MMA Review: #41: Pride: Shockwave 2004 Jan22

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MMA Review: #41: Pride: Shockwave 2004

Pride: Shockwave 2004

12/31/04

Saitama, Japan

-Your hosts are Mauro Renallo and Bas Rutten. The card is PACKED, unsurprisingly because the Japanese MMA companies put a ton of work into their New Year’s Eve cards. This one was probably the most packed Pride card ever, with Gardner/Yoshida, Kondo/Henderson, Randleman/Cro Cop, Gomi/Pulver, Silva/Hunt, AND Nogueira/Fedor.

-No fighter intro on this DVD, and all the entrances, pre-fight interviews, between round segments, and post-fight segments are cut. Not sure why they chose to do this for this show, as while all the fights flow quickly, it definitely takes a lot away from the feel of the show in terms of the spectacle of it all. I think they should’ve cut some of the undercard fights, to be honest – I mean, who in the US *really* wanted to see Choi Mu Bae against Giant Silva, or Ryan Gracie against Yoji Anjo? Ah well.

Ikuhisa Minowa vs Stefan Leko

The announcers reveal that Leko actually had serious back problems when he fought Ogawa in April, and has had two surgeries on it since. Well, maybe that fight *wasn’t* a work then. Still, beating an injured kickboxer doesn’t make you any more legit. Anyhow’.

Minowa comes right out with a dropkick, but Leko avoids, so Minowa pops back up and tries a cartwheel takedown, Leko avoiding that easily too. Leko tries some soccer kicks, landing two, but Minowa catches the third, and pulls him down right into a quick heel hook, and that’s that at less than 30 seconds. I think Leko needs to rethink his decision to go into MMA.

Choi Mu Bae vs Giant Silva

This should be fun, if your definition of ‘fun’ is ‘freak show’. Mu Bae isn’t a small guy, and Silva DWARFS him. I’d kinda like to see Silva/Sapp, only for the spectacle, but other than that I have no interest in the Giant at all.

They open and Silva comes out swinging, but Mu Bae avoids and clinches, getting a takedown to half-guard. Choi mounts him easily and looks for an armbar, but Silva escapes so Mu Bae stands. Back up, and Mu Bae gets another takedown to half-guard. Silva tries to reverse, but Mu Bae controls him nicely and lands some weak strikes. He moves into side mount, and lands some knees to the body as Silva tries to escape. Silva groans like a caveman with each knee that connects, which I have to admit is pretty hilarious. Mu Bae lands some punches, then decides to headbutt the body, which earns him a warning, idiot. Silva gets a half-guard and manages to sweep, but Mu Bae uses his superior balance, and takes his back, before going into a side mount. He looks for a side neck crank, then releases and mounts, getting a side choke for the tapout. Awful fight that felt like it lasted a few hours. See what I mean about cutting the undercard now?

Ryan Gracie vs Yoji Anjo

I’ve seen Anjo before in UFC, and he was spectacularly awful there, so I’m not expecting anything else from him here. The issue is apparently that Anjo challenged Rickson Gracie in the 90’s, and took a bit of a kicking in a fight at Gracie’s gym, so he wants ‘revenge’ over a Gracie here.

They press and Ryan gets a quick takedown to half-guard, passing to side mount immediately. He looks for a side choke, but can’t lock it on, so he decides to go for the mount, but gets tangled up in the ropes. They restart it in the center of the ring, but the referee won’t let Ryan get the same position that he had originally, so Ryan loses his temper and SHOVES THE REFEREE!~!, earning him the yellow card. Ha, in soccer, that’s a straight red. At any rate, Ryan is PISSED, so they restart the fight standing. Ryan rushes in and gets a bodylock down to side mount, and controls him nicely, almost mounting but ending up in half-guard. From there he takes Anjo’s back, and lands some punches, so Anjo rolls over into the mount. Anjo works and gets a half-guard back, but Ryan mounts him again and tries a rear naked choke. Anjo blocks, so Ryan lands some punches from behind, using a body triangle for control. Anjo works to escape, but turns over right into an armbar, and has to tap out.

