Yamamoto moving around a lot early on. Side kick to the body. Straight lefts from Gracie and he ties up, hitting Yamamoto with right hands. Counter right from Yamamoto, left from Gracie. They both land shots in the clinch. You can see Asen has been training over in Thailand as he hits with a nice right knee.
Gracie pulls guard with a flying armbar. Good defense by Yamamoto but Gracie winds up on top in side control. Yamamoto sweeps into guard and Gracie immediately looks for a triangle. Yamamoto is able to defend it well. He stands and they resume on their feet.
A good 2-3 combination by Yamamoto but Gracie with an outside trip into side control. He slips into mount, Yamamoto sweeps into top position. Both fighters scrambling well as Gracie looks for the triangle/armbar. Yamamoto tries to stack him and gets his arm free. Gracie puts on a tighter triangle this time and Yamamoto’s attempt to wriggle and slam his way free is unsuccessful as Kron Gracie submits him.
Kron in-ring comment after the match:
“To my team, and everyone in my dojo, my father, and my new team in Okinawa. Without you guys, I wouldn’t have been able to do this today. Thank you. It’s been a dream of mine since childhood to fight in Japan, and I thank Rizin for making that dream come true. I will be back”.
An Interview with Kron Gracie
Looking back, how do you think the fight went?
Every moment decides everything that happens. My background is jujitsu, but I am always training in different arts, striving to be the best fighter I can be. That makes me comfortable. Of course I want to win fights, but I am not obsessed with winning. I want to live life the right way. I also try to test myself, to see if I can rise above the tribulations, and that’s the way I want to live. The reason I do so much training is because I want to be comfortable with all situations I may face in the ring. Even if I don’t win a fight, if I can say to myself “you trained hard for this”, then I can live with myself. This also applies to everything else I do in my everyday life. It’s the way I want to live.
What advice did you receive from Nick and Nate Diaz?
I don’t really remember, but we trained together for about 4 years. All fighters know what they must do individually, so they didn’t say “you should try this” or “that might work” etc. They only trained with me. If you can put yourself in that situation you’ll be able to express yourself as a fighter more. I really do respect my friends right now, and to train with those kind of people will make you a better person. If you surround yourself with fighters who are better than you, not only will you improve as a fighter, but also as a person. You train a lot more than you fight, and I place a lot more importance on the process involved in leading up the fight.
Do you think your brother Rockson was looking down from heaven happy?
Of course, I know he is very happy but I think he is already happy with me. He knew a long time ago that I would do this. I don’t fight for my brother though, I fight for something much bigger. I don’t devote my fights to him anymore. If I do that, it’s a must win situation for me and for me personally, there are much more important things in life. It doesn’t matter how any fight goes, the spirit of my brother is beyond space and time. When I fight, I always want to be in search of the light. I want to be the illumination.
What are your thoughts on your opponent Asen Yamamoto? And were they any moments where you felt you might lose?
I think the fight was a lot better than people expected. It was a good fight. He is a tough fighter. I train with a lot of really tough fighters so I know what I am talking about. If I get an arm lock on other fighters they would tap, but Asen didn’t, he escaped. I thought that was really amazing and I am proud of him. When I couldn’t tap him with the arm lock, I went to the sleeper. He is a fighter who is only going to get better and better, and I look forward to his development.
An Interview With Asen Yamamoto
What was your strategy for this fight?
My strategy was to hit and run. Unfortunately he was able to grab hold of me so I’m downbeat about that. Also, if I was able to get inside his comfort zone more I could have punched more. When I think about it, it’s quite upsetting and I feel like crying but it was a great experience for me so that’s good.
And could you tell us about the arm lock applied?
It was on well, but I thought it might be possible to escape from. Surprisingly, I was calm so I think the training had a good effect on me.
And what about the buster?
That was a big miss. In the locker room I was told “If you had kept it on until you stood up, that would have worked but you were shaking and dropped him”.
Some people were saying this was the best fight over the two days.
Wow, cool! I feel bad about the result but if people got excited and were saying that about my fight, then that’s not very honorable.
Do you want focus more on your wrestling now?
I want wrestling to be the main thing I do, but when I was in the bath at home I thought to myself “I’d love to do that again”. I only do the things I want to do.
Were you able to bring out the things you did in training in the fight?
I don’t want this to sound like an insult to Kron, but I kind of thought to myself “is this it?”. I had too much of a big imagination in regards to this fight. If I had worked more on closing in on his legs, I could have scored more. I didn’t move as well as I would have liked. But truthfully, I have no idea what I am doing and I just finished this fight so I really don’t know what’s going on up in my brain right now.
Do you have any feedback about MMA for wrestling?
I’d like to add knee strikes to wrestling (laughs).
Did you get a sense of the history involved with the Gracie name? The linage etc.
When I was a kid, I knew nothing about martial arts, but I knew about the Gracie family. That family was always in my mind growing up.
Your opponent Kron Gracie praised you quite a lot.
Really?! I’ll have to pay him some money (laughs).
Are you plotting your revenge against him?
As I said, I just finished this fight so I really don’t know what’s going on up in my brain right now. I’ll think about all that later.