Home > Uncategorized > Pride 33: Second Coming -or- “Most Homosexually Suggestive MMA PPV Name Ever”

Pride 33: Second Coming -or- “Most Homosexually Suggestive MMA PPV Name Ever”

I’m still in shock and don’t even know how to introduce these, so…here we go.

The usual breath-taking while simultaneously hilarious (intentional or no) video package is shown. They then do the usual opening ceremony that I love, introducing every fighter on the card (sans the two in the opening contest) and having them stand on two ramps set at differing levels. It’s not only an incredible visual that gets the crowd hot for the entire show and gets them to care, but combined with the pre-fight video packages and entrances make absolutely certainly that the name of every fighter is embedded into your subconscious – which is an absolute must when first-time viewers are watching a show with nine fights on the card.

Hey, did I mention that Pimpzilla (my nickname for Japanese Pride ring announcer) and Rolling Banshee (my nickname for the female Pride announcer who screams everyone’s name) are used for this event? How awesome is THAT?

Alright, onto the card itself.

Joachim Hansen def. Jason Ireland via 3rd Round Submission (armbar)
– Good, solid fight. Ireland was completely outclassed but hung in there. In the third, Hansen was trying to set up a triangle on Ireland and then rolled beautifully into an armbar. Ireland tried to hold out, while Chris and I were yelling for him to tap (for Christ’s sake). After what seemed like an eternity, he submitted verbally. Good opener.

Frank Trigg def. Kazuo Misaki via Unanimous Decision
– The first round was all Trigg. He took Misaki down at will, and while he wasn’t able to finish, worked and did some real damage. The second round was slightly closer, with Misaki doing well standing for about a minute. Trigg took Masaki down, but didn’t really do much. I’d still give it to Trigg, but it was certainly closer than the first. The third round was basically a repeat of the first round, with Trigg doing whatever he wanted with Misaki. 30-27 across the board, which is how I had it.

James Lee def. Travis Wiuff via Submission (guillotine choke) in 39 SECONDS
– Wow. Lee came in not looking in the best of shape, which the Pride graphic acknowledged (“conditioning could be a problem”). Lee was a last minute replacement for Nakamura, taking the fight on literally days’ notice. Lee went on the offensive very early, hitting a solid right and a knee that rocked Wiuff. He locked in the guillotine, and that’s all she wrote. I was sitting on the couch going “holy shit, what an upset.” Then came…

SOKOUDJOU def. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira via KO in 23 SECONDS
– WHAT THE HELL. “The Real Tarzan” as he’s promoted in Japan (he’s the first ever Pride fighter from Africa) came out swinging (contained, not wild) and FLOORED Little Nog with a stiff left that wasn’t a punch so much as a LARIATOOOOOOOOOOOO. If the last one was an upset, this was a total shock. Little Nog has beaten Nakamura (twice), Dan Henderson, and Sakuraba (when he was still a damn good fighter). Sokoudjou made him look like a total chump. Unbelievable.

and Sokoudjou made him look like a total chump. Wow. Just…wow.

Hayato Sakurai def. Mac Danzig via KO in the 2nd
– The line of the night came during the pre-fight video package, which came from Sakurai. They cut into various ramblings from Danzig with Sakurai, speaking the only words spoken by him during the entire package: “I’d love to knock out an American in America.” The first round saw a few exchanges that Sakurai got the better of, and ended with Sakurai coming very close to getting a submission. Danzig was so out-classed that Sakurai decided to fuck around with him the entire second round. He kept hitting low kicks until he decided to end it with a hellacious right, at which point he laughed and laughed…no, really, his reaction to him knocking out Danzig was LAUGHING. That was awesome.

