The History of Pride FC: Pride Shockwave 2006
-Greetings MMA fans. I’m sorry it’s been a while since my last DVD review. But hey, you’ve had some great recaps from one of the best wrestling reviewers ever in Mike Campbell who finally graced our section with some excellent write-ups. Unfortunately, there’s been a slight change in plans. My last review was of Pride Bushido Vol. 10, and my idea was to do the 2006 Openweight Grand Prix after that. Those plans changed due to some other writing projects and my workload. I had definitely planned on doing Shockwave 2006 at some point as it is one of Pride’s signature events, and this one was pretty momentous. So the order has simply shifted. The next group of reviews will hopefully be the 2006 OWGP and that will be followed by the legendary 2003 MWGP.
-OK, so here we are, the fifth and final edition of Pride’s annual New Year’s Eve event series, Shockwave 2006. Pride has recently made their debut in the US with Pride 32, but not all things were well and good in Japan. Due to a scandal connecting Pride’s parent company, Dream Stage Entertainment, with the Yakuza they were taken off TV and in dire straights. Pride went up for sale and their future was in question. All the remaining scheduled shows would still be held though.
-December 31, 2006. The Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The show begins with an anime intro.
-The broadcasters for the evening are Robby Mikoski and Frank Trigg (sans hair). Pride’s veteran play-by-play announcer, Mauro Renallo, quit the company after the snake by the name of Jerry Millen was made the company’s US Representative. The living legend and Renallo’s former partner, Bas Rutten, has spoken out and documented of the problems Millen caused and why it made Renallo want to leave. There’s a reason even a teddy bear like Bas does not like snakes like Millen. Just search it on YouTube. Mikoski and Trigg run down the card and featured bouts for the evening.
-The opening ceremony kicks off with a video on the big screen highlighting the Pride 2006 events. Takada-san then gets with the Taeko drumming as Lenny Hart introduces the combatants for the evening. Ladies and gentlemen, this is more than just mixed martial arts. This is the PRIDE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIPS!
Shinya Aoki (Pride Record: 2-0; MMA Record: 8-2) VS. Joachim “Hellboy” Hansen (Pride Record: 3-1; MMA Record: 14-4-1)
This is the first of the Hansen/Aoki trilogy of fights. Hansen is coming into this fight with some weird-looking hair which IMHO was a mistake since he does the bald look a lot better and looks a lot meaner and tougher that way. Aoki is wearing his trademark rainbow colored, long pants-sleeve tights. Yuji Shimada is your honourable referee.
Round 1. Aoki gets the fight to his speed right off the bat grappling and taking down Hansen to the ground. Aoki works in a little ground and pound from the guard position and attempts an armbar. Hansen sweeps and gets into Aoki’s guard. Aoki using supreme flexibility hooks his leg over Hansen’s arm and finishes off the nigh-mythical GOGOPLATA hold! Hansen taps and that is all!
The Winner: Aoki gets the win by the mother-f’n GOGOPLATA submission at 2:14 in Round 1. Hansen and Aoki’s feud would go on to continue in DREAM where Hansen would get in through the backdoor and defeat Aoki to win the DREAM Lightweight Grand Prix and championship. Aoki won the rubber match last year in controversial fashion. Aoki garnered even more controversy recently at the Dynamite New Year’s Eve event after quickly submitting and breaking the arm of Sengoku fighter, Hirota, and then flicked Hirota off after the fight and talked about killing guys that Sasahara tells him to. Hey, nothing would make me happier than to see BJ Penn decimate this guy. Hardcore fans were always all over Aoki’s jock even though Aoki constantly talked trash and talked trash about US MMA. Aoki says he would have no problem fighting in a cage and beating the top UFC guys. Well, make it happen Aoki.
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (Pride Record: 10-1; MMA Record: 14-2) VS. Kazuhiro Nakamura (Pride Record: 11-5; MMA Record: 11-5)
Shogun suffered his first ever defeat in Pride at Pride 31 in a fight with Mark Coleman after Shogun’s arm was broken after being slammed to the mat by Coleman. Shogun made a successful return later in the year at Pride Final Conflict Absolute, defeating Cyrille Diabate several months before this bout. Shogun then traveled to the US for Pride 32, submitting Kevin Randleman. Nakamura is coming off a successful US debut, beating Travis Galbraith on the same card.
Round 1. Nakamura wants to stand with Shogun, so Shogun works some clinching against the ropes along with some knee strikes to the legs and body. Shogun starts working the the takedowns and getting Nakamura on the ground and works a side mount and even gets full mount, going for an arm triangle. Nakamura is able to work off the ground and tries to answer with some shots of his own. Shogun continues to take Nakamura down and keep him there, but is unable to finish off any of his submission attempts. Nakamura escapes from an RNC and is able to sweep and reverse, but Shogun shows his excellent BJJ work by locking up Nakamura’s legs and sweeping him down to the mat and getting on top again. Nakamura gets to standing and throws a wild haymaker before the end of the round.