Awful fight that probably would’ve been more entertaining if they’d gotten rid of Anjo and let Ryan have his way with the referee. I really don’t understand the Japanese appeal with guys like Anjo.

Ryo Chonan vs Anderson Silva

This was a quite well anticipated fight, as Silva was ranked within the upper echelon of most people’s Top Ten MWs thanks to his wins over Jeremy Horn and Lee Murray, while Chonan was coming off an impressive win himself, over Carlos Newton. Renallo is calling Chonan ‘The Piranha’, which is a cool nickname for sure. He also christens Silva ‘Spiderman’.

Round 1, and they press with some low kicks to open, before Chonan blocks a high kick attempt. Silva blocks an overhand right that follows, and then rocks him with a combo, chasing him around the ring as Chonan tries to avoid. Silva gets a takedown, right into a body triangle, and looks for the rear naked choke! Chonan blocks it, and struggles to escape the lock, but Silva keeps it on and lands some shots from the back. Chonan continually blocks the choke attempts, and finally breaks the triangle and turns over into Silva’s guard. Chonan starts to work from the guard, landing some hard shots and then avoiding a kimura, and continually chopping away with punches. The referee stands them up, and Chonan misses a spinning backfist, causing Silva to take him down into guard. Back up, and they exchange from distance to end. Good opening round.

Silva presses to open the 2nd, landing a good straight punch and a jumping knee, and then getting a waistlock and a German suplex. Back up, back Chonan blocks a high kick, and starts firing off some nice low kicks of his own. Silva TAGS him with a right, and comes forward with a combo, landing another hard right straight, but Chonan shows good recovery powers and they exchange into a Thai clinch. Chonan lands a knee, and then gets a takedown to guard, where he works away to end the round as Silva looks to prep a submission. Another good round, especially for Chonan who took some nasty shots and was able to recover well.

Into the third and final round, and Chonan presses with some low kicks, then blocks a high kick attempt. They exchange and Silva lands a hard right, then comes forward with a flurry and a high kick that Chonan ducks. Chonan decides to drop to his back, but Silva’s having none of it and the official stands him back up. Chonan presses the action now, landing a body kick, but Silva comes back with a combination of his own. Silva keeps coming forward, but Chonan suddenly surprises him with a DIVING LEGSCISSOR TAKEDOWN, right into a heel hook for the tapout!!!!

Holy shit, that was an incredible submission. Pretty awesome fight throughout, as Chonan took some hard shots, but gave as good as he got, and was on his way to a decision anyway. The submission was a thing of beauty and is probably the best I’ve seen all year, edging out Nogueira’s Anaconda Choke. Incredible agility and skill to pull that one off. ‘The Piranha’ could definitely go places.

Rulon Gardner vs Hidehiko Yoshida

This was one of the most anticipated fights of the card, featuring 2000 Greco-Roman Wrestling Olympic gold medallist Gardner against 1992 Judo Olympic gold medallist Yoshida. The general consensus was that either Gardner would sprawl and brawl his way to a win, via KO or decision, or Yoshida would manage to submit him once the fight got to the ground. I was leaning towards the former, basically wondering how Yoshida ever hoped to bring a Greco-Roman gold medallist to the ground in the first place. Gardner looks in HORRIBLE shape, with a huge gut hanging over his shorts.

