MMA Review: #40: Pride: Bushido Vol. 2 Jan14


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MMA Review: #40: Pride: Bushido Vol. 2

Pride: Bushido Vol. 2


Yokohama, Japan

-Your hosts are Bas Rutten and Mauro Renallo, with Bas sporting a kimono and a samurai sword. They run down the card, capped off by another Mirko Cro Cop mismatch, and a best of three Team Japan vs. Team Chute Boxe series, complete with Wanderlei Silva in the main event!

-Into the arena for a cool fighter intro complete with ‘snow-covered forest’ effect and the huge drummer.

Choi Mu Bae vs Yusuke Imamura

This is a prelim so it’s just two five minute rounds. Imamura is just your typical ‘Japanese guy with a losing record’, and his last appearance in these reviews involved Little Nog choking him out quickly. Mu Bae is a Korean fighter who’s an expert in Greco-Roman wrestling, and he’s climbing the ranks quickly with four wins in Pride thus far.

They begin, and Mu Bae clinches right away, working to a waistlock before delivering a German suplex to make Chris Benoit proud. He lands some punches in the waistlock on the mat, but Imamura works back to half-guard. Mu Bae works for position, landing some good short shots before getting into a side mount. Imamura rolls and tries a kneebar, but Mu Bae blocks so he goes for a heel hook instead. Mu Bae simply powers out of that, slaps on a rear naked choke, and that’s that as Imamura taps out. Decent performance from Mu Bae who’s supposedly one of the most exciting fighters right now.

Yushin Okami vs Ryuta Sakurai

Not heard of either guy before, but they both have decent records, so hey, let’s see how it goes. It’s two five minute rounds again. Sakurai is tanned, has a Baroni-esque physique, and bleach blond hair. In other words, he doesn’t look Japanese.

They press with some feeler strikes to begin, before exchanging wild punches that don’t really land into a clinch. Okami gets a takedown to guard, and then stands, and drops some punches down into the guard. Okami continues to land, doing a decent impression of Fedor with some nasty shots as Sakurai tries to shove him off with his legs. Okami keeps pounding away in the guard, but then decides to attempt to pass, and when he does, Sakurai grabs a kimura. Okami blocks and tries to roll out of it, but Sakurai gets it locked in, and FORCES OKAMI’S ARM ALL THE WAY UP HIS BACK! Jesus, he must be double jointed, as he STILL doesn’t tap. Okami rolls through to escape again, but ends up side mounted, where Sakurai yanks on the kimura without succeeding to end the round. Good God, his arm should be broken there’but it’s just not!

They begin the 2nd, and Okami lands some punches into a bodylock, and gets the takedown to guard. He starts to land punches in the guard again, standing to create distance and landing some really nice shots. Sakurai tries to punch from the bottom, and then tries a sweep, but Okami blocks well and keeps landing in the guard. Finally the official restarts them standing, where Okami blocks a knee with another takedown, and continues to pound away in the guard until the round ends. We go to the judges, where Okami gets the unanimous decision. I’m not sure why they haven’t brought this guy back for the Bushido series actually, as he seemed to have some good ground strikes, and a decent (if unorthodox) submission defense. Pretty entertaining fight, at any rate.

Yasuhito Namekawa vs Egidijus Valavicius

Valavicius is a Rings Lithuania veteran who’s last name the announcers can barely pronounce, making even Renallo a little quieter. More fighters should have dodgy names. Namekawa is also a Rings veteran.

Valavicius swings away to open, but gets taken down, and comes back up in a guillotine choke. He tries to escape, but Namekawa pulls guard, and after a moment of pro-wrestling style struggling, he taps out and that’s that. Nothing to see here, moving on…

Sean Sherk vs Ryuki Ueyama

This was Sherk’s debut in Pride and also his only appearance thus far. He still only has the one loss to Matt Hughes on his record, which is pretty great, and Renallo’s allusions to Sherk ‘starting in the big league’ now he’s in Pride is pretty obnoxious. Like Ryuki Ueyama is even in the same league as Matt Hughes, who would SMOKE most of the guys on show at these Bushido shows.