Sergey Kharitonov def. Michael Russow via Submission (triangle armbar) in the 1st
– Kharitonov is in the Russian military, and his pre-fight package was AWESOME. It was done in the style of a propaganda film, and no words I write here can do it justice. Russow looked like he hadn’t been to the gym in about two months, and as soon as I saw him, it was pretty clear to me that Kharitonov was going to win, even if it got to the ground (where Kharitonov is pretty bad, particularly on his back). Well, Russow changed my mind briefly when he took Kharitonov down, but then I realized I was right when he proceeded to do absolutely nothing. There’s being a wrestler who doesn’t know submissions, and then there’s Michael Russow, who got mounts on Kharitonov and then did NOTHING. Russow is awful. “HOW AWFUL IS HE?” Kharitonov, the guy who is AWFUL on his back, submitted him from that position. Yep. To boot, after the fight Russow was jawing with the ref and insisting that he did not tap. The replay then showed him tapping not once, not twice, not thrice, not…fourice, but SIX times. This played on the big screen, which apparently Russow forgot existed. Whoops!

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua def. Alistair Overeem via KO in the 1st
– Pride wisely reminded us that this was a rematch, and Overeem’s stat bar that appeared during his entrance had the line “looking for revenge” or something along those lines. Pride’s stat bars kick the shit out of UFC’s. Overeem looked alright standing, and actually took Rua down a couple times. Rua then got up, and with Overeem on the ground did a diving punch that connected well. What really ended it, though, was the punch to Overeem’s chin directly afterwards that knocked him out (as well as his mouthguard). Great finish. The post-fight contained the first interview of the night. UFC knows to keep their interviews short, but they don’t know when NOT to do an interview. Pride’s smart like that. The first question the interviewer (some tall surfer dude who looked to be in his late thirties) asked was about fighting for Pride in America, to which Rua’s immediate response was an over-enthusiastic “I LOVE THE USA!” Total Borat moment, and I loved it.

Nick Diaz def. Takanori Gomi via Submission (triangle choke) in the 2nd
– Before I begin, please note that I’m not afraid to admit I’m a total mark here because I FUCKING HATE NICK DIAZ. Okay, that’s out of the way. In his pre-fight promo, Gomi indicated he wanted to fight Georges St. Pierre, Matt Hughes, and BJ Penn. We’ll see. Gomi is the Pride Lightweight (essentially what we would consider Welterweight) Champion and is said to have the fastest hands on the planet. For whatever reason this fight was non-title, but…well, there’s certainly going to be a rematch for the title now. The first round saw some even work on the ground, with each fighter getting a takedown on the other. While Gomi was dominating, a “Gomi” chant broke out in the arena, which was awesome. Then, with about two and a half minutes left in the round, Gomi looked completely gassed and I let out an audible “oh shit.” The rest of the round they were standing. Gomi managed to cut Diaz above his left eye, but then Diaz landed shot after unaswered shot to Gomi’s head. Gomi was so tired his arms were down, and was figuratively (and quite possibly literally) out on his feet. The entire crowd, the very same people who were chanting “Gomi” just minutes before, were now chanting “Diaz.” And still, Diaz couldn’t finish him. Gomi’s chin isn’t THAT strong, and Diaz is either a total fucking moron or he ain’t got hands. Sorry, Nick Diaz superfans. The second round saw Gomi showing a bit more in terms of “I’m still breathing,” hitting a knee to Diaz’s face that created another cut, this time under Diaz’s right eye (this cut was MUCH worse than the one he got in the 1st above his left). Still, Diaz completely dominated him, while Gomi kept motioning to the ref to call the fight because of Diaz’s cut. If a fighter wants to end the fight that badly, he should do it, and shame on Gomi for looking for a cheapo win. Gomi shot in on Diaz, but Diaz locked in a triangle as Gomi was shooting in that got him the win. This really wasn’t much of an upset (compared to the others tonight), but man, fuck Nick Diaz. I hate his ass. YEAH. HIS ASS. HATE IT.

