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Length: 335 minutes
Pride Fight Championships is one of the biggest and well known Mixed Martial Arts organisations around, and with good reason! A fantastic mix of styles from around the world help to create a product arguably unequalled in the world.
Pride 9: New Blood
Pride 9: New Blood was held on 06/04/200 at the Nagoya Rainbow Hall in Nagoya, Japan.
- Willie Peters Vs Heath Herring
- Carlos Barreto vs Tra Telligman
- Allan Goes Vs Vernon White
- Carlos Newton Vs Naoki Sano
- John Renken vs Akira Shoji
- Ricco Rodriguez vs Gary Goodridge
- Igor Vovchanchyn Vs Daijiro Matsui
- Vitor Belfort Vs Gilbert Yvel
Opening the show is one of my personal favourite fighters in Heath Herring taking on Holland’s Willie Peters. Peters took the fight on five days notice, the sign of a confident, or stupid, man. Peters claims to have won almost all of his fights by knockout. That’s impressive for a man with over 80 MMA bouts under his belt. Not that you can tell! Herring immediately got Peters to the ground and took his back. A rear-naked choke ends this one with Willie Peters tapping out. Quick and clinical win for the American. **
Tra Telligman is next up against a fighter I know very little about, Carlos Barreto. Both men have obvious respect for each other, something that normally bodes well for a careful and tactical match. However in this case both men spend what seems to be an age circling each other…. if I wanted to review Strictly Come Dancing I would have asked for that! Thankfully something happens with Carlos attempting a takedown, but Tra counters into a sprawl. Barreto manages to force his way to his feet and both men find themselves in a standing clinch. Eventually, the referee restarts the fight as pretty much nothing was happening. Again both men are wary of getting too close, but Carlos tries for a takedown again, but Telligman manages to get himself into Barretos guard and lands a couple of knee strikes to the Brazilian’s head. Barreto quickly recovers and manages to reverse himself into the guard of Telligman. The round ends with Carlos Barreto having the upper hand.
Round two starts with Barreto managing to land a huge knee to the chin of Telligman, rocking the American. Carlos tries to follow up but Telligmans reflexes manage to save him from a second huge shot. Both men end up on the floor but after a few moments it ends with Tra stood up and Barreto on the floor, each man where they want to fight but neither seems willing to go to the zone of the other. This round ended in a stalemate again. Going to the judge’s decision Carlos Barreto manages to get the win. This was a poor fight with little action worth watching. *
Allan Goes Vs Vernon ‘Tiger’ White will hopefully be able to generate more interest, as I had heard of neither man before there was scope for a nice surprise. Goes opens with a high kick to Whites head, but the American replies with a quick barrage of his own. Both men start to grapple quickly, which surprised me as they seemed happy to stand and exchange strikes. On the ground, both men start to play living chess with each inch gained or lost considered a victory. Eventually, Allan Goes manages to get the full mount and starts punching away at Whites ribs. White manages to do a flip escape and both men get to their feet and start throwing strikes at the other before Goes again takes down White and gets into position to land some huge strikes.
Round two starts with Goes getting a single leg takedown on White, the Brazilian seemingly controlling the Lions Den fighter. Again each slight gain or strike is considered a victory, and after a few minutes of fighting White manages to get to his feet and land some kicks to Goes before being pulled back to the ground. This round is very stop and start with the action, brief periods of action interspaced with stillness. Goes makes good use of his shoulder, landing several strikes to the jaw of White before managing to get into position to land several hammer-like strikes. Goes manages to get the victory by decision. **
Next up we have Canadian Carlos Newton taking on Naoki Sano. Newton dominates Sano, taking him down and submitting him in under two minutes with a fantastic armbar. A great little fight that brought the crowd to their feet.***
John ‘The Saint’ Renken vs Akira Shoji had the unenviable task of following the excitement of such a quick submission. Renken comes out flailing, but few of his strikes land. Both men go down and Shoki quickly establishes a side-mounted position. Shoji then pulls out something new…..chin strikes! Yes he used his chin to attack Renken. Renken nearly escapes and reverses into a leg lock. Shoji manages to flip into the guard of Renken from standing! A very impressive visual. Shoji controls the fight until managing to lock a clumsy-looking armbar on ‘The Saint’. ***
Ricco Rodriguez against Gary Goodridge has potential to impress everyone, lets hope they can live up to that. Both men play with each other, Goodridge uppercutting the air to show what will happen if Ricco comes in close while Rodriguez fakes a sprawl. Both men circle warily and collide in feint and counter feint, neither seems willing to close in on the chance of the other taking it into the style they want. Goodridge wants to strike while Ricco is a grappler. Eventually, Rodriguez manages to take down the bigger man, but seems unable to get any kind of advantage. Ricco accidentally lands a punch to the groin of Goodridge, leading to a break from the action and a caution to Ricco. Goodridge shows some very impressive speed in sprawling to avoid a takedown attempt from Ricco Rodriguez. The first round ends as Ricco manages to take down Goodridge after several attempts.
