Vale Tudo Japan 3rd Interviews - Megumi Fujii, Caol Uno & More
- Steve Juon (@AngryMarks), Wrestling Observer
Vale Tudo Japan 3rd takes place October 5th at the Ota City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan. Famed female fighter Megumi Fujii hopes to avenge a loss to Jessica Aguilar in the United States over a year ago in what she says will be her retirement match. VTJ is holding a contest at http://www.valetudojapan.com/mega-megu-giveaway
to promote her bout. If you're unsure of how to watch, international fans can stream the fights via Niconico - http://www.valetudojapan.com/nico-nico-douga
has more details. The show starts at 1 AM ET on the 5th in the United States, so while it may be a challenge to stay up for the live broadcast, the fighters interviewed below have a few good reasons to tune in.
Megumi Fujii has only lost two fights in a career that dates back to 2004. I asked her why she wants to avenge her loss to Jessica Aguilar at Bellator 69 so badly. "I felt like I did not lose the fight, but there were definitely some aspects of the fight that Jessica was superior. I'm not going to question the judges, after all, I couldn't win the battle within me during the fight. There were times where I hesitated, and those small things that I couldn't execute showed in the decision." So what will Fujii do if she doesn't prevail against Aguilar this time? "Win or lose, I will retire. I am going to give it my all, and I am going to overcome myself, so if that results in me losing, I will still be satisfied."
Jessica Aguilar was a semi-finalist in Bellator's season three 115 pound tournament. I wanted to know how she felt about being released after 4 straight victories: "No I wasn't surprised. It was a great opportunity from the start, so this is my next journey (toward) better fights. I am very grateful to Bellator (and) I will be back working for them if they need me." She also talked about having faced Fujii before: "They brought in Megumi (and) the top fighters in the world. It was just the tournament style that didn't work out." And how does she rate VTJ? "They have been great from the start, and I would like to be back. I am grateful to VTJ for giving me the opportunity."
Former Shooto champion and UFC lightweight Caol Uno faces Daniel Romero in the co-main event. Uno: "I think this up coming fight will be the key point of the (career) renaissance. I will have to see how I do against this tough opponent." How much longer can he continue though with this being his 50th pro fight? "I have made up my mind that I will compete until I can't compete anymore. I would like to continue until an injury stops me, or the doctor stops me. My mind is set to continue until the UFC calls me again, but we will see." As for facing the younger Romero, Uno plans to "not let him dictate the pace."
Hideo Tokoro is approaching 60 fights in a long and noteworthy career, and just finished fellow veteran fighter Rumina Sato by TKO in R1. I asked him about fighting in Japan for almost his entire career: "Well, simply it's because I didn't get any offers from outside of Japan, but I grew up in Japan so felt like fighting in Japan made sense." I also asked him how his VTJ experience has been since defeating Sato: "I think they are the top organization in Japan right now, and winning in this show gives the fighters a chance to compete in the world. I think this organization will continue to grow."
Tokoro's opponent is Will Campuzano, the former Legacy FC Flyweight champion. I asked him if his title and four fight win streak led to interest from VTJ. "I think so! I want to get a more international recognition for myself, so hopefully this will open up some new doors." I also wanted to know his thoughts on facing Tokoro on his home turf: "That's what I want. I want to beat known guys, and he is a known guy so I'm grateful that he took this fight." How does he plan to overcome Tokoro's experience? "Just be my usual self - assess him and destroy him."
My final questions were for Takeshi Inoue and Yusuke Yachi, opponents on VTJ3. I asked Inoue what he has left to accomplish after a 10 year career: "I would like to challenge the UFC, but my biggest goal is not that, my biggest goal is to enjoy martial arts, enjoy what I do. And if that eventually takes me to the UFC, I would like to challenge that." I asked if he feels any pressure facing Yachi coming off back to back losses: "Yachi is 10 years younger than me, and he has less experience, but he is a tough, young prospect so I'm thinking the level we are at is about the same. But I have my plans set for the fight, and if it works, I will be able to dominate."
For his part, Yachi doesn't seem the least bit intimidated by Inoue's experience. "I don't really look at him as legend, but he is a famous fighter and he's good, so I'm like, let's do this!" I asked him what he fears the most fighting Inoue in VTJ. "His stand up, and simply said, his right cross. Of course he uses many techniques to set that up, but yeah, his right hand is dangerous." The young 9-4 fighter gets his chance to make a name for himself on Saturday at the Ota City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, as do all of the other fighters on this loaded card. Thanks to Devin Walsh and Vale Tudo Japan for their assistance with translations for the interviews. Follow them on Twitter @ValeTudoJapan.
- Steve Juon (@angrymarks)