Pride 6


Pride 6 – 1997.07.04


Fight #1 – Carl Malenko (0-1/0-0) vs. Egan Inoue (6-4/1-0)

Kicking off the show once again with Egan Inoue, will we see him dominate the opening match again? Or will Carl Malenko put up more of a fight? I have no idea, I’ve never heard of Malenko, a ginger cousin of Dean perhaps, I don’t know. But as always, I’m interested in seeing what he brings to the table, and up for seeing how well Inoue does after his last performance.


Thoughts: A decent fight that was made entertaining by the decider round. Apparently there is a now a third five minute round if the previous do not have a decisive winner for the judges, this one went that way even though it probably shouldn’t have. Malenko shows his wrestling ability in taking Inoue down but from that point there isn’t much else, he stays in Inoue’s guard and throws punches every now and then to keep busy, but spends a lot of time protecting himself. He ground out the result, but did not look too good doing it. The third round however was full of excitement, and since the previous rounds don’t count now, both fighter s went for it; Inoue got the takedown, reversals, back to the feet, Malenko gets the takedown, rinse, repeat. He deserved it in the end, but hopefully we see a busier version of him in his next fight.

The Fighters:-

–  Carl Malenko – A good wrestler, managed to stifle the attempts of Inoue to reverse his position and also defended the triangle choke that Egan came close to fully applying. Although he was good at maintaining control, his transitional ability was poor and ever attempt at advancing his position saw him back in full guard.

–  Egan Inoue – Another fighter to have a great debut and then fall short in their next fight, there wasn’t much he could do about Malenko once he was on top of him, well not without making himself vulnerable. He went for it in the decisive round and could’ve won based off of that, but Malenko took him down too easily and controlled him much the same.


Result: Carl Malenko via Decision.


Fight #2 – Daijiro Matsui (0-0-2/0-0-2) vs. Carlos Newton (5-3/0-1)

Now this could be an excellent fight, Carlos put a great fight against Sakuraba despite losing, and Matsui had a great fight with Shoji that went to a draw. Matsui looked extremely frustrated in the fight against Kikuta so this one should wet his appetite, could be fight of the night. I’m hoping for some excitement after the previous fights opening rounds.


Thoughts: Wow! Fantastic fight, has to go down as one of my favourite fights of all time, brilliant. Definitely the most exciting fight that Pride has had so far. Just so much back and forth action with a high level of technique, a joy to watch. Both fighters looked great and even though the decision went against Matsui after the third (decisive) round, that fight must’ve made him a star in Japan. There were too many great moments to really talk about individually, Newton was a threat throughout the opening rounds with his arm bar attempts, but Matsui’s submission defence is immense and he escaped everything. Matsui just had this unbelievably aggressive style, always pressing forward, always moving, always looking to hit and kick his opponent in as much as possible. I can’t do this fight justice, go watch it.

The Fighters:-

–  Daijiro Matsui – Had a disappointing fight against Kikuta, but I think that was mostly down to the tactics of his opponent, but he more than made up for it with this. Looks to be growing as a fighter, his stand up is getting better, and he is becoming much more aggressive on the ground. Unfortunate that this fight had to have a loser.

–  Carlos Newton – To echo what the commentator said, “Just became one of my favourite fighters”. He’s got everything you’d need to be a successful MMA fighter (in my eyes anyway), fantastic ground game, improved stand up and has the power in his fist to really hurt his opponents. If it weren’t for the toughness of Matsui he could’ve ended it with a massive uppercut in the last round. Becoming one of those must see fighters alongside Sakuraba and Shoji.


Result: Carlos Newton via Decision.


Fight #3 – Igor Vovchanchyn (36-2/2-0) vs. Carlos Barreto (9-1/0-0)

I know nothing of Barreto, feel like I’ve heard of him but if I have it’s only vaguely. Igor though is on some fine form at the moment in Pride, beating two quality opponents in Goodridge and Shoji. Not sure we’ll the same game plan (against Shoji) from Vovchanchyn in this one as his opponent has a huge height advantage. I’d imagine Igor will want to get in close and trade blows.


Thoughts: Third fight in a row to go to the decisive round and a decision, and also the third fight in a row that was very close. Unfortunately, this was more in the mould of the first fight, with both struggling to overcome their opponent. Vovchanchyn had much better stand up, but I’m starting to realise he is just a methodical striker in nature and isn’t one to leap in with a flurry of strikes. It doesn’t lead to a good fight if his opponent is content circling and generally avoiding him without offering any offence, something that Barreto did very well. He did get a takedown in the second round and it was a bit of a role reversal with Vovchanchyn just hanging on to the Brazilian and doing nothing. The third round saw Barreto get a takedown and lay on top of Igor, but somehow the judges scored it for the Ukrainian. Strange decision, but I was disappointed with the fight and wasn’t too fussed who won.

The Fighters:-

–  Igor Vovchanchyn – Employed similar tactics to the Shoji fight, walking his opponent down and throwing the occasional combinations. I think we need to see him fight fellow strikers if we are going to get an interesting fight, just seems too tentative against guys who would best him on the ground.

–  Carlos Barreto – It took a warning from the referee for inactivity and stalling for him to really attempt anything in this fight and it probably gained him the second round as he started lighting Vovchanchyn up with kicks and secured a takedown. But his ground game didn’t look great when he was on top and he spent far too long just circling Vovchanchyn. Dudes got some long ass legs, would be an awesome Muay Thai fighter.


Result: Igor Vovchanchyn via Split Decision.


Full Contact Karate Rules Match – Hiroki Kurosawa vs. Nobuaki Kakuda

Something else that I’ve never seen, and much like the Gracie Jiu Jitsu sparring match at the last event, I’m sure this will be plenty entertaining.


Thoughts: Very interesting, fast paced, non-stop action. Didn’t have a clue what was really going as it’s pretty hard to keep up with. A pretty one sided fight though as Kurosawa seemed to land a lot more strikes. I think it was a draw at the end though.


Fight #4 – Akira Shoji (3-2-4/2-1-2) vs. Guy Mezger (22-8-2/0-0)

Just the fight the show needed after the Vovchanchyn/Barreto fight, something that will definitely excite and Shoji never fails to do that. Mezger, like many of the fighters from this generation, is someone I have heard of but I’ve not seen fight and I’m not entirely sure of what they are capable.


Thoughts: An interesting fight, but again it went to the decision and wasn’t the most dynamic. Shoji has been one of my favourites so far but with his last fight against Vovchanchyn and this one he has seened quite subdued, and I think it’s because it’s mostly stand up against strikers that have better technique and more experience than him. Mezger caused a lot of problems with his kick boxing and having the longer reach made it difficult for Shoji to engage him. That being said Mezger never truly seemed to go for the knockout and seemed content out scoring his opponent, which was probably his downfall. He won the first round with ease, controlling the pace with his striking and the occasional clinch work, and the second a lot of the same apart from Shoji scoring a takedown, Mezger escaped but Shoji unloaded a barrage of punches that probably won him the round and took it to the tie round. At this point Mezger seemed like he had gassed and after Shoji scored another takedown, albeit doing nothing with it, it wasn’t surprising to see him get the split decision.

The Fighters:-

–  Akira Shoji – Looks to be struggling against the high level strikers, but he did get his chances at grappling and he was pretty subdued in the department as well. Not a good performance, and you could tell in Shoji’s expression at the end of the fight that he felt the same.

–  Guy Mezger – Looks a great striker, lit up Shoji throughout the fight with lots of kicks. It’s a shame he had shin guards on, ala Pancrase, as a few of his kicks landed clean and they might’ve packed a bit more punch if they weren’t padded. Unfortunate with the loss, but if it means he’ll be more aggressive in his next fight and go for the KO, I’m happy.


Result: Akira Shoji via Split Decision.


Fight #5 – Gary Goodridge (9-7/2-2) vs. Naoya Ogawa (1-0/0-0)

Big Daddy returns! After missing out on Pride 5, he’s back in Pride 6 and I’m sure he’s ready to knock somebody out, will the debutant Naoya Ogawa be the victim? He followed up his last loss in Pride, at Pride 2 against Marcos Ruas, by KO’ing his next opponent. I’ve only vaguely heard of Ogawa, so not sure what to expect of him. Every Goodridge fight so far has had its excitement so hopefully this is no exception and for first time tonight, it won’t go to the judges.


Thoughts: Great fight with a frantic opening minute or two before Ogawa took control. Goodridge came out looking strong, throwing a lot of wild punches and knees, and basically blew his wad trying to knock out Ogawa. But the pro wrestler weathered the storm, secured a takedown and dominated from that point on with submission attempts and ground and pound. There was a great moment where Goodridge audaciously attempted a knee bar after gaining top position, but Ogawa managed to avoid it. It went to a second round but didn’t last long, a gassed Goodridge put up no fight for the takedown and looked to be too weak to prevent the key lock from Ogawa.

