Top presents, Rizin 1 – Pre-show interviews Part 3


Interviews with Cyndi Alves, Karl Albrektsson, Hisaki Kato, Jaideep Singh, Wanderlei Silva, and Kiyoshi Tamura.

Friday, April 15th, 2016 – We are two days out from Rizin 1, presented by Top. The event is being held in the Nippon Gaishi Hall in Nagoya and the fighters have given us their thoughts and feelings on the upcoming fights.


Fight 9: 60kg limit, shoot boxing rules. 3 x 3 min. rounds.
Rena Kubota (112/51kg) vs. Cyndi Alves (112/50.8kg)

Cyndi Alves: To be honest, I have never travelled outside of Brazil and this is my first experience in being in another country. Japan is so beautiful, the cities are so clean (no garbage on the streets). I am very impressed.

When I was in school, I took a Tae-Kwon-Do extracurricular class and after that I saw a Muay Thai fight and thought to myself “this is what I want to do”. After that I joined a Muay Thai dojo and began my training. Muay Thai isn`t as popular on a global stage as MMA, and when I went looking for something bigger, I stumbled on to MMA. I really wanted to fight on a big stage, so that is why I am so happy to be fighting in Rizin this time.

I want to fight in all kinds of fight events ie. Muay Thai, shoot boxing, MMA, Jujitsu.

Q: Could you please tell us your thoughts on your opponent, Rena?

A: I watched her fights and realized that she is very popular in Japan. That really motivates me. I didn’t want an easy fight, I really want to challenge myself.

Q: Mr. Fujimaru has predicted the fight will end in a knock out?

A: I agree. I think the fight will end in strikes, but I have also been training hard and working on my ground game and take downs so I am ready for whatever she comes at me with.

Q: Rena was quoted as saying “you think you are gonna knock me out? It`ll be me knocking you out, don’t be stupid!”.

A: I don`t care what she says. I have fought fighters from all over the planet and they’ve all said that, but it’s never happened.


Semi Main: Rizin MMA rules, 93kg.1R 10 mins, 2,3R 5 mins.
Vadim Nemkov (204/92.6kg) vs. Karl Albrektsson (205/92.9kg)

Karl Albrektsson: I went through a grueling two month training camp for this fight. I am in peak condition. I want to show the fans a great fight and leave a great impression on the fans.

Rizin rules are vale tudo (anything goes). We are allowed to soccer ball kick and stomp. I have prepared for everything. I am a pirate, a savage.
As far as Japanese events go, this one is very professional. It`s a very big show, but on the other hand, it’s also a reality show. In America, it`s more about entertainment and the drama.
My favorite fighter was Sakuraba. He is a really special, tough fighter. He is such a legend, everybody will fall in love with him. I absolutely must get a photo with him on this trip.

Q: Could you please tell us your thoughts on your opponent, Vadim Nemkov?

A: He is a really tough fighter with good technique, and a Sambo champion. I have also done Sambo before so I expect the fight to be more of a Sambo fight. I am really looking forward to the fight, and I am very happy that Rizin gave me a chance to fight for them. I am going to take this chance with both hands.


Jaideep Singh “It doesn’t matter who my opponent is, I will win with my style”.
Fight 12: Rizin MMA rules, 98kg.1R 10 mins, 2,3R 5 mins. Teodoras Aukstuolis (215/97.35kg) vs. Jaideep Singh (214/97.2kg)

Jaideep Singh: At the NYE Rizin event, I wasn’t able to fight the way I wanted to. Fedor didn’t let any of my strikes get near him, and it didn’t go well for me. I want to show a different me to the one that fought Fedor. I have been training in Brazil under Mr. Fujimaru, and focused on newaza and Jujitsu. Brazilian fighters are so aggressive so it was really good study for me. It doesn’t matter who my opponent is, I will win with my style.


Fight 6: Rizin MMA rules, 81.7kg.1R 10 mins, 2,3R 5 mins.
Yuta Watanabe (193/81.45kg) vs. Hisaki Kato (193/81.7kg)

Hisaki Kato: I am really happy to be fighting in Rizin. My hometown is Nagoya, so this is very big for me. I really feel that this is the comeback of large MMA events in Japan. I am happy to also see so many fighters from past events here fighting, and it’s so good to see that they are all still training so hard.

Q: Could you please tell us your thoughts on your opponent, Yuta Watanabe?

