MMA Review: #61: Pride: Bushido Vol. 6 Sep18


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MMA Review: #61: Pride: Bushido Vol. 6

Pride: Bushido Vol. 6


Yokohama, Japan

-Your hosts are Mauro and Bas, who run down the card and hype the Middleweight Grand Prix Qualification mini-tournament, as well as the appearance of Pride HW champion Fedor Emelianenko in the main event, attempting to avenge his only career loss against TK. No fighter intro segment here – the show’s much too loaded for that.

Denis Kang vs Takahiro Oba

Denis Kang is a Canadian fighter who was riding a twelve-fight unbeaten streak coming into this fight. For whatever reason, despite it being pretty well known that he’s Canadian, Pride actually claims he’s Korean. Dunno what that’s all about – maybe something to do with the current Japanese love of Korean culture? Who knows. Anyway, from what I’ve heard Kang is pretty good, so this should be interesting, as I’ve never seen him fight before.

They press to open, and Kang gets a jab into the clinch, and a quick takedown to guard, where he works to pass immediately. Kang gets a knee to the head, and works the body, before getting a mount and trying an armbar, but Oba manages to escape into Kang’s guard. Kang gets his legs up for a sub attempt, so Oba stands to avoid, and Kang follows back up. Oba presses, and eats a knee but keeps coming forward, so Kang takes him down to side mount instead. Kang passes over to full mount, and lands some punches before looking for the armbar, but he can’t get it properly because the ropes are in the way, so he just keeps punching instead. Oba manages to pull out a nice sweep over to Kang’s guard, but stands up to avoid any subs and eats an upkick. Kang joins him standing, and they get into a clinch where Oba tries to pull guard, but ends up falling into a mount instead, and Kang quickly gets a textbook armbar and wrenches on it for the tapout.

Pretty much a one-sided squash that showcased Kang’s nice ground skill, but it was still entertaining. Good debut for the Canadian/Korean.

Mini-Tournament Semi-Finals: Paulo Filho vs Amar Suloev

This mini-tournament featured Filho, Suloev, and in the other semi, Dean Lister and Akira Shoji. The idea behind it was that the winner would fight twice in one night and prove his worth for the tournament style, and would gain the final spot in Pride’s stacked Middleweight Grand Prix. Filho, Suloev and Shoji are of course all blown up 185lbs guys though, and Suloev looks really, REALLY chubby here, with Filho also not looking his ripped self either. Should be a good fight though.

They get underway and Suloev presses and lands a hard low kick, but misses a high kick. Filho uses the opportunity to grab a clinch, but can’t get the takedown and Suloev breaks off. Amar tries a combo, but Filho shoots back in and lifts him up for a slam, but Suloev grabs the ropes to block. Boo, that’s a CLEAR foul. The official breaks it up, and rightfully shows Suloev the yellow card. They restart and Suloev presses with strikes, landing a good low kick, but Filho gets a clinch and this time lands the slam, before JUMPING right into side mount. Filho works the body from the top and looks to mount, using the knee on the stomach to slide over into it. He opens up with some punches, landing some solid shots, and Suloev desperately tries to buck him off, but rolls right into an armbar (Cro Cop/Nogueira style) and Filho secures it tightly for the tapout.

Quicker and easier fight for Filho than I was expecting although I did pick him going into this. A lot of people claim he’s a Top Ten, maybe Top Five MW, and based on what I’ve seen of him it’s certainly possible, but I’d like to see him against more top guys before I make a full judgement. Fun, quick fight though.

Mini-Tournament Semi-Finals: Dean Lister vs Akira Shoji

Lister’s only Pride appearance prior to this was the horrible fight with Amar Suloev at Bushido 4, and he makes it clear in the pre-fight interview that he wants to put on an entertaining show this time. Dean claims he’s been working nothing but stand-up, so he’ll take it to Shoji standing and if he wants to take it to the ground, “Fine, because that’s where I’m best anyway”.

They begin and true to his word, Lister shows some improved stand-up, landing some good low kicks and jabs, as well as an attempt at a flashy kick combo. Lister then shoots in for a takedown, but Shoji blocks, so Lister pulls guard instead, and immediately works to bypass Shoji’s arm for a triangle choke. Shoji stands and eats an upkick, so he decides to re-enter Lister’s guard, which proves to be a mistake as Lister immediately works on bypassing the arm, and this time manages it, locking on a tight triangle. Shoji tries to channel Rampage and powerbomb him, but fails miserably, and ends up tapping out for only the second time in his career. Wow, for a Bushido show these fights are going REALLY quickly.