The Fighters:-

–  Gary Goodridge – I love him because he always goes for the win, but strategically, it wasn’t the cleverest way to start a fight. But even so his mentality just makes him such an entertaining fighter to watch, he’ll always go for the win. The losses are racking up though.

–  Naoya Ogawa – The fans loved this guy, like ‘Takada’ love this guy. He must be very popular in the pro wrestling world and I’m assuming the belt they strapped on him afterwards was from that side of his career. The wrestling and decorated history in Judo have made him a formidable grappler, he looked great in top control, mixed up his attacks, kept busy. Could be very good. Almost KO’d Goodridge with a left counter as well.


Result: Naoya Ogawa via 2nd Round submission (Key Lock) @ 0:36


Fight #6 – Kazushi Sakuraba (4-1-2/3-0-1) vs. Ebenezer Fontes Braga (10-3-1/0-0)

And following up the last exciting fight is one of the most exciting fighters Pride as to offer, Sakuraba. If you’ve been following this, you’ll know how much I love this guy, and if you’ve seen him fight I’m sure you do to. It seems recent events have switched from Japan vs. Gracie, to Sakuraba vs. Brazil. He seems to be taking on a lot of Brazilian fighters, and although I know nothing of Braga, I’m sure this will be a good fight.


Thoughts: Another great fight, and my love for the man continues to grow. Braga looked very good in this fight too, even in defeat. It started out with Braga causing a lot of problems with his Muay Thai skills, his high kicks and clinch work presenting Sakuraba with problems that he’s yet to face. But he got a couple of single leg takedowns and looked to be the superior grappler, and towards the end of the round he secured on odd looking arm bar that Braga fought off as much as he could before tapping.

The Fighters:-

–  Kazushi Sakuraba – I’ve run out of superlatives for this guy, continues to improve and with him facing a variety of styles it will only better his abilities. Always get excited when his name pops up as the next match.

–  Ebenezer Fontes Braga – Looked dangerous with his stand up, a good fighter. Well rounded as well as he kept himself busy on the ground in terms of blocking transitions and submission attempts. Bravely attempted to fight off what looked to be an odd, but painful, arm bar. Would like to see him fight again.


Result: Kazushi Sakuraba via 1st Round submission (Arm Bar) @ 9:23

*Frank Shamrock did an in-ring promo afterwards basically saying he wanted to fight Shoji and Sakuraba and such, the latter could be an amazing fight.


Fight #7 – Mark Kerr (10-0/4-0) vs. Nobuhiko Takada (2-2/2-2)

Another Takada main event, and after his shocking victory of Coleman, I really don’t know what to expect here. I would normally predict Kerr to dominate, on the mat and on their feet, but Takada obviously has the ability to tap the top level guys, so anything could happen. Kerr finally gets to fight a proper fight too.


Thoughts: This one was over pretty quickly, and it was a lot like the Coleman fight in retrospect. Takada could do nothing about Kerr’s takedowns but he did show improved ability to get back to his feet, it was obviously something he has worked on. But Kerr was too much for him, and after gaining side control he locked in a perfect Kimura on the injured arm of Takada (the one Rickson arm-barred twice) and it was over.

The Fighters:-

–  Mark Kerr – Looked dominant once again and this time against a decent opponent, though there was still an obvious difference in talent. Kerr looked far more dangerous than Coleman, and seems to have a dangerous Kimura. This should propel him to a whole new level of popularity in Japan.

–  Nobuhiko Takada – The guy has got a tonne of heart, every time I see him fight I end up supporting him and wanting him to overcome the odds, but this time his opponent was too much and it was over as soon as Kerr got side control. Decent effort though.


Result: Mark Kerr via 1sr Round submission (Kimura) @ 3:04.



Overall, a pretty good show that started out very slow, two pretty boring fights in Inoue/Malenko and Vovchanchyn/Barreto were either side one of the most entertaining fights I have seen between Matsui and Newton. They were the only two fights that weren’t that interesting, but that being said they weren’t on a Kikuta level of boring, they had action, they just didn’t have fighters doing all they could to get the win. Ogawa looks to be a Pride star in the making so I’m expecting to see a lot of him in the future.

Fight to Watch: Daijiro Matsui vs. Carlos Newton.

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Pride 5


Pride 5 – 1999.04.29


Fight #1 – Minoru Toyonaga (0-2/0-0) vs. Egan Inoue (4-4/0-0)

Kicking things off with one of the Takada gym products (judging by the pre-match video), I’ve not heard of him before but if he is like any of the other Takada gym fighters he will be coming from a Pro Wrestling background. His opponent I have heard of, but again, I’ve never seen him compete. No idea what to expect from this fight.


Thoughts: A decent fight, very one-sided, with Egan Inoue being the man to dominate. Toyonaga was billed as a submission fighter and did show good defence in avoiding a near-fight ending rear naked choke, but other than that he showed nothing else in the fight and Inoue had him beat everywhere. It was ended prematurely by the ref, but the loss was incoming, and although Toyonaga could feel aggrieved about the way it ended, he was getting soundly beaten.

The Fighters:-

–  Minoru Toyonaga – Certainly not at a similar level to one of his fellow Dojo members, Sakuraba, not even close. Looked poor, in my opinion, would need to improve in a lot of areas if he is to compete again.

–  Egan Inoue – Looked great, had decent striking ability, and worked very well on the ground. Looks to a top grappler, so hoping to see him again and against someone a bit more capable. Has lost to Kikuta (the enemy of entertaining fights!), so not sure what to think of him.


Result: Egan Inoue via 1st Round TKO @ 5:53


Fight #2 – Satoshi Honma (4-4-2/1-0) vs. Francisco Bueno (1-0/0-0)

The man who battered Sano at Pride 4 is back, Honma looking to following up his destructive debut against an unknown (to me anyway) Brazilian. Like I said, don’t know much about his opponent, but he is giving up a height and reach advantage, which could be crucial if Honma starts swinging like he did against Sano. Could be fun.


Thoughts: It wasn’t a particularly good fight; it was pretty quick and didn’t see whole lot of action. Both fighters started out tentatively and circled each other for a long time, Honma the only one scoring with a couple of low kicks. Bueno seemed to be figuring Honma out, and once he did he exploded on him with an array of wild punches that eventually took their toll and dropped Honma. Only a few of them landed but that’s all that were needed. Though Honma was slightly taller, he definitely didn’t have the reach advantage as I previously stated and Bueno outweighed him by about twenty pounds.

The Fighters:-

–  Satoshi Honma – Did not look good in this fight, seemed cocky early on but all he landed (going for) were leg kicks and once he started backing up Bueno had him beat. Should fight people in his weight division, not that he was at a massive disadvantage. Disappointed with the performance after what happened against Sano, looked like a completely different guy as well and changed his stance, strange.

–  Francisco Bueno – Looked decent, might get picked apart by a more technical striker but seems to have the power to trouble anybodies chin. Hoping to see him fight again and see what he is capable of against a better fighter.


Result: Francisco Bueno via 1st Round KO @


Fight #3 – Igor Vovchanchyn (33-2/1-0) vs. Akira Shoji (3-1-4/2-0-2)

Oh shit! One of my Pride favourites against one of the more dangerous strikers seen so far, this could end badly for Shoji. Both coming into this off of TKO victories at Pride 4; Shoji over Wallid Ismail, and Vovchanchyn over Pride favourite Gary Goodridge. Could go either way if Shoji is able to secure take downs he can control Vovchanchyn on the ground and possibly submit him, or it stays stood up and Igor knocks Shoji out. Shoji maintains his record of appearing in every Pride event.


Thoughts: An interesting fight, entertaining in a way. The format seems to have changed as this was two ten minute rounds and went to a judge’s decision at the end. The referee also stood the action up several times, so it’s obvious there are some new rules in play that the commentators weren’t entirely aware of. A very tactical fight in the sense that Shoji was much quicker Vovchanchyn and able to avoid the Ukrainian, who was constantly walking him down, both weren’t the sharpest with their striking but Vovchanchyn was getting the better of Shoji. He actually dropped him a couple of times, but it seemed to be because of the power of Vovchanchyn rather than Shoji getting rocked. Igor got the deserved decision victory, but Akira showed himself to be capable of at least avoiding the offence of a high level striker.

The Fighters:-

–  Igor Vovchanchyn – It’s hard to really judge him, he was clearly the better striker, but anyone who had seen his fight against Goodridge would know that to be the case. I’m not sure whether to be disappointed in his inability to truly threaten Shoji, or just be impressed with the improved stand up of Shoji. Either way, he won deservedly, defended the few takedown attempts and kept up the pressure. But more importantly he knocked off another Pride favourite.

