There is nothing that I can say about this show that has not already been said. Without a doubt it is the biggest show of the year and on paper is arguably the strongest card in the short history of our sport. I think we all owe the Pride organization a big Ärigato for putting together such a strong Grand Prix. Love them or leave them, this Pride card makes up for almost all the past insubordination that they have ever passed off as a fair fight. Look up and down the card and it is obvious almost anyone of these Fights could be a headliner for any other organization in the world and this card is seven fights deep.
Ricco Rodriguez Vs Rodrigo Minotauro Nogueira
I thought this fight was the least entertaining of all the fights on this card. That is a compliment to the matchmakers of Pride as much as it is a statement about this fight. Ricco is not my favorite fighter but he showed that he can strategize a game plan and stick to it well when he is focused. He looked very focused for this fight, and it paid off. I feel that he won this fight, in fact I feel he won all three rounds, even though they dont use the round system in Pride, I think he won this fight any way you look at it. Was it the most exciting fight? No, but he did enough to win. Nogueira disappointed me in this fight, he is beginning to show some holes in his game and people are taking advantage of it. Rodriguez was robbed of the decision in this fight. Nog has used up all his Get out of jail free cards, it is time for him to deliver, 2losses in a row for a guy as talented he, is to much. I hope to see him get back on track. I think he will.
Mirko Cro Cop Filipovic Vs Igor Vovchanchyn
Two things jumped out at me in this fight, first of all Filipovic is really starting to settle into a groove. He came in as a slight underdog against Herring and dominated. Coming in as the favorite didnt change his focus one bit. Filipovic is going to be a scary guy for years to come. That head kick knockout is shades of Gilbert Yvel vs Gary Goodridge. Is Cro Cop ready for the ground and pound clinic of Fedor? I hope we find out in Nov.
Second thing that is becoming apparent is that Vovchanchyn just does not look the same as he used to. He looked to be in great shape for this fight and still looked quite a bit smaller then Cro Cop. He looks burnt out, he has fought a lot over the years and maybe he needs to take some time off and focus on other things for a while. I feel for him because I know what kind of fighter he is and I hope he gets back on track. A move to the Light Heavyweight division where he belongs is the first step. I hope he too comes back better then ever.
Kazushi Sakuraba Vs Vanderlei Silva
Why did this fight happen? I dont know. I hope this isnt the end for the man that is affectionately reffered to as Sak but Silva knocked his chin into the fifteenth row. He needs to fight in his own class. Even then injuries arent helping him right now. Silva got the easiest fight to the final four and he will soon be facing off against someone his own size and caliber at some point. When that point is remains to be seen.
Quinton Rampage Jackson Vs Murilo Bustamante
I dont think this fight was a bad decision like some have said. I think the split decision in favor of Jackson was fair. I felt that Bustamante won the early part of the fight and Jackson brought it on late. He was surprisingly affective with his low kick which Bustamante just did not seem ready for. That is the first time I have ever seen Bustamante not ready for anything in a fight. One of the worlds strategically strongest fighters looked a little under-prepared, but was it really his fault? No, he took the fight on less then a weeks notice, five days is what I have heard, and that is not a lot of time to train to fight one of the worlds best. Rampage was already training for a fight that was somewhat similar in style to Bustamante, nonetheless Rampage won the fight fair and square. Congrats to Rampage.
Allistair Overeem Vs Chuck Liddell
What can I say about Liddell, it wasnt pretty but he got the job done. He showed heart and determination, and that one loss cant put him down. Liddell is back on the winning track and that is where he looks to stay. He has a tough road ahead of him, maybe the toughest road of any fighter in the tournament. Make no mistake Pride is not going to take it easy on Liddell. They will do what they can to make sure he doesnt win this tournament. I feel that Pride picked the perfect opponent for him in Overeem. Overeem is talented, tall and is a strong young striker I feel was a bad matchup for Chuck, but Liddell showed that he can fight back from adversity and he did it. Props to him. The way Pride set it up, if Liddell lost, Pride could say that one of the UFCs best couldnt even beat on of Prides young guns. If Chuck beats Overeem they can say hey, he only beat a lower ranked Pride fighter. Oh well, all that is behind Liddell now, do I think his is going to win the tournament now? I really dont know, but I know that he will be there and represent the UFC well. A little better then the Pride organization would like. Overeem is still a young fighter and he will be back. This is a learning experience for him and he is still dangerous. He was winning the early part of the fight until the knockout, so dont count this kid out. He is for real.
Kiyoshi Tamura Vs Hidehiko Yoshida
The fight that many felt would be a work, I dont think was a work. But with Prides history who knows for sure. This was a fight for the Japanese fans, clear and simple. Having two Japanese fighters fight, guarantees that a Japanese fighter will make it to the next round of the tournament. As much as the western fans hate this fight, I like it for one reason and one reason only. It is because of the fanfare these fighters bring with them. They draw the fans to the stadium like no other fighters on the card can. Let us not be naïve. There no way this card sells out the stadium without, Yoshida, Tamura and Sakuraba behind the ticket sales. That is the reality of the situation right now. The fact that they kept the weaker fights to just one on the card is a move in the right direction. I like what Pride has done and I think they did it in the best interest of the sport in Japan. The Japanese fighters are why this card took place with all the big names in the first place. We dont have to like the fight, but at least understand why it is there. As long as it is kept to just one or two fights per card, with the rest of the card stacked with talent from around the world, I am happy. No complaints from me. The fight didnt turn out to badly in the end anyways.
Emelianenko Fedor Vs Gary Goodridge
What can I say, Brutal, Fedor showed the world what he can do to someone that isnt prepared for what he brings to the table. It makes Nogueira look good for the way he handled Fedors ground and pound destruction. Goodridge took a royal beatdown, it was hard to watch at times. Maybe Goodridge is getting slapped in the face from Karma for the two royal beatdowns he layed on Yoshiyaki Yatsu in past Prides. The new leader for nastiest beatdown of the year award goes isFedor. I have a feeling he is going to win that award many more times in the years to come.
With the results that have taken place today, a multitude of good match-ups are available for the upcoming November Pride show. With Pride choosing the match-ups it is all pure speculation at this point but nonetheless it should be fun to play with the names. Quinton Jackson, Vanderlei Silva, Chuck Liddell, and Hidehiko Yoshida. We will see how the cards play out, with Pride you never know how things will fall into place in the end. Nonetheless, the Nov show still looks nothing less then spectacular, even though we dont know exactly who will face off against who. Everything is up in the air at this point. With the big names that are left in the tournament to battle it out on one night, and a slew of potential Heavyweight match-ups available for Pride to back up the tournament with, the countdown is on. Pride Final Round is only three very, very long months away. Let the impatience begin, in the immortal words of Homer Simpson, Doh!!! and Ärigato.
For MMA Ringreport this was "The Sushiboy" If you have any questions of comments please feel free to email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org