The History Of Pride FC: Pride Critical Countdown 2005
I know it’s been tough for the hardcore Pride FC and Wanderlei Silva fans to see their hero struggling so much these days in the UFC, having lost 4 of his last 5 fights. So for you Silva fans, here’s a look back at Silva whilst still in the prime of his career as well as Shogun before he gets dismantled by Machida later this year.
PRIDE CRITICAL COUNTDOWN 2005
-June 26, 2005 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama Japan. Your English broadcasters for this event are Mauro Ranallo and Bas “El Guapo” Rutten. Two months earlier at Pride Total Elimination 2005, Pride FC began their second ever Middleweight Grand Prix Tournament, this time with sixteen fighters. The elite eight were determined to go on to the quarter finals held at this event to determine the final four. The show begins with a video package highlighting the elite 8: Ricardo Arona, Antonio “Little Nog” Rogerio Nogueira, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Kazuhiro Nakamura, Wanderlei Silva, Alistair Overeem, Igor Vovchanchyn, and Kazushi “The Gracie Hunter” Sakuraba.
-Bas and Mauro introduce another more indepth video package highlighting the opening round fights and tonight’s matchups. Bas and Mauro also talk about Crocop facing Ibragim Magomedov before Crocop fights Fedor later on, and also Sergei Kharitonov facing Pedro Rizzo.
-The parade of fighters in front of the awesome set begins for the show with introductions by Lenny Harts. Ladies and gentlemen, this is more than mixed martial arts. This . . . is . . . the . . . PRIDE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIPS!
Sergei Kharitonov (Pride Record: 5-1) VS. Pedro Rizzo (Pride Record: Debut)
Kharitonov says he’s going to beat Rizzo. Rizzo looks forward to working under the Pride rules. This is Rizzo’s first fight since 2003 at UFC 45 where Rizzo defeated Ricco Rodriguez by unanimous decision. Intense nose to nose stare down in the ring before the opening bell.
Round 1. Kharitonov gets off a left jab and then receives a low kick from Rizzo. Kharitonov gets off a punching combination and grabs a kick from Rizzo, knocking Rizzo down with a right. Kharitonov swarms on Rizzo on the ground and lands some knee strikes. Rizzo gets to his feet but receives a knee strike to the midsection on the way up. Rizzo is cut under his right eye. Rizzo and Kharitonov start exchanging jabs, and Kharitonov begins tagging Rizzo. Kharitonov unloads and Rizzo is eating everything. Thai clinch and a knee to the head sends Rizzo to the mat, but Kharitonov grabs Rizzo’s arm and kicks Rizzo again for good measure. Nasty. Kharitonov lands another punch down to Rizzo and the ref stops the fight.
The Winner: Sergei Kharitonov wins by TKO in Round 1 at 2:02. It looks like Kharitonov hurt Rizzo early and Rizzo did a poor job of blocking or not getting punched by Kharitonov.
PRIDE MIDDLEWEIGHT GRAND PRIX QUARTER FINAL BOUT: Maurico “Shogun” Rua (5-0) VS. Antonio Rogerio “Little Nog” Nogueira (7-0)
Nogueira is confident he will knock out Shogun. Shogun’s been training a lot for this fight and training for the knockout because the knockout is very important. Both men are undefeated in Pride and coming off of huge victories in the first round of the tournament. Shogun with his first round obliteration of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, and Nogueira with his first round submission over Dan Henderson.