That was a really impressive performance from Lister actually, as despite his crappy record, Shoji’s actually a really tough guy to finish. Lister is the real deal on the ground though, and the way he locked on the triangle was really slick.

Marcus Aurelio vs Daisuke Nakamura

Aurelio was looking to make up for his loss to Dokonjonosuke Mishima here, while Nakamura was making his Pride debut.

Nakamura misses a spinning sweep attempt to get underway, before Aurelio gets a clinch and takes his back. Aurelio works to get both hooks in, and then lands some shots from behind before looking for the rear naked choke. More punches follow, but Nakamura manages to reverse into Aurelio’s guard. He stands up, but eats an upkick and Aurelio tries another takedown, but Nakamura blocks well and goes down into Aurelio’s guard. Into the half-guard, but Aurelio works back to his feet and gets his own takedown, before taking Nakamura’s back. Aurelio gets a body triangle for control, and lands some punches, but still can’t secure the rear choke, so he just continues to punch away from the back mount. Nakamura tries to escape, but can’t, and Aurelio continues to work from the back mount, almost securing an armbar before the round ends. That was a total domination.

Into the 2nd, and Nakamura presses, but Aurelio takes him down again, only for Nakamura to try the Sakuraba kimura. Aurelio reverses over into side mount, but Nakamura gets guard back. Back into side mount, and then full mount, before Aurelio takes his back again, and looks for a triangle from the back mount! Whoa, never seen that one before. It looks like he’s got it locked in, but Nakamura keeps fighting it, and breaks to stand! Aurelio follows him up, and lands a jab before getting the takedown right into back mount again. He lands some punches, and looks for the back triangle again, but then transitions to an armbar instead. Nakamura manages to escape that into guard, and slugs away, before trying a kneebar. Aurelio avoids and gets guard, and then reverses over to Nakamura’s half-guard to end the fight.

We’re heading to the judges, where Aurelio unsurprisingly picks up the unanimous decision, because that was a total domination from bell-to-bell, and really the only thing he didn’t manage to do was finish him off. Another entertaining fight as this card is on a roll at this point.

Luiz Azeredo vs Luis ‘Buscape’ Firmino

This was actually the first Brazilian Top Team vs. Chute Boxe fight since Ninja/Arona way back in 2002, which is incredible given the amount of guys Pride uses from those two camps. Takanori Gomi is shown watching at ringside, as the announcers explain that it’s likely that the winner will face him in the main event of Bushido 7.

Buscape opens with a quick takedown to guard, but Azeredo tries an armbar from the bottom immediately, but Buscape avoids and comes back up. Buscape gets another takedown to guard, so Azeredo tries a sweep, but Buscape blocks and slugs away from the top. Azeredo almost gets another armbar, but Buscape slips out again and stacks him up before landing some shots, and tries to pass guard. They come back up to standing with Azeredo in a rear waistlock. Buscape moves around and controls him with a headlock, landing a knee before trying an ankle pick, but Azeredo blocks and they go into an AWESOME grappling sequence before coming back to standing, where Buscape tries to lock on a kimura and pulls guard. Azeredo steps out of the guard to avoid, and counters right into a full armbar attempt, but Buscape escapes and gets another rear waistlock! Holy God, this is awesome with a RIDICULOUS pace so far. Azeredo rolls into guard again, but Buscape reverses right out, and gets the waistlock again, but Buscape spins and gets another takedown to guard.

Buscape stands and passes into half-guard, but Azeredo reverses from there and gets on top, chopping away with some punches. Buscape tries an armbar, and then a leglock, but Azeredo avoids and gets a front facelock. Back up into a clinch, and Buscape botches a throw and ends up on his back, so Azeredo lands a SPINNING STOMP!~! He follows with an attempt at a jumping stomp, but Buscape counters with his legs up and reverses into a single leg, putting Azeredo in guard. Azeredo reverses over into Buscape’s guard, and the fight finally slows down a bit from there, with Azeredo controls him from the top. The official ends up standing them, and gives Buscape a red card for stalling from the bottom.

Quick tangent here – the red card system in Bushido is HORRIBLY inconsistent from where I’m standing – I mean, you’ll see some horribly slow fights when the guys are standing, and yet no cards are given, and then you’ll see this, with two guys going at 200mph before they *slightly* slow down, and wham, one of them gets a red card! Remember that one red card = 10% of the fighter’s purse, too. It’s crap. And on the same note, why was Buscape given the card while Azeredo wasn’t? It was clear that Buscape wasn’t stalling for a stand-up, and surely if the guy on the top is controlling you as well as Azeredo was, you can’t try to push the action. I dunno – if I had my way I’d do away with the system altogether and just encourage more stand-ups from the officials.

