Goiti Yamauchi Says PFL Tournament “All About Being Healthy to the End”

Chicago, IL — In a rematch with Neiman Gracie at PFL 3, Goiti Yamauchi picked up the win, even if the fight itself didn’t exactly dazzle fans.

A chorus of boos often met the grinding, slow-paced, grappling-heavy bout, but regardless Yamauchi came away from Chicago with three points, plus his second win over Gracie in three fights; those sandwiching a loss to Michael “Venom” Page.

“Familiar opponent but different strategies,” Yamauchi (29-6) told Cageside Press following the bout, asked about the differences between Bellator, where the pair first fought, and the PFL. “Different people. Besides that, different cage. It’s not the same as three years ago. He fought smart. I couldn’t get close too much, he was circling around, moving his feet. So it was a little bit harder to find the distance.”

“As I thought, it was a little bit more grappling this time,” added Yamauchi, who noted that the focus was on working smart. “We have to work smart. We have to work smart and that’s what I did. I didn’t avoid the grappling, but I fought smart.”

If there was a negative to the fight besides the crowd reaction, it might be the lack of the finish. Unlike with Bellator, in the PFL, finishes matter. The earlier you finish, the more points you earn towards the post-season. In that sense, Yamauchi left three points on the table on Friday. But it’s not entirely about the finish, he noted.

“We have to take a new approach, new strategies, because it’s all about being healthy to the end of the tournament. Of course we wanted the six points, but it’s hard to deal with this new thing of PFL,” he stated. “Sometimes you get a tougher opponent or an opponent that’s hard to finish, like Neiman. Neiman is so hard to finish. Nobody but me finished Neiman. Neiman is a tough guy, it’s hard to finish him but thank god I could get the win.”

Yamauchi did finish the BJJ ace in their first meeting in 2022, care of a KO. Despite not finding the end early at PFL 3, however, Goiti Yamauchi won’t be extra motivated to find a stoppage next time out.

“Absolutely not. I’ve not seen the fights yet, but what happened happened. The only thing that I need to do is give my best and get the win, the win is the most important thing. And if possible, get a finish.”

Watch the full PFL 3 post-fight press conference with Goiti Yamauchi above.