Round 1. Here we go. Brazilian Top Team vs. Chute Box. Nogueira and Shogun both come out swinging. Shogun reverses the leverage on a body clinch and gets a takedown. Nogueira stays active and grabs Shogun’s leg. Shogun slips his leg away and lays in a right hand to Nog. Nog and Shogun begin exchanging punches again, and Shogun gets in a couple inside low kicks. Shogun under hooks Nog and belly to belly suplexes him to the mat into Nog’s closed guard. Nog does his best to keep the distance closed. Nog lifts himself up perhaps going for an armbar, but Shogun gets up and goes for a flying stomp which Nog blocks with his feet. Shogun tries and fails to do so again and goes into Nog’s open guard. Shogun gets a punch in and stands back up. The ref stands Nog back up and the fight is back on the feet. Nog swings and lands a big right hook which almost puts Shogun down. Shogun recovers and swings with Nog, both landing some punches. Nog gets a knee strike to the head, and Shogun breaks up the action with another takedown. Nog works for it and gets a kimura hold on Shogun! Shogun shifts around, but Nog transitions the hold into a reverse armbar from the bottom! Shogun drops a knee to Nog’s head and is able to turn the position over, escaping from Nogueira’s deadly BJJ. The ref stands Nog back up, and Shogun’s face is starting to swell up under his left eye. Shogun starts swinging with his punches again and aggresses Nog over to the ropes. Nog body locks Shogun and goes for a takedown, but Shogun lands on top. Shogun stalks Nogueira from a standing position while Nogueira is butt scooting. Shogun then drops one of his patented downed punches through Nogueira’s guard. They exchange punches in the guard, and then Shogun lands another two grounding punches. Shogun once again leaves the guard and the fight goes back to standing. Nog swings and lands some good punches on Shogun. They both lock up and jockey for a takedown, exchanging knees to the midsection. Wow. Nogueira gets the takedown this time right into side control and starts pounding Shogun. Shogun rolls over, and Nog stays on top, landing a knee strike to the downed Shogun’s head. Nog grabs on to a guillotine submission, but Shogun is able to slip out and escape. Shogun needs a timeout to get his glove fixed. Time in, and the striking game on the feet continues. Shogun is looking a little winded and tired. The slugfest continues. Shogun lands a left hook. Nog starts landing with more punches, and grabs a Thai clinch and gets a knee strike to the body. Shogun is able to body lock Nog in the corner and gets the takedown. Shogun works in the closed guard and is able to get out and lands another dropping punch on Nog. Shogun drops some hammer fists and drops another bomb on Nog. Nog tries for some type of armbar or triangle submission, but Shogun gets out and transitions to side control and drops a big knee on Nog. That was so good that Shogun does it a second time . . . and a third! Shogun drops a fourth knee and gets a hammer fist blow, but Shogun looks to be tired and is slowing down in side control. Shogun gets up and lands a big foot stomp just as the bell ring. And that’s just the first round. Whew, heck of a first round in what’s shaping to be an absolute war. Nogueira in the first round definitely looked to get the better of the standup and had some good submission attempts. However, Shogun definitely landed more takedowns and strikes on the ground and seemed to control the fight on the ground. Nogueira did get a takedown into side control and landed some good strikes, but Shogun got the takedown and transitioned to side control getting some good ground strikes in as well with a bunch of knees to the head. Amazing back and forth first round with a lot of punishment.
Round 2. Shogun starts with an outside low kick. Shogun comes in with some punches, and they both lock up. Nogueira gets the takedown, but they land on the side and Shogun gets on top into half-guard. Shogun stands up and continues with his diving right handed punch strategy through Nog’s guard. Nog stalls on the ground and the ref stands the fight back up. Shogun comes in, but Nog grabs Shogun’s head, but Shogun punches Nog off. Both exchange with more punches, and Shogun seems to be landing some better punching combinations this time. Shogun clinches Nog and gets the takedown again. Nog jockeys for an armbar attempt again but doesn’t get it. Nog blocks another flying foot stomp from Shogun, and the ref stands butt scooting Nog off. Shogun comes in with a body kick and the fists start flying again. Shogun pushes Nog into the corner and suplexes Nog to the mat yet again. Nog tries for a kimura and almost gets it but Shogun is able to easily get out. Nogueira tries for a triangle choke, but Shogun keeps his head up and transitions into side control. Shogun and Nog roll over and Shogun almost gets Nog’s back. Shogun moves away from the not so prone on the ground Nogueira. Another diving strike through Nog’s guard by Shogun. Shogun tries working through Nog’s guard and the round ends. Another competitive round. Mauro and Bas try to make it seem like Nog is winning the standup battle and that Shogun’s strikes aren’t really connecting on the feet. However, Shogun is still pushing the fight forward and controlling Nog on the ground in this round generally.