Back to the fight – Buscape tries a cradle takedown as they restart (ala Tito Ortiz vs. Guy Mezger) but Azeredo blocks it, and they clinch, with Buscape getting a takedown to guard. Azeredo tries an armbar that Buscape avoids, and the round ends there.

Into the 2nd and Buscape comes out swinging, and gets a waistlock again, but Azeredo somersaults into guard. Buscape chops away with some shots, looking to create some distance, so Azeredo rolls and Buscape gets a waistlock again. Azeredo gets his guard back, and they slow down slightly again until the official stands them and gives them both red cards. Ugh. They restart and Buscape punches his way into a single leg, down to guard, where Azeredo tries an armbar, but Buscape blocks. Another armbar gets blocked, and they exchange in the guard before Buscape blocks another armbar to end. To the judges, and the winner via split decision is Azeredo!

Wow, that fight was too close to call, so I won’t argue with the decision, but I’ll be damned if that wasn’t one of the best grappling-oriented fights I’ve ever seen. It did have it’s slow points, but who cares? Some of the grappling sequences and reversals here were SICK, and for the most part the pace was absolutely ridiculous. This was a solid Fight of the Year candidate, and arguably the best offering from Pride in 2005 so far.

Daniel Acacio vs Daiju Takase

This was Chute Boxe rep Acacio’s debut in Pride, while Takase was returning from quite a long layoff following a controversial win over Carlos Newton at an earlier Bushido. Renallo explains pre-fight that Chute Boxe are still gunning for Takase after he submitted Anderson Silva (who’s actually no longer with Chute Boxe) at Pride 26.

Takase shoots in to open, but Acacio shows off an awesome sprawl and kicks away at Takase’s legs as he lies on his back. The official stands him up, and the fight gets stopped momentarily to fix up Acacio’s glove, before they restart and Acacio lands a good combo into the clinch, then gets another great sprawl to avoid the takedown. Takase lies on his back again, so Acacio lands a stomp. He tries another, but Takase grabs his leg and comes up, jumping onto Acacio’s back with both hooks in. Acacio blocks the rear naked choke attempts, and then tries to shake him off, but Takase holds on in the dreaded KOALA POSITION. He releases to avoid a slam, and they trade into the clinch, before Takase tries a takedown, only to eat a soccer kick. Back up and Takase throws some punches that completely miss, before Acacio avoids another takedown attempt. Takase shoots in again, but Acacio sprawls to avoid and then lands a soccer kick and a stomp, before avoiding a leglock attempt and stomping him again. Acacio pounds away with punches, then lands some more stomps, as Takase scrambles desperately for a takedown, but still can’t get it. Back up and Acacio TAGS him with a right hand, putting him down where he eats ANOTHER stomp. The official doesn’t end his pain, standing him up where Acacio nails him with some more punches to put him back down, and tries some more stomps. Back up AGAIN, and Takase tries to swing, but ends up on his back again, and we end the round with Takase being stood and eating more punches from Acacio again.

Why this hasn’t been stopped yet I don’t know.

Into the 2nd, and Takase shoots, but Acacio sprawls again and Takase drops to his back before being stood, and shown a red card. C’mon, the guy’s taking a BEATING here and they take 10% of his purse, despite him trying his best? Ugh. Acacio lands a combo off the restart, and Takase desperately tries to roll his way into guard, looking for any way to get the fight to the ground, but Acacio avoids and Takase gets stood again. Acacio tags him again, and lands another stomp as he drops to the mat, but the official stands him again. He STILL can’t get the takedown, so Acacio throws him down this time, and lands another stomp and follows with a NASTY soccer kick! Acacio smells blood and looks for the finish, hammering with punches and more kicks, but the official STILL doesn’t stop the fight, and Acacio ends up standing off and allowing Takase to be stood again, looking like a walking corpse at this point. Acacio comes forward, and Takase simply falls to his back this time, eating another kick and some more punches. He tries to pull the koala again, but it’s to no avail as Acacio shoves him down, and lands a HARD STOMP and a brutal soccer kick, and FINALLY the towel comes in from Takase’s corner.