–  Akira Shoji – It’s great seeing a fighter evolve, and he is growing and getting better and it makes me want to see him fight again. The guy has fought high level guys now and shown himself to be very capable, he was great on the ground against a high level grappler in Renzo and after this fight he went twenty minutes with a high level striker and never looked in true danger. Still one of my favourites, but still needs to improve his striking if he wants to win this kind of bout.


Result: Igor Vovchanchyn via Decision.


Fight #4 – Enson Inoue (8-3/0-0) vs. Soichi Nishida (0-0/0-0)

I’m guessing it was his brother who debuted at the start of the show, and if Enson is as talented as Egan I’m expecting him to come away with the win here against another fighter I’ve not heard of. Quite a few guys making debuts so far, which is great. Nishida looks to be on the big side, so really not sure what to expect of him, maybe he’ll pull off a Koji Kitao, but I doubt it.


Thoughts: Well, that was over quickly. Inoue dropped Nishida almost immediately, jumped on him, softened him up a bit and then choked him out. Inoue looked impressive but his opponent looked extremely poor.

The Fighters:-

–  Enson Inoue – Looked good, from what was shown. Could’ve finished the fight in a variety of ways but ignored a couple of openings to go for the choke. Looks to have some power in his hands too. Successful debut for him and his brother, will be looking out for them in future events.

–  Soichi Nishida – What can I say? Dropped by practically the first punch of the fight and then offered no defence on the ground. Needs to improve his ground game vastly if he anyone asks him to fight again.


Result: Enson Inoue via 1st Round submission (Rear Naked Choke) @ 0:24


Jiu Jitsu Exhibition – Royler Gracie & Rickson Gracie


Thoughts: This was pretty freaking cool, it started with some self defence manoeuvres which were interesting but the real entertainment came with the sparring. Rickson Gracie is one slick grappler, obviously these guys are brothers so they weren’t going at each other aggressively but they certainly weren’t easing up. Worth checking out.


Fight #5 – Kazushi Sakuraba (3-1-2/2-0-1) vs. Vitor Belfort (6-1/0-0)

What a fight this could be! I don’t know the cards for the events so I only know each fight as they come up and as soon as it showed Vitor Belfort I almost shit myself. It’ll be interesting to see him fighting at this stage of his career and against Sakuraba, should be freaking awesome. And now that judges have come into play there should be a decisive winner.


Thoughts: A strange fight this one and definitely not a fight you want to check out if you’re a Belfort fan. He got schooled in this fight but I can’t help but feel something was up, Belfort had a great start to the fight and could’ve finished with a barrage of strikes but Sakuraba got it to the ground. And from basically that point on and for the rest of the fight, Sakuraba just beat Belfort up and Vitor offered nothing back. He spent a lot of time on his back with Sakuraba standing over him, and having learnt from his fight with Goes, kicking his right leg into a bruised mess. I think one of the commentators had a good guess with Belfort hurting one of his hands in the flurry of punches at the start, because he barely threw punch afterwards and kept dropping to the mat in the hope of a grappling contest. Sakuraba thoroughly deserved the decision, but probably the least entertaining of his fights.

The Fighters:-

–  Kazushi Sakuraba – Despite it not being a thrilling fight, Sakuraba offered plenty of entertainment, mixing up his offence with a variety of kicks that landed, it’s hard not to love the guy. Effectively controlled the fight once Belfort was hurt.

–  Vitor Belfort – Hard to imagine he’d become the fighter he is known as today by that performance, but at the time of the fight he had won a UFC tournament and had beaten guys like Wanderlei, so it really makes me wonder what happened. I’ll be looking into it once I finish watching the show. Looked good at the start.


Result: Kazushi Sakuraba via Decision.


Fight #6 – Mark Coleman (6-3/0-0) vs. Nobuhiko Takada (1-2/1-2)

Takada back in action after another loss to Rickson Gracie, and his opponent is no easier this time, well I can only assume. I know of Mark Coleman and I’ve seen him fight towards the end of his career in UFC, but I haven’t seen him at this stage. This has the potential to be a good fight though, both grapplers, wrestlers, so I guess it’s a clash of cultural styles. I think Coleman will be too much for Takada though.


Thoughts: Wow, now that is the definition of an upset victory. That finish came out of nowhere and Coleman must be kicking himself now. The American absolutely dominated this fight, as soon as the bell rang he quickly got Takada to the mat, controlled him, took his time, advanced his position whilst keeping busy with ground and pound. It wasn’t entertaining to watch but he was clearly in control. The exact same happened  in the second round except Takada caught a hold of one of Coleman’s legs as he was looking to transition and turned into a knee bar, Coleman had his wrestling boots on which made escaping the hold more difficult, and he tapped.

The Fighters:-

–  Mark Coleman – Absolutely dominant up until he got caught in that leg lock, he was certainly impressive in a lot of ways. My only criticism is that he never looked close to ending the fight, for all the control and dominant positions he only really attempted one submission and his ground and pound wasn’t too accurate. Needs to get rid of the shoes.

–  Nobuhiko Takada – Surprised a lot of people with his performance against Rickson Gracie, despite losing, but this was the real shocker. He had decent defence on the ground, but had only one way of winning the fight, and out of nowhere he got it. Must’ve been a huge result for the Japanese crowd as they seem to love him and he’s headlined four of the five events, so I’m guessing I’ll be seeing him again.


Result: Nobuhiko Takada via 2nd Round submission (Heel Hook) @ 1:44.



A good show, but it felt a bit light on the fights. Obviously the exhibition took up space for one, which I had no problem with, but I felt there could’ve been a couple more fights. That being said all the fights were entertaining in their own way, and it’s great to finally see the fights getting decisive endings. The two ten minute rounds rule looks to be set for each fight, which is great, and it’s good to see the ref getting involved if there is stalemate or lack of action. No Gary Goodridge, first show he’s missed, but the man who beat him picked up another big win. The show was all about that ending though, what a way to finish.

Fight to Watch: Mark Coleman vs. Nobuhiko Takada.

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Pride 4

Pride 4 – 1998.10.11


Fight #1 – Igor Vovchanchyn (30-2/0-0) vs. Gary Goodridge (8-6/2-1)

Kicking things off with the ever-present Goodridge, who has now appeared in every Pride event so far. And he is facing off against someone I know of as a dangerous striker, but again I’ve not seen him fight. Look forward to this one, should be a war (I swear I say this before every fight, but they’ve all been good).


Thoughts: A pretty good fight, though a lot of it looked quite sloppy. Goodridge seemingly had a game plan in mind, take him down and sub him or at least exploit him there and he executed it well, almost getting a knee bar. But the fight got stood up and Vovchanchyn looked the crisper of the two with his striker and landed a nice left hook that looked to have KO’d Goodridge who landed against the ropes and turned his back to his opponent. The referee waived it off as a TKO and Goodridge goes two for two in Pride whilst the Ukrainian wins on his debut, albeit in a controversial fashion.

The Fighters:-

–  Gary Goodridge – I want to say he was unlucky with this defeat but he only has himself to blame, yes the ref was premature but he turned his back and got hit with a couple of clean shots whilst dazed against the ropes. He should’ve kept this on the ground and tried to implement some of the ground and pound that worked well for him early on and in his last fight.

–  Igor Vovchanchyn – Impressive debut, although he looks vulnerable on the ground. But he did defend the knee bar well and prevented Goodridge from dealing too much damage. He looks a very good striker and could be dangerous for a lot of the Pride fighters. Hoping to see him fight again, a re-match would be fun.


Result: Igor Vovchanchyn via 1st Round TKO @ 5:58.


Fight #2 – Akira Shoji (2-1-4/1-0-2) vs. Wallid Ismail (6-1/0-0)

And next up is the other Pride main stay, appearing alongside Goodridge in every Pride so far. Unbeaten, but only the one win, though the two draws would’ve both been decision victories in his favour, in my opinion, so I’m considering him 3-0 in Pride. His opponent is a BJJ specialist, as far as I know, I’ve not seen him fight but I believe he owns a fight company in Brazil these days, not sure if it is Jungle Fights or the other main one. Anyway, should be a good fight, hopefully it doesn’t go to another draw.


Thoughts: As with any Shoji fight they go at it and it’s highly entertaining, this was no different. The only difference in those one, and it’s a biggie, is that Ismail was dominating on the ground. Shoji has some superb takedown defence and the ability to escape dominant positions, but Ismail was relentless with his takedowns and succeeded with several. Whilst on the ground Ismail was again, relentless in controlling Shoji without ever going for the kill. The second round saw Ismail come out looking completely gassed, Shoji dropped him with some wild punches and feeling the end was near let him back to his feet and continued to unload on him. Just like the first fight, Ismail turned his back after taking several unanswered shots and the ref stopped it.