Round 3. Nog pulls guard and goes for a leglock. Shogun spins away. The ref soon calls a time to wipe some blood off Nog’s face, and Shogun’s left eye has really blown up and is almost swollen shut. Wanderlei is seen cheering on from ringside for his Chute Box teammate. Nog and Shogun get into another slugfest, and Nog seems to be getting the better of it again. Shogun connects with a left hook and Nog goes down. Shogun misses with a stomp but spins away into a soccer kick. The ref moves the action to the center of the ring when Nog is too close to the ring apron. Nog is cut, and Shogun hits another diving right hand. After a little while the ref stands Nog up and Nog’s cut has really opened up. Shogun lands another good punch and gets another takedown. Not much happens on the ground and both guys look very tired. The ref stands Shogun and Nog up, and Shogun moves forward with some punching combinations. Nog stays in it some of his own strikes and starts pushing forward. Nogueira lands into Shogun’s full guard off a takedown and achieves side control. Nog tries to get Shogun’s back, but tries to kick Shogun instead. Shogun grabs Nog’s leg and gets the single-leg takedown. Nog tries to stay active, and Shogun lands a right grounded strike through the guard as the round ends. Whoo-boy, hell of a fight.
The Winner: Shogun is awarded the unanimous decision to pick up the victory and advance to the semi-finals. Nogueira receives his first loss in Pride and in three years for his fighting career. Ultimately, I think this was the right call. Nogueira I would say dominated the standup and had some good submission attempts, but Shogun was able to control the fight on the ground and got more damage on the ground than Nogueira did. Add in the straight knockdown in the third round, while Nogueira more or less just rocked Shogun early in the first, and I still think the fight goes to Shogun. This was a great fight and FOTYC, and a legendary Pride war.
PRIDE MIDDLEWEIGHT GRAND PRIX QUARTER FINAL BOUT: Igor Vovchanchyn (Pride Record: 18-6-1) VS. Alistair Overeem (Pride Record: 4-2)
Overeem says its time for Igor to go. This is the longtime Pride veteran versus the young newcomer.
Round 1. The fighters engage and Overeem lands a series of furious knee strikes in the clinch. Overeem gets the takedown and passes Igor’s guard into side control. Igor tries to fight to his feet, but Overeem grabs onto a guillotine choke and holds onto it from a standing position. Igor taps and that is all.
The Winner: Overeem wins his second straight fight in the tournament via guillotine choke to advance to the semi-finals at 1:20 in the first round. This was a big upset win for Overeem. Igor has not fought in MMA since a decision loss to Kazuhiro Nakamura at Pride Final Conflict 2005.
Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic (Pride Record: 11-2-2) VS. Ibragim Magomedov (Pride Record: Debut)
This was essentially a warm-up fight for Cro Cop who was set to face Fedor Emelianenko for the Pride FC Heavyweight Championship later on. Magomedov is a Russian M-1 fighter and friend and training partner of Fedor as well, who is watching the fight at ringside. Magomedov says he’s going to beat Cro Cop who is not a threat to Russian fighters.
Round 1. Slow to start with a lot of circling. Mirko stays away from Magomedov’s punches and hits a couple light kicks. Magomedov gets a right hand, and Mirko answers with a low kick. Mirko lands a left/right punching combination. Inside low kick and a straight left jab by Cro Cop. Big high kick by Cro Cop, and it looks like Cro Cop is just picking away at Magomedov. Cro Cop hits another big high kick and looks like he’s tying Magomedov into knots while Magomedov is swinging at air. Cro Cop hits a liver kick, and Magomedov staggers and grabs his side. The ref says this is done.