Great performance from Acacio, but that got difficult to watch towards the end and was yet another example of Pride’s inept refereeing when it comes to a Japanese fighter taking a nasty beating. Why this wasn’t stopped when it was clear Takase could do nothing but take punishment, I don’t know.

Aleksander Emelianenko vs Ricardo Morais

The huge Aleksander was actually dwarfed by his opponent here, as Ricardo ‘The Mutant’ Morais stands at a massive 6’8’ and weighs around 300lbs. Aleks looks in better shape than ever here, apparently having shed another 15lbs from his last Pride appearance in October.

They get underway and Morais lumbers forward, but Aleksander suddenly starts NAILING him with some crisp punches, and Morais FALLS DOWN FACE FIRST!~! Good lord, that was incredible. Official time is 15 seconds, and in those 15 seconds Aleksander must’ve hit about nine or ten clean punches. Scary showing from Fedor’s kid brother.

Murilo Bustamante vs Ryuta Sakurai

Bustamante was looking to end a horrible streak of three losses in Pride, although this was his first try at fighting at his legitimate weight of 185lbs rather than against natural 205lbers like Quinton Jackson and Kazuhiro Nakamura. Sakurai had only one appearance in Pride, losing at an earlier Bushido show, but Renallo explains that he’s actually won the DEEP MW title since that loss, hence his appearance here. Like with his prior appearance, I’m SHOCKED AND AWED by the fact that he looks like a smaller, Japanese version of Scott Steiner in terms of physique.

They clinch to open, before breaking and exchanging some strikes. Bustamante sets up a takedown with some punches, and looks to pass guard, before standing and dropping some punches. Busta takes his back and gets the hooks in, landing some punches and looking for the rear choke, but Sakurai blocks, so Busta spins out into a guillotine and looks to secure an Anaconda choke. He can’t get the choke in properly, so he starts firing off some nasty knees to the head from the front facelock position, before they come back up and Sakurai’s face looks quite bad. Bustamante shoots in, but Sakurai catches him in a guillotine. Bustamante drops to his back to escape, and Sakurai lands in a side mount, and traps Busta’s arms in a crucifix, where he drops some HEAVY shots ala Matt Hughes vs. Carlos Newton! Bustamante wriggles out and comes up in a clinch, before they break and Sakurai tags him with some nice lefts. Into the clinch, and Sakurai tries a throw, but they come back to their feet and exchange some stiff combos, with both landing well. Sakurai gets a takedown to guard, and works for position, but ends up in a guillotine. Bustamante gets full guard to attempt to finish, but Sakurai has one arm in, enabling him to survive and eventually escape. He lands some nice shots from the top, and avoids an oma plata before actually mounting Bustamante, but Busta reverses quickly so Sakurai tries a guillotine of his own. Bustamante avoids it by getting into side mount, and works for the full mount, but Sakurai gets his guard back, eating punches as he does. Back up, and they exchange in the clinch, before Bustamante gets a takedown and pounds away to end the round.

They exchange to open the 2nd, and Bustamante lands some nice, crisp combos. Into the clinch, but they break off quickly and Bustamante continues to land, showing some beautiful boxing skill to tag Sakurai with some great punches including a sweet right uppercut. Busta gets a takedown to half-guard, but nothing happens and the official stands them, where Bustamante continues to land. Busta tackles him right into the ropes, and Sakurai’s looking gassed, so Busta drags him by the legs away from the ropes and mounts. Sakurai is too gassed to escape, so Bustamante pounds away with some hard shots from the top, and continues the punishment to end the fight.

To the judges, and Bustamante gets the unanimous decision. I’d heard absolutely nothing about this fight before I saw this show, but it was surprisingly awesome, with Bustamante channelling his old UFC form to show some great skill both standing and on the ground. For his part, Sakurai actually performed really well, keeping up with a top-line fighter for the most part until he gassed in the 2nd. Totally enjoyable fight.

Ikuhisa Minowa vs Gilbert Yvel

I’m still scratching my head over why Yvel was brought back to Pride, as his latest KO victim before this fight was the REFEREE for one of his fights in Europe. Common sense suggested that either Yvel would decapitate Minowa with strikes early, or Minowa would get him down and sub him just as quickly.

They begin and Minowa immediately rushes in and gets a takedown to guard, before grabbing his foot and laying back for a heel hook attempt. He locks on an Achilles hold instead, as Renallo rips on Tim Sylvia by saying the Achilles hold isn’t damaging, but ‘champions have been known to tap to it in other organizations’. Wanker. Yvel tries his own leglock, but can’t get it as Minowa changes to a tight footlock, forcing the tapout at just over a minute in. Common sense prevailed I guess, and I don’t expect Yvel to be brought back again. Impressive showing by Minowa though.

