PANCRASE 318 – Genpei Hayashi and Tatsuya Saika pre-bout interviews

PANCRASE 318, Sunday, September 27, 2020 – Studio Coast, Tokyo

 Genpei Hayashi Pre-Bout Interview

–With all the cancellations and postponements, as a fighter do you feel unsettled? “For me, it’s been a huge plus. I’ve been able to use the time well.”


–How has it been training with Yushin Okami, Ken Hasegawa, Tatsuya Mizuno, and others? “I’ve been able to train with Japanese fighters who’ve fought at the world-class level. My skills have improved, but the biggest has been my willpower, my drive has really increased. I’m really grateful for and fortunate with my training environment, and I feel like I’m heading in a good direction. If I want to aim for world-class level I’m in the right place.”


–Are you expecting a stand-up fight? “Yes, I definitely won’t be breaking from my usual style. My style is striking, but it’s MMA and I’ve already evolved to fight to wherever it happens.”


–How do you think Tatsuya Saika will come at you? “He likes striking too, so I think he’ll keep coming with punches. His boxing is very accurate, so he might be looking for counterpunches. Still, it’s a title match and whatever happens, when we hit the 4th and 5th rounds, we both want the belt, so I don’t think it’ll be just striking.


–Do you think there are any holes in Saika’s striking? “Yes, I think so. Maybe not a hole, but he’s human after all. His speed and timing are good – he has great striking – so I’ll be plenty vigilant to exploit any gaps in his game.”


–It’s a title match, five 5-minute rounds. How do you see it playing out? “[Tatsuya] Saika is looking for the first round KO, but on the other hand I’ve got a strong chin. It could go either way, but if I can take punishment, I’ll get him in the end. I think it’s going to be an exciting fight.”


–Do you think your experience will play a part in this match? “I don’t really think it will. I’ve have more experience, but he has beaten some strong guys by KO to get here. I have wins and losses, but I’ve come this far. I don’t think experience means much in this.” “But, Moving up to Middleweight for a time was big for me. I have quite a lot more power now, and I think it’s made me tougher.”


–What can the fans expect from you in this King of Pancrase title match? “Expect my roughness. I’m a brawler, so it’s going to be a fierce battle.”


PANCRASE 318, Sunday, September 27, 2020 – Studio Coast, Tokyo

Tatsuya Saika Pre-Bout Interview

–You made your Pancrase debut last year and took two consecutive 1st round wins by KO. How did you feel then? “I thought a lot about how I could win. [Yutaka Kobayashi and Tom Santos] both have big names. They both fought in title matches and [Santos] has fought in RIZIN. They’re both fighters I’d seen a lot of, and I realized the time had come for me to face big names. It was scary at first, but I trained hard and was able to get those [first round] wins.”


–It has been a year since you last fought. How do you feel? “Honestly, I feel partly anxious with the year gap, but my training in that time has been solid and I feel much stronger. I’m sure I can show everyone how my level has improved.”


–With all the cancellations and postponements, as a fighter do you feel unsettled? “Yes, psychologically I’ve felt uneasy at times, but with the coronavirus situation, it can’t be helped. I knew the only way was to get on with training, get stronger, and know in my heart the day would come.”


-How do you feel you’ve used the time to evolve your MMA? “I’ve put a lot of work into my strength and conditioning. I’ve also strengthened my grappling and takedown defense.”


–Do you expect a battle of striking? “Yes, I’m a striker. It’s MMA, but my style is striking, so I’m going in with that.”


–What do you want to show the fans? “I want to just how destructive my punches can be – my KO punch.”


–None of your fights have ever seen the 2nd round. How do you feel about this potentially five 5-minute round title match? “Yes, until now I’ve finished all my fights in round one. I feel some pressure about how I might feel going into a second round, but I think I’ll be focused and fine when I fight.


–How do you expect Genpei Hayashi to fight? “I think he’ll bring his striking. [Genpei] Hayashi has a very strong heart, and even if I catch him with a punch, it won’t scare him and he’ll keep coming. But, in that, I’ll be looking for my KO chance.”


–Where do you think Genpei Hayashi’s weaknesses are? “It’s not really his weak point, but when two strikers go at it, it can be a weakness for one of them! Trading punches is risky. We both have the power to knock each other out, so one of us is going down.”


–How do you predict it will play out? “It’s going to be fireworks, fisticuffs! I do feel it would be good to show more grappling and other skill areas, but after all, I think we both want to excite the fans with our striking.”


–What can the fans watching around the world expect from you this time? “I think if you’ve seen my fights until now you’ll know, but I want to give a KO. I’m having nothing to do with a judge’s decision. It’s all about the KO!”

About the Author

Jeremy Deschner
Black Belt in American Karate from the Texas Karate Institute. Now training in Brazilian Jiujitsu in Japan. Twitter: @mmajpn1 @jiujitsu_Jedi

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