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Pride FC 5 & 6 Double DVD Review



15 February 2006

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Cert: 15

Length: 306 mins

Introduction

A legendary competition in Japan, PRIDE pits the world's elite fighters against each other in battles of art and honor. Imagine Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner versus kick boxer, Judo specialist versus Wrestler...this is PRIDE. Each match is the culmination of years of training by these athletes, the finest representatives of their marital art who fight not only to compete for victory, but also to defend their fighting style. They're the true warriors of mixed martial arts who choose to test their skills in an equal environment. PRIDE is fighting at its purest, creating the world's most complete combatants and taking the sport into the next century.

Pride 5

First up, Japan's Minoru Toyonaga takes on Egan Inoue of the USA. Inoue controlled the fight from the get go, eventually the referee stopped the bout after Inoue battered Toyonaga senseless. Inoue came out of this fight looking confident, cocky and VERY dominant. Inoue wins via TKO. ***

Next up we have Japan's Satoshi Honma taking on Brazil's Francisco Bueno. The first few minutes of this fight are spent with the Brazilian dancing around the ring to avoid Honma's fists. Bueno seems scared from before the bell rings and you would be forgiven for expecting him to tap out before a punch is even thrown. Out of nowhere Bueno suddenly launches a flurry of punches and kicks to Honma with a right hand catching the Japanese fighter and knocking him out cold. *

Next we have Igor Vovchanchyn of the Ukraine against Japan's Akira Shoji. Round one started slowly with both men trading blows and position, the round being saved by the bell. The second round saw Vovchanchyn accidentally connect with a low blow on Shoji, and some brief flurries from both men, before Vovchanchyn was declared the winner by judges decision. A slow bout that failed to capture any interest. *

Again we see US v Japan action as Enson Inoue goes face to face with Soichi Nishida, with Nishida having a massive one hundred pound advantage! Many people still believe that a size advantage of this amount will lead to an easy victory...and boy are they wrong! Inoue quickly locking in a rear naked choke for the win by tapout. **

In a demonstration bout Rickson and Royler Gracie show off their skills at Brazilian Ju Jitsu. An enjoyable enough distraction that somehow managed to drag down what little energy was present at the show.

In a welcome return to combat we get to see what promises to be a spectacle with Japan's Kazuski Sakuraba taking on UFC veteran Brazil's Vitor Belfort. Personally I was normally bored by what Belfort did in UFC, so heres hoping I will be impressed here. In round one Belfort was on his back most of the time while Sakuraba concentrated on his leg with some nasty looking kicks, the bell rang to signal the end of the round as Belfort was on the receiving end of a flurry of punches. In the second round Sakuraba was all over Belfort, whose only plan seemed to be to lie on his back and attack from the mat. Sakuraba eventually won on the judge's decision (which will come as no surprise to you when you watch). Belfort again proves to me that his popularity and reputation are far from deserved. ***

The main event sees former UWFI star, Nobuhiko Takada, facing the former UFC Heavyweight Champion Mark Coleman in what can only be considered a mismatch on paper. In round one Coleman beat Takada from pillar to post and Takada was saved from tapping out to a key-lock by the bell sounding the end of the first round. The second round was more balanced with both men hitting strikes on the other, the advantage briefly going to Coleman as he took down Takada. However Takada surprised Coleman (and myself) with a heel hook to take him down and quickly gain the win. ****

Pride 6

The first round pits two of my favourite American fighters against each other as Carl Malenko takes on Egan Inoue. The first round is a VERY slow start to the contest with both men being tentative with their strikes. The second round contained much more action (thankfully), with Malenko catching Inoue with a handful of decent takedowns just about giving him the advantage. The judges, however, had a hard time deciding between the two fighters and requested for the fight to go into a third round. The tiebreak went at a much faster pace than the prior two rounds and Malenko scored a unanimous victory. **

Next up we had Japan's Dajiro Matsui taking on UFC veteran Carlos Newton. This was a much more frantic fight with both Matsui and Newton showing their full range of abilities, both men performing amazingly in both attack and defence. The first round was incredibly close, but the pace used by both men gave the impression that at any time either could suddenly pull out a win. The second round went at the same breakneck pace as the first with neither man able to pull out any conclusive strikes or grapples. As with the earlier bouts the judges couldn't separate them and so we are treated to (yet another) overtime round. Both men knew it was all or nothing in this third round and so somehow both managed to take the bout up yet another notch. The end finally came in the eyes of the judges when Newton connected with a HUGE punch to the jaw of Matsui. Great fight and deserves a ****1/2.