They begin with some circling, and Yoshida throws some tentative kicks, before Gardner drops him with a left jab! Rulon charges into Yoshida’s guard, pounding away with punches, but Yoshida quickly ties up his arms using the gi to prevent any major damage. Yoshida goes for an armbar, but can’t get his leg over Gardner’s head due to the sheer size, and Gardner blocks. Rulon tries to punch, but only manages a few taps as Yoshida has his arms completely tied up, so he decides to stand up. Yoshida throws some low kicks as Gardner looks to jab again, and then Yoshida shoots in, so Rulon sprawls back nicely, and lands some knees with Yoshida in the turtle position. Yoshida gets to his feet, and lands an overhand right before swinging his way into a clinch, but Gardner shoves him away with ease, and lands a left jab. Yoshida starts to circle around, eating jabs as he does so, and Gardner gets the better of a brief trade-off. Rulon keeps working the jab, with Yoshida’s only answer being a couple of leg kicks. Yoshida tries a takedown, but Gardner muscles him off easily, so he goes to a leglock attempt, and Gardner blocks, landing some hammer-fists to end the round.

Gardner tags him with a left as Yoshida tries a kick, and Rulon keeps working the jab. They clinch, and Gardner lands a few shots before the ref breaks it. Gardner lands some more jabs, into a clinch and Gardner forces Yoshida through the ropes and POUNDS AWAY AT HIS FACE. The referee breaks it to get Yoshida out of the ropes, and he looks badly hurt. Gardner blocks a takedown attempt and muscles him to the ropes again, landing some punches to the head and body, before throwing him to the ground to end the round.

They open the third round with the same pattern, as Yoshida throws some low kicks while Gardner works the jab. They press tentatively for a while, before the referee decides to yellow-card them both. Very harsh there, as Rulon especially was trying to press the action somewhat. They restart, and exchange, with Gardner getting the better of it, and Yoshida slips to his back on a kick attempt. Back up, and Yoshida presses the action, eating some punches on his way into a clinch. Gardner gets a takedown to half-guard from there, and lands some small punches to the body, staying there to end the fight. Yoshida looks quite badly hurt at the end, Gardner clearly hits pretty hard. We go to the judges, and it’s Gardner with the unanimous decision.

Not really an exciting fight here, it had its moments but was generally slow. I was surprised at Gardner’s total domination – I expected him to win, but not this easily. Yoshida didn’t really have any good moments in the fight, and pretty much got bashed about from bell to bell. Gardner looked horribly out of shape, but his cardio was actually good, and if he could get more MMA experience, I’d say he could be somewhat of a force in the future, especially with his size.

Mirko Cro Cop vs Kevin Randleman

I was surprised Randleman granted Mirko a rematch here actually, as there wasn’t anything shady about Randleman’s win, and it’s not like he *had* to do it. Anyhow, this was another major fight on the stacked card. Most people expected Cro Cop to destroy Randleman here and erase the horror of the loss…so let’s see.

They begin and Randleman immediately flies in and tries to clinch, but Mirko pushes him away. Randleman dodges a punch and shoots back in, but Mirko blocks, so Randleman tries a double leg instead and Mirko catches him in a guillotine. Randleman keeps pushing forward, so Mirko kneels and applies the pressure…and Randleman taps out! Lord, I knew Randleman’s submission defense wasn’t that good, but I never expected Mirko Cro Cop to choke him out THAT quickly. And now Mirko’s won his last TWO fights by submission, think about that for a second. Looks like we’ll finally get Mirko-Fedor now, at any rate. Too quick to be a really good fight, though.

Dan Henderson vs Yuki Kondo

Hendo/Kondo was probably my most anticipated fight on the card personally (with Nogueira-Fedor and the return of Pulver being very close, too). The announcers are basically hyping that the winner could get another shot at Wanderlei Silva, too.

Round 1, and Henderson swings his way into a clinch, lands some knees, and gets a takedown to half-guard. Hendo uses a headlock to attempt a guard pass, and then gets a mount and tries the inverted guillotine, but Kondo escapes, so Henderson pounds with the strikes. Kondo reverses and gets back to his feet, and they exchange with Henderson landing some rights into a clinch. Hendo tries a throw, but Kondo blocks and ends up on top in Henderson’s half-guard, quite the cool reversal there. Kondo uses some palm strikes, and then passes to side mount, where Henderson lands some knees from the bottom. Kondo controls him well, and lands some knees himself, only for Hendo to get half-guard back. Kondo chops away with some strikes, but Hendo escapes to his feet, and they exchange with Kondo landing a good combo. Henderson grabs him in a Muay Thai clinch, but slips to half-guard and Kondo works over and mounts him! Hendo holds on from the bottom as Kondo tries to punch, but still can’t escape the mount. Kondo goes for a side choke, but Henderson escapes, and the round ends there. Really even round, I’d probably lean towards Kondo though.