Round 2. Shogun tries working the clinch again, but Nakamura pushes out of it and takes Shogun down early into the North/South position and tries to work some knees. Shogun is able to quickly get back to his feet. Shogun gets the fight back in his favor by continuing to take Nakamura down and controlling him there but being unable to cause a ton of damage. Shogun continues to look for the RNC but can’t get it.
Round 3. Shogun continues to work much the same game as the first 2 rounds. Nakamura comes out striking, but Shogun simply clinches and constantly out-grapples Nakamura. Nakamura’s resilient, but Shogun pretty much has his way with him on the ground. Shogun misses a head stomp, but Nakamura isn’t able to mount any offense after getting over Shogun when Shogun goes for his sub attempts. Nakamura continues to get taken down and Shogun starts mixing up more ground strikes. The two finish the fight standing and throwing some punches as the round ends to take it to the judges.
The Winner: Rua gets the unanimous decision for the victory. Nakamura showed some remarkable resiliency in this fight, but Shogun set the pace and kept the fight where he wanted it to be. Nakamura had to keep letting Shogun up because Shogun probably would’ve submitted him from the ground. Shogun was able to grapple and take Nakamura down when ever he wanted. The announcers talked about how tired Shogun looked but that’s pretty misleading considering Shogun was the one that dominated the entire fight and Nakamura was never able to mount any significant offense on Shogun.
Tatsuya Kawajiri (Pride Record: 4-1; MMA Record: 19-3-2) VS. Gilbert “El Niño” Melendez (Pride Record: 1-0; MMA Record: 11-0)
Here we go, a fight between two of the more prolific lightweight MMA fighters on the scene at the moment. Melendez of course is the current Strikeforce Lightweight Champion. Kawajiri is a former Shooto fighter and champion and his sole loss in Pride came at the hands of Takanori Gomi in the opening round of the Pride 2005 Lightweight Grand Prix at Pride Bushido Vol. 9. At this time, Kawajiri is the reigning Welterweight champion of Shooto. This fight is being held under Pride Bushido rules, meaning only two rounds, 10 minutes for the first and 5 minutes for the second.
Round 1. They come out throwing the leather early and both land some flush shots. Melendez gets knocked down and recovers. The ref stops the action and gives Melendez the yellow card for grabbing the ropes in the clinch. Kawajiri looks to have been cut on his face. Melendez comes back and they trade more. Melendez gets in some good knee strikes. Kawajiri works for a takedown and is eventually able to get it, but Melendez is quickly able to stand back up. Kawajiri seems to have the better takedown defense. Melendez starts trading more blows with Kawajiri and is able able to get Kawajiri on the ground. Melendez gets the hooks and looks for a rear naked choke. Kawajiri blocks it and gets back up. Kawajiri grabs hold of Melendez’s head and hits some knee strikes and holds onto the headlock. Melendez sweeps the position over and gets out of the hold and is in the half-guard. Back to standing and Melendez starts landing more strikes on Kawajiri. Melendez tries for a takedown against the ropes but can’t find it. They separate and start trading again. Melendez rocks Kawajiri to the ground with a punch, but Kawajiri retaliates with a takedown from the bottom. Kawajiri fights and switches over to Melendez’s back. Melendez grabs Kawajiri’s head and slams it to the mat and Melendez escapes through the back door. They get it back to the feet and both men are starting to look tired. Melendez continues to land some more punches as the round ends. The round was close. Kawajiri did slightly more damage on the ground. Melendez definitely scored more standing up.
Round 2. Kawajiri and Melendez start swinging with punches again. Kawajiri lands a takedown but Melendez gets right back up. They continue trading. Both men try for takedowns but cancel each other out and the fight turns into a slugfest. Melendez continues to let the punches fly and lands some of them. Melendez slips in a knee strike. The fight ends in a clinch in the corner as the final bell sounds.
The Winner: Melendez gets the unanimous decision to pick up the victory and goes undefeated in Pride. Melendez’s cornermen tackle him after the fight. I definitely give the fight to Melendez despite what butt-hurt Kawajiri fans would say. Kawajiri did more on the ground, but based on the whole fight Melendez hit more strikes and had the more damaging hits. It was a close fight though and neither guy looked to be in serious danger of being finished so I can sort of understand why Kawajiri fans would complain, but Melendez clearly won.
Kazuyuki Fujita (Pride Record: 6-3; MMA Record: 13-5) VS. Eldar Kurtanidze (Pride Record: Debut; MMA Record: Debut)
Eldar is a two time bronze Olympic medalist in freestyle wrestling from the Republic of Georgia.
