Pancrase 320 is in the books now. That was the last show for 2020. It was a hard year for MMA fans, athletes, and promotions. Hopefully, 2021 will bring us some more excellent JMMA.
After Pancrase 320 Akihiro Murayama gave the following interview.
–How do you feel about the win today?
“[Kikuiri] is tall with a long reach, so he was a bit difficult to handle, but during the fight, I figured out the distance, so then it went well.”
–How did you feel in the lead up to the match and before walking out?
“A few days before the match I feel confident and felt strongly about getting the win. Just before it, I felt he was much bigger than I’d thought, but thanks to my corner, they helped to keep me from overthinking it too much.”
–Did you feel pressure because Kikuiri is seen as the “new hope” in the Welterweight division?
“Yes, MMA Planet wrote something like that, and I knew I had lost a few fights, so this time I felt I just couldn’t lose.”
–Please run us through the match itself.
“At first, because of his long reach, I thought I should close the gap with punches and force the grapple. I tried to throw my jab out as much as possible to stop his right cross. I felt that using my left hand to kind of parry it helped to prevent that. He’s knocked out a lot of people with his right cross and hook, so I was very cautious of that.”
–Did you feel in any danger throughout the match?
“I think in the second round his jab felt longer and I took a couple in my eye! I was aware of his right hand, but it was his jab that started coming in.”
–Overall, did the match goes as you had imagined?
“Yes, it went according to plan, but the second round didn’t go well because I was backing off. After that, I pushed forward and forced the grapple.”
–What can the fans expect from you need time?
“Well, it’s not going to be soon, but I want to continue to get stronger and work my way to challenge Hiroyuki Tetsuka again.”