The Fighters:-

–  Akira Shoji – In probably his toughest fight, since he was being dominated, Shoji turns it around and gets a big win. It was somewhat fortuitous with Ismail gassing, but it was the talent of Shoji constantly reversing positions and preventing takedowns that tired out the Brazilian. Not as impressive as his other fights but a win none the less against a top opponent.

–  Wallid Ismail – Looks to be a great grappler, but I was disappointed with his lack of cutting edge on the ground. He was in full mount several times in the first round and could’ve gone all out to get the win but he was content controlling Shoji and he paid the price. Can be a little unhappy with the referee’s decision as he was never truly rocked, but he wasn’t defending himself. A stoppage similar to something you might see in Boxing.


Result: Akira Shoji via 2nd Round TKO @ 1:26.


Fight #3 – Daijiro Matsui (0-0-1/0-0-1) vs. Sanae Kikuta (7-2/0-1)

An interesting fight, but I can’t say I’m excited about seeing Kikuta fight after his performance against Renzo Gracie. That being said he will probably come into this with a different game plan and Matsui looked good against Shoji so it could be a fun fight. Let’s hope Kikuta’s not just planning on holding Matsui down for half an hour.


Thoughts: Thank the lord this one had a time limit, because I don’t think Matsui is as capable as Renzo at finishing fights. Another poor fight involving Kikuta and he even stifled the exciting Matsui who had some moments in the fight but got dragged into the kind of fight Kikuta wanted. Kikuta went with exactly the same game plan he had against Renzo; clinch, double under hooks, trip, control from full guard and don’t do anything. He threw a few punches and went for the submission a couple of times, it lead to him being reversed every time. But it was another performance that dragged the fight to a poor level. The one moment of excitement was Matsui and his stand up in Round One, looked he had the beating of Kikuta on the feet, but unfortunately that never lasted long.

The Fighters:-

–  Daijiro Matsui – Despite the poor performance I’m still a fan of this guy, much more versatile than Kikuta but needs to work on defending takedowns and taking advantage of an opponent’s weaknesses. He’s fun to watch on the ground though, always takes reversals when the chance arises. And he looks to be evolving as a striker too.

–  Sanae Kikuta – Not sure I want to see this guy fight again, unless it’s someone who can defend the trips and knock him the f*** out. A bit harsh, but man, he doesn’t half ruin fights. Seems to have no ambition at all, never looks like he is trying to win the fight, just seems contempt controlling it as though he is gaining some moral victory, I don’t know. Don’t like him or his tactics.


Result: Time Limit Draw.


Fight #4 – Kazushi Sakuraba (3-1-1/2-0) vs. Allan Goes (3-1-1/0-0)

Time for someone who I know will put on an exciting fight, probably the best grappler I’ve seen fight so far in Pride and my favourite fighter so far, Sakuraba. He’s facing a Brazilian, no idea who he is, but once again I’m assuming he’s got a ground game. Should be fun to see Sakuraba face a BJJ (I’m guessing) practitioner.


Thoughts: Another time limit draw but such a different fight to the Kikuta/Matsui fight, and unsurprisingly it was another great fight involving Sakuraba. It had a bit everything (bar stand up, of course), Sakuraba is a joy to behold on the mat, his grappling is fantastic and he looked to be bettering Goes in terms of transitions and positions gained. Goes never really looked threatened by the submission attempts though, and was extremely effective throughout the fight from his back. He openly pulled guard when Sakuraba shot in and manoeuvred Sakuraba into standing up. Once stood over the downed Goes, the Japanese fighter was on the end of some vicious up kicks, Goes focusing a variety of kicks on the knee, chest and head of Sakuraba and was so effective despite being in what people would consider a weak position. Fantastic fight, and had it gone to the judges it would’ve been a Goes victory, he came close to ending it with a rear-naked choke and did a lot of damage with the up kicks.

The Fighters:-

–  Kazushi Sakuraba – Not his best performance, but he was fighting an elite BJJ fighter who brought something to the fight Sakuraba had not experienced before, definitely a learning curve. Still, can’t help but love this guy, so, so good on the ground, on his back, on top, turtled up. Excited to see him fight again, hopefully it’s against another BJJ fighter.

–  Allan Goes – Very impressive, didn’t look that great when he got on top, but from the bottom he had an excellent guard, one of the best I’ve seen. I don’t think I’ve seen a fighter cause that much damage from his back before, it was fantastic and Sakuraba had no answer for it. Hope to see him fight again.


Result: Time Limit Draw.


Fight #5 – NaokiYuhi’ Sano (0-1/0-1) vs. Satoshi Honma (3-4-2/0-0)

Not a fight I’m particularly looking forward, mostly because of the poor showing Sano put out against Royler Grace at Pride 2. I know nothing of his opponent though so I’m optimistic that there will be a good fight between these two, I was optimistic about the Matsui/Kikuta fight as well though, hmm.


Thoughts: Wow, what a beating from Honma. The Karate trained Honma absolutely annihilated Sano in this fight, I’m a little shocked at how bad Sano’s stand up is and once again by his tactics, why not take him to the mat? At least you’re not going to get consistently smashed in the face on the mat, well you might, be they won’t be packing the same power. All credit to Honma though, dominant display and he actually dropped him after some vicious leg kicks that bruised up Sano’s leg.

The Fighters:-

–  Naoki ‘Yuhi’ Sano – Looked worse in this fight than he did against Royler, his weak ground game exposed in that fight and his weak stand up exposed in this one. Left the ring a bloodied mess, barely able to walk on one leg. One of the most one-sided fights I’ve seen over a prolonged period.

–  Satoshi Honma – Very impressive, it’s hard to tell whether it was because it was so easy for him or he was just making it look easy. He took apart Honma with an array of striking, and literally punished him everywhere. Had quite a strange stance, first time I’ve seen it, hard to describe.


Result: Satoshi Honma via 1st Round KO @ 9:25.


Fight #6 – Marco Ruas (8-1-2/1-0) vs. Alexander Otsuka (0-2/0-0)

This one could be really good, Ruas coming off of his submission victory over Goodridge at Pride 2 against a well-known Japanese wrestler (I think). Ruas looked to have good stand up against Goodridge so we could see him dominate in this department but I think this one might come down to who is more capable on the ground.


Thoughts: Good fight this one, very enjoyable. A story of two rounds though, both had very contrasting endings and fortunes for both fighters. The first round was initially controlled by Otsuka, but Ruas looked the more dangerous fighter, almost getting a leg lock from his back and after a great reversal, ended up in mount and raining blows down on Otsuka until he gave up his back. Fortunately for Otsuka, the round was coming to an end and although Ruas got the rear naked choke, it wasn’t fully applied and the bell rang to save Otsuka. Now the second round was completely different, Ruas looked gassed, whether it was the effort put into trying to finish it or medication he was on (something the commentators discussed). He was pretty much out of it as soon as the round started, Otsuka took his time getting him down but eventually did and threw quite a lot of shots whilst in control, none of the shots threatened to finish Ruas but they did leave him bloodied up and he didn’t come out for the third round.

The Fighters:-

–  Marcos Ruas – Impressive in the first round, threatening with his jiu jitsu, but overall it has to go down as a poor performance and there was no comeback in this one. He does look a great fighter though, his two fights have shown him to be able to well rounded and capable in all areas.

–  Alexander Otsuka – Pretty impressive, he almost got finished in the first round but defended the submission attempts well enough. His ground control is similar to a lot of the Japanese fighters in that he clings on from half/full guard, but the difference with Otsuka is that he is the first to really implement ground and pound. Has the strangest nickname “The Diet Butcher”, over my head that one.


Result: Alexander Otsuka via TKO (corner stoppage).


Fight #7 – Hugo Duarte (5-1/0-0) vs. Mark Kerr (9-0/3-0)

Mark Kerr is back for another Pride event, and hopefully this one ends decisively. This time he’s facing off against an opponent I have heard of, but again I haven’t seen him fight and can only assume he is a BJJ based fighter coming out of Brazil. I’m aware of other styles such as Luta Livre, but it seems a time in MMA where BJJ was exploding and well-known practitioners in Brazil are all converting to MMA. Kerr will be looking for another dominant victory here so it should be an interesting fight.


