, Misaki is looking to grow even stronger and looks prepared to play a big role in the Welterweight Division this year.