Following back-to-back losses for the first time in his career, former Shooto star Koetsu Okazaki rebounded with a second-round submission over Josh Alvarez in ONE FC last December.
For Okazaki, heading into his bout with Alvarez, it was paramount to not lose three straight fights.
“My primary goal was to win in the cage at an international promotion like ONE FC, so I was glad I achieved it and also relieved,” Okazaki told MMAWeekly.com. “For this match, I fought safe. The important thing was to win.”
Because he played things safe, Okazaki feels that people have not seen his full potential.
“I’m glad I won, but the fans haven’t yet seen what I really got, “he said. “I’m coming out of a win and I’m very confident, my condition is good so I can promise you all that I will put on a great show (in my next fight).”
Okazaki (9-3-1) will have a tough task ahead of him and will need his full arsenal when he takes on top ONE FC contender Yusup Saadulaev (12-3-1) in Taipei, Taiwan, on July 11 in what could be a bantamweight title eliminator.
“If I stick to my game plan, show what I have got in the cage, I’m sure the victory is mine,” said Okazaki of his fight with Saadulaev.
After falling short in his attempt to take the ONE FC 135-pound crown from champion Bibiano Fernandes in 2013, Okazaki is back on track and looking to avenge this loss in 2014.
“I was almost there. I was close, so I’m definitely hungry for the belt, and also would like to fight Bibiano again,” said Okazaki. “But I think there is one more guy I have to beat before I request for another title shot, prove that I’m the number one contender.
“So I must ask Bibiano to hold on to the belt for a while, it’s not going to be long.”