Thoughts: I don’t know what is about Mark Kerr but all of his opponents so far have been a joke, I don’t know their ability (we don’t see much of it) but none of them seem up for a fight, and the only that did, spat his dummy out after he lost. It’s like every fight he has, has to have something ridiculous happen in it and Duarte offered plenty of those moments in the fight. It wasn’t a good fight, and Kerr did not look strong in it, but I’d advise people to watch it because some of the stuff Duarte does is hilarious; rolling around on the mat after a weak, accidental head butt, escaping through the ropes any time he gets properly hit, shouting at the referee in Portuguese for seemingly no reason. Just bizarre, but another victory for Kerr.

The Fighters:-

Hugo Duarte – This might sound harsh, but he looked such a bitch in this fight. Seemed scared of Kerr and was looking for anyway out of the fight and even attempted to get Kerr DQ’d. I think it’s the first time I’ve seen a fighter refuse to stand up after his opponent backs away from him, unbelievable. Not a fan of this guy at all and hopefully I never have to see him ‘fight’ again.

–  Mark Kerr – Time to get this guy a proper opponent, he’s had plenty of fuckwits his way and it’s getting tedious. That being said he should’ve finished this fight a lot quicker, why did it take him two rounds to realise that laying in his full guard wasn’t working? He never really looked to advance his position or stand the fight up, in the first two rounds. The third round was different and it looked to be because Kerr got pissed off at the guy doing nothing and refusing to stand up.


Result: Mark Kerr via 3rd Round TKO (Retirement) @ 2:32.


Fight #8 – Rickson Gracie (9-0/1-0) vs. Nobuhiko Takada (1-1/1-1)

A re-match from the main event that headlined Pride 1 exactly a year previous to this event, and hopefully Takada will be putting up more of a fight as he was subbed rather quickly in the first fight. He is coming off of a submission victory of his own though, and did look a lot more comfortable in the ring. I’m assuming this will have been a big fight at the time, considering how popular Takada was at the time and the enigma that is Rickson Gracie, the guy has such an aura about him.


Thoughts: Much more of a fight than the first one, Takada looked better and seemed to have a good game plan in mind. He got Rickson in a body lock early on and controlled him for a lot of the round, both men trading knees from their respective positions. One tough knee looked to have dropped Rickson, though personally, I think he was trying to bait Takada into his guard. It inevitably got to the mat and although Takada started on top, Rickson reversed him, gained mount a couple of times and got the arm bar once again. Good fight.

The Fighters:-

–  Rickson Gracie – Was in a real fight this time and still triumphed thanks to his fantastic grappling. He made it look easy getting to mount and maintaining the position whilst Takada tried his hardest to escape. Wasn’t getting beaten up in the clinch either.

–  Nobuhiko Takada – Tough loss for him, but he fought his heart out and really put everything into it. He made a mistake when he was in Rickson’s guard, he went for a leg lock of some sort and the Gracie got the reversal and ended up mounting him. Improved a lot since the first fight.


Result: Rickson Gracie via 1st Round submission (Arm bar) @ 9:30.



Just like the other Pride events, full of great fights but did have a couple of stinkers. There were a couple of fighters that are not exciting fighters, but I do feel they are still transitioning to the sport and I’m being a little too critical. I guess you get that way when you have to watch half an hour of two men hugging each other. If you were to watch this show, I’d only really advise you to skip the Matsui/Kikuta fight, the rest were very entertaining and the Kerr/Duarte fight was just bizarre. I’m really start to enjoy the fights in the ring, I’ve only ever really watched MMA in the cage, but you get to see things from a lot more angles here, makes the ground battles even more entertaining.

Fight to Watch: Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Allan Goes – I’m trying not to be biased towards this guy but all his fights are fantastic.


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Pride 3


Pride 3  – 1998.06.24


Fight #1 – Daijiro Matsui (0-0/0-0) vs. Akira Shoji (2-1-2/1-0-1)

And we kick things off with Shoji!! Probably my favourite fighter to be exposed to so far with Sakuraba not far behind. I’ve not heard of his opponent, but it will be the first Japanese fighter vs. Japanese fighter on the Pride cards, historic I guess. Both Shoji fights have been enjoyable so looking forward to this.


Thoughts: An epic fight in length and content, I mean it’s not a classic but it’s a very good fight. Unfortunately there was no decisive end to it with Matsui mostly blocking and preventing Shoji from locking in any submissions and finishing it. All that being said Shoji dominated the fight, and had it gone to judges Shoji would’ve won practically every round.

The Fighters:-

–  Daijiro Matsui – Really impressive, comes out of the Takada gym alongside Sakuraba, so he seems a at similar level in terms of grappling. Lots of reversals and escapes but not much of his own offense.

–  Akira Shoji – Still one of my favourites, despite getting another draw. Looked much more of a threat in this fight than he did against Renzo Gracie and looks to have improved his stand up as well (although that could’ve been tactical against the Gracie). Unfortunate that he’s not adding another win to his record.


Result: Time Limit Draw


Fight #2 –Emanuel Yarbrough (1-1/0-0) vs. Daijyu Takase (0-0/0-0)

Two new guys to me, though it seems the fight is a bit of mismatch in terms of size. Yarbrough looks huge compared to Takase, but I can’t say it looks a healthy size with him being at least 500lbs or so. Takase is giving up eight inches in height as well, will be interesting to see how he deals with the size difference.


Thoughts: Joke of a fight, Yarbrough is not an athlete and honestly I was half expecting him to keel over in that first round. Takase did not look impressive running around the big guy for fifteen minutes, but once he got the warning for stalling he went for it and it led to him getting the win. He ridiculously tried taking Yarbrough down, who almost landed on top of him, which would’ve been it for Takase. But instead he escapes Yarbrough and rains down some blows to the beached whale who taps to the strikes.

The Fighters:-

–  Emanuel Yarbrough – I can see why he does this, because he’ll get paid for being the freak show. But he isn’t a fighter and it’s hard to respect the man, if he has any MMA talent it’s almost completely nullified by the fact that he can barely move around the ring.

–  Daijyu Takase – Once he got the opening he took it and ended the fight, but up to that point he was stalling and looked to have no idea what to do with Yarbrough on his feet. And when you have an opponent who is visibly tired with hands by his waist and you don’t go for it, I don’t know, it’s just disappointing. Would like to see what he is capable of in a proper fight though.


Result: Daijyu Takase via 2nd Round submission (Strikes) @ 3:22.


Fight #3 – Kazushi Sakuraba (2-1-1/1-0) vs. Carlos Newton (4-2/0-0)

Sakuraba looked great in his last fight and I’ve been looking forward to seeing him fight since, and although I haven’t seen his opponent fight, I’ve heard the name and know that he is well thought of so this could be a good one.


Thoughts: What. A. Fight. Just unbelievable grappling match between these two, there were strikes involved here and there but it was all about the grappling. Fascinating to watch both fighters rolling around the mat transitioning and reversing, any MMA fan would love this fight. Sakuraba, though, he was on another level, the guy just became my favourite fighter so far. So many close submissions, but Newton escaped them all up until the end where, quick as lightening, Sakuraba grabbed a leg and got him with a knee bar. Can’t praise this match enough, just brilliant.

The Fighters:-

–  Kazushi Sakuraba – Getting better with every fight, didn’t take as long as the last fight but it was against a difficult opponent and he proved to be one of the best on the ground. Can’t wait till he faces a Gracie. He’s just so quick with everything he does and he makes it look so easy.

–  Carlos Newton – Unfortunate with the loss, but his opponent was just too good for him. Looks to be a great grappler though and would love to see him fight again.


Result: Kazushi Sakuraba via 2nd Round submission (Knee-bar) @ 5:19


Fight #4 – Gary Goodridge (7-6/1-1) vs. Amir Rahnavardi (0-0/0-0)

Goodridge looking to get back to winning ways here and move on from the loss on the last show, he is also the only competitor along with Shoji to appear in all the Pride events so far, though there are more fights to come. I can’t say I’ve heard of his opponent at all so not sure what to expect from him, though as a fan of Goodridge so far I’m hoping for a stand up guy.


Thoughts: Man, Gary Goodridge hits hard! Jesus Christ, I would not want to be on the receiving end of any of those. A nice little fight this with Rahnavardi, taking the fighting on short notice (he replaced Kimo Leopoldo), putting up more of a fight than people were expecting. He almost finished the fight with a nice Knee Bar after he pulled guard but eventually Goodridge escaped it and a couple more sub attempts before KO’ing Amir from full guard without having to fully posture up… A lot of power in those hands.

The Fighters:-

–  Gary Goodridge – I said on the last show recap that I thought he was unlucky in the fight with Ruas as he was beating him up, up until he made a mistake. And it almost happened again in this fight, so not learning his lesson, but he escaped it and got another highlight KO.