Round two starts with Ricco taking Goodridge down but unable to do anything once there, Gary Goodridge having a decent guard and obviously just hoping to hold on until the referee re-starts the action standing. Unfortunately for Goodridge Ricco is able to do enough to keep the fight on the ground….shame that the little bit isn’t even slightly entertaining! Eventually, the fight ends and Ricco gets the win via unanimous decision. This was a truly horrible fight with a NO STAR rating.
Igor Vovchanchyn Vs Daijiro Matsui…could this be better than the last mess of a fight? One can only hope so. Matsui shot for the legs of Igor, but the Ukrainian dragged Matsui down into a modified facelock before scooting around and taking the back of the smaller man. From the back Vovchanchyn lands heavy strikes into Matsuis head which are unable to be blocked, and the Japanese fighter is unable to roll out…but when the fight ends up in the corner I can’t figure out why the referee leaves it so long before moving them back to the centre. Matsui takes a nasty shot above his right eyebrow and it nearly ends the fight…however the brave, or maybe stupid, fighter says he is ready to continue despite the cut looking ready to continue bleeding. And bleed it does…again the fight is stopped but thankfully this time it is over and done. **
The main event pits Brazilian Phenom Vitor Belfort against talented kickboxer Gilbert Yvel. The first punch from Belfort puts Yvel on his back and the Brazilian goes straight down to grapple with Yvel. Both men try to throw punches while down, but only a few actually land, and all of those are from Belfort. One strike from Belfort sends Gilbert Yvel through the ropes while opening a cut underneath his right eye: not badly enough to stop the fight however. Vitor controls the rest of the round with numerous strikes on the floor, but every time Belfort had worked into a good position to attack the fight would be stopped to be moved back into the centre, almost nullifying everything he had worked for.
Round two opens with Gilbert going for a spinning kick, but Belfort grabs the leg and takes Yvel down again. On the floor not a lot happens and so they stand up again, but in a near-exact replay of a few moments earlier Yvel goes for a knee but gets taken down by the Brazilian Jujitsu expert, knocking his head on the way down on the ring ropes. The pattern continues for some time with the fighters on their feet before Vitor takes down Yvel and they grapple for a few moments before being stood up again. Unsurprisingly Vitor Belfort gets the win via decision after dominating Gilbert Yvel all the way through the fight. **
Rules for Pride Fc and a glossary of terms are the only extras on this DVD…that should be improved on for sure.
Pride 9 was, below average. Only two fights managed to score three stars, the rest were either two stars, or, as in one case, no stars. **
Pride 10: Return of the Warriors
Pride 10: Return of the Warriors was held on 08/27/2000 in the Seibu Dome in Saitama, Japan.
- Vitor Belfort Vs Daijiro Matsui
- Wanderlei Silva Vs Guy Mezger
- Giant Ochiai Vs Ricco Rodriguez
- Gilbert Yvel Vs Garry Goodridge
- Igor Borisov Vs Mark Kerr
- Enson Inoue Vs Igor Vovchanchyn
- Kazuyuki Fujita Vs Ken Shamrock
- Tokimistu Ishizawa Vs Ryan Gracie
- Kazushi Sakuraba Vs Renzo Gracie
Starting off this star-studded card is the match pitting ‘The Brazilian Phenom’ against Daijiro Matsui. Both men show a lot of caution starting this fight, neither one seeming willing to make the first move and open themselves up. After around a minute of circling Matsui shoots for the legs of Belfort, but the Brazilian avoids the attempt and manages to take the back of the spirited Japanese fighter. Belfort manages to land several shots to the head and body before Matsui manages to spin out and lock Belfort in the guard. On the ground Belfort lands several strikes, one of which leaves Matsui’s nose a bloody mess. Any time Matsui is in one place for more than a few seconds a small puddle of blood starts to form, why the doctor hasn’t stopped this yet is beyond me! Thankfully (for Matsui) the end of the round stops the punishment.
The second round starts off slowly with both men again circling to the point that the referee warns both men to start fighting! Surprisingly it is Belfort who shoots for the leg this time, taking Matsui down near the corner. Vitor Belfort has the upper hand all the while on the ground, Matsui making only one real submission attempt which the Brazilian easily avoids. Unsurprisingly Vitor Belfort got the win via judge’s decision. This fight was a disappointment considering the fighters involved. **
Wanderlei Silva Vs Guy Mezger is the second fight of the night, and boy is it an impressive show! Mezger controls the tempo in the first half of round one with kicks and punches to Silva, one of which opens up a cut under the right eye of Silva. A lucky shot from Wanderlei rocks Mezger and from there it is academic as the smaller man takes out the kickboxer with a barrage of strikes to the head. Both men looked fantastic in this fight, Mezger showing he was nearly ready to enter the top tier of MMA. ****
The afro-haired Giant Ochiai was next up against Ricco Rodriguez. Ochiai has a great defence and gets plenty of time to use it! Rodrigez gets the submission win in round one and at no point appears to be in trouble. This was the first time I have seen a win after someone used their chest to get a submission. **1/2
Gilbert Yvel tries to get back on track after a loss to Vitor Belfort at Pride 9, and his target is the Canadian Garry Goodridge! And Yvel gets the win in style! One kick…that’s right ONE KICK is how long this fight lasts! No punches, no takedown attempts. Just a single high kick to the head of Goodridge! Unbelievable! This is one of the greatest spectacles I have seen in MMA. *****
Well, what could follow that? Igor Borisov Vs Mark Kerr is the fight given the opportunity. Mark Kerr is a consistently good fighter, but I know nothing about Borisov other than he’s a tall guy…not a good start for me really. Both men open the fight with kicks, Kerr aiming at the Russian’s thighs, while Borisov attempts to duplicate Yvels knockout with a high kick ( I feel that should be a trademarked name). A quick shoot by Kerr takes Borisov down to the ground where the big American works to get the head of the taller man. At just over the two-minute point Mark Kerr locks in a neck crank while in the guard to get the submission win! Borisov has to be stretchered out of the ring.****
Enson Inoue Vs Igor Vovchanchyn is next up. Both men explode out of their corners with huge bombs, very few of which actually landing before they go to the ground. Vovchanchyn bleeds from his nose for around a minute, but it doesn’t stop his attacks from landing! Inoue attempts a selection of armbars but nothing is effective against ‘The Punching Machine’. Vovchanchyn rains down thunderous hands from every angle, most of which land and at the end of the round Inoue had to be carried back to his own corner. Unsurprisingly the doctor refuses to allow Enson Inoue to continue. ***
Kazuyuki Fujita against Ken Shamrock promises to be outstanding. Both men were professional wrestlers as well as having great ground games, Shamrocks ground defence had to improve due to his rivalry with Royce Gracie. A Shamrock left hand opens a cut on Fujitas face as well as rocking the New Japan wrestler. In trying to avoid taking a suplex Shamrock keeps grabbing the ropes, earning the Lions Den founder a yellow card (in Pride 2 yellow cards are followed by a red card for the DQ). Impressively Shamrock staggers Fujita with a series of hard strikes quickly followed up with a guillotine attempt that Fujita barely escapes. An accidental headbutt separates the fighters for a few seconds and from there Shamrock appears to be running on automatic. Despite seemingly having the fight under his control Shamrock instructs his corner to throw in the towel. Fujita looks confused as to what was happening, but accepted the win with good grace. Not a bad little fight at all. ****
The final two fights on this DVD both feature members of the Gracie family, Ryan Gracie facing Tokimistu Ishizawa (better known by his wrestling name of Kendo Cashing) in the first of the two. Starting off Ryan takes Ishizawa down with a beautiful double leg, putting both men into a stalemate for a few seconds before Ryan Gracie forces Tokimistu Ishizawa to his feet and unleashes a barrage of strikes to the unprotected head of the Japanese pro wrestler. The referee rightly stops the fight in favour of the Gracie bad boy. ****
The night’s main event pits Kazushi Sakuraba Vs Renzo Gracie. Could Renzo Gracie erase the stain on his family’s record placed by the man becoming known as ‘The Gracie Hunter’? Starting the fight on their feet both men trade kicks, Renzo seemingly not wanting to force the takedowns. Sakuraba, while not getting many strikes in, appears to control the pace of the fight and definitely looks more at ease than his Brazilian counterpart. The first round ends after not much of any significance happens action wise, however Renzo throughout the first round showed Sakuraba that he could fight better on the ground as well as avoid takedowns, but will that be enough to slow down Kazuushi?
Round two starts much quicker with Renzo seemingly rocking Sakuraba with a punch before being spun around and taken down. On the floor a Gracie would normally be at his most comfortable, but not only does Sakuraba not go down to the ground but he also refuses to let Renzo back up and leaps in with kicks and stomps to the prone fighter, at one point he even cartwheels around in an attempt to get a leg lock! The fight keeps going backwards and forwards, on the floor and standing. At the end of the fight Renzo gets the back of Sakuraba, but the Gracie Hunter spins around, throwing Renzo to the ground while applying a kimura. The referee stops the fight as while Renzo didn’t submit his elbow had been dislocated by the landing! This is one tough, tough man. ****
Better than Pride 9 for sure! Pride 10 has the normal Pride FC rules and fight glossary, but also includes a photo gallery, fighter bios and a programme cover.
Pride 10 is far and away the greatest MMA event I have seen (yet), every match bar two being over 3 stars and many scoring 4! this event is a definite ****1/2
Pride 9 drags the score down slightly, but for the price of £14.99 you can’t go wrong. ****