Round 2, and they exchange and land some good shots, before Henderson clinches. The official breaks it, and Henderson suddenly looks really tired, surprising for him but more on that later. Henderson uppercuts his way into a clinch, and then gets a takedown to side mount, where he passes into a 69 mount and lands some knees. They come up and Henderson tries a guillotine, but ends up being side mounted rather than landing in his guard, and Kondo escapes. Kondo takes a full mount as Hendo holds on and tries to escape, but Kondo works some short punches. Henderson gets a half-guard back, and works up to his feet where they exchange in a clinch. Back out, and Henderson looks gassed, but still manages to land a couple of good rights. Into another clinch, and Kondo tries a throw, but this time Henderson reverses and lands on top in half-guard to end the round.

Henderson opens the final round with a good combination of knees and uppercuts, and presses, but Kondo lands some nice punches to enter the clinch. Henderson gets a takedown to guard, and works through to half-guard where he lands some elbows to the body. He grabs a headlock to attempt the mount again, but can’t get it so the referee stands them up and shows them the yellow card. Lord, they’re giving that out for very little on this show. They restart and Henderson tackles him down to guard, and works the guard with some strikes, but Kondo escapes and comes back up, where they exchange before Henderson throws him down RIGHT ON HIS HEAD, and puts him in a side mount to end.

We’re going to the judges…and the winner by split decision is…Dan Henderson. This was a uber-close fight, but I don’t see why so many people were complaining about the decision – it’s not like Kondo clearly won or anything. I would’ve accepted a draw, but Henderson got a lot of takedowns in the final rounds, and if you listen to Rutten’s analysis of the fight (both men had aggression, good strikes, and good ground work, but Henderson had better takedowns and positioning) you’ll see why Henderson did win the fight. As for Henderson looking tired, apparently he was sick going into the fight, which sapped his cardio badly. Still, pretty good fight if not the blowaway Fight of the Year I was sort of expecting.

Takanori Gomi vs Jens Pulver

I’d never seen Gomi at this point and as I’m a huge Pulver fan, I was fully expecting Little Evil to cap off his comeback to the big time with a win here, hopefully by KO. Pulver has a cool pattern shaved into the right side of his hair here, and it looks awesome, just an observation. I’d heard Gomi was a lot bigger than Pulver, too, but I don’t see it at all here really.

They begin and Pulver immediately blocks a takedown attempt, so Gomi fires off some combos as Pulver blocks and returns with some left hands. Pulver grabs a guillotine to block a single leg, and they come back out where Pulver lands a good bodyshot, before they call time to check on Pulver’s eye, apparently he got a thumb in it. He’s fine to go so they restart, and Gomi lands a hard right hook in an exchange, countered by a crisp one-two from Pulver. Gomi lands a low kick as Pulver continues to try the punches, and they keep exchanging with Pulver landing another good bodyshot and left hook, as Gomi fires right back with some shots of his own. Pulver lands a couple of good right jabs, and then a hard left hook. Gomi starts to fire off a couple of really good combos, Pulver returns the shots, but Gomi starts to land harder and more frequently at this point. Gomi lands a knee to the body and follows with a hard combo and a knee into a clinch, where he lands some more good punches. Back out, and Gomi lands some good bodyshots that Pulver counters with some jabs. Pulver lands a nice straight right, and they continue to exchange before Gomi lands a combo and a HARD knee to the body to hurt Pulver. Gomi presses forward with another combo, and Pulver keeps him away with some jabs, but Gomi lands another combo and a knee to send his mouthpiece flying. Gomi starts to take over now, landing some more combos and knees, mixing it up nicely, as Pulver struggles to counter it all. Gomi keeps coming forward, landing more combos, and finally Pulver goes down off a HUGE LEFT UPPERCUT, and he’s OUT.