–  Amir Rahnavardi – Impressive on the ground, but needs to protect his face from fists if he wants to not get beat up every time he ends up on his back. Looked to have decent Jiu jitsu, but not good enough to finish the couple of chances he got.


Result: Gary Goodridge via 1st Round KO @ 7:22.


Fight #5 – Mark Kerr (8-0/1-0) vs. Pedro Otavio (13-3/0-0)

Kerr back in Pride after the disappointment that was his fight against Branko Cikatic, I’m hoping we get to see a lot more of what he is capable of here. And it looks like the fight will be more well matched, and if anything, against an opponent who won’t cheat as a means to escape being taken down. Otavio the Brazilian, don’t know much about him but I’m assuming he is good on the ground and I’m thinking that is where this fight will take place.


Thoughts: Well, performance wise this fight was all about Mark Kerr; took Otavio down with ease, dominated him on the ground and then submitted him with a Kimura. But it was another Kerr fight with controversy, it didn’t look like there was a tap but Otavio clearly screamed out in pain as the lock was applied. The ref called it and Otavio spat his dummy out and stormed about the ring shouting, “NO!”. Which was entertaining, but embarrassing for him, he even took it further by taking off his kneepads and throwing them at the crowd, brilliant!

The Fighters:-

–  Mark Kerr ­– Dominant performance and shows why Cikatic tried so hard not to get taken down, looking forward to seeing him face off against a true opponent though as the last two were kind of pushovers.

–  Pedro Otavio – Hilarious for the wrong reasons, he might have a right to dispute the call, but I think it was a judgement by the referee as a loss due to the hold being locked in fully and Otavio in obvious agony. It was an unfair call, but it was that or get his arm broken, and he wouldn’t have been able to continue if that had happened.


Result: Mark Kerr via 1st Round Technical submission (Kimura) @ 2:13.


Fight #6 – Nobuhiko Takada (0-1/0-1) vs. Kyle Sturgeon (0-0/0-0)

Takada back main-eventing Pride after his decisive loss to Rickson Gracie, I don’t know much about his opponent Sturgeon but it’ll be interesting to see how he fairs against someone that isn’t consider the best grappler out there at the moment. Takada will definitely be looking to get this to the ground, looking forward to seeing if he is as good as some of his prodigies’.


Thoughts: A quick fight and Takada shows that he is very capable on the ground, at first though he looked a little out of his depth against Sturgeon who was getting the better of him with kicks. There was a bizarre moment where Takada got kicked in the head by a weak looking kick and went down, but seemed to be baiting his opponent rather than getting rocked. He got his win shortly after getting his takedown, a nicely taken heel hook.

The Fighters:-

–  Nobuhiko Takada – Much more impressive than he was against Gracie, he was facing a stand up fighter though so it was expected for him to have an advantage on the ground. Despite that, it was well executed and he barely look threatened, bar a couple of kicks early on.

–  Kyle Sturgeon – Seems like a decent kick boxer, it’s hard to judge him off of that performance as it ended so quickly. Needs to work on his ground game though, for sure.


Result: Nobuhiko Takada via 1st Round submission (Heel Hook) @ 2:18



The best show yet, only one stinker of a fight but the rest were plenty entertaining in their own way. Shoji, Sakuraba and Goodridge continue to impress and Takada picks up his first professional win, which I’m assuming will’ve been a big moment in Japan at the time since he was very popular. All the fights are worth watching, even the Yarbrough fight just because it was ridiculous.

Fight to Watch: Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Carlos Newton.


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Pride 2

Pride 2 – 1998.03.15

(Records reflect competitors MMA record at the time. Italic record represents record within Pride.)


Fight #1 – Royler Gracie (2-0/0-0) vs. NaokiYuhi’ Sano (0-0/0-0)

The show kicks off with another Japan vs. Gracie fight and this one should be interesting. Another pro wrestler taking on the famous BJJ family, but this time there is a really significant weight advantage in favour of Sano who looks to be a lot more powerful. Royler is stated to be the more versatile of the Gracie’s so we could see some stand up in this one.


Thoughts: Not the best way to kick off the show, though the Japanese crowd seemed to appreciate it. It was another snooze fest for the majority of the fight, again the only entertainment being the commentary, which is so different from what I’m used to, they just take the piss, it’s great. It started off with some decent grappling, Sano’s strength saving him a couple of times, but once Royler got mount all Sano could do was cling on. It’s one of those fights you wished they’d started standing people up because it didn’t advance at all for at least 10-15 minutes, very dull. It did have an exciting end though, Royler eventually decided to start hitting the helpless Sano and busted him up, some reversals and Royler ends up on his back and doing more damage with up kicks and jabs. Sano gets busted and looks like he has no idea what to do, eventually gets mounted again and Royler puts him away with an arm bar. A long fight that had a good pay-off at the end.

The Fighters:-

–  Royler Gracie – Looked great against a bigger opponent, I guess it’s a Gracie thing. He pretty much embarrassed Sano in all aspects of the fight. Would be interesting to see him fight a true MMA fighter. He did look much more of an MMA fighter rather than just an extremely good BJJ practitioner.

–  Naoki Sano – Terrible. He looked to be a decent wrestler at first but it wasn’t long before he was being dominated. Looked to have no game plan and no idea how to approach the fight, kept going for the only move he seemed to know, a leg lock. He didn’t come close. Could be interesting to see him fight a lesser opponent, but wouldn’t care if I saw him again.


Result: Royler Gracie via submission (Arm-bar) @ 33:14


Fight #2 – Akira Shoji (1-1-2/0-0-1) vs. Juan Mott (2-1/0-0)

Not heard of Mott, but after Pride 1 I’m more than aware of Shoji who was one of the few (if not the only) stand out Japanese fighter. Looking forward to seeing what Shoji can do against someone who isn’t a Gracie. And apparently Mott is a stand up fighter, so this one could be good.


Thoughts: Dominant performance from Shoji against someone who looks to be pretty weak on the ground. Nothing else to really say, ended pretty quickly after Juan gave up his back and Shoji punished him for it, softening him up with a few punches to the head before locking in a rear naked choke. Not the cleanest of chokes but he powered through it and Mott eventually tapped.

The Fighters:-

–  Akira Shoji – Very impressive, looks to be a good fighter on the ground, a fight that should’ve been a win over Renzo Gracie and this. Looking forward to seeing him again.

–  Juan Mott – It’s hard to really judge him, he was obviously just fodder for Shoji to get a win over, would be interested in seeing him against a stand up guy to see what he is capable of, but he seemed pretty poor.


Result: Akira Shoji via submission (Rear-naked Choke) @ 3:47


(K1 Rules) Fight #3 – William Roosmalen vs. Ralph White

Thai boxing fight which should be good, well at least I’m hoping it is. White was involved in the last Pride but that fight ended in controversy and quickly, so hoping to see more of him here. Not heard of the Dutch fighter but Rutten is speaking highly of him so it could be good.


Thoughts: An entertaining fight, Roosmalen was pretty dominant in the fact that he was consistently landing his kicks and causing a lot of damage to the lead leg of White. White was getting close with some head kicks, but he wasn’t checking Roosmalen’s low kicks and ultimately paid the price for it as he was limping by the fourth round. A knee to the solar plexis from the clinch saw White drop and he was never going to make the ten count.

The Fighters:-

–  William Roosmalen – Doesn’t look like much of a fighter but looks are deceiving and this guy was impressive. Looked dangerous every time they clinched and mixed up his low kicks to cause a lot of damage to White. Good fighter.

–  Ralph White – Almost polar opposite for Ralph, looks like an athlete but his fighting skills don’t match the intimidating appearance. Would’ve probably lost to Cikatic if not for the DQ as he doesn’t look like he has the talent to be an elite Kick boxer.


Result: William Roosmalen via 4th Round TKO


Fight #4 – Vernon White (11-20-1/0-0) vs. Kazushi Sakuraba (1-1-1/0-0)

Now this one I’m looking forward to, if only for name recognition. Vernon White I’ve vaguely heard of, so not sure what to expect from him. But Sakuraba I’ve heard of, or more so his nickname ‘The Gracie Hunter’, I’ve heard about his fights with the Gracie family. And with their whole Japan feud thing that they have going I’m excited about seeing what Sakuraba offers.


Thoughts: What a fight! Honestly, if anyone wants to see a grappling contest at the highest quality you need to watch this, it was brilliant. Sakuraba was a constant threat on the ground, constantly transitioning and attempting arm based submissions, where as Vernon was constantly countering these attempts, sweeping, taking the back and attempting a few chokes. It looked like it was heading for a draw but Vernon made probably the only mistake and he got his arm taken and it was done late in the third round. Top notch stuff. And despite the lack of striking it was thoroughly entertaining, though at times I saw Sakuraba in full mount and I wanted to see him throw down some bombs.