The Winner: Cro Cop wins due to a body kick at 3:53 in Round 1. Magomedov looked completely outclassed and overmatched here. This was essentially a lamb to the slaughter fight to really hype up the Fedor/Cro Cop fight. Cro Cop thanks the fans for their support and calls Pride FC official, Nobuhiro Takada into the ring. Cro Cop then requests Takada to invite Fedor into the ring. Fedor takes the walk back to the ring with his belt and a big smile. Fedor gets into the ring and avoids a comment by Takada about Cro Cop handling Fedor’s teammate, Magomedov. Takada officially announces Fedor Emelianenko vs. Mirko Filipovic on October 28 at Pride Final Conflict 2005. Cro Cop and Fedor shake hands and pose. Getting this fight was a big deal in 2005.
Kiyoshi Tamura (Pride Record: 3-3) VS. Makoto Takimoto (Pride Record 1-0)
Takimoto is a 2000 Olympic gold medal winner for judo. Tamura is a UWFI pro wrestler turned MMA fighter. Takimoto is wearing his gi, still one of the stupidest allowances ever in MMA.
Round 1. Tamura starts the action with a series of low kicks and some punching combinations. Takimoto then gets a single-leg takedown and lands some of his own shots. Tamura gets back to his feet. They continue with the exchanges, and Tamura continues to batter away at Takimoto with the low kick. Tamura keeps Takimoto at bay with straight front karate kicks. Takimoto’s stupid gi jacket starts coming out of his pants. Takimoto moves forward with some punches and pushes Tamura into the corner in a body clinch. Referee Yuji Shamada ignores a blatant low blow, and Takimoto is barely able to get off a takedown. Tamura quickly scrambles to his feet and pushes Takimoto into the corner. Shamada breaks them up and restarts the fight in the middle of the ring. What? No card for obvious stalling? They circle a lot more with some light exchanges. Takimoto gets another single-leg takedown off of a kick from Tamura and gets a right hook on Tamura while Tamura stands back up. Tamura lands a few more punches and kicks as the round ends.
Round 2. Tamura continues to kick away at Takimoto and not much happens. Tamura rocks Takimoto with a big left hand but doesn’t really follow-up. Takimoto comes back with a flurry of punches. Tamura does a few more low kicks and neither guy really tries to engage much and the round comes to a close.
Round 3. Takimoto preses Tamura into the corner and does nothing. They separate and Takimoto eventually lands with a few wild punches. Takimoto gets the takedown, but they get tied up by the ropes and the fight is restarted in the middle of the ring. Tamura keeps Takimoto neutralized in his closed guard, and Takimoto isn’t able to mount any significant offense.
The Winner: Tamura is awarded the unanimous decision for the victory. This was a pretty boring and one-sided beatdown. Takimoto is NOT an MMA fighter. His standup looked pathetic and amateurish. Tamura didn’t do enough to try and finish Takimoto especially when Tamura had Takimoto in trouble. Probably the worst and boring fight of the night. This was an absolute dud. Its supremely annoying when Pride puts on fights like this. Tamura gets on the mic and apologizes to the fans because the fight wasn’t very exciting. Takimoto has most recently been fighting in Sengoku. Tamura has recently fought in DREAM and K-1, beating Kazushi Sakuraba last December.
Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira (Pride Record: 11-2) VS. Pawel Nastula (Pride Record: Debut)
Nastula is an Olympic gold medalist in judo in 1996 and a big time judo specialist and champion. Nastula and Nogueira’s epic style entrances where they rise up from underground are shown in full.
Round 1. Nastula takes things to the ground, but Nogueira rolls over into Nastula’s half-butterfly guard. Nastula switches things over and gets on top. Nastula tries to shift over, and Nogueira is able to close his full guard. Nastula is able to land some strikes through the guard, and Nogueira tries to fight to a standing position. Nastula grabs onto a guillotine choke but is not able to keep a good hold on it. They get too close to the ropes, and the position is moved to the middle of the ring. Nastula hits a body kick and pulls half-guard. Nogueira manages to reverse position and lands some punches. Nogueira passes the half-guard into side mount. Nogueira hits some punches, and gets the shifting Nastula into a headlock and lands some big knee strikes. Nastula scrambles up but gets tagged by Nogueira. Nastula hits back with an uppercut. They sprawl, and Nastula lands on top of Nogueira again. Nogueira stays active and sweeps into Nastula’s open guard. The ref breaks them up when they are tangled in the ropes, and Natsula is looking extremely fatigued. They restart in the middle, and Nogueira easily passes guard into side mount again and lands some knee strikes. Nogueira pretty much rolls Nastula around to where ever Nog wants. Nog gets full mount and lands a series of ground and pound strikes and the ref stops it.
