Length: Approx 2 Hrs
I questioned in my review of "The Second Coming" where this bad boy had gotten to... in an erratic style reminiscent of the sadly passed PRIDE Fighting Championships during its existence, FightDVD has indeed released DSE's initial Las Vegas soiree some months after giving their second a DVD berth. In the coming weeks, I shall be sewing up the final weeks and months of PRIDE...
Having previously approached "Second Coming" with nervous caution, mistakenly believing it to be the event that clueless one-time no-mark Craig Minervini butchered as the third wheel (in every sense of the word) on commentary, I was in no doubt this time...21 October 2006 was the day. There is some remedial comedy to be had from Minervini's presence, however, as from the word go Mauro Ranallo is clearly, visibly put out by this unnecessary addition to his team with Frank Trigg.
- Fedor Emelianenko vs. Mark Coleman
- Mauricio Rua vs. Kevin Randleman
- Josh Barnett vs. Pawel Nastula
- Butterbean vs. Sean O’Haire
- Dan Henderson vs. Vitor Belfort
- Phil Baroni vs. Yosuke Nishijima
- Travis Galbraith vs. Kazuhiro Nakamura
- Joey Villasenor vs. Robbie Lawler
As with the aforementioned event, watching fights in the PRIDE ring governed by NSAC rules once again takes a bit of getting used to. The pre-show standing on ceremony (pomp and circumstance that were part and parcel of PRIDE, naturally- but am I ever glad the UFC don't overbake the cake in this fashion) is highlighted by the monster pop afforded to one Herb Dean.
The show opens with "Ruthless Robbie Lawler knocking out Joey Villasenor in less time than it took to write this sentence. NEXT!
Travis Galbraith. Altogether now... "WHO?" In actuality, Galbraith was a 13 fight veteran of MFC, TKO and King Of The Cage (amongst others) going into this fight, with his highest profile outings coming by virtue of losses to Georges St Pierre, Joe Doerksen and Jonathan Goulet, although he did boast a win over current UFC welterweight contender Chris Wilson. To his credit, the unheralded Canadian busted out a couple of tidy combinations in the opening minute of his encounter with Kazuhiro Nakamura, but with the established level of opposition in such a setting, it was difficult to escape the looming inevitability of the second round result: Nakamura floored Galbraith with a knee to the torso, and followed up with a succession of hammerfist strikes to earn the stoppage.
Japanese cruiserweight boxing champion Yosuke Nishijima hadn't enjoyed a successful transition to the world of MMA up to this point, with his three prior PRIDE outings resulting in defeats at the hands of Mark Hunt, Hidehiko Yoshida and "Cyborg" Santos. This run was extended to four in reasonably rapid order by Phil Baroni, surprisingly via submission from a Kimura from sidemount. Nishijima looked completely lost the second the fight hit the ground- and Baroni isn't exactly renowned for his ground game by any stretch of the imagination- so the writing was on the wall for his future prospects after this one. Following a further fight in K1 in 2007 (another defeat), Nishijima took a step back from MMA.
Jaw to the floor surprise... a Dan Henderson fight went to the scorecards. Fancy that, eh? The enigmatic Vitor Belfort simply didn't turn up for the fourth fight of the evening (as he has the occasional tendency to do). An arid offering concluded with a shutout verdict for "Hollywood" Dan, with one judge scoring the contest a drastic 30-24. Almost worthy of Kalib Starnes, that. I'm serving up no more synopsis for this tedious waste of time.
PRIDE famously had the tendency to throw together some very bizarre fights- "The Real Deal" boasted one to tickle the interest of the old ProWres fraternity, as Celebrity Wrestling and Brawl For All alumni Butterbean was matched up with charismatic but limited WCW prospect-come-WWE also ran Sean O'Haire. No mention is made of O'Haire's wrestling background, but the commentary team were startling quick to bury him and piss all over his prospects before he was even halfway down the entrance ramp. I'll never understand why the figurative product salesmen would attempt to kill any intrigue the audience may have like this if I live to be 40, but in Mauro Ranallo's case I'll give him a free pass, as with all the prior shenanigans with Bas Rutten leaving/returning/leaving and being saddled with the beyond-feckless Minervini (as well as what would transpire as the general state of the promotion), it was pretty obvious that he was giving up the ghost by this point. Anyroadup...'Bean hit O'Haire. O'Haire staggered backwards. O'Haire shot. 'Bean hit him again. Lots. The end. At least the announcers weren't made to look idiots with their forecast of impending doom.
1-2 Polish judoka Pawel Nastula was a strange choice of opposition for consensus number one heavyweight contender Josh Barnett, which to be fair was a feeling in keeping with half the event on paper, so whatever. The opening round of this one was veeeeery slow in getting going, and I swear I felt my eyelids gaining the proverbial lead before Nastula pulled away from a seemingly endless clinch to score a takedown. Alas, from there, the Pole proceeded to do precisely diddly squat, with Herb Dean standing the fight back up, as the hopeless commentary crew actually questioned this decision. Seriously- listen to Ranallo at this point and you can practically hear the will to live draining from his pores. Ho-hum, where was I? Not a lot happened for the rest of the round. The second commenced in practical slow motion; finally, the 4,115th clinch of the fight ended with Nastula throwing a heavy left that connected, a countering a subsequent knee with a takedown, cutting the corner into side control, from where Barnett shrugged off an armbar attempt, finding himself in the instant position to work a heel hook- his first major offensive move of the match- and win by tapout. In case you hadn’t guessed, a rare snoozer from the normally interesting "Babyfaced Assassin".
With his recent victory over Chuck Liddell, one can only hope that we are witnessing the regeneration of the Mauricio Rua who was running roughshod over PRIDE at this point in time. "Shogun" cranked and torqued the prone left leg of Kevin Randleman from an immediate double-leg by the Hammer House fighter, transitioning frantically from position to position before getting fully comfortable with a kneebar and cranking it in for the first round submission win. Watching this in context is like a mammoth shot of adrenaline.
Throwing Mark Coleman to Fedor Emilianenko wasn't considered a huge a mismatch in 2006 as it would be today.... but not by much. The main event of PRIDE's stateside bow was a non-title affair, but then it retrospect, the PRIDE Championships were never bloody defended, were they? On recap, between them, the organisations four titles changed hands in the ring a grand total of twice in the history of the outfit.... and one of them was after this. The crowd at the Thomas and Mack Centre went appropriately mental for Fedor. "The Hammer" attempted an early shot, which was quickly stuffed, and came back up to be met by monstrous combos, forcing him to go low again, relentlessly holding on at the knees to avoid standing with the Russian master at all costs, before eventually being forced upright by a sharp left hand. Fedor took this as his queue to throw leather at Coleman, who right away looked to shoot again, but was eating way too many shots, and elected instead to engage clinch, from where "The Last Emperor" continued to dominate- drawing blood- until the round concluded. The first PRIDE GP winner's determination to secure any kind of takedown was again evident at the start of round two, as Coleman followed up a right swing with a shot, only for Fedor to once again sprawl then let his hands fly with fair success. Then...Coleman finally got the Russian to the mat with a waistlock takedown, but had naturally expended significant energy in doing so, leaving his left arm open and prone for Emilianenko to effortlessly extend a full armbar and finish the fight. The highlight of the night followed thereafter, as Coleman's two little girls hit the ring, sobbing their hearts out, with the vanquished "Hammer" leading them to the Russian corner, explaining that "Fedor's a nice guy." Mark Coleman is a cool dad. Nonethless, this was an irrevocable conclusion, much like at least four of the fights that proceeded it were. But then it was a longer one than four of them... and nowhere approaching as tedious as another two of its forerunners.
I seem to remember thinking this was a pretty good show at the time. I must've been drunk.
Points: 4 / 10