New Zealand welterweight Matt “The Viper” Vaile flies to Japan this week where he is set to headline the historical Pancrase 300 card on Sunday night. The current XFC and Hex Fight Series title holder will be taking on the dangerous Takashi Sato and is determined to make a statement in his goal of ultimately earning a UFC contract.
Fight News Australia caught up with Matt for a quick Q&A ahead of the bout.
Matt, thanks for taking the time to answer a few question!
Vaile: Cheers bro anytime!
You are under two weeks away from arguably the most important fight of your career. How are you feeling?
Vaile: My camp for this fight has been great! I’ve kept a steady training program since my Hex title fight and not really stopped at all. Also I have quit my job in last 4 weeks now training full time. This has made big difference in training and my performance!
You are on a five fight winning streak and have lost just once in your 11-fight career. You are arguably on UFC’s doorstep so why take such a challenging bout in enemy territory?
Vaile: UFC is the goal for me but I feel sitting and wanting is not going to get me any closer. What will make a statement, is a win over seasoned opponent like Sato and also on such a well known show with a proud history like Pancrase.
As they say, the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward.
Vaile: Exactly when you look at the last few winners of king of pancrase, most are in the ufc
You’ll be fighting on the monumental Pancrase 300 card. Must be such an honour to headline such a card?
Vaile: This was big part of the decision to head to Japan for this fight, such a historic promotion and also 300th show. Its a honour to be main event!
Your opponent Takashi Sato brings an impressive 13-2 record, however lost his last outing back in July so no doubt will be eager to get back in the winners column. What do you know of him and expect him to bring?
Vaile: Sato is a very unorthodox fighting style mixes striking and his ground control with judo well. His last fight he almost finished the champ in third round . I know he will fight to the end and be very tough.
How do you predict the fight will end?
Vaile: With how my past 8 weeks have been shaping up I feel I will get better of him and finish the fight in the late second or third round.
Lastly, any people and sponsors you would like to thank?
Vaile: Shout out to Pancrase and Justin Lawrence for putting this fight together. My gym Core MMA in Hamilton (NZ) and all my training partners. My coaches, Clint M, Master Lolo & Mike G for all their time. Lastly my sponsors, Healthbank NZ, 3530 Fight Company and Global Digital Solutions.
Started Martial Arts training after watching Mr Miyagi and Daniel-son in Karate Kid back in 1987. By the time MMA arrived many years later, I was hooked. Coverage of local MMA was via scarce posts on forums like the Underground and Sherdog. I embarked on covering the sport in 2002 and since then have written thousands of articles for both print and online media, before branching out and starting Fight News Australia in 2010. Outside the site, I dream of riding in an F1 car.