PRIDE MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP – Dan Henderson def. Wanderlei de Silva via KO in the 2nd
– Ho. Ly. Shit. Okay, first I have to talk about the pre-fight video package. They presented Henderson as the perennial all-American, playing with his kids and riding his tractor. It was hilarious. They showed clips of Wanderlei beating Quinton Jackson, and Jackson pinning Liddell, just to show that Pride was superior to UFC. It appears logical to the casual fan, but the logic is a little flawed in practice for reasons too numerous to get into here. Dan Henderson is also the Pride Welterweight Champion, moving up in weight and hoping to become the first man in MMA history to hold two Championships within a single organization simultaneously. People laughed at this. They’re not laughing anymore. Most of the first round was spent on the ground, and not a lot was happening. Not so much to warrant booing (as UFC fans are so quick to do), but there was a good amount of it here. Given the expectations for Wanderlei fighting, I think they’re a little warranted, because he wasn’t on the offensive like he usually is. They had some even exchanges standing, but Wandy let loose with a flurry to close the round. It was close. I would’ve given the round 10-9 to Silva, but it really could be judged either way. Henderson completely took over in the second round, taking Wandy down and working him over like nobody’s business with shoulder strikes and punches. They started exchanging again in the third round, but Silva wasn’t landing anything but air. Henderson took him down with a right, and that’s all she wrote. DAN HENDERSON JUST KNOCKED OUT WANDERLEI DE SILVA. I swear to God, I’m not making this up, though if I woke up tomorrow not having seen this myself and read the results of this card, I’d get frustrated and start asking when the fake results would stop being propogated (and not just because of this fight). Dan Henderson makes history by holding two belts simultaneously, but that’s totally forgotten in lieu of the fact that HE JUST KNOCKED OUT WANDERLEI DE SILVA.

Overall Analysis:

…WHAT THE FUCK. The world doesn’t make sense to me anymore. The sky doesn’t appear to be blue from our vantage point. Babies come from storks, not from a woman’s body. My name is not Kevin Marshall. God exists, and he is responsible for what happened on this show just to prove myself and other atheists wrong. Seriously, I’m that…wow. Just wow.

What a fantastic show, and nobody knows how to put one on like Pride. Regardless of all the WHAT THE FUCK RESULTS (to call them “upsets” would be understating it to a comically absurd degree), the presentation was fantastic. The pre-fight videos all need to go on YouTube now, in particular Kharitonov’s. In fact, first person who finds links to these before I do, please let me know. Equally as awesome were the announcers, in particular the woman who screams everybody’s name. It’s hilarious, and it’s the one thing that makes Mirko Cro Cop signing with the UFC such a damn shame.

Going back to the video packages, they kick the shit out of the UFC’s – and I actually like how they go about doing theirs. WWE’s production team is amazing in that they can take the shittiest feud and make it look like an epic battle when it goes to Pay-Per-View just by what they show in a minute-long video package. And yet even they have nothing on Pride. The videos are inventive, clever, visually astounding, hilarious (intentionally and unintentionally), and give you a true glimpse into a fighter’s personality while simultaneously making each and every one look like an absolute superstar.

The pacing of this show was fantastic, and as much as EXC could learn from UFC, UFC could learn that much more from Pride. Five fights on a three-hour UFC pay-per-view can easily become a tight squeeze if one fight goes the distance (even if it’s a three-round undercard fight), and if you’re really lucky you’ll see seven fights TOPS on a UFC show if one live fight and a prelim both end in a quick knockout. Pride put on nine fights with one going the distance, three going into the second, and one ending in the third in just a little over three hours. Granted, four fights ended in the first with two of them going less than 40 seconds. However, with the time spent on the elaborate opening ceremony, video packages and entrances, they still managed to pull it off with almost a full hour to spare on the live feed…and the first fight didn’t even occur until twenty-five minutes into the show. That’s AMAZING. There was absolutely no dead or wasted time between fights – a fight ended, the arena darkened, the pre-fight video package was aired, the fighters entered the ring, the fight took place, repeat. Absolutely flawless transitioning. High praise has to go to the individuals setting up between fights, because it’s a LOT harder than it sounds.

If you’re even a casual MMA fan – if you watch three, two, or even one UFC pay-per-view a year – you owe it to yourself to order this event. It was that goddamn good. I really really hope that Pride gets purchased soon, because more than anything, this show proves how big of a tragedy it would be for this organization to die.

More later…

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  1. February 25, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    DAMN IT! I decided not to get this card because it looked underwhelming, and the main event seemed like a waste.

    My bad.

    • February 25, 2007 at 8:29 pm

      You’re certainly not alone. I got it because I didn’t have anything else to do, and I figured Pride would at least put on an entertaining show. But…damn. Just…damn.

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