Tsuyoshi Sudario takes on Kazushi Miyamoto in a heavyweight collision at Rizin 27. This MMA event emanates from Nippongaishi Hall in Nagoya, Japan.
The pugilistic proceedings go down on Sunday, March 21st with Sudario versus Miyamoto positioned as one of the more prominent main card bouts.
Tsuyoshi Sudario gave me some of his time ahead of this prizefight and his insights can be found in the excerpts below.
Your last fight was with Minowa who has well over 100 pro MMA fights.
What was the overall experience like to get out there and compete with Minowa?
“So, the fight didn’t go as anticipated. We had a game plan for Minowaman. But, you know, the fight ended a lot quicker than we anticipated. So I wasn’t able to execute any of my things that I wanted to show.”
So to that point, does Tsuyoshi Sudario think this coming fight here will present him more of an opportunity to really showcase those skills, long-form?
“The last fight against Minowaman, there was an obvious weight difference. I knew that I wouldn’t be in no threat as long as I paid attention to just a few things. But for this one, my opponent is probably going to be heavier than me. Physically where it’s a fair fight, and he’s got a strong heart. I know that he’s got a warrior spirit, mentality is very strong. And I’m sure that if anything he throws lands on me, it’s going to hurt me.”
“So, I think that he will be able to push me more. I’ll be able to see what I can do when I’m put in those positions. So I’m pretty excited about it.”
It seems like part of the weight discrepancy there played into Minowa seeming averse to the elbows and soccer kicks and stomps.
Is there a similar dynamic in this fight or because the physiques are comparable, will Tsuyoshi Sudario be able to land soccer kicks and stomps for this one?
“Since there won’t be a significant weight difference, there will be soccer ball kicks allowed. Grounded knees to the head will be allowed. Face stomps will be allowed and we both agreed to elbows to the face. So that will also be allowed as well.”
Sudario vs Miyamoto
I was also noticing Yosuke Nishijima came by the gym a little bit ago to get time in with some of the guys.
I’m kind of wondering what Tsuyoshi Sudario’s thoughts were on that experience; Just learning technique from someone like that.
“So it was my first time actually training with such a specialist in striking. So there was definitely a lot to learn. From how to move your body, how to react, how to throw punches, the number of punches, distance, defense in close ranges. There was just so much depth. He just taught me so much depth. Introduced me to a whole different thing in terms of striking. So it’s been a very great experience working with him.”
It seems like Tsuyoshi Sudario’s striking has come along quite well…A very fluid transfer into the sport. I think some past instances of sumo wrestlers coming into MMA, it looks like they’re just crossing over from Sumo.
Is there a certain preparation methodology he credits to that? Why did he so fluidly transition to MMA as compared to some other Sumo peers?
“So I think the main reason is that it’s my mindset. So for me, it’s not like I only did Sumo growing up. I did karate, I did basketball, and I got into the Sumo world after graduating junior high. So, that’s when I started getting into Sumo. For me, if I’m going to do something and pursue something, I don’t want to half-ass it. I want to commit to it. And I want to be the best at whatever I’m at. All the other sumo wrestlers who turned MMA fighters, they’ve made it really far in the Sumo league.”
“Their rankings were really high, they were very famous, they made it to the top of what they did in Sumo. Then they transferred over to MMA. But for me, I was put in a situation where I could no longer aim for the top in Sumo. As far as rankings go, I’m probably the lowest-ranked sumo wrestler to turn MMA fighter. But for me, I was just put in an environment where I couldn’t pursue Sumo anymore.”
“So when I committed to MMA, I made sure that I wanted to make it to the top in this sport. So ever since committing to it, I’ve been studying every day. I’ve been seeing how MMA works as a sport, what I need to be careful of, and I’ve dedicated myself and my time. Made sure to put myself in an environment where I can only focus on this sport. So in those terms I think it’s the mentality, the mindset. That’s different than other sumo wrestlers turned MMA fighters.”
Where are you preparing at for this camp?
“So as a matter of fact for this fight, I’m not preparing at Kizuna (base). I cross-train at several locations. One being a place in Yokohama called T’s Kickboxing. One of Enson’s (Inoue) previous students teaches me grappling. We grapple and work on the drills. We go to Watanabe Kickboxing to learn kickboxing and today I’m going over to Purebred MMA to do some sparring as well.”
I’m kind of wondering how important Enson has been for the development because I mean he’s such a legend in the sport. I mean his accolades are just incredible.
So how important has Enson Inoue been for the overall growth?
“I think he’s been helping me out with the core part of being a fighter. Which is the mentality aspect of it. When Enson used to fight, he would always go into the ring with a kill or be killed mentality. And I do kind of agree with that mentality when it comes to the fighting industry. I don’t really look at it as a sport, it’s more of a fight. A fight is a fight and you go in there to kill or be killed.”
“So, I think Enson has supported me a lot. He’s helped me understand and get ready for those moments. Where it’s going to come down to the very tough moments when you’re getting beat. When you’re about to tap but that last stretch of that mentality. I think he’s been helping me out with getting ready for that moment and it’s been very great.”
The opponent Kazushi Miyamoto is just getting ready to make their pro-MMA debut. A lengthy run as a pro wrestler and it seems like per a past interview with JHK that maybe the interest was more in fighting someone outside the pro wrestling mold for the next one.
I’m kind of wondering what Tsuyoshi Sudario’s thoughts are on this fight, largely with the backdrop of all that.
Is this a matchup that he is happy with? Does he see this as propelling him towards something greater after this?
“So at first when I got the offer, my immediate response was no. I don’t want to do this, I don’t want this opponent. But the world with the pandemic and everything, I can understand that it’s hard to find an opponent in Japan my size. So, after a lot of thinking I decided to take the fight… I’m very focused on taking this fight seriously. Getting myself prepared for what I need to do. But once the whole pandemic settles, I’m very eager to be facing international competition and real fighters my size.”
Parting thoughts for Tsuyoshi Sudario
“I think I’m okay with everything.”
I’ve been enamored with combat sports for as long as I can remember. I’ve hosted MMA talk shows Lights Out and Pure Fight Radio with featured guests like Jens Pulver, Roy Nelson, Miesha Tate, Mark Coleman, and more. I’ve been an MMA broadcaster for XFFC as well as BTC and have done play by play commentary on live pay per view on GFL as well as FITE TV. I’ve provided written, audio, and video content covering some of the biggest MMA promotions like Rumble in the Cage, Unified MMA, and King of the Cage. I’ve worked as a sports entertainment personality for over five years and given play-by-play or featured promotions of KSW, ONE Championship, TKO, and Invicta FC. My work can be found in the USA Today Sports affiliate MMA Torch, Cageside Press, MMA Sucka, and Liberty Multimedia.