Croatian policeman Mirko Cro Cop is now one of the strongest men on Earth, due in large part because of September 10's Pride Open Weight GP, which took place at Saitama Super Arena, in Tokyo, Japan. In the event, FIlipovic KO'd one of the favorites to the title Wanderlei Silva with a high kick and in the final, punished American Josh Barnett, winning the title and defeating Barnett for the 3 consecutive time.
Croatian policeman Mirko Cro Cop is now one of the strongest men on Earth, due in large part because of September 10s Pride Open Weight GP, which took place at Saitama Super Arena, in Tokyo, Japan. In the event, FIlipovic KOd one of the favorites to the title Wanderlei Silva with a high kick and in the final, punished American Josh Barnett, winning the title and defeating Barnett for the 3 consecutive time. Mirko has worked hard to reach his status and after being defeated by Australian Mark Hunt at Pride Shockwave, in 2005, Mirko stepped inside the Open Weigh tournament defeating Japanese Ikuhisa Minowa by TKO (strikes). In the second phase, the Croatian super striker obliged Japanese icon Hidehiko Yoshida to give up the fight due to the strength of his low-kicks. Now Mirko reached his best shape of his life and leaves Prides ring with the new belt and a new match against Pride Heavyweight champion Emelianenko Fedor.
Pride Middleweight champion Wanderlei Silva was confident he would reach the finals. In an interview with MMARR, the Brazilian stated: "No doubt Mirko Cro Cop is a different fighter, and so am I. He knows how to put you down and then he has learned a few tricks with Brazilian grapplers. He is far more dangerous and thats why I think it will be a great fight". And it was! Mirko surprised Silva, counterattacking with punches and kicks to the ribs. The Brazilian tried to take the fight to the ground, but Mirko used his BJJ lessons to perform great ground defense. With the fight on the feet, Cro Cop hit Silva with a left straight punch, which dropped Silva down, from there the Croatian punished Silva from the guard, which forced the referee to stop the fight to check on Silva. With a new restart, Silva suffered the fatal kick, which KOd him.
In the other side of the bracket, Brazilian Top Team black belt Rodrigo Minotauro was eliminated by Josh Barnett. In a very balanced fight, both of fighters did their best to reach the final match. In the first round, Josh impressed the referees when he applied a pinpoint cross, knocking his opponent down. Answering fast, the Brazilian fighter put Barnett down twice, and worked to tie up the arm-lock, which was well defended by Barnett. In the second round, Minotauro swept twice, mounted and got Barnetts back, but didnt enjoy the situation. Ending the bout, Barnett inverted the position and got a tied leg-lock. In the end the Judges pointed to Barnett as the winner by split decision.
In the final, Mirko Cro Cop imposed his standing game to defeat Barnett. In early round 1, he applied sharpened punch combinations, which punished Barnett. The end began with a cross and upper cut sequence to get a knock-down on Barnett, he then punished him from the guard until the American gave up the battle with three taps on the floor.
Brazilians rock the super-fights
In spite of the losses at the major tournament, Brazilians did their homework in the super fights. Returning to the Pride ring after the injury against Mark Coleman, chuteboxer Mauricio Shogun was one of the highlights of the night. He proved he is fully recovered from his surgery on his elbow and gave no chances to French fighter Cyrille Diabate. Showing the same game which made him Middleweight GP champion, Shogun took Diabate down and punished him with stomps and penalty kicks, which obliged the French fighter to give it up.
From Brazilian Top Team, Ricardo Arona the BJJ black belt from BTT put Dutch fighter Alistair Overeem down and passed his guard with no problems. From there, the Brazilian fighter showed aggressiveness seeking the mount position. To avoid being dominated, Overeem gave up his back and Arona didnt waste his chance to latch in the hooks and from there, Arona punished Overeem with punches until the Dutch fighter tapped out.
In his second professional fight in Pride, chuteboxer Evangelista Cyborg reversed the loss to XX and at this time, imposed his game against Japanese Yosuke Nishijima. Cyborg applied good punch and knee sequences and put Yosuke Nishijima down with a double-leg. On the ground, the Brazilian punished his opponent from the mount. Trying to defend, Nishijima gave up his back and Cyborg applied the rear naked choke early in round 1.
Ricardão Moraes exchanged punches with Korean Lee Tae Hyun and had no problems defeating him by TKO (doctor stoppage).
Aleksander Emilianenko defeated Sergey Kharitonov in the Pride OW GP alternate bout by referee stoppage.
Completing the event, Kazuhiro Nakamura defeated Yoshihiro Nakao by unanimous referees decision.
Pride Final Conflict Absolute
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Saitama Super Arena, Saitama, Japan
Pride Open Wight GP:
- Mirko Cro Cop defeated Wanderlei Silva by KO in R1;
- Josh Barnett defeated Rodrigo Minotauro by split decision;
- Mirko Cro Cop defeated Barnett by TKO in R1;
GP Alternate bout:
- Aleksander Emelianenko defeated Sergey Kharitonov by TKO in R1;
- Evangelista Cyborg submitted Yosuke Nishijima by RNC in R1;
- Ricardão Morais defeated Lee Tae-Hyun by TKO (doctor stoppage) in R;1
- Kazuhiro Nakamura defeated Yoshihiro Nakao by unanimous decision;
- Mauricio Shogun defeated Cyrille Diabate by TKO in R1;
- Ricardo Arona defeated Alistair Overeem by TKO in R1.