Round 1. Fujita picks Eldar apart standing up and knocks Eldar down. Eldar is out and Fujita attempts to curb stomp and mug Eldar. Fujita should’ve taken Eldar’s wallet while he was at it.
The Winner: Fujita received the victory by TKO at 2:09 in Round 1. This is Eldar’s first and only MMA fight. This fight probably never would’ve been sanctioned in the US. Eldar tried to stand with an experienced fighter and was punished for it. He looked to try and go for a takedown right before he got KTFO’ed.
Takanori Gomi (Pride Record: 12-1; MMA Record: 25-3) VS. Mitsuhiro Ishida (Pride Record: 4-0; MMA Record: 14-2-1)
Ishida says Gomi cannot finish him on the ground and wants to have an exciting fight. Gomi laughs at the idea of Ishida beating him and says there’s no way he can beat him. Gomi recently avenged his sole loss in Pride against Marcus Aurelio by successfully defending his Pride Lightweight Championship against Aurelio at Pride Bushido Vol. 13. Ishida is undefeated thus far in Pride FC.
Round 1. Gomi’s stance is very loose and cocky. After a little feeling out, Gomi knocks Ishida down with a big left hook and starts just landing a series of nasty hammer fists to Ishida’s noggin. The referee doesn’t stop it, so Gomi hits a huge soccer kick and passes Ishida’s guard and lands more punishing strikes as the referee mercifully stops the fight.
The Winner: Gomi wins a massacre at 1:14 in Round 1. This was a strong impressive win for Gomi before he started his eventual decline. But hey, watching Gomi in his prime while he was in Pride and destroying guys left and right is always fun.
Hidehiko Yoshida (Pride Record: 6-4-1; MMA Record: 7-4-1) VS. James “Colossus” Thompson (Pride Record: 3-2; MMA Record: 12-5)
Yoshida foregoes the gi and actually wears some MMA shorts for this fight. Seriously, wearing a gi in for a MMA fight is moronic and ridiculous.
Round 1. Thompson comes out quickly with a flying knee that Yoshida blocks and lands a picture perfect judo throw that Austin Powers could not have done better and gets side control. Yoshida floats over and tries for an armbar. Thompson lifts Yoshida up and slams him down and is able to get out of the hold. Yoshida then tries for a kneebar. Thompson tries to defend it, but Yoshida eventually grabs on, but Thompson is able to slip out of it. Back to the feet, and Yoshida has his way with Thompson standing up as Thompson tries to do his best Scott Smith impression. Thompson tries to throw back a little to no avail. Yoshida hits a judo-trip takedown and gets side mount again. Yoshida then applies a kimura and even rolls over and scissors his legs around Thompson’s arm and shoulder. Amazingly, Thompson is able to roll over and escape and tries a takedown on Yoshida but can’t finish it. Back standing and Thompson actually lands a couple flush punches and knocks Yoshida down with a right. Yoshida grabs a leg off a stomp attempt and tries for a kneebar. Both men are on the ground and Thompson actually attempts a kneebar on Yoshida! WTF?! Thompson can’t finish it and the fight continues. Thompson all but shoves Yoshida out of the ring through the ropes and this fight has basically turned into a pro-wrestling match. Back in and Thompson starts teeing off on Yoshida and landing everything but Thompson is exhausted and can barely get his hands up so he does not have enough power to finish Yoshida off. Yoshida looks out on his feet and Thompson knocks him down. The ref checks on Yoshida who looks bloody and knocked out to hell but the referee doesn’t call the fight. Even more ridiculously, the referee has to freaking drag Yoshida away from the ropes. Thompson finally gets full mount and punches away at Yoshida as the referee finally stops the fight.
The Winner: Thompson gets the huge upset at 7:50 in the first round by TKO. Well this was definitely a fun fight but again it more resembled a professional wrestling match than a MMA fight. Thompson was more or less a gimme opponent for Yoshida and Yoshida had his way with Thompson standing but could not finish any of his submission holds. Pretty much a Pride freakshow match, but hey it was fun. The fact of the matter is that Thompson and Yoshida are mediocre MMA fighters that can never hang with top fighters.
Josh Barnett (Pride Record: 5-3; MMA Record: 20-3) VS. Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira (MMA Record: 28-4-1; Pride Record: 16-4)
Some clips of Barnett getting the controversial decision over at Pride Final Conflict Absolute are shown. Barnett says he’s not going to make excuses like his opponent and that Nogueira is delusional if he thinks he won the first fight. Barnett says he beat Nogueira on the ground in the first fight. Nogueira says he’s confident he’s better than Barnett and will prove it here. Barnett says there will be no decisions and no one will care after Nogueira wakes up.