Wow. That was one hell of a fight; I’m definitely gutted that Jens was the one to get KOd, but SOMEONE was going out for sure when you have two guys that were fighting that way, and I guess it just wasn’t meant to be for Jens. I’ve heard his trainer say that the fight went the way they planned it, except Gomi had a better chin than they thought, and his boxing skills were better than they expected too. That says it all really, as Pulver didn’t put in a bad performance here – Gomi was just better. He’s looked amazing in pretty much every fight I’ve seen him in, and I’d LOVE to see him fight Yves Edwards or Josh Thomson.

Anyhow, this was maaaybe too short and one-dimensional to be considered as a Fight of the Year contender (I keep changing my mind on that one) but it’s possibly the best stand-up fight I’ve ever seen in MMA in terms of boxing skill, and it alone is worth whatever you’d pay for this show. Talk about living up to the hype, wow.

Mark Hunt vs Wanderlei Silva

Well, this fight certainly added to the intrigue of the card, as former K1 champ Hunt ended up replacing Kazushi Sakuraba on very short notice, so we would actually get a legitimate challenge to Silva rather than a probable slaughter for the Axe Murderer. Randy Couture joins us on commentary for this one. Silva is outweighed by 70lbs, and the visible size difference is quite apparent, although its not a ‘mismatch’ difference like a Bob Sapp fight. Hunt was also recovering from an ankle injury coming into this. Really it was win-win for both guys, as if Silva won, he just beat one of the best kickboxers in the world, and if he lost, he’d only lost to someone a ton bigger than him and with better striking skill. For Hunt, if he won, he just beat Wanderlei Silva and ended a FIVE YEAR winning streak, and if he lost, hey, he took the fight on like a week’s notice. Good staredown between the two before they begin. Announcers mention that Hunt survived a Cro Cop high kick, so they have no idea how Silva expects to ever KO him.

They begin and Hunt presses, Silva misses a one-two and then bodylocks him for the takedown to half-guard. Silva works to pass the guard, then decides to stand, and narrowly misses a soccer kick. Hunt comes back up in a front facelock, and they circle and exchange, where Hunt drops him with a left, only for Silva to pop RIGHT back up and smile. Hunt closes in with an uppercut, but Silva trips him down and tries a soccer kick again, blocked by Hunt who gets back to his feet. They press and Hunt misses a right hook, so Silva clinches and breaks off with a good left hand. They exchange with nothing really landing, before Silva gets a takedown to side mount, and controls him well from the top. Wanderlei tries a keylock, and it looks like he’s got it, but then Hunt rolls right over into Silva’s guard! AWESOME submission escape there. Hunt tries to work as Silva holds on, and then Hunt avoids a triangle and lands some solid punches. Hunt stands and drops a punch, then takes a step back and LEAPS INTO THE AIR AND LANDS ON SILVA BUTT-FIRST!~! HA, that was…different. Couture immediately christens the move the ‘Atomic Butt Drop’. They end up back in Hunt’s guard from there, and Silva chops away with some hard elbows to the body. Silva stands and tries a stomp, but Hunt blocks and comes back up, where he counters a combo with a right hook, causing Silva to end up in guard. Not sure whether that was a slip or a knockdown there. Hunt tries to pound, but Silva holds on, and Hunt muscles him around to end the round.

