I haven’t been able to post too much as I went straight into fight camp for my next fight which is happening in two days. Once again, I will be defending my X-1 World Events MMA Bantamweight Title against Ricky Camp of Guam. The fight is happening at the Blaisdell Arena on Saturday April 27, 2019.
I was very fortunate to have my Camp done by Coach Justin Mercado in Colorado Springs in the Victory MMA Gym with Coach Gilbert Smith adding in some knowledge and skill as well. This was definitely a different experience but one that benefited me a lot. I trained, drilled, and sparred and wasn’t confined to the four walls of a gym. My training took place on a track, steep hill, a garage, and I also did the Manitou Incline in which at the top I did some Boxing conditioning.
I strongly believe that this Fight Camp has definitely helped me prepare for battle. One of the positive things that happened was the fact that all I had to focus on most of the time was Fight Camp, training, and watching my weight. I was able to put my job on hold for the three weeks I was there and just focused on what needed to be done.
As always, at this time of Fight week it is the tail end of my weight cut. I feel that it has been an easier cut, but I still feel the effects of it, mainly that I am hungry LOL! There could be a bnunch of factors to why I feel this one has been easier. 1. I came off of a fight as I went into Fight Camp 2. The elevation of Colorado. All I can say is that I am on track to make weight and am looking forward to fighting.
I am really stoked and looking forward to be fighting on the same card as my brother, Ryan COCONUT Mondala. It has been years since we were able to fight together at home in front of our family and friends. Ryan is fighting for the 125 lb X1 State Title against an opponent I defeated before, Zach Close. This card is actually stacked from start to finish and shouldn’t be missed.
Today was Weigh Ins and I am so glad it is over. It is so good to drink something again. Cutting down to 130 in a 3-week time frame was a bit tough, but I got down to 129 so I am cleared to fight.
I liked how organized the weigh ins were. Everything so far with the organizers have been on point and smooth. Just experiencing the weigh in here in Japan was a totally different experience from back home in Hawaiʻi. They started on time and all fighters were present. They called from the start of the schedule and worked down wards to the Main Events.
There was no flashy showing of attitude or anything. Everyone was pretty humble and left their egos at the door. Best weigh in experience ever in regards to how organized. It didn’t take more than an hour to complete and we were out of there and heading to go eat.
Meeting Yusaku for the 1st Time at Weigh Ins
At weigh ins today was the first time I met my opponent, Yusaku Nakamura. Seeing his built and stance put things into perspective for me. You can only see so much on a video of your opponent, so seeing him in person made things more clear for me to visualize. He was a pretty goofy guy with his poses and stuff but I know he is getting ready for this fight just as much as I am.
I was also informed that I was given this fight because I beat my last opponent Taiki in Hawaiʻi. This was supposed to be his fight, but they called and asked for me instead. Kind of makes things more exciting for me.
After weigh ins I was interviewed by a Japanese organization covering the fight. They had some interesting questions that I answered honestly. One question they asked was for me to point out what I feel is my opponents weakness, and what are my strengths. It was a fun experience even though I have no clue why they wanted to interview me.
Train Ride in Japan
So i experienced my first Japan Train Ride on the popular Yamanote Line. After we rested from Lunch and weigh ins we decided to go venture out to a popular spot called Harajuku. To get there we jumped on a train and it took us about 20 minutes from our station to Harajuku.
It was an experience to feel how fast we the train goes yet how smooth the ride on the inside is. Yes maybe on the stop and initial go after each station was jerky but for the most part it was smooth. I also experienced feeling like a Sardine. The train got so packed at one point we were cramped all together. It was definitely an experience.
What a cool place. We first stopped in a Daiso, which is their Dollar Store. We looked at every floor and it was neat. It was a very busy and popular store and why wouldn’t it be with all the great stuff you could get.
The main street of this place was lighted up with colors and it was packed with people. There was some tempting Crepe stands at about every corner. I fought off temptation but I almost lost. They were literally placed at every freaking corner sometimes right across from each other.
There were some cool stores with original shirts and stuff. I also saw lots of Anime stuff spread throughout the stores that lined the street. They had all kinds of stores from clothes to accessories to shoes and CANDY. I saw the biggest Cotton Candy ever in Harajuku.
There was a downside, and that would be some of the smells wasn’t so great. I don’t know if it was just the food smell mixed in with the sweet smell of the crepes and sweets, but it wasn’t too great.
First UBER Ride Ever
We decided to catch an Uber back to the hotel. I didn’t even know they had Uber in Japan. Anyway, this was my very first uber ride. It was in a nice black van and the ride was smooth. It did take a little longer than the train but worth it.
Ending my Night
I ended my night by getting a small sweat on as well as getting loose for the fight. Did a lot of Shadow Boxing and going over the game plan with Coach Scott. Got some push ups and squats in as well. Focusing on my fight is now my priority, It will be a long day tomorrow but I will spend some time practicing, but most of my time focusing on what I need to do once I step into the cage!
