translation by Tatsuo Kubo
Just last week Yosuke Nishijima made his entrance into MMA and made a great impression. Nishijima a pro boxer who is used to fighting 3 minute rounds and had to make the adjustment to a 10 minute and 5 minute rounds went up against the former K-1 fighter, Mark Hunt. The highly favored Hunt had a tough time putting the slick boxer away. And, as the MMA world usually forgets those that don’t get the “W”, in Japan if one puts up a great fight- win or lose- they are revered.

Pride President Sakakibara recently wanted to recommend Nishijima to participate in Pride’s open weight GP. He said before the fight with Hunt that no one thought that Nishijima would do so well. Sakakibara said that MMA fighters need “heart, technique, and body” and that Nishijima’s heart is at the top level.

It is no doubt that Nishijima surprised many by standing toe to toe with the giant- Mark Hunt. Sakakibara mentioned that after the 2nd round that the referee, the doctors, and himself tried to stop Nishijima from continuing, but Nishijima wanted to continue. And even though he lost, he gave people hope in the final round that he could beat Hunt. Even Hunt was touched by Nishijima’s tenacity and heart.