They come out for the 2nd and Silva immediately starts swinging for the fences, but Hunt lands a huge uppercut and he’s ROCKED LIKE A HURRICANE, and then Hunt follows with a HUGE RIGHT HOOK to drop him! Silva is HURT, and Hunt goes down into his guard and pounds away, but Silva somehow recovers and tries an armbar, only for Hunt to pull out, stand, and land a stomp! They go back into Silva’s guard, before restarting in the center, and Silva looks really hurt as he moves there. Hunt can’t do any damage in the guard, so he comes back up. He presses the fight, but Silva avoids the strikes this time and gets a takedown to full mount. Hunt tries to escape as Silva lands some punches, and controls him nicely. Finally Hunt works, and reverses into Silva’s guard, and they exchange punches from there to close out the round. Replay between rounds shows just how vicious that uppercut/hook combo was, lord, a LOT of people would’ve been out there.

Into the final round, and Hunt presses, and lands a good knee to the chest. They exchange and Silva gets a takedown, and then takes Hunt’s back, but Hunt rolls nicely to escape and manages to stand. Back up, and Silva gets a good right hand as they exchange, before getting another takedown to guard. They don’t do much from there, and the official finally stands them, and yellow cards Hunt for stalling. They restart and Silva gets a beautiful double-leg down to guard, and passes into half-guard, before mounting. Hunt holds on and tries to escape, but Silva chops away with strikes, and continues as the fight reaches the end. To the judges, and the winner via split decision is…Mark Hunt? Christ. He looks as surprised as I am.

To say that was a dodgy decision would be an understatement. Granted Hunt had Silva hurt badly in the 2nd round especially, but other than that…Silva controlled the pace of the fight, had all the takedowns, and got the majority of the better positions, as well as the submission attempts. Not to mention Hunt’s yellow card. AND the weight difference that’s supposed to come into play. Ah well, Silva hardly lost stock with this ‘loss’. In fact, I have new respect for his recovery powers especially after this, as a lot of fighters would’ve been put out by the flurry Hunt delivered. I still think Couture could grind out a decision win over him…but other than that it’s hard to see who could take Silva. Great fight, regardless of the decision.

Fedor Emelianenko vs Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

I guess this fight had the highest stakes on it of all time in MMA, as it was not only for the Pride Grand Prix 2004 championship, but also to unify the ‘Interim’ Heavyweight Title held by Nogueira with the ‘real’ Heavyweight Title held by Fedor. General consensus from most people, including myself, seemed to be that if Nog hadn’t changed his gameplan hugely from their first two encounters, he’d get pounded to another decision loss by Fedor.

Fedor opens the first round with a low kick and a quick takedown to guard. He stands and tries a couple of stomps, and then Nog comes back to his feet and presses. Fedor avoids any punches and gets a slam, then stands and partly lands a soccer kick. Nogueira continues to press, as Fedor baits him with his HANDS DOWN, before simply tossing him to the ground as he closes in. Fedor stands off, and the official stands Nog back up, and Fedor baits him with his hands by his hips again. Nog tries some jabs, but Fedor counters with a combo and a hard body kick. Nog then tries a takedown, but Fedor reverses, and ends up in Nog’s half-guard. Nog gets the guard back, but Fedor muscles him into the corner, so they restart it in the center and Fedor stands, kicking Nog’s legs. The official stands Nogueira and he presses with some punches, but Fedor avoids them and throws him to the ground again. Back up, and Nog now tries a low kick, but Fedor counters with a HUGE RIGHT HAND, and drops him!

Nog recovers quickly but Fedor won’t enter the guard, instead standing over him kicking the legs until the official stands Nog back up. Fedor lands another nasty right hand as they exchange from distance, then blocks a takedown and lands a hard left jab. Nogueira keeps coming forward with combinations, but Fedor keeps his hands down, avoiding the punches by head movement, and counters nicely with hard shots of his own. Fedor continues to land, hitting Nog with a nice body kick and a stiff jab, continuing to avoid punches. Finally Nogueira gets a takedown to half-guard, bouncing Fedor off the ropes! He starts to work for position quickly, and mounts…but the bell rings to end the round. Nog has a bloody nose at this point. The takedown was probably the one offensive manoeuvre he got in the whole round, as I don’t think one of his punches connected.