The Fighters:-

–  Vernon White – Really impressed by this fella, rocked Sakuraba early on but from that point on it became a grappling match. He escaped so many submissions, reversed a lot of bad positions into favourable ones, taking the back several times. If his Ju-Jitsu was well-rounded and not just defensive he could be really good.

–  Kazushi Sakuraba – I can see where his reputation started, what a fighter. Not the most versatile but when you can get guys to the ground in a variety of ways and are at the level he is as a grappler, you’re going to go far. Can’t wait to see him fight again.


Result: Kazushi Sakuraba via 3rd Round submission (arm-bar) @ 6:53


Fight #5 – Renzo Gracie (5-0-2/0-0-1) vs. Sanae Kikuta (7-1/0-0)

Another Gracie vs. Japan fight, hopefully this Renzo fight won’t end in a draw though, but if it’s a similar quality I’ll be happy. Don’t know anything about Kikuta really, though I’ve heard the name, I’m assuming he’s another wrestler out of Takada’s gym. I’m predicting Renzo to get the win this time round with Kikuta not being on the same level as Shoji.


Thoughts: Holy fuck that was long, and not in a good way. Kikuta was the bigger guy and clearly stronger, which he showed by pretty much pinning Renzo to the mat for a long ass time and not doing anything but hold on to him. It’s a shame because it’s obvious Renzo has him beat in all areas he’s just unable to really do anything whilst Kikuta has him pinned. Thankfully referees started standing up the action, not sure when that ruling came in though so don’t know how many of these fights I’ll have to endure. The win came when Kikuta made a mistake trying to prevent a takedown and Renzo slips in a guillotine choke, drops to the mat to sink it in and it’s over. Thankfully.

The fighters:-

–  Renzo Gracie – He looked slick with the finish but in some areas he was poor. His stand up was ok but he never looked dangerous and he rarely prevented a takedown from his bigger for. Not the best performance and with the fight where he practically got dominated by Shoji he’s not proving to be the greatest MMA fighter.

–  Sanae Kikuta – I didn’t get this guy at all, his wrestling looked good in that he took down Renzo with relative ease and was able to control him to a point that Renzo was not dangerous from his back. But he literally just held on to him and these days it would’ve been stood up several times. The fight was unlimited rounds, so a winner needed to be declared, I just don’t get his game plan. Barely threw any strikes, no submission attempts. Probably good against someone he wasn’t scared of on the ground.


Result: Renzo Gracie via 6th Round submission (Guillotine Choke) @ 0:43


(K1 Rules) Fight #6 – Tasis Petridis vs. George Randolph

Two fighters I know nothing of but there is one clear difference between them and that is size, Randolph 6’7 and 287lbs where as the 6’1 Petridis only weighs in at 214lbs. Massive advantage to Randolph in this fight, will be interesting to see whether Petridis can counter it. It is a kick boxing rules fight though so he only has to battle the reach deficit.


Thoughts: Another entertaining K1 fight on the card, both fighters really went for it early on. Petridis took control of the fight though with his counter striking and low kicks and surprisingly only really had to worry about Randolph getting in close. A deserved decision victory for Petridis.

The Fighters:-

  Tasis Petridis – Looked solid, dangerous with his feet and his hands and not intimidated by his opponents size. Hopefully I get to see him fight someone more on his level next time, looks like he could be top-notch.

–  George Randolph – At first glance I thought this might be a novelty fight but as soon as the bell rang he went for it. He’s not technically that great but he was quite dangerous on the inside. Could do with using his reach to his advantage and fighting on the outside with kicks and jabs, you’d imagine it would be a more sound strategy for him.


Result: Tasis Petridis via decision.


Fight #6 – Gary Goodridge (7-5/1-0) vs. Marcos Ruas (7-1-2/0-0)

Looking forward to this fight, I’ve heard of Ruas and I think of a stand up fighter when I hear his name so I’m thinking this should be a cracker against the man that brutally KO’d Taktarov in Pride 1; Gary Goodridge. I’m hoping for a war, but the minimum I’m expecting is a well contested stand up fight, don’t see either fighters ground game coming much into play here (could be completely wrong about Ruas though).


Thoughts: Awesome fight this one, Ruas isn’t the striker I thought he was but he had the ground game to make up for it. Goodridge had the better of Ruas for the majority of this fight, cornering him and hitting him with a barrage of punches before it went to the ground where he continued to land bombs from half guard. Ruas saved himself getting it to full guard, both landed strikes but eventually Goodridge wanted it stood up. Ruas took advantage of what looked to be a slip and had his turn at unloading on Goodridge before he got taken down, Ruas grabbed a hold a foot and that was the end of it. Great submission, and a nice back and forth fight but has to go down as a comeback victory.

The Fighters:-

–  Gary Goodridge – I think he is unfortunate with this loss, it was really the first mistake he made, a slip, which let Ruas get an advantage on the feet, which led to a desperate takedown and him leaving his leg stuck out. His striking looked very dangerous on the feet and on the ground. Came away looking pretty strong.

–   Marcos Ruas – Top notch submission, took the opportunities that opened up to him and showed killer instinct in finishing them. Gary tapped pretty quickly once that submission was locked in so it looks like this guy knows what he’s doing on the mat. Almost got KO’d at the start of the fight though.


Result: Marcos Ruas via 1st Round submission (Heel Hook) @ 9:09


Fight #7 – Mark Kerr (7-0/0-0) vs. Branko Cikatic (0-0/0-0)

Kerr is another fighter I have heard of but have yet to see fight, known mostly to me as a wrestler it’ll be interesting to see what else he offers. Especially when he’s facing the guy who was lucky not to DQ’d in Pride 1, Branko Cikatic. Though I didn’t get to see much of the kick boxer, he’s an ex K1 champion so he must have talent.


Thoughts: Joke of a fight, Branko showing once again that he has no class or morals by openly cheating and cheap shotting Kerr. Trying everything he could not to get takedown and mauled. Waste of fight but I’m looking forward to seeing Kerr face a proper opponent.

The Fighters:-

–  Mark Kerr – Looked dangerous, and loved the moment he lost it and tried to destroy Cikatic. Like I said, it’ll be interesting to see his next match, assuming he will get one since this wasn’t exactly the Pride debut he was after. Looks a beast as well.

–  Branko Cikatic – Looked a dirty fighter against White and further proved it here, should go back to kick boxing.


Result: Mark Kerr via 1st Round DQ @ 2:14.




Probably on a par with the first show, there were two matches in this one that were much more entertaining than anything on Pride 1 but there were a couple of terrible fights too. The Sakuraba and Ruas fights were brilliant, the first for the technical aspect of it and the second for the back and forth action. Branko Cikatic made a fool of himself and it wasn’t a good way to end things, would’ve much preferred it ending with Goodridge tapping. Both the K1 rules fights were entertaining too, with clear winners. The Gracie fights took up a lot of time on the show and weren’t really great to watch. The Sakuraba debut has to go down as the highlight of the show.

Fight to Watch: Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Vernon White.

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First Review


Pride 11997.10.11

(Records reflect competitors MMA record at the time)


Fight #1 – Murakami Kazunari (3-3) vs. John Dixon (3-5)

Neither of these fighters have impressive credentials going into the fight but Kazunari looks much more the athlete.  Dixon has lost his last four fights and doesn’t look in great shape, so I’m not expecting much from him. My first time seeing either of these guys fight.


Thoughts: And I was right to not expect much from Dixon, a really quick end to the fight. Kazunari after being briefly controlled on the mat, took Dixon down with a nice Judo throw and arm-barred him, it was a little sloppy but it did the job.

The Fighters:-

–  Murakami Kazunari – Looks to have some good Judo, and is pretty dangerous on the ground. Would be interesting see him face a higher level opponent.

–  John Dixon – Did not look good at all, had a brief moment where he was in control but overall really weak in all areas.


Result: Murakami Kazunari via 1st Round Submission (Arm-bar) @ 1:34



Fight #2 – Gary Goodridge (6-5) vs. Oleg Taktarov (11-4-2)

Both coming off of some success in the UFC; Taktarov winning the UFC 6 Clash of the Titans tournament, choking out Tank Abbott in the final. And Gary Goodridge getting to the final of UFC 8, beaten by Don Fyre. Goodridge looks in great shape and is clearly the bigger man, Taktarov though has fought similar sized men in the past and come out the victor.  So yeah, I’m looking forward to this one. First time seeing Taktarov fight, though I know a lot about him.