Round 1. Barnett gets some punches into start and Nogueira works the clinch and some good dirty boxing and knee strikes. They go back and forth in the standup before Barnett finally goes for a takedown and gets Nogueira to the mat and has side control and lands some big knee strikes. Barnett gets up and gets a head stomp. Nogueira is able to reverse positions into Barnett’s guard. Nogueira stays in top position and controls Barnett there until the end of the round. Barnett seemed to do more damage in the first round, but Nogueira controlled the second half.
Round 2. Barnett’s nose is bloody at the start of the round. In the corner, one of the blows seemed to have gotten a little low. The ref stops the action to wipe down Barnett’s bloody nose and Barnett gets a second to recover. They continue striking. Barnett’s landing a lot of punches to the head and body of Nogueira. Nog gets a waistlock and takes Barnett down but Barnett reverses the position and gets on top. Barnett tries to land some haymakers and Nogueira fights back up. Ref calls time again because of Barnett’s blood. Nogueira’s striking seems to be getting a lot better and he continues to bloody up Barnett’s face. Nogueira gets in more punches and knees to the head as the round ends. Barnett’s starting to look gassed.
Round 3. Nogueira is able to continue punching off Barnett and starts landing a series of knee strikes to the head with the Thai clinch. Barnett seems gassed since he’s taking all this damage and is doing little to answer back. Nogueira takes Barnett down, but Nogueira leaves his head out and Barnett grabs a guillotine choke and it’s tight. Nogueira daringly escapes and gets his head out. Nogueira does the rape choke and starts landing more strikes from the full guard. Barnett tries for an armbar but Nogueira defends. Barnett stands back up and goes for another hold, but Nogueira slides out of it. Nogueira does more damage from on top and blocks Barnett trying to explode out and the round ends as it goes to the judges.
The Winner: Nogueira avenges his loss and picks up the victory by unanimous decision. Close fight with Barnett kind of dominating the first half and Nogueira the second. That said, Nogueira definitely outdid Barnett where cardio and stamina is concerned. Barnett looked gassed after the first round and Nogueira dominated him in the second and third rounds standing and on the ground despite Barnett’s strong sub attempt that Nogueira escaped from.
PRIDE HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP BOUT: Fedor Emelianenko © (Pride Record: 13-0; MMA Record: 24-1) VS. Mark Hunt (Pride Record: 5-2; MMA Record: 5-2)
Fedor says we’ll see how the fight goes but he’d liked to get submissions. Hunt says Fedor’s chin might be a weakness. Fedor wishes Hunt a happy New Year. Hunt lost to Barnett in the Pride OWGP, but still gets a title shot here.
Round 1. Fedor easily takes Hunt down at the start and gets full mount and goes for an armbar. Hunt turns the position over but Fedor is able to finish the hold. Hunt counters and rolls over and gets out of the armbar. Frank Trigg almost orgasms in excitement. Hunt actually gets side mount on Fedor but can’t do anything since he’s inexperienced on the ground. They move position to the center of the ring and Hunt shoves Fedor down with his forearm but can’t do anything else. Fedor scrambles and Hunt lands one but it was too close to the back of the head and the referee separates them. They start trading strikes and Mark lands into side mount off of a takedown attempt by Fedor. Hunt actually tries for an Americana but Fedor powers out of it. Hunt tries it again but can’t really finish it. Hunt gets full mount, but Fedor moves and gets out from under Hunt. Fedor starts putting the pressure on Hunt standing but Hunt fires back. Hunt is starting to wilt and look tired after defending takedown attempts and Fedor gets him down into half-guard. Fedor transitions into a kimura and gets it. Hunt taps and that is all.
The Winner: Fedor gets the submission at 8:16 in round 1 to remain undefeated as Pride Heavyweight Champion. The confetti falls in celebration. Hunt did well at first, but he got tired rather quickly. It seemed ridiculous when he would just pressure down with his forearm instead of trying to land some ground strikes on Fedor on the ground. Hunt got tired and Fedor quickly took advantage. Hunt’s power and size made him a problem for some fighters, but he was not a complete or strong MMA fighter and he’s yet to win another fight in his career at all since 2006. Fedor puts his belt on in celebration as Pride champion. Fedor thanks the fans in Japanese.
-The other Pride fighters enter the ring as the credits roll in the last ever Pride New Year’s Eve event.
DVD BONUS FEATURES
The 411: This was a fun entertaining card all across the board with a lot of prolific and big names and some good fights. Nogueira/Barnett was good. Melendez/Kawajiri was a great lightweight brawl and a lot of fun. Mark Hunt was an extreme mismatch and easy pickings for Fedor. Thompson/Yoshida was a bizarre upset but your basic Pride freakshow attraction fight as well. Highly recommended for its historical significance and all the top ranked fighters that compete on this card.
|Final Score: 8.5 [ Very Good ] legend|