They begin and Sherk circles in, getting a swift takedown to side mount. Sherk moves through into the 69 position, but Ueyama fights up into a front facelock and eats some knees. He gets back to his feet, but Sherk delivers a BIG SLAM to guard, and stands up, passing quickly to side mount. Sherk tries a kimura, but Ueyama rolls to a front facelock, where Sherk lands some knees to the head. Back to the half-guard, but Sherk passes quickly to a side mount, and then into a full mount. Sherk pounds away from the top, and Ueyama rolls to avoid the punches, so Sherk goes for the choke, but can’t get it locked on and Ueyama reverses over into Sherk’s guard. Sherk quickly grapples up to his feet, and then gets another hard slam down to guard. He pounds away, avoiding a triangle well, and gets a front facelock, where he delivers some more knees to Ueyama’s head. Back up, and Ueyama looks to strike, but Sherk gets another easy takedown to side mount and avoids a kimura. Ueyama gets a half-guard and tried the kimura again, but Sherk powers right out into a full mount, and lands some punches. Ueyama turns again, allowing Sherk to try the rear naked choke, but Ueyama blocks, so Sherk punches away, and goes for it again. Ueyama turns back over, and Sherk goes into a side mount, then back to a mount, where Ueyama gives his back again. Sherk lands some more punches, closing with a flurry in the full mount.

Dominant round for Sherk who just got whatever position he wanted, and pounded Ueyama down.

Into the 2nd, and Sherk uses punches to set up a shot, getting another slam to guard, and a quick pass to side mount. Sherk mounts him again, before taking his back and going for another rear naked choke, but Ueyama blocks once more, so Sherk passes from a 69 into the side mount again and lands some knees. Sherk gets his back in a waistlock, then goes back to the side mount, but Ueyama gets a half-guard back. Sherk quickly passes that into side mount, and works from there to end the fight.

To the judges once more, where Sherk gets the clear decision. This was a pretty good fight as Sherk seemed to be able to get whatever position he wanted on the ground, and came pretty close to finishing at various points. Ueyama didn’t really show anything, but Sherk is just a machine, so he can’t have any complaints really.

Mario Sperry vs Mike ‘Batman’ Bencic

They’re hyping Bencic entirely on the fact that he’s Mirko Cro Cop’s Jiu-Jitsu trainer, so I’m not expecting much from him here. Sperry says that he’s still upset over how his last fight went (against Yuki Kondo on 12/31/03), but the announcers refuse to disclose the result as it wasn’t shown on US PPV, and that gives Renallo a chance to plug the Shockwave 2003 DVD, which gets REALLY annoying through the show.

They jab from distance to open, and Bencic closes in, but Sperry lands a right hook DEAD ON THE CHIN, and Bencic is out at 11 seconds! Replays show that the punch almost missed, but caught Bencic right on the button and put him to sleep instantly.

Daiju Takase vs Chris Brennan

Takase is supposedly the #1 grappler in Japan, and with Brennan being a submissions expert, the announcers are eagerly anticipating this one.

They clinch up to open and Takase gets a takedown to guard, as Brennan looks for a sweep. Takase moves into half-guard, and tries a side mount, but Brennan blocks. Takase looks for a kimura instead, but Brennan blocks than, and grabs a headlock for control. Takase escapes and tries another kimura, but Brennan gets his guard back, before Takase gets into half-guard and…lays there. Literally. They do NOTHING for what feels like forever before Takase finally passes to side mount, but doesn’t strike from there either. Finally Takase gets an awesome inverted triangle choke, something I’ve never seen before, but he can’t get Brennan to tap with it, so he releases and goes back to laying in Brennan’s guard to end the round.

Round 2, and they clinch with Takase getting a takedown to guard. Brennan looks for a triangle, but can’t get it, and Takase slowly works to side mount, where he tries a kimura. He can’t get it locked, and they end up laying there in half-guard for a while, before Brennan gets a guard back, and closes with a couple of upkicks. Takase gets the judges decision, but he should be pretty ashamed of winning like that as this was a total, total snoozer.

Rodrigo Gracie vs Hayato Sakurai

Rutten joins Rodrigo and Ryan Gracie laying on what looks like a sleeping bag backstage, where Rodrigo helpfully tells us that his catchphrase is “What the FUUUUCK?”. Hilarious. I’m not expecting the most exciting fight here, though.