The Winner: Nogueira wins by TKO at 8:38 in the first round. Nastula continued in MMA despite winning only one fight thus far in 2006. Nastula tested positive for steroids after his loss to Josh Barnett at Pride 32. Most recently, Nastula lost to Yang Dong Yi at Sengoku Fourth Battle last August. Nastula gassed pretty quickly and didn’t have much of answer for the more experienced and seasoned Nogueira.
PRIDE MIDDLEWEIGHT GRAND PRIX QUARTER FINAL BOUT: Kazushi “The Gracie Hunter” Sakuraba (Pride Record: 16-6-1) VS. Ricardo Arona (Pride Record: 5-1)
Round 1. Sakuraba presses the action to start but is met with a knee from Arona which Sakuraba complains was a low blow. Arona stuffs a takedown and lands some knee strikes from the north/south position to Sakuraba’s head. Arona later whiffs on a high kick and Sakuraba takes him down. Arona tries to keep Sakuraba away with upkicks, but Sakuraba jumps and comes down with a flying punch. He tries it again, but Arona blocks it this time. Arona stalks Sakuraba for a while and swarms in and rocks Sakuraba with some big knees to the body. Sakuraba comes back with some wild swinging punches. Arona closes the distance and lands a sick takedown. Sakuraba gets back up, but Arona rocks Sakuraba again and knocks Sakuraba down with some big punches. Arona stupidly pulls guard and gets into a vulnerable position with Sakuraba on top. Arona is able to pull a pro-wrestling style hammerlock reversal and stands up. Sakuraba gets out of it. Arona grabs Sakuraba’s head and lands a series of knee strikes. Arona is happy with doing this for several minutes until Sakuraba is able to get up and manages a single-leg takedown on Arona. Sakuraba tries to work in the guard, but Arona goes for a kimura. Closer inspection shows the bandages on Sakuraba’s left ear are off, and his left ear is hideously blown up and bleeding profusely. Sakuraba rolls over and gets out of the position and gets back to his feet. The ref calls time to take care of Sakuraba’s bloody ears. Time back in and Arona rushes Sakuraba into his corner. Sakuraba lands a blatant low blow without penalty right before the closing bell.
Round 2. Sakuraba ducks under a kick, but Arona turns around and answers with a high kick. Sakuraba closes the distance against the ropes, and Arona is able to hit a few more punches. Sakuraba’s bandages on his left ear are now falling off. Sakuraba tries for a takedown, but Arona slips his leg away and nails a stiff soccer kick. Arona rushes on top of Sakuraba into Sakuraba’s closed guard. Sakuraba has a bloody cut on the left of his eye. Arona must be a Ric Flair fan because Arona rather blatantly starts pushing his thumb and rubbing it into Sakuraba’s open cut. The ref does nothing about this, but breaks the action to have Sakuraba’s corner look at the cut, including “Cutman” Stitch. They wipe Sakuraba down and the round resumes back into the half-guard position. Arona goes to the wrestling heel tactics again and starts rubbing Sakuraba’s cut open. Arona passes the guard and starts landing more knee strikes. Sakuraba fights back up, but Arona hits a knee to the body which puts Sakuraba to the mat once again. Arona locks up Sakuraba’s head and keeps landing the knee strikes, lets go and hits some soccer kicks, and grabs the head again. Arona rides it out to the end of the round, and Sakuraba’s face is the proverbial crimson red mask, Muta style. The corner looks at Sakuraba’s battered face, and the ref calls the fight.