Thoughts: A lot more one sided than I thought. Taktarov seemingly wanted to box with Goodridge, a bigger, stronger, more natural stand up fighter than him and it was only going to end badly for Taktarov. He got put down pretty quickly and it was close to ending after some ground and pound but Taktarov survived and Goodridge wisely let him back up to his feet and brutally KO’d him not long after. Taktarov looked like he was fucking dead afterwards, swear I saw one of the medical staff checking his pulse whilst they carried him out on a stretcher. Not what I was expecting from Oleg but Goodridge looked awesome.

The Fighters:-

–  Gary Goodridge – His stand up looked great in this fight, looks to be a very dangerous striker with killer instinct. Looking forward to seeing him in action again.

–  Oleg Taktarov ­– A little disappointed, he should’ve stuck to his strengths instead of trying to bang with him. Shouldn’t be fighting guys this size with a chin as weak as his.


Result: Gary Goodridge via 1st Round KO @ 4:57



Fight #3 – Akira Shoji (1-1-1) vs. Renzo Gracie (5-0-1)

Japan vs. The Gracie’s, looking forward to these fights and this is the first one in Pride. Shoji is pretty new to MMA at this point and is given a massive task against probably the most feared grappler (in terms of family reputation) at the time.


Thoughts: I really enjoyed this fight, it dragged at times and there were moments were literally nothing happened, but there were also moments of fantastic grappling. And it was so close, Renzo looked the more dangerous fighter with his submission attempts but Shoji was dominant and escaped everything. There were a couple of great moments in the fight. One where Renzo reverses into a dominant position, Shoji scrambles, Renzo looks to have got an arm but Shoji slips out of it and then roars at Renzo in triumph. Shame he followed that up by standing over a grounded Renzo for the rest of that round. Another great moment in the fight; Renzo with the rubber guard, threatening a triangle, reverses into mount, but Shoji powers out of the mount and slips backwards through the legs of Renzo. My first time seeing either fighter and I was more impressed by Shoji, seeing as it was only his fourth fight in MMA and he’d not been too successful. Renzo did look pretty classy with his Ju-Jitsu though and I think he could’ve finished the fight with a bit more luck, not to discredit Shoji. A draw was a fair result in the end.

The Fighters:-

–  Akira Shoji – Looked to be a solid grappler, very good defensively and that’s what was seen the most of in this fight. Would’ve won a decision.

–  Renzo Gracie – Obviously slick on the ground, although I’m a little disappointed he couldn’t finish when he had the chances, and there were a couple.


Result: Time Limit Draw



Fight #4 – Nathan Jones (0-0) vs. Koji ‘Mitsuharu’ Kitao (0-2)

Two massive fighters here, Jones of WWE fame later in his career, Kitao a former Sumo wrestler who was banned from the sport for hitting a woman. Kitao was quite a highly ranked Sumo wrestler so this one could be interesting.


Thoughts: Not a good fight, Jones threw some fancy kicks that were nowhere close, Kitao took him down and got the win with a Kimura from side control. Jones tapped really quickly and looked stupidly weak on the ground, it’s not surprising he moved away from MMA.

The Fighters:-

–  Nathan Jones – Terrible. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want to get in a fight with him anytime soon, but he was never going to make it in MMA with zero ground game.

–  Koji Kitao – He took his chance and finished the fight, but he didn’t look good doing it since the arm was left open for him and the lock itself wasn’t well applied, just poorly defended and easily tapped to.


Result: Koji ‘Mitsuharu’ Kitao via 1st Round Submission (Kimura) @ 2:14



(K1 Rules) Fight #5 – Ralph White vs. Branko Cikatic

A couple more fighters that I’ve not heard of before, both heavyweights and a similar size and weight. The match is a K-1 rules match, not MMA. Although maybe I should’ve heard of Cikatic with him being the first K-1 champion and all, I’m hoping for a fun stand up war.


Thoughts: This one didn’t last long unfortunately, but it did end in a somewhat controversial fashion. White ended up on the ground after eating a nice looking right hook from Branko, and tripping over himself. As soon as he hit the ground Branko must’ve thought he was in a street fight and soccer kicked him in the head. The kick resulted in a nasty hematoma (not Hominick-like, but not far off) and ended the fight. Branko looked a bit of an arsehole, hitting White with a cheap shot after bumping fists and then the kick, he should’ve been DQ’d.

The Fighters:-

–  Ralph White ­ – Didn’t get to see much of him, but he looked a decent kick boxer and seemed to be pretty rangy with his kicks. Could’ve been a good fight. Clumsy in falling over.

–  Branko Cikatic – Looked a bit of a bad ass, but mostly a dick. Obviously has power in his hands, it would be interesting to see him in an MMA fight.


Result: No Contest due to an illegal strike from Branko Cikatic.



Fight #6 – Kimo Leopoldo (7-2) vs. Dan Severn (20-3-1)

Looking forward to this, another couple of fighters I know of but haven’t actually seen fight. I know it will be a grappler versus a stand up guy (I think), which usually leads to a decisive finish. Both fighters of UFC fame, though Severn far more successful with Tournament wins and titles, where as Leopoldo’s biggest success is giving Royce Gracie his toughest fight up to that point (he still lost though).


Thoughts: What a horrible fight, I want that half an hour back! I was completely wrong about Leopoldo being a stand up guy, neither of them were good on their feet which was unfortunate because they spent twenty nine minutes on their feet not punching each other. Thoroughly disappointed with the fight, with the performance from Severn, I was expecting so much more from him. It got interesting when it went to the ground, but every time it went down it was quickly back up and back to a shitty boxing match. The only entertaining part of this fight was the commentary with Bas Rutten and Stephen Quadros ripping into both of them.

The Fighters:-

–  Kimo Leopoldo – Not impressed with him at all, looked like he was only interested in surviving the fight and collecting the purse. Poor fighter in my opinion (judging off of this fight), though he did counter some of Severn’s early attempts at grappling, which is slightly impressive.

–  Dan Severn – Looked ok, he’s obviously not a striker and god knows why he decided to box with Kimo for most of the fight. Could’ve won it if he got it to the ground, with ease, but left that too late.


Result: Time Limit Draw



Fight #7 – Rickson Gracie (8-0) vs. Nobuhiko Takada (0-0)

Main event time and a Gracie to hopefully wash away the foulness that was Severn/Leopoldo. Not seen either of these guys fight so once again optimistic about what both bring. Hopefully this will be as good as Renzo’s fight. Takada apparently a very famous professional wrestler, my knowledge from this era is shocking. Tough first fight for him though.


Thoughts: Wow! Rickson Gracie is one scary mofo. Because I haven’t seen Takada fight before I can’t really judge his grappling ability but he was obviously well thought of and Rickson was a different class on the mat, straight to mount once he got the takedown and not long after getting the arm bar, quality stuff and a great way to end the show. I guess it shows my knowledge though, I always thought Royce was the granddaddy of the Gracie’s but with that performance and the way the commentators sold him, I’m obviously wrong. Not surprising.

The Fighters:-

–  Rickson Gracie – Looked immense, out grappled the pro-wrestler, gained mount with ease and quickly subbed him with a perfectly executed arm bar. Doesn’t get much more impressive than that.

–  Nobuhiko Takada – Should probably stick to the professional wrestling, looked out of his depth against Rickson. It would be interesting to see him compete again but he would need to vastly improve.


Result: Rickson Gracie via 1st Round Submission (Arm-bar) @ 4:47.



Great event with only one fight that was skip-able, the main event was great and closed off the show well. The Gracie’s were prominent and were probably the stars of the show, but I think the KO was the highlight. Just generally quite good if not fantastic.

Fight to Watch: Gary Goodridge vs. Oleg Taktarov.


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What’s this About?

Recently become obsessed with MMA, I’ve always been a fan of the UFC and followed it when I can but the last couple of years I have been following it religiously. I’m starting to understand and appreciate a lot more of what is involved in a fight than I used to and would like to think I am gaining some knowledge in the sport, but I am by no means an expert. After acquiring a backlog of Pride events and having watched some recent Bellator events (Michael Chandler vs. Eddie Alvarez, what a fight that was!), I’ve decided to expand my knowledge of MMA history and the fighters that helped make this sport as huge as it is right now.

I’ll be writing reviews on each Pride event as I go through them; it won’t be too detailed but I will give some insight into what happened in each match alongside my personal opinions on how things went down. It might interest those that missed out on a lot Pride’s events and also intrigue those that have seen said fights and are looking to discuss them. If nothing else, it’ll help me retain the knowledge of what happened, always sinks in more when I write about it.

I might also start reviewing some of the recent events from smaller promotions around the world (depending on what shows I can get a hold of) and of course the abundance of UFC events. And although I’ve written before I’m new to blogging, so be kind. Or I’ll be forced to e-choke your ass out!

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