-We come back to ringside, where they announce that Paulo Filho has a broken foot, and therefore won’t be fighting Dean Lister in the mini-tournament finals. The rules state that the losing guy from the semi can step in, but Amar Suloev is also announced as injured (hyper-extended arm) so Lister wins the tournament on a forfeit and qualifies for the Middleweight GP. According to the announcers Filho actually wanted to fight on the broken foot, but the doctors wouldn’t allow it. There were conspiracy theories at the time that suggested the injury was a ruse to make sure Pride would include Ricardo Arona in the GP (at the time Arona wasn’t announced, and it with Rogerio Nogueira already in, it wasn’t likely that they’d allow three BTT reps) but seeing as Filho hasn’t fought since, and he’s actually shown in a wheelchair here, I’m highly doubting that. Disappointing that we missed Lister/Filho though.

Fedor Emelianenko vs Tsuyoshi Kosaka

This was basically a tune-up fight for Fedor before his scheduled title defense against Mirko Cro Cop in June, but it had a lot of added interest as Kosaka was the only guy to have ever beaten Fedor – via a cut stoppage off an accidental elbow – in RINGS. Fedor looks seriously overweight for this fight, but hey, it’s Fedor, I don’t think it’ll really matter.

They begin and TK tries a single leg, but Fedor muscles him right down and starts to slug away, landing some heavy punches through TK’s guard. TK is cut early and the blood is POURING out, so the official calls time as Renallo talks about how ironic it’d be if Fedor were to beat TK off a cut stoppage. The doctor check takes FOREVER, but they finally restart and TK charges in, but Fedor shoves him down again and enters his guard. Kosaka tries a leglock, but Fedor pulls out, so TK tries another takedown that he avoids easily. Fedor goes down into a side mount and pounds away, reopening TK’s cut and they stop the fight to check it again. We get another restart in TK’s guard, where he tries a leglock, but Fedor avoids again and sprawls off another takedown attempt. Down into TK’s guard, and Fedor punches away with less vigour than earlier in the fight, but it’s still enough to bloody TK up again as he fails to close the distance. They stop the fight AGAIN to check the cut, before Fedor gets him down to guard off the restart and pounds him again, but with clearly less aggression now as the announcers wonder what’s wrong with him. Fedor avoids a leglock and gets into half-guard, continuing to punch as the blood is EVERYWHERE at this point. Fedor slows up again, so the official stands them, and Fedor TAGS him with a left and blocks a takedown, into TK’s guard where he lands punches to end the round.

Between rounds they decide to stop the fight due to TK’s cut, but the fans are REALLY respecting his spirit for refusing to stop during the round. Post-fight Fedor reveals that he’s actually carrying a hand injury, which would explain his lack of aggression after the early flurries of punishment. This was basically Fedor by the book, albeit a bit slower after the hand injury became apparent. The hand injury would actually put off Fedor’s fight with Cro Cop to August.

-We end the night with a quick highlight reel of the 2003 Middleweight GP, plugging the upcoming Total Elimination PPV.

Final Thoughts…

Another really great show for Bushido to follow the solid Volume 5, as this one is filled with entertaining fights from top to bottom, with not one slow fight to bring things down. Best fight on the card is Azeredo/Buscape, but the semis of the mini-tournament, Bustamante/Sakurai and the main event are all really entertaining too. Everything else is either really short, or a great showing of skill, and the only low points for me are the cancellation of Lister/Filho, and the bad officiating at certain points (namely Acacio/Takase). With a great card like this though, it hardly brings it down. It’s been overshadowed since, but at the time, this was far and away the best Bushido show in the history of the series. Highly recommended.

Coming Soon…

Pride: 25, 26, and Bushido 7 and 8.

UFC: 7, 8, 9, 10, 53 and 54.

The Ultimate Fighter DVD set

Cage Rage: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11.

WFA: 1, 2 and 3.

King of the Cage: Sudden Impact, Sin City, The Pinnacle and Bringing Heat

WEC 9: Cold Blooded: featuring Joe Riggs vs. Alex Stiebling, and Chris Leben vs. Mike Swick.

Best of Shooto 2003 vols. 1 & 2, featuring Takanori Gomi vs. Joachim Hansen, and Joachim Hansen vs. Vitor Ribeiro.

Until next time,

Scott Newman: