MMA Review: #59: Pride: Bushido Vol. 4 Aug06

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MMA Review: #59: Pride: Bushido Vol. 4

Pride: Bushido Vol. 4

07/19/04

Nagoya, Japan

-Your hosts are Mauro Renallo and Bas Rutten. They run down the card, then we get a fire and drum intro, leading into the fighter introductions.

Luis ‘Buscape’ Firmino vs Hiroyuki Abe

This is under ‘Bushido Challenge’ rules, meaning two five-minute rounds. It’s also Brazilian Top Team’s Buscape’s debut in Pride, and Renallo finally solves a personal mystery for me, explaining that ‘Buscape’ means ‘Firework’ in Portuguese. Abe is sporting the world’s most metrosexual haircut here.

They begin and Buscape comes charging right out of the gate and decks him with a right hand! He pounds away, looking for the stoppage, but Abe manages to hold on and they come back up to their feet, where Buscape works for a takedown. Abe blocks, but only momentarily as Buscape picks him up and delivers a BIG SLAM down to guard. Buscape works the head and body, landing some good shots, then passes right over to side mount and starts to look for a kimura. Abe blocks by rolling, so Buscape takes his back, but Abe turns, right into a head and arm choke, and Buscape tightens it up as Abe refuses to tap. Referee stops things when he realizes Abe is unconscious.

Awesome, AWESOME debut for Buscape here as he ran through Abe like he was nothing. Granted Abe usually fights at a lower weight class (145lbs) and Buscape’s a natural 160lbs guy, but Abe’s still a very tough fighter, and Buscape disposed of him by very painful measures. Good fight to open the card.

Dokonjonosuke Mishima vs Marcus Aurelio

Aurelio, making his Pride debut here, trains with the likes of Hermes Franca, Din Thomas, and Denis Kang at American Top Team. Mishima’s last appearance in Pride had been the tough loss to Ralph Gracie at the inaugural Bushido show, so he was looking for a bit of redemption here. Don’t ask me why, also, but he reminds me a ton of the villain in the Karate Kid II.

They press to open, and Mishima sprawls back to avoid a clinch and gets into Aurelio’s guard. He delivers a short slam, as Aurelio works and tries an armbar, then kicks Mishima away as he avoids. Mishima lands some kicks standing, then goes back into the guard, where Aurelio gets his legs up for a submission again, and looks to have a triangle/armbar secured, but he can’t get his legs across properly, and Mishima escapes nicely. Mishima stands and drops some punches down into the guard, but then eats a couple of upkicks, so he decides to drop for a leglock attempt instead. Aurelio avoids by kicking him in the face, and rolls through into Mishima’s guard, where he delivers an illegal headbutt. The official calls them up and shows Aurelio the yellow card, and then they restart, where Aurelio tags him with some punches, only to be taken down to guard. Aurelio looks for an armbar, but Mishima raises up and drops a BIG RIGHT HAND down onto him, busting him open over the eye. A flurry follows, so Aurelio counters with a triangle attempt, but Mishima escapes by stomping him in the face. Aurelio tries an oma plata, reversing on top, but the official calls time to check his cut, which is bleeding quite badly at this point. Restart, and they have a brief standing exchange, before Mishima gets a takedown to guard. Aurelio starts going for the submissions again, so Mishima avoids, coming really close to getting caught in an armbar. Aurelio tries the armbar again, but eats some hammerfists, and he keeps going for the triangle to end the round.

Into the 2nd, and Mishima opens with a spinning back kick, but it misses and Aurelio gets the takedown to guard. He works to pass, and then gets the mount, going for an armbar as Mishima rolls. Mishima somehow avoids it and stands, before dropping some more hard punches down onto him. Aurelio keeps trying for the triangle as Mishima works from the top, before Aurelio reverses over into a side mount, only for Mishima to get his guard back quickly. The official calls time to check on Mishima’s nose, which is bleeding. Didn’t see what caused that at all, sorry. They restart in the guard, and Aurelio works to mount and takes his back, but Mishima escapes into Aurelio’s guard. Aurelio gets a triangle and reverses back to Mishima’s guard, and then passes to side mount, but all he can do is land some knees to the body before the fight ends.

To the judges, and the winner by split decision is Mishima. I think that was the right decision as Mishima did the most damage and scored the more significant blows throughout, although Aurelio showed a lot of skill, especially from the bottom, and came close to finishing it off with submissions a few times. Really exciting fight for the most part.

Amar Suloev vs Dean Lister

Renallo’s been making a huge deal out of this one throughout the night, as it’s the classic ‘Striker vs. Grappler’ match, Suloev being the kickboxer, while Lister is ranked one of the premier grapplers in the world. Lister was also bringing quite the reputation from King of the Cage in with him.

Suloev has one of the most bizarre entrances I’ve ever seen, wearing a suit with a bow tie (but no shirt, just the jacket and trousers), as well as a bowler hat and cigar. If there’s a reference there, it totally went over my head, anyway.

They circle and exchange kicks to begin, before Lister shoots in, but Suloev blocks it. More kicks follow before Lister tries the shot again, with the same result, so Lister drops to his back before the official forces him to stand. They circle without doing much for what feels like forever, before Lister has another shot blocked, into a clinch where Suloev gets a takedown to guard. Or not, as Bas and Mauro argue over whether Lister pulled guard. Does it really matter? Anyway, Suloev stands, and they come back up, where he tries a right high kick that Lister blocks. They continue to circle, throwing very few strikes, before Suloev blocks another takedown. Suloev starts to land some decent shots now, including a good right hook and some nasty leg kicks, before the official stops things and shows them both the red card.

Renallo explains that unlike the yellow card (which is for fouls), the red card is given for stalling, and you can get an unlimited number of them (unlike the yellow where three = DQ). They carry the same penalty as the yellow card in terms of money though ‘ 10% of the fighter’s purse.

They restart and Lister tries a combo, but follows with another failed takedown attempt. Suloev lands some good rights, and Lister then comes back with a nice high kick, and finally gets the takedown, but the round ends there. God, when you’ve got a slow-paced fight, that ten-minute opening round that Pride uses is DEATH.

Into the 2nd, and they exchange some early strikes before Lister has a takedown attempt blocked again. More stalling follows. The official shows them both the red card once more, before Suloev blocks another takedown attempt and starts to really work over Lister’s left leg with kicks. Another shot is blocked, so Lister drops for a leglock, but Suloev pulls out and steps away. The fans start to whistle loudly now, which Bas explains is the Japanese equivalent of booing. No surprise there, this fight is terrible. Lister’s leg looks badly hurt now, as he comes forward and pulls guard, but Suloev ends up standing to end.

To the judges, where Suloev gets the split decision. Rutten says it must’ve been a tough fight to judge, as neither man really did anything. Good point, Bas. I guess Suloev’s work on the leg is what gave him the win, though. Really horrible fight there, total stall-fest.

Hayato Sakurai vs Brady Fink

‘Funky’ Brady Fink is a member of Team Oyama, and he gets a ludicrous entrance, wearing 70’s gear complete with huge wig. Mach Sakurai isn’t looking in the best of shape here to say the least. Looks like a different fighter to the guy who fought Hughes in UFC.

They exchange low kicks to open, before Fink works and gets a takedown to guard. Fink tries a heel hook, but Sakurai rolls and avoids it nicely. Back up, and Sakurai stuns him with a right hand, following with some knees and then getting on top as Fink tries a takedown. Into half-guard, but Fink quickly gets his guard back and stalls for time, which results in the official standing them and showing him the red card. Fink charges in, obviously trying to show some aggression, and tries a takedown, but ends up being caught in a guillotine, and Sakurai pulls guard for leverage, and gets the submission. Sakurai might not have been in the best shape here, but he actually put in a solid performance. Fink, though, didn’t look ready for the big show at all.

Ikuhisa Minowa vs Kenichi Yamamoto

Both of these guys were looking for their first win in Pride (0-3 and 0-2 respectively) after some tough losses in their early showings.

Minowa presses to open, getting a takedown to half-guard, and works to pass, avoiding a leglock. He lands some good punches, but then pins Yamamoto in the corner and controls him without doing any damage, as the announcers start to worry about another stall-fest. The official restarts them in the center, though, and Minowa works to pass, taking his back before getting full mount, and from there he UNLOADS with a vicious flurry of punches, causing Yamamoto’s head to bounce off the mat, and the official stops things there. Replays show his mouthpiece bouncing out as he was being punched, that was a really brutal finish actually.

Takashi Sugiura vs Giant Silva

Both of these guys are noted professional wrestlers in Japan, and this is a total freakshow match with the 7’2’, 385lbs Silva against the 5’11’, 225lbs Sugiura. There’s actually a weird story about what happened post-fight here, which I’ll explain when we get to it. Silva continues the trend of weird entrances tonight, coming out holding a huge plank of wood, which is obviously supposed to be a makeshift club. Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson joins us on commentary from here onwards, too.

They get underway and Sugiura gets a quick single leg takedown to a loose half-guard from the giant. Sugiura starts hitting him from the top, landing some good knees before Silva kicks him away. Silva makes no attempt to actually get up, though, and Sugiura simply goes back down and starts pounding away again, hitting him with some hard punches and some knees before the official comes in for the stoppage. Now, it’s cut on my copy of this show (the US PPV version) but apparently, Sugiura cut a promo post-fight that caused Silva (in a likely pro-wrestling angle) to flip out and start swinging his club at him, and about eight officials had to restrain the giant. And even after this inept performance, they STILL brought Silva back on the 12/31 show to lose again, this time to Choi Mu Bae. Pointless, sloppy fight here.

Mirko Cro Cop vs Shungo Oyama

What would a Bushido show be without the customary ‘Mirko slaughters a jobber’ match? In this case, it’s one of Pride’s favourite whipping boys, Shungo Oyama. Pre-fight Mirko explains that he’s fired his trainer, Mike ‘Batman’ Bencic, and his replacement will surprise a lot of people. It turned out to be BJJ standout Fabricio Werdum, for those who were wondering. Oyama wears his gi for some reason here, not like he’s going to be needing it, unless he likes to sleep in it, I guess.

Oyama presses to open and they exchange some tentative jabs, while Mirko lands some low kicks too. Mirko then closes in and rocks Oyama with a flurry of hard left hands, causing Oyama to turn away. It’s to no avail though as you CAN’T ESCAPE MIRKO’S FURY and he comes forward, landing a pair of BRUTAL LEFT UPPERCUTS for the KO in just inside a minute. God, I’ve seen this sort of thing so many times before, and yet it never gets boring.

-We get a video package on the Brazilian Top Team, hyping the upcoming three-fight series with Team Japan, which leads us into…

Paulo Filho vs Akira Shoji

This is a rematch of the fight at Pride 22, which saw Filho submit Shoji with an armbar early in the first round.

They exchange from distance to open with nothing major landing. Filho gets some nice kicks in, but that’s about it as they continue to circle around. Filho lands a good combo, so Shoji clinches, but they come back out quickly and continue to exchange. Filho slips on a kick and Shoji lands some kicks to the legs before the official stands him back up. They restart and Filho lands some good combos, before shooting in for a takedown and sending Shoji through the ropes! Whoa. They restart and continue the exchanging from distance, nothing really doing any damage, before Filho slips again and eats some leg kicks before being stood. This is another boring fight, and the official agrees as he gives out the red cards. They continue to exchange to end the round.

The 2nd picks up where the opener left off, as they continue to exchange from distance with Shoji now landing some good shots to open. Filho answers with some hard kicks. Nothing major is landing though, and they continue to circle around before Shoji blocks a takedown. Filho answers with a nice combo, but has another takedown blocked. Into the clinch, and Filho lands some knees, before they come back out where he lands some combos as they circle around to end the fight.

We’re going to the judges, and Filho comes out with the split decision. Much like Lister/Suloev, a split decision was unsurprising here as neither man did much to warrant the victory. Total snoozer of a fight which is surprising as Filho’s usually quite exciting from what else I’ve seen of him.

Takanori Gomi vs Fabio Mello

Gomi was coming off the incredible six-second KO of Ralph Gracie going into this one, and he’d also been the only member of Team Japan to pick up a win in the last two Bushido series’ (against Team Chute Boxe and Team Gracie). I don’t really know much at all about Mello, as this was his Pride debut and he hasn’t been back since.

They circle to open and Gomi lands a good uppercut. Mello comes forward with a kick, and Gomi charges in to avoid it, blocking a takedown and getting into side mount. Gomi controls him, as Mello gets half-guard back. Gomi stands, and the official calls time to fix something on Mello’s glove, before they restart and Gomi kicks away at his legs. The official stands Mello, and he lands a good low kick, but Gomi counters with a good right, gets a clinch, and trips him to guard. Gomi passes to half-guard and looks for the side mount, but he can’t get it, so he stands and the official brings Mello up to follow him. Gomi presses, and lands a good combo and a HARD knee, causing Mello to pull guard. Gomi lands some good shots from the top, before the official stands them for inactivity. They restart and Gomi comes forward, landing a hard flurry of punches, and follows by grabbing a Thai clinch and landing knees. Mello looks in trouble, and eats more punches before Gomi lands a BIG KNEE to the body that drops him. Mello covers up and Gomi drops down to side mount, hammering away with knees and punches, and that’s all she wrote.

Another dominant performance from Gomi, even if his opponent wasn’t that great. This was his third straight victory in Pride, and it’s no coincidence that after this show, they decided to run with Gomi as the Bushido poster-boy and dropped the ‘Team Japan vs. Team XXX’ series as the headliners. So I guess we’ve technically got Gomi to thank for the great Bushido shows we’re getting today, in a way! Entertaining fight thanks to Gomi’s skill.

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs Kazuhiro Nakamura

This main event was also a rematch of a previous fight, originally at Pride 25 where Nogueira armbarred Nakamura in his MMA debut. Nogueira was coming off the impressive win over Kazushi Sakuraba going into this one, and both announcers were picking him to take this series for BTT.

They circle to open and Nogueira shoves off a clinch, and they continue to circle with brief clinches. Nogueira lands a nice liver kick, and Nakamura comes forward, so Nog pulls guard. Nog tries to go for the triangle choke, but Nakamura stands to avoid and they come back up, exchanging with Nogueira landing the better shots. Nog continues to pepper him with some crisp combos as they circle, before the official shows them both the red card. Didn’t think that was really justified there, but whatever. Nogueira continues to land, before Nakamura corners him, so Nog jumps into guard. Nakamura isn’t having it though, and he forces Nogueira down while remaining standing, landing some right hands as he does. The official stands Nog back up, and he continues to press with combos, with not much in the way of offence from Nakamura. Nogueira comes forward and lands a solid knee to the gut, and follows with some clean punches to end the round.

Into the 2nd, and Nakamura opens with a wild combo into a clinch, before they come out and exchange straight punches! Nogueira clinches and lands some vicious knees, but Nakamura gets a takedown to guard and starts slapping him on the head. He looks to pass the guard, but Nogueira almost gets a sweep, so he stands back up. Nakamura tries a spinning guard pass, but Nogueira blocks and retains guard, so Nakamura throws a flurry from the top, avoiding a triangle along the way. The official stands them back up, and Nogueira continues to press with combos and good knees to the body. Nakamura gets a takedown, but can’t do anything with it, and the fight ends there.

We’re going to the judges once more, and the winner, via split decision, is’..Nogueira! God, they actually named Nakamura with the first decision, but the final two went to Nogueira, and rightfully so, as he picked Nakamura apart standing and didn’t seem in trouble at any point in the fight. For a primarily Jiu-Jitsu guy, Lil’ Nog has some awesome stand-up. This got slow at points, but overall it was a decent fight to end the night. And as always, Team Japan come out of the series second-best.

Final Thoughts…

Like most of the early Bushido shows, this is a mixed bag, as it’s got some terrible snoozers, but also some really exciting fights with some great finishes. Case in point here, Shoji/Filho, Lister/Suloev, and Silva/Sugiura are awful, while Gomi/Mello, Buscape/Abe, and Cro Cop/Oyama are all great to watch. That said, there’s better Gomi fights out there, and better Cro Cop KOs out there, so nothing on this show is essential, and for that reason, I won’t give it a thumbs up. Thankfully, the Bushido series would start getting really good with the next show, as they began to concentrate on building the Lightweight division around Gomi, and from there, it’s been up and up. But yeah, I can’t recommend this one.

Coming Soon…

Pride: 25, 26, and Bushido 5, 6, 7 and 8.

UFC: 7, 8, and 53.

The Ultimate Fighter DVD set

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

WFA: 1, 2 and 3.

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:

OratoryNewman@gmail.com