translated by Ryoko Takahashi – MMAWeekly.com
Pride just announced their first matchup for the Open Weight GP in Tokyo, Japan. Hidehiko Yoshida will fight Yosuke Nishijima in the first round of the GP in May.
DSE President, Sakakibara said that Pride Bushido 10 ended as a success and that before the excitement from the show dies down, that they wanted to announce the Open Weight GP (OWGP) cards over the next two weeks. Sakakibara also said that after Pride 31 that the fans wanted to see Nishijima in the OWGP, and that they took this into consideration.
Takada, Pride General Director, said that Nishijima has been training at Takada Dojo and that Nishijima felt that he would fight Yoshida the first time they met each other. Takada announced the matchup of Nishijima as a Middleweight and Yoshida as a Heavyweight. So, Yoshida has moved up a weight class.
Yoshida said, “I was surprised when I first heard who my opponent was. I am aiming to be the champion, so I would like to put on a good fight and proceed into the 2nd and Final rounds.”
Nishijima, said that”Yoshida is a top fighter. I am honored to fight him in the 1st round.” He said that yoshida is a judo player and that his strategy is to use his “boxing skills and outbox him.” And further said that it’s a “new challenge for me.” He has been training at Takada Dojo with Yoon who has a judo background. Nishijima walks around 93-94 kg and says that his best weight is below 90 kg.
This was the only matchup announced at the press conference as DSE did not address rumors that have been flying around the internet. The two hot rumors are that former UFC champion Josh Barnett could face former Pride Champion Minotauro Nogueira. The other rumored fight is Alistair Overeem vs Mirko Cro Cop. Neither rumored fight was addressed at the press conference.