Just In Goiti Yamauchi used Saad Awad’s aggression against him to claim Bellator submission record MMA Life

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TEMECULA, Calif. — Goiti Yamauchi knew that Saad Awad had a well-earned reputation as an aggressive fighter.

So when Yamauchi (24-4 MMA, 10-3 BMMA) saw the look in his opponent’s eyes during the first real exchange of their Bellator 229 lightweight co-feature fight Friday night, he decided he didn’t need to waste any time.

“There are a lot of things I visualize, I visualize a lot of things going into the fight,” Yamauchi told MMA Junkie following the matchup. “I caught him with a kick and he became very angry and emotional after that. I got caught with a strong right hand with the chin and I was like this guy, he’s coming to kill me, so I have to do something about it.”

The submission whiz from Curitiba, Brazil, immediately used Awad’s (23-12 MMA, 11-9 BMMA) aggression against him, utilizing a takedown and putting on an impressive display in transitioning from guard into an armbar. 

“I closed the distance, I pulled the guard and I got the finish,” Yamauchi said. “I was 100 percent ready for that situation.” 

From there, quite frankly, things were academic, as he perfectly straightened out Awad’s arm, at which point he knew the fight was over and his 18th overall submission victory was secure.

“Once I got the arm,” Yamauchi said. “I knew it was finish. Even though it was the beginning of the fight, I knew it was over.”

The end result at a victory via armbar at Pechanga Resort Casino in just 1 minute, 40 seconds — and a spot alone in the history books with his record seventh submission in the company.

“I’m very, very happy,” Yamauchi said. “My main goal was to get the victory, but it was very meaningful for me to get the submission, because I broke the record, so it’s important not just for me, but for the jiu-jitsu community I represent and all the grapplers. So I’m happy for this fight going the way it was.”

After such an impressive victory, many fighters would take a vacation and get as far away from the gym as they can.

Not Yamauchi. He emerged from the fight with barely a scratch, and he’s now won three fights in a row since a loss to former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler caused him to re-assess his approach. With that in mind, Yamauchi said he would be back in the gym on Saturday, and hopefully back in the cage as soon as possible. 

“I must be patient, I don’t want to rush. I’m waiting for Bellator and my next opportunity. If they call me, I will never reject a fight. If they want to put a fight against somebody, I’m in. In a couple hours I’ll probably train again. That’s my mindset. I like vacations because I really love what I do.” 

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