They get underway and Rodrigo clinches quickly and goes to his back, as Sakurai enters his guard. Sakurai stands, and misses a stomp, but lands a leg kick. The ref stands Rodrigo up, and he blocks a spin kick with a takedown to guard. Rodrigo works to pass, and moves into the half-guard, continuing to work for position. Sakurai gets his guard back, though, and gets his feet onto Rodrigo’s hips to stop a guard pass. Renallo decides to just ignore the fight and plug the damn DVD, at this point, making me want to shoot him. Finally Rodrigo gets into half-guard, and then almost mounts him, but Sakurai blocks, and they continue to work for position as the official warns them for inactivity, and Rodrigo just can’t pass the guard. This continues to end the round.

Into the second round, and Rodrigo swings his way into a clinch and decides to try the opposite tactic, pulling guard. It almost pays off as he gets a triangle choke, but Sakurai stands to escape and backs off. Back into Rodrigo’s guard, where Sakurai tries to pass, but can’t do it. They come back to standing, and Sakurai shoots in for a takedown, but Rodrigo sprawls back and lands some knees to the head, into Sakurai’s guard. This time he tries some strikes before standing and barely missing a stomp, and they come up in a clinch. Rodrigo gets another takedown to side mount, but Sakurai works back up into another clinch and eats a knee, and they muscle around in the clinch to end the fight. We go to the judges again, where Gracie picks up the unanimous decision. This was another snoozer, pretty much, but at least Rodrigo was trying to work throughout, unlike Takase and Brennan.

Mirko Cro Cop vs Yoshihisa Yamamoto

The Japanese are billing this one as the battle of the ‘Left High Kick vs. The DDT’, as Yamamoto beat Mark Kerr after Kerr botched a takedown and landed on his head, basically making it look like Yamamoto had DDTd him. Yamamoto was promised a spot in the Heavyweight GP if he could beat Mirko, but c’mon.

Cro Cop lands a hard leg kick right away to open, and Yamamoto misses with some feeler strikes from distance. Mirko lands another leg kick’.and Yamamoto promptly taunts him, what the HELL is this guy smoking? Yamamoto catches a kick, but Cro Cop blocks a takedown, and lands another hard leg kick, causing Yamamoto to begin to limp. Cro Cop tries a combo, but Yamamoto calls time, claiming an eye injury. That looked dodgy, to say the least. They restart and Yamamoto shoots in for a takedown, but Mirko sprawls back and avoids, before landing a right high kick. Yamamoto taunts him AGAIN, then tries a takedown, but Cro Cop sprawls once more. They come back up, and Yamamoto presses, but claims another eye injury, blatantly faking this time. This just pisses Mirko off, and he buckles Yamamoto’s leg with another two leg kicks, and Yamamoto goes down to guard. Mirko punches away in the guard, then stands and lashes out with some soccer kicks as Yamamoto turtles up. He stands, but Mirko lands a BRUTAL left kick to the face as he comes up, busting his nose, and then closes in with some hard left hands for the KO.

Nasty performance from Cro Cop, but you certainly can’t blame him for being so vicious here, as I have no idea what Yamamoto was thinking by taunting him and the fake eye injuries were a really shitty tactic to use.

-Team Japan vs. Team Chute Boxe begins here, as Rutten tries unsuccessfully to get an interview with the Axe Murderer.

Takanori Gomi vs Jadson Costa

I hadn’t seen Gomi until I got these Bushido shows, and I was actually upset that he’d KOd my favourite Lightweight Jens Pulver at Shockwave 2004, but now I’ve had chance to see a few of his fights…he’s practically my 2nd favourite behind Pulver anyway. Awesome, awesome fighter, as you’ll see as the reviews go on. This was his Pride debut, against Chute Boxe’s Jadson Costa, AKA ‘Little Wanderlei’.

Gomi gets a quick takedown to open the round, down into Costa’s guard. He muscles him into the corner of the ring, and works into a side mount, where he lands some short punches. Costa tries to escape, but Gomi shows excellent control and stays on top, working him over with some more short punches, before taking a full mount. Gomi starts to pound away with some unanswered punches, before Costa covers up, so Gomi BANGS HIS HEAD OFF THE MAT. Gomi starts to fire off a TON of punches now, really pounding away as Costa can’t escape, and finally Gomi throws the referee a dirty look, and really opens up on Costa until the ref stops it. Gomi climbs the turnbuckle to celebrate, posing dangerously on the very edge of the outer ringpost!

This was a one sided fight, as Gomi pretty much dismantled Costa from bell to bell, using his wrestling skill to keep him in position and then unloading with some vicious strikes from the mat. Costa didn’t really have a chance to get off the first page, and I don’t think he was expecting Gomi to be that aggressive, either. Awesome beating. Team Japan goes 1-0 up.

Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua vs Akihiro Gono

Mario Sperry joins us on commentary here, and in a funny moment, Renallo pretends to mistake him for Mirko Cro Cop, after his 11 second KO earlier in the night. I’ve never seen Gono before, and a look on his Sherdog record tells me he’s primarily fought in Shooto and Pancrase, which would explain why I’ve not seen him. Shogun is so much like his brother Ninja it’s not even funny.

They begin and Shogun practically chases him around the ring with some flurries of punches and kicks, but nothing really lands. Finally he catches up with him and grabs a Muay Thai head clinch, landing a few knees, before they break. Shogun presses with some hard kicks, and a flying knee, but Gono blocks the brunt of it. Gono avoids the punches well, but Shogun lands some hard leg kicks that clearly hurt him. Shogun continues to chase, and Gono continues to avoid, until Gono catches him and throws him down to the mat. Shogun pops back up quickly, and lands some punches, followed by a hard knee combination to the head and body. Back out, before Shogun grabs the head clinch again and delivers some more hard knees, following with some punches and a high kick. Gono is basically a punching bag here. Gono finally tries to come back with some punches, but Shogun blocks them easily and gets a clinch, where he lands some more knees. Back out, and Shogun keeps pressing, but Gono trips him down to half-guard. Showing shades of his brother Shogun quickly grapples out, and comes back up with a takedown of his own, but pulls away when Gono tries a leglock. Gono comes back up, where Shogun lands a hard combo, and a knee from the Muay Thai clinch, rocking him like a hurricane. Gono tries to clinch for dear life, but ends up eating two hard left straights, a knee to the head and finally a left straight to the jaw that drops him, before the SOCCER KICK!~! finishes. Ouch.

Another one-sided fight, albeit for the Chute Boxe guy this time rather than the Team Japan rep. Gono basically acted as a punching bag here, having no offensive moves of note, and it was only a matter of time before Shogun’s constant pressing paid off. Shogun showed pretty incredible cardio to keep pressing for almost ten minutes straight, but then he’s related to Murilo ‘Energizer Bunny’ Rua, so it’s hardly surprising. Quite the nasty finish, too. Chute Boxe evens things up at 1-1.

Wanderlei Silva vs Ikuhisa Minowa

The announcers basically say before the fight even begins that there’s just no way Minowa is winning here. Apart from the fact that he’s a decent fighter at best while Wanderlei is top two in the world, Wanderlei’s also a 205lbs guy who fights at around 220lbs, while Minowa’s a natural 185lbs. Minowa is rocking the Eddie Guerrero look here, with the mullet and ratty goatee. Awesome staredown, as Minowa refuses to budge an inch. Sadly, that’s before the fight begins.

They get underway and Minowa shoots in on a single leg, but Silva sprawls back and lands a knee, then shoves Minowa downwards and enters his guard. Silva starts to land from the top almost immediately, and NAILS him with a couple of vicious shots that cause Minowa’s head to bounce off the canvas, and a couple more punches finish the job as Minowa is OUT COLD at just over a minute in. Chute Boxe wins the series 2-1, despite Gomi giving them the lead to begin with.

Just your typical Wanderlei Silva performance here, Minowa was clearly outmatched and Silva just wasted no time at all in finishing him. Not as jaw-droppingly brutal as some of his other performances, but hey, you can’t rearrange the face of every opponent, even if you’re Wanderlei Silva. Total whitewash, though.

Final Thoughts…

Like the first Bushido show, there are a couple of snoozers here, but the bad is outweighed by the good. There’s nothing absolutely essential here, but the Team Japan vs. Team Chute Boxe series makes a good three fights to cap off the card, and hey, who can complain about seeing Mirko Cro Cop batter another poor victim? I think if you’re a Mirko or a Silva completist, the show is definitely worth a look, but if not, it’s probably one to skip over. Pride might be better off cutting the amount of matches, but then I guess that’d miss the point of the Bushido shows (to showcase the lesser known guys).

Next up should be Shockwave 2004 (the New Year’s Eve show) as I’ve got a copy of that now, then back to the Bushido series. No review of Pride 28 (Silva/Jackson II, FOTY for 2004) yet because I’m trying to keep the regular Pride shows in order, and that means waiting for 23 to be released, but if that takes too long I might end up doing that show anyway.

Until then,

Scott Newman: