This trip to Japan will be Main's fourth fight under the Pancrase banner.
New Jersey Native Makes Fourth Trip to Japan for Pancrase 265 in Tokyo
soul7nine athlete Andy Main (9-2-1) has made the trip east to Tokyo for Pancrase 265, where the New Jersey native will meet Hiroyuki Oshiro (5-1) on Saturday. The stakes are high in the contest, as the winner will earn a shot at the King of Pancrase Featherweight Championship at a later date.
“The fans in Japan appreciate professional martial artists in a different way than anywhere I have ever been,” Main said of fighting in Japan, which he has done on three previous occasions. “It almost feels like going back in time a little bit and fighting in a different era of MMA. My first two fights for Pancrase were actually under the old PRIDE rules in the ring, like the Wild West of MMA fighting. They have since adopted the Unified Rules and fight in a cage now, but I just love everything about fighting there.”
Main, who fought on the 12th season of The Ultimate Fighter, always had a desire to fight in Japan, but it was a chance encounter that led to his first opportunity to do so.
“In professional fighting, I’ve really only had two primary goals for myself. 1-to be in the UFC, and 2-to fight in Japan,” he stated. “The opportunity to fight in Japan, it was really weird because I had spoken to my manager at the time and said ‘I would really love to fight in Japan. Do we have any connections?’ He reached out to a couple of people, and it really didn’t look like it was going to happen. All of a sudden, I got a call from a friend saying ‘Hey, I’m putting something together for Pancrase and need a 155er, but it’s in a month. Can you do it?’
“The odds of it happening are very slim to begin with, and the week after I was asking my manager about fighting in Japan, I get a call to fight in Japan. I didn’t even think twice. I went out and fought for Pancrase, and it was awesome.”
A submission artist who also carries with him some heavy hands, Main has come a long way since his appearance on The Ultimate Fighter 12, which pitted Team Georges St-Pierre against Team Josh Koscheck. Just one year into his professional career at the time, it was also by chance that he even made the trip to Charlotte for tryouts to get on the show.
“I was thinking that it wasn’t the right time, and there would be another time,” he recollected. “But I was encouraged by other fighters to try out anyway because it would usually take two or three times to get picked up by the show. A friend of mine was driving to tryout, so I just decided to hop in for the ride, go down and tryout. Next thing I know, I get a call asking me if I want to fly out to Vegas to be on the show.
“It was a pretty surreal experience. It was exciting, and I was pumped. I went out, and I won my fight (against Jason Brenton via submission) to get on the show. I beat an undefeated guy, a good prospect. I was able to submit him, so I was confident going into the show.”
While Main took a loss in his next TUF outing against eventual semifinalist Kyle Watson, he still made the absolute most of his time on the show.
“I think because of my youth and inexperience (Main turned the show minimum of 21 just one week before tryouts), I wasn’t in a place to yet take full advantage of the experience in terms of performing well on the show, but I did take full advantage in other ways,” he remarked. “It set up the groundwork for me to be able to go anywhere in the world to fight and train. I continued to train and fight, and I just really took it from there.”
Another thing that being on the show did was enable Main to earn enough money to open his own facility, Pure Mixed Martial Arts – Main Brothers Academy, with his brother, Mikey, in Denville, New Jersey.
“Even though being a busy owner is time consuming and a lot of work, I’m never out of the martial arts world,” Main said of the balance between being a businessman and a fighter. “I wake up, I go train, and then I go from training to teaching martial arts at night. It allows me to never deviate from the martial arts world that much. The schedule of running a martial arts gym allows me to train full-time since I don’t have to work a 9 to 5. I don’t have to be at my gym all day, every day. My brother and I both have hours we work, and we have other instructors who have hours they work. It is time consuming and takes energy to do both, but it allows me to do things the way I want to do things. As long as you’re dedicated and focused on what you want to do, you can accomplish anything you want to accomplish.”
Pure MMA is located at 100 Ford Road in Denville. For more information on the facility, visit www.puremixedmartialarts.com.