ONE FC 4 headliner, Tatsuya Mizuno says Babalu Sobral's ability to take punches may be his main weakness. We'll find out if he's right on Saturday morning.
Tatsuya Mizuno has faced several of the toughest fighters throughout his 6 year MMA career, stepping against the likes of Melvin Manhoef, Trevor Prangley, Mirko Filipovic, Sergei Kharitonov and Gegard Mousasi. No stranger to the spotlight in Japan, the DREAM Light Heavyweight GP finalist will be taking on yet another high profile opponent when he headlines ONE FC 4 against former Strikeforce champion, Renato 'Babalu' Sobral.
The Japanese fighter relishes this chance as he knows that defeating Sobral on Asia's biggest stage can catapult his career to new heights. "It’s a great opportunity because so many Asian countries are working together and I think it will give me more chance to fight outside of Japan," said Mizuno as he spoke to Bloody Elbow, "I’m aware that my name is only really known in Japan, so I do hope that this fight with Babalu will be a step forwards towards gaining a bigger name outside of (my home country)."
When analyzing the style match up, Mizuno remains confident that he can exploit some of the holes in Babalu's game.
"I know (BJJ is) his strength, but I’m not very concerned about Babalu’s ground game because I am confident in myself," says Mizuno, who also holds a 3rd degree Judo black belt, "I have been studying him and I know what his weaknesses are, and I am hoping to expose them in this fight."
"While studying his fights, I have become aware that (his chin is) perhaps his weakness," he states, "I am not going to solely focus on that during this fight, although if the opportunity is there, I will go for it."
Mizuno, who has been known for his finishing ability, has only gone to a decision once during a two-round bout back in 2008. "It has a lot to do with the way I fight," he continued, "One of the main things I have in mind with every fight is that someone is going down. There is not going to be ambiguity about who has won or lost, and it will be clear cut at the end of the fight. That is always in my mind, because I am so determined to make that happen."
With MMA in Japan on the decline, a lot of people have been putting more emphasis on trying to have more Japanese fighters have success on an international scale. Mizuno is bit different though, as he doesn't really put much weight in to those things, preferring to just simply strap on the gloves and enter the ring come fight time.
"I am not very patriotic. I do feel I have the Samurai spirit and I am happy to represent Japan, but it is fighter against fighter, not country against country." he says, "There are still a lot of people in Japan who like MMA and I hope they will watch me fight."
Follow me on twitter -- @antontabuena