Ukraine v Brazil follows, as Igor Vovchanchyn goes up against Carlos Barreto. Round one was fought entirely stood up as both men seemed worried about taking it to the ground. In my opinion Barreto just had the advantage going into round 2. Unfortunately the second round saw an early setback for Barreto with the referee taking a point away for stalling, guess I should never back a fighter in a review any more as I always seem to make them lose! Thankfully (for my reputation as a student of MMA) Barreto came back and managed to take Vovchanchyn down, but the Ukranian quickly regained his feet and so once more both men returned to the strikes. With what seems to be a pattern in Pride 6 the judges were again unable to separate either fighter and so the bout went to the overtime round. Barreto seemed to dominate this round. The Brazillian took Vovchanchyn down and going for the ground and pound. Amazingly the judges gave the win to Vovchanchyn via a split decision! I didn't seem to be the only person surprised by that result, hell even Vovchanchyn looked amazed he had won. **1/2

Next up, Hiroki Kurosawa fought Nobuaki Kakuda under full contact karate rules. This was a nice change of momentum from the typical MMA style fight. Kurosawa seemed to have the slight advantage to my eyes, but I'm no Karate expert! The bout ended as a draw after two rounds. **

Back to normal Pride rules next with Akira Shoji against Guy Mezger. Round one showed just how evenly matched these fighters were, with both men scoring points with the judges as well as the crowd. Shoji looked to have the slight edge going into round 2. The second round was mostly Mezger, but Shoji managed to scrape a draw, having taken Mezger down early in the round and landing a nice set of strikes at the end. True to form the judges ordered a third round. Both men tried different tactics here, with Mezger aiming to end the fight with strikes and Shoji going for takedowns an a submission victory. In the end the judges gave the win to Shoji, and rightfully so in my humble opinion. **

Next up came a fight that promised to be brutal with West Indian, Gary 'Big Daddy' Goodridge ready to take on Naoya Ogawa. Goodridge opened up from the word go with punch after punch raining down on Ogawa who responded with a stiff shot that busted Goodridge's mouth open! Seemingly beating Goodridge at his own game gave Ogawa a sudden burst of confidence and he brought out his vastly superior grappling ability and clearly dominated the rest of the round. The second round began in the same way as the first with Goodridge trying to land a knockout blow, but 'Big Daddy' was clearly exhausted and his strikes lacked power. Eventually Ogawa managed to sink in a key-lock and the bigger man had no choice but to tap out. ***

Next, Kazuski Sakuraba of Japan took on Brazil's Ebenezer Fontes Braga. This match was the quickest to date, actually ending in round 1!! Braga fought well but tapped out to an arm lock. ***

The final bout of the show saw Mark Kerr take on former UWFI star Nobuhiko Takada. After scoring an upset win over Mark Coleman in Pride 5, Takada was looking to prove his last win was not a fluke. Kerr however had other ideas. The American skilfully avoided Takadas takedown attempts and locked in an impressive looking hammerlock for the victory via tap out (yes thats right pro wrestling fans, a hammerlock). ***

DVD Extras

The DVD extras are standard for Pride with a glossary of terms, rules of the fights and a stills gallery. Oh, and people 'bigging up' Pride (including Bill Goldberg).

So, what do I think overall? Both shows are decent enough additions to the collection of anyone who is a fan of MMA, but neither is worth someone getting as a start to their collection. But at a price of £14.99 (in the UK) the double DVD set is good value for money.

Overall: ***

Paul Kelly

Buy It:

UK: £19.99

USA:

Pride 5: VHS: $19.95 / DVD: $13.99

Pride 6: VHS: $19.95 / DVD: $13.99



.

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