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Goiti Yamauchi ‘almost certain’ he will fight Michael Chandler again in MMA

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Goiti Yamauchi lost a decision to Michael Chandler inside the Bellator cage.

One of the best grapplers to ever share an MMA cage with Michael Chandler, Goiti Yamauchi is excited to watch former Bellator opponent challenge Charles Oliveira for the UFC lightweight belt in May.

Yamauchi is also interested in one day avenging that defeat.

Yamauchi was on a three-fight streak of finishes when he took on Chandler in January 2018, losing a decision to the former Bellator titleholder in Inglewood, Calif. Three and a half years later, he discussed what the jiu-jitsu specialist “do Bronx” must do to become beat Chandler and capture UFC gold in Dallas on May 15.

“I think Charles must let his game flow and just be himself, bring his essence, and give his best,” Yamauchi said in an interview with MMA Fighting. “I don’t have a prediction for this fight, but it will be very interesting. I’ll be there watching, for sure. This fight interests me a lot because I’ve fought Chandler already and, wow, it will be a great fight. I’m anxious to watch it.”

Yamauchi expects to extend his deal with Bellator after a “good win” over Dan Moret at Bellator 256, which goes down Friday night in Uncasville, Conn., and believes Chandler will eventually return to Bellator so they can meet again.

“My gut says I’m almost certain I’ll meet Chandler in a cage one day,” he said. “I hope he has a good fight and stays active and healthy until that happens.”

Chandler has never been submitted before in MMA and “do Bronx” Oliveira holds the record for most submissions in UFC history. Yamauchi believes they are both “capable of everything” when they collide inside the octagon.

“Michael is very cerebral, he doesn’t go in there to brawl, he goes in there to fight,” Yamauchi said. “Impeccable shape, good head. He’s cold in there. When he got hit, unlike others I’ve fought before, he was able to maintain composure and follow his strategy. He was superior with his takedowns and strategy.

“The fight itself sucked, it was pretty boring [laughs]. There’s nothing you can take away from that fight other than he had a good gameplan and timing. He was super well-prepared and fought an underprepared Goiti. Hat’s off to him, he did what he had to do to win and was superior to that Goiti that night.”

Many things must happen in order for Yamauchi and Chandler to ever meet in a cage again, starting with them being under the same promotional banner. Until then, the Brazilian lightweight focuses getting past UFC veteran Dan Moret in the main card portion of Bellator 256.

Successful in his weight cut after a pair of recent mishaps which led to a catchweight in Japan and a cancelled bout in December 2020, Yamauchi said he was monitored by the athletic commission throughout the camp and stayed under 170 pounds the entire time.

“This fight will show I’m back and I’m ready to fight for the belt,” Yamauchi said. “That’s what I want to show Friday. I’ll show I’m ready to fly higher. [Moret] has the fighting style that matches up really nicely with me.”