The Winner: Arona gets the TKO after the end of the second round, as Sakuraba cannot continue due to the cut. Arona advances to the semi-finals using his dastardly heel tactics to defeat the big time babyface. This was a pretty one-sided beatdown, and I’m not a big Sakuraba fan, but the fight had some fun spots.
PRIDE MIDDLEWEIGHT GRAND PRIX QUARTER FINAL BOUT: Wanderlei Silva (Pride Record: 18-1-1) VS. Kazuhiro Nakamura (Pride Record: 6-3)
This is the last fight to determine the final four of the 2005 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix. In the pre-fight video package, Silva says he’s going to knock Nakamura out. In English, Nakamura says, “Hey Wanderlei. Shut the **** up!” Uh oh. Silva says he won’t leave this fight to the judges like the opening round fight of the tournament where Silva beat Yoshida by split decision. Nakamura beat Kevin Randleman by unanimous decision in the opening round. The video goes straight to the ring. Nakamura is wearing MMA shorts and a short-sleeved blue gi. Ridiculous. Silva and Nakamura are both psyched in their corners and the fight gets underway.
Round 1. They go through some exchanges to start. Nakamura tries to stay away from Silva’s big swinging barrages and goes in with a flying knee strike to the body. Nakamura hooks Silva’s arms by the ropes, but Silva lands some knees to the midsection. They fall down to the mat but quickly get back to their feet and separate. Nakamura misses and Silva lands a big right hook. Silva continues to pick his punches and strikes away at Nakamura. Nakamura presses Silva into the corner, but goes down from a punch and Silva mounts his offense from on top. Silva stalks Nakamura and tries for a big foot stomp, but Silva’s foot falls through the ropes, and Nakamura schoolboys Silva and hooks Silva’s leg. Bas gets all excited about Nakamura having Silva in a kneebar position, but Nakamura lets go and stands up. Nakamura gets on top in Silva’s half-guard and the fans act like their fellow countryman just won the Pride FC Middleweight Championship. Silva starts grabbing at Nakamura’s gi which becomes undone and the fighters return to standing. You see. Wearing a gi in an MMA fight is stupid. Silva gets the better of the punching exchanges with Nakamura. Nakamura decides that it is on, and throws off his gi like he’s M. Bison in Street Fighter or Bruce Lee or something. Silva’s fine with that because he punches Nakamura to the ground and lays in some ground and pound strikes. Nakamura tries to get up and get a single-leg takedown in desperation, but Silva lands on top of Nakamura in full-mount position. Silva uses the patented “rape choke” (TM, Joe Rogan), and Nakamura is unable to defend himself. The ref stops it, and that is it.
The Winner: Wanderlei Silva gets the victory by TKO at 5:34 in Round 1 to be the last fighter to advance to the semi-finals of the 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix. Nakamura might’ve had a decent strategy to start, but he wasn’t able to keep it up and maybe continually wear Silva down. Silva celebrates with the Chute Box camp and Shogun. Alistair Overeem and Ricardo Arona enter the ring to strike pose as we now have the final four of the tournament.
-The video goes to a speech that took place earlier in the show with the Japanese Minister of Environment to talk about global warning and thanking Pride FC and their fans for their support. Mauro reads the translation of the speech, but I have no idea why this was on the DVD. Takada-san enters the ring and takes off his tie because of “cool biz!” Fans start using their practical fans to help cool the air or something. Oh well, green power. Bas says something about the WWF, World Wildlife Fund, and I have no idea what he’s talking about. Weird.
DVD BONUS FEATURES
The 411: Shogun/Nogueira was an awesome fight and was definitely the highlight of the show besides seeing some of the more prolific fighters of the decade while they were still fighting in their prime and at their best. This event does show some of the flaws in Pride FC though in bad matchmaking like the Tamura/Makoto fight and the allowance in letting fighters wear gis. This is MMA. They should not be allowed to wear a gi in a fight. There are a couple other fun fights and some fun finishes, but this is not a classic Pride card. Up next is Pride Final Conflict 2005 with the semi-finals and finals of the 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix. And of course, Fedor vs. Cro Cop!
|Final Score: 7.0 [ Good ] legend|