Round 2, and Nog presses the action again, with Fedor sprawling to avoid a takedown. Back up and Fedor keeps his hands down, just moving his head to avoid Nogueira’s punches while countering with his own. Fedor blocks another takedown, and lands a knee to the sternum down into Nogueira’s guard. Nog tries an armbar, looking desperate at this point, but Fedor avoids easily and lands some punches. Fedor stands up again, ala Cro Cop, telling Nogueira to get up, and the referee obliges him and stands Nog. Fedor lands another punch and follows with a takedown to guard, punching away, so Nog tries a triangle that Fedor pulls right out of. Back up and Nog finally lands a stiff right cross, but Fedor NO-SELLS IT and lands a combo of his own. Fedor blocks another takedown and goes into Nogueira’s guard, then drops back into it and lands some hard hammer fists to end the round. This is just incredible stuff from Fedor, he’s just showing Nogueira no respect standing, and has only been hit a couple of times in the whole fight.

Into the third round, and Fedor opens with a right hand, before tossing Nogueira to the ground. He enters the guard and starts to land, before avoiding an oma plata and standing. The official stands Nog, where he eats some more jabs from the Russian before landing a decent right of his own. Fedor blocks another takedown and lands on top in the guard, but he’s having none of it, and stands right up again. Nog comes back up and keeps pressing, but Fedor avoids again, and gets another takedown to guard. Fedor pounds away a bit now, before standing and dropping a punch down onto Nogueira. Nog tries an armbar, but Fedor pulls out and stands again, and we go back to the same pattern, Fedor dancing around with his arms down, avoiding all of Nogueira’s punches while landing stiff counterpunches of his own. Nog keeps pressing, but that’s the end of the fight, and we go to the judges, where Fedor Emelianenko is crowned the Undisputed Pride Heavyweight Champion of the World.

Just a ridiculously good performance from Fedor here that makes you wonder whether anyone in the world can stop him. Rather than actually play the guard game with Nog and pound him out down there, he just danced around on his feet, hands by his hips, inviting Nog to try his boxing skills, while avoiding EVERYTHING, and systematically destroying Nog with his counterpunches. If you consider the high-quality boxing display Nogueira put on against Kharitonov in his last real outing, it’s amazing that Fedor could avoid practically everything by just using his head movement. Nog didn’t take as brutal of a beating as he did first time round, but this was more humiliating, as Fedor tossed him around like a rag doll, showed him no respect standing, and yet he still couldn’t do any damage. And remember that Nogueira’s practically beaten EVERYONE else and is the 2nd best Heavyweight on the planet. Looks like Cro Cop is probably next, but outside of a quick high kick that kills Fedor dead, I don’t think he stands a chance in hell either. I think the only fighter who would really stand a good chance of taking Fedor out would be someone who out sizes him by quite some margin, but as the only really good big man out there is Tim Sylvia (and I can’t see Tim standing a chance against him either) I think he’ll remain unstoppable for some time yet. And we end there.

Final Thoughts…

There’s two ways to look at this show, I think. On one hand, it was built and hyped as the biggest MMA show in history, and if you look at it that way, I think it missed the boat by some distance as it probably wasn’t even the best Pride show of the year. That said, it’s still an all-round entertaining show, with some awesome back-and-forth fights, the best of which are Kondo/Hendo, Gomi/Pulver and Hunt/Silva. Undercard is nothing special, but everything from Randleman/Cro Cop onwards is enough to give this a strong recommendation, and if you wait until the DVD is released it might prove to be even better if they include all the introductions, entrances, interviews and the usual stuff outside of the fights that makes a Pride show so entertaining. Not the best MMA show you’ll ever see, but it’s definitely a good one.

Thanks for reading…

Scott Newman:

OratoryNewman@gmail.com