Following his first loss in four years, which happened last May, Shooto veteran Koetsu Okazaki is looking to return to fighting for the first time in a year and get back on the winning track.
While some fighters might make big changes following a loss, Okazaki has stayed the course and continued to work on his game to help him rebound.
“I have absolutely no plans about making changes,” he said. “Last year was bad for me, but this year will be better. I just need to improve my skills and take it to the next level and I’m sure that I will be successful again.”
“Of course I feel pressure (debuting for a new promotion), but I feel more excited than I feel pressure,” said Okazaki. “I can’t wait for that opportunity to step into the One FC cage and perform in front of thousands of fans.”
Okazaki knows that heading into his fight with Fernandes he cannot get behind early and make mistakes trying to catch up as the fight progresses.
“It’s always an honor to get a chance to fight an internationally well-known name,” said Okazaki of Fernandes. “I must not let him control the fight.
“With his jiu-jitsu expertise, I’m sure he will try to implement that style. I must make him fight how I want to fight and that is what I am training extensively for.”
While fighting for a title in One FC is a big thing for Okazaki, he told MMAWeekly.com that gaining a victory over a high-ranking opponent like Fernandes could be the bigger step forward for his career.
“Winning the belt at this big opportunity is very important, but so is defeating Bibiano, which is more important for me,” said Okazaki. “Bibiano is the biggest name I have ever fought, and to defeat him will be a huge accomplishment.
“I am still (an internationally unknown) fighter, so I would like to win this fight and create a huge splash and have the MMA community talking about me. Watch me on May 31 online at onefc.livesport.tv.”