Los Angeles, CA — In a veteran vs. prospect, BJJ artist vs. wrestler match-up at Bellator 263, Goiti Yamauchi surprised many be earning just the second knockout win of his career.
Noted for a wide array of submissions, the stand-up finish by Yamauchi was far from expected, even by him. But Team Alpha Male’s Gonzalez appeared to give Yamauchi’s jiu-jitsu plenty of respect, and opted not to shoot for an early takedown.
“I know there’s a lot of people that think I cannot strike or fight a wrestler. This fight was just to prove that I’m a better man, and I’m a different guy now,” Yamauchi said following the fight, speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press. In the past, Yamauchi has struggled in the stand-up department, particularly in losses to fighters like Michael Chandler. And so Yamauchi was looking to show that “I could learn from my mistakes, and I’m here, better. Moving forward, I’m not going to stay stuck in the past, it’s about what I’m going to do in the future.”
According to Yamauchi, all fighters have a lot of holes in their game, and he’d been trying to plug up his. Despite how the fight played out, “for this fight specifically, I trained a lot of grappling. But it was a striking match, 100% striking. But I did a lot of grappling, specific training for Chris, because I knew he had a wrestling and grappling background.”
One fight prior to Bellator 263, Yamauchi lost a controversial split decision against Dan Moret. And there was a lesson to be learned from that experience. “I don’t take anything for granted. This is life, life happens. Even though me and most people, they don’t think that was a fair decision, I think there’s always a lesson,” explained Yamauchi. “Life, not [just] in the fight game, life wants to teach you something. Sometimes your issues, your problems are not inside the cage, inside the gym but outside. For sure, it’s going to reflect inside the cage. I think that the fight was to correct some mistakes that I had outside the cage.”
Yamauchi, who improved to 26-5 with the win, was asked what it will take for him to get to a title shot. The lightweight division has been log jammed thanks to Patricio Pitbull stalling the weight class for two years. “Good performances,” Yamauchi replied. “I think I have to show all my abilities, like I did today. I have to show people what they want to see. Winning big fights, winning good fights. I think this is what’s going to make me go to the title shot.”
Watch the full Bellator 263 post-fight press scrum with Goiti Yamauchi above.