Thanks to everyone,,,
Who took time out to make a video for me. It was good to see your faces and to hear your voices. Makes it easier to focus on representing the best I can for all of you. I know I am representing all of Hawaiʻi and practically all of the USA, but I really want to make all of you my family, friends, and supporters proud. Being away from home and not having my usual crowd at the fight is a whole new feeling for me. So the video that was compiled was a nice touch to see as I enter into the final preparation for this fight.
So I arrived in Japan on a Thursday and pretty much checked into the hotel and did nothing. Lounged around watched a movie and fell asleep. It is pretty cold here.
Checked my weight and as expected the flight over caused my body to swell and add some weight. Coach and I not too worried about it, we got a plan and putting it in action.
Since I have arrived and doing that initial check of weight I am on track to weigh in tomorrow on point.
First Full Day in Japan
Got up and did a lot of walking. Went to a Golds Gym to get a workout in and to do some drills with Coach Scott. Got some looks from the gym workers but we did our thing anyway.
Went sight seeing a lot today. Got to check out the Tokyo Tower which had some cool stuff inside. Japan is pretty chill. I did notice that there are a lot of little Coffee shops all over. Saw some Anime stuff which I thought was cool too.
Took a quick walk up the road looking at a store for something I needed and I felt the cold. It is definitely colder with the wind blowing as we walk. But made it back to warmth quickly!
Tomorrow is the official Weigh Ins for Shooto! It is at 2pm Japan time so about 7pm Hawaiʻi time. The excitement continues to build around this fight. I know I need to focus on what needs to be done once I enter that cage!
How am I feeling since I arrived?
I guess I can say I feel normal for the time being. Again, I am just focusing on the task at hand. This is a great opportunity for me and I know I need to put forth my best if I want more opportunities to come from this.
Thanks for all the support! It means a lot and I see it all on Social Media and even on these blogs. The support from all of you has been amazing and truly appreciated!
As I continue this Road to Japan series, it has come to the point where I am actually leaving soon. By the time I do my next update I will be in Japan. Got a checklist of what I need to pack, I should have everything I need. Got a time when I will be picked up to be taken to the airport. Damn its all coming so quickly. About 12 hours til my flight!
So i worked a half day at my full time job, UFC Gym Mililani. Well maybe it was considered less than half, but I was there from 10-1. Did a starter session, taught a class, and worked with a client.
Headed over to see one of my sponsors, Royce at LevelUpMassage, for a good stretch before I jump on that 9 hour flight tomorrow. Definitely need to stretch out the body in preparation for that.H
I am excited, I guess. Maybe it is a mix of things really. But overall I guess I could say that I am okay and just focused.
Just remaining focus on what needs to be done. This is not some vacation, this is WORK! I have a job to do and I intend on doing it.
Will the fights be live streamed?
I honestly don’t know. On the shooto-mma website they have links and different ways to watch past fights. My team has people in Japan reading through the website to see of they will stream it live. Maybe we need to wait until we get there to find out.
I am hoping it will be live streamed so all of you can watch it. I have a couple
JAPAN I am coming very soon! It is typical for me not to know who my opponents are when they announce who it is I will fight. This fight was no different. I was sent a video link and was told this is the guy you will be fighting. I usually don’t like to watch film of my opponents until maybe the week of or week before the fight. But since it was a short notice fight and because I was instructed to watch it, I did.
Yusaku Nakamura, Japan
My opponents name is Yusaku Nakamura. He is a fighter out of Team Alpha Male Japan. His record is 14 wins, 6 losses, 1 draw. Yusaku is a seasoned fighter and his most recent stint was with the fight promotion known as Rizin. Rizin was dubbed as the new Pride.
From reading what is available online and watching some of the film, we have learned that he has a Kempo Karate style of fighting. That really doesn’t matter as we prepare for all eventualities.
If you follow me and my fight career, you know that I most times have to cut weight. This fight is the same but needing to lose an extra five pounds to my normal 135 to 130.
How am I feeling? Well I guess you could say I am feeling a little normal yet a little nervous because adding in a flight over into International waters has never been an issue. If you don’t know, flying over can add on 5 pounds due to swelling. Along with that concern is the possibility of dehydration while in the air. So all these things play a factor at this moment.
I am on track to make weight right now. My diet has been strict a d my water intake has been good, Cutting back on the water intake and focusing on dropping as much weight as I can before my flight.
I am focusing on preparing myself not only physically but mentally as well. Not only is it my first Professional International Fight, it is my very first fight out of my home, Hawaiʻi. Not my territory, not my normal crowd who comes out, a whole different scenery. Regardless of all that, I am focusing on me and my game plan and following the lead of my coaches and team.
Coach Scott has been drilling me and putting me through different scenarios. Listening to him and following his lead is what will get me through this. However, I know that I am ultimately the one who is in the cage and doing the work. I know that I am going to have to be the one who finishes the job.
Stay tuned for the rest of the updates to see where my thoughts are as we get closer to the departure of my flight and all the work that comes after it! Here is last update if you missed it before this one: Japan 1.
ONE WEEK OUT FROM FIGHT!
This soul was born for battle, my heart was built for war!