A: He is pretty big, so I imagine he has had to cut a lot of weight for this fight. He isn’t that skilled a fighter, but he’s big so it will take a lot knock him down. He has a lot of will power.

Q: Before you started MMA, you were a handball player. Has that experience helped you?

A: Yes, quite a lot. Handball players are complete athletes. Instantaneous power is important, body power and balance are important, having strong shoulders etc. The body ability of a handball athlete is very high, and you find all these attributes in MMA too. It`s not a goal that I am heading towards, it’s to continue to polish my technique and get stronger.


Fight 10: Special Tag Team Grappling Bout. 15 min match, three falls.
Kazushi Sakuraba (181/82.25kg) / Hideo Tokoro (151/68.4kg) vs. Wanderlei Silva (220/99.8kg) / Kiyoshi Tamura (185/84kg)

Wanderlei Silva: I am so happyt to be back in Japan, just so thankful. Together with everyone, let`s make this event the best in the world. That is why I have come back. To all the fans, to the press, I ask you to help us achieve this.
We have planted a small seed, but I know it’s going to grow into a large tree. I think having the UFC experience is also significant. I really feel at home here in Japan. Mr. Sakakibara has the ability to pull off these big events and emotionally move people. From the moment they step into the arena, until the end of the main event, it`s going to be like one big action movie for them. People new to this have never experienced such a thing before. A lot of young people in Brazil tell me that they wish they could have seen Pride, but I think the chance to see something special like that is back, here with Rizin.

Q: And what do you think about the special tag team grappling bout itself?

A: I have a lot of interest in this match, a very deep one. I like to fight a very dynamic style and I want everyone to know that I enjoy this kind of fight. For me, this is a challenge. I have only competed in a Jujitsu match once in my life, and at that time I was only a blue belt. Another challenge is that my opponent is Sakuraba, who is a more advanced grappler and Jujitsu fighter than me.
I am going to give Sakuraba a chance this time. We have fought three times and I have won all three. His strikes cannot match up against my striking ability. This is his last chance to beat me. I don’t even want to lose a game of rock, paper, scissors in the ring. When he was at his peak, Sakuraba was the MMA king of the world. Those achievements will never die. The reason why Japanese MMA was so highly regarded around the world is because of him. I respect him very much. When I beat him the first time, it was at the end of his peak.

Q: And what are your thoughts on Hideo Tokoro?

A: I think he is very brave, because he is the smallest guy out of the four of us. I think he has a very strong heart. The problem is, how is he going to finish me? If we end up fighting, I am going to throw him into the crowd.

Q: And what are your thoughts on your partner, Tamura?

Together with Sakuraba,he is one of the Japanese fighters I respect the most. He has the heart of a lion, and I remember when he fought me, his face was covered in blood but he never gave up. I really respect him. However, I heard that he really hates Sakuraba. I am a good friend of Sakuraba`s. He told me that during the fight, it might turn into a real slugfest and if he has the chance, he really wants to hurt Sakuraba. This really shocked me.


Kiyoshi Tamura:

Q: Do you have any current injuries?

A: My face has three separate breaks or fractures, but the pain has now died down quite a lot. I can only open my mouth a little bit, roughly the size of one finger. I couldn’t train much after that, just doing weights. I really wanted to move around, train hard but an injury is an injury and I will just get in the ring and fight when the time comes.
I am thinking about wearing headgear during the fight, but not sure if I should use rugby headgear, karate headgear, or wrestling headgear.

Q: And what do you think about the special tag team grappling bout itself?

A: The most important thing about this fight is that the four of us are in the ring together. It`s not like I am saying the things we do in the match are not important, but I think the fans really want to see the four of us in the ring.

The most important thing for myself, as a fighter, is to show everyone the current me. Maybe all four of us can say that, but I really want people to see me as the fighter I am now. I also want to leave a lasting impression on the fans, make it a great fight.
On March 25th, I lost a points decision to Ganryujima, I felt really disappointed and upset at myself. So here I am, as punishment to myself, ready to fight again. My facial bones aren’t broken as such, but who knows what will happen in this fight. I am a bit nervous about that.
I think there is a meaning behind the four of us in this fight. Silva, Sakuraba, myself (although I am not the main star), we are all ex-Pride fighters. I want to payback everything that Mr. Sakakibara and Mr. Takeda have given me.
I can imagine how I will be 15 minutes after the fight has ended, what happened during the fight etc. I am really relaxed for this fight.