Kazu 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!

Nakamura appeared at the press conference looking as if he were on his way to a wedding; wearing a black suit, white tie and glasses. Is Nakamura pushing for an image makeover? Or, maybe this is his version of Superman's Clark Kent.

"The last Las Vegas event turned out well for me, so I'm very happy that I will be able to join Champions and famous fighters in America, such as Gomi, Misaki and Mach. I want to give a fight that will please the PRIDE fans, the Japanese fans and all the other fans in the world."

"Kazu" and Yosuke Nishijima were the only Japanese fighters at last year's Las Vegas PRIDE event and just being around these familiar fighters is both comforting and encouraging for Kazu. These fights will not only be against their opponents, but also a test to see who can impress the American fans the most.

"All of our fights are Japan VS America. The last event also felt like it came together as VS America or VS the UFC, so I feel strongly that we're battling against America in this event, too."

Kazu's opponent, Travis Wiuff, has nearly 50 fights under his belt and is an imposing figure. "I think I saw him fight Renato Babalu in BrazilI think he's tough," Kazu commented. In the previous Las Vegas PRIDE event, Kazu scored a knockdown with a hook and showed off fantastic throws, ending the fight with pounding on the ground. While he lost against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in the New Year's Event SHOCKWAVE, Kazu showed the size of his heart and his unwillingness to just give up, leading many people to rank the Shogun fight as one Kazu's best fight ever. Little by little, Nakamura has improved his abilities and now, as a top Japanese fighter, he is poised to climb to even greater heights this year.

Asked about the leg injury he sustained against Shogun, Kazu replied confidently, "It's not 100%. I guess it's at about 40% but it won't affect this fight." Kazu continued, "I don't know how Wiuff will come out in the fight but if we can, I want to slug it out with him."

Kazu also explained that he misunderstood and thought there a Middleweight Grand Prix was to be held this year, "Unfortunately, it turned out to be a Lightweight Grand Prix. (laughing) So, I have to take any fight I can get. The reactions to my fight in America were much better than I expected, so it felt good. I want to make a name for myself in America."