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Thread: Pride.3

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    American Ninja ShinobiMusashi's Avatar

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    Default Pride.3


    Pride.3
    June 24th, 1998
    Nippon Budokan(Tokyo, Japan)



    The Nippon Budokan is the venue for this the third installment of KRS Pride, which is basically a build up show for the Rickson Gracie vs Nobuhiko Takada revenge match already signed and set for the Tokyo Dome for October 98. The Budokan is a pretty sweet venue, essentially built for combat sports it was one of the venues used in the 1964 Olympics. The venue hosted countless Judo and Sumo competitions, as well as a bunch of music concerts from anyone from The Beatles to Ozzy.





    ^Nippon Budokan in Japan


    I went pretty deep into the backstory of Pride Fighting Championship with my review of the first show. Long story short the KRS company(which included some of the same people who backed UWFI in it's dying days) put together the first Pride show in October 1997 for the sole purpose of selling the Rickson Gracie vs Nobuhiko Takada match, which was big enough of a fight that it was the first ever pay per view on Japanese TV, it also packed 47,860 people into the Tokyo Dome. The first Pride show was such a big success that KRS decided to make Pride a series of events, with a Rickson Gracie vs Nobuhiko Takada rematch set up early on in 1997 to take place in the Tokyo Dome in October 1998(exactly 1 year after their first fight at Pride 1). The second show was held in March 1998 and was somewhat of a disaster with what had to be a disappointing turnout at the box office(Takada was not on the card), those that did show up were treated to two fights that turned out to be long snoozers that put the audience to sleep, then the main event ended on a schmozz DQ after only a minute. Even though the first Pride event was a financial success it still was not a very good show at all, certainly not as good as some of the MMA-style shows hosted by Rings, Shooto, and Pancrase around this time. The buzz was kind of wearing off after 2 poor shows as the announced attendance for this show was 8,000 but according to the Observer the paid attendance was around 4,500(Budokan seats 16,000).


    The rules for these early Pride events are a wash, they vary from fight to fight, they've even had some kickboxing matches on the previous 2 shows(something that they would do often on UWF, Rings, PWFG, and UWFI shows, bringing in legit kickboxers for shoot kickboxing matches mixed into shoot style pro wrestling cards). This was standard rules for 1998 MMA, so no headbutts, groin strikes, everybody has to wear gloves, etc. There are no kicks or stomps to the head allowed to a downed fighter at this point. The time limits for the fights are all different, some fights just have 1 continuous round, some fights are split up into 10 minute rounds. There are no judges so if a fight goes the distance it is automatically ruled a draw.


    As far as the presentation this is not quite the Pride FC that we would come to know and love later on, there are no big time intros or fighter entrances. The fact is that these first 8 Pride shows were never aired or released in North America until years after they happened(around 2000-2001), so the commentary by Bas Rutten and Stephen Quadros was most likely done in a studio somewhere. What we got for these shows were heavily edited versions of the Japanese PPV broadcast with the English commentary overdubbed. Speaking of the commentary I've raved about it in the previous Pride reviews but Quadros and Rutten were the absolute best, very beginner friendly, just a cool chemistry between the two of them that you aren't going to find on any other commentary duo, they call these events basically like they are doing a podcast or an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 or something, loose, funny at times, very educative with all kinds of side stories and technical/strategic analysis. If you are a young fighter looking to get into the sport or if you are a fan that is new to the sport I couldn't recommend these tapes enough just for the commentary, they definitely break things down and show you some things to look out for when watching an MMA fight.


    Daijiro Matsui vs Akira Shoji


    This is another super long old school Pride fight, going 4 full 10 minute rounds for a total of 40 minutes of fighting. Shoji is a rising star with a damn good performance against Renzo Gracie at Pride 1(the fight went to a time limit draw) followed by a quick submission win over Juan Mott at Pride 2. Daijiro Matsui is a young rookie out of the Takada Dojo making his MMA debut. The first round is pretty good action, both guys fight with a lot of energy early on with some good grappling sequences. Both guys seemed to have wanted to keep this fight standing, with neither guy really showing any worthwhile striking skills, almost every punch these guys throw misses. They also fight with their hands down low around their waist a lot. The action starts to wane through the second and third round as both guys get tired. It's mostly a stand up fight. They go into a 4th round, which I'm assuming is like an overtime round. They tie up and go through the ropes to the apron at one point in the 4th round. They go the distance and the fight is ruled a draw. Really long and uneventful fight.


    Daiju Takase vs Emmanuel Yarborough


    This is quite a freak show matchup here as Yarborough is well over 600 pounds and Takase is about 170, so you've got well over 400 pounds of weight difference here. Yarborough is a Sumo wrestler that fought Keith Hackney in UFC 3(pushed him through the door of the Octagon so hard it broke the deadbolt). Takase I believe trains at the same dojo as Akira Shoji. Yarborough was actually coming off of a win in Shooto over another Japanese welterweight named Tatsuo Nakano, I've never seen that fight but the results shows that he won by "Submission(smother)". As popular as Sumo wrestling was in Japan you really couldn't blame Shooto or Pride for booking stuff like this.




    The crowd is really into this fight as Takase runs around the big man trying to wear him down, almost getting caught a few times. At some point Yarborough stops chasing him and just stands his ground in the corner but Takase won't do anything. Takase tries to get close but Yarborough swats him away like a fly. They go the entire 10 minute first round like this. Early in the second round Takase continues this strategy until we get our very first ever yellow card in Pride. This was the Pride warning system for being a boring fuck, I know later on they were deducting 10% of the fighter's pay for every yellow card they got in a fight, I'm not sure if that was the case for this event though. After the yellow card Takase tries to take Yarborough down with a single leg takedown! Yarborough drops down onto him and almost decapitates him. There is a pretty great struggle like something out of a horror movie as the big man tries to pull his way up on top of Takase as he struggles to try to get out of his clutches. Eventually Yarborough gets stuck and Takase batters him with punches, escaping to his feet and forcing the big giant to tap out to hammer fist strikes similar to what Hackney did to him at UFC 3. This was quite a spectacle, a silly matchup but it's one of those MMA fights that is so weird you can't take your eyes off of it, you would get a lot more freak show style matchups like this over the years in Japan.


    After the fight we get an in-ring interview with Bas Rutten, who talks about his title shot against Randy Couture for the UFC Heavyweight Championship in October. He says after his UFC contract runs out he wants to come back to Japan to fight in Pride, against Rickson Gracie. Bas actually never gets his shot against Couture that October as Couture was having money issues with the UFC and decided to leave and go fight at the Shooto "Vale Tudo Japan '98" event instead, where he was promptly armbarred by Enson Inoue. Bas ended up winning the UFC Heavyweight strap in early 1999 and retiring soon after, he never did fight in Pride(they were negotiating for him to fight Wanderlei at the Pride/K-1 Shockwave 2002 event but talks fell through).


    Kazushi Sakuraba vs Carlos Newton


    This is a pretty critically acclaimed Pride fight, easily one of the best of the early days of Pride. It's probably easy to watch it today and not think much of it but for 1998 this was some extremely high level stuff. This is Sakuraba's 3rd fight in MMA in all actuality(his first fight against Kimo was a work, the two fights against Connan Silveira at UFC Ultimate Japan '97 should probably be counted as the same fight). As for Newton he made his big splash in MMA by winning his first fight over Erik Paulson in Shooto in 1997, finishing him with an armbar submission in just 41 seconds in what was a pretty major upset since Paulson was one of the top dogs in Shooto(former Lightweight Champ). Newton then went on to put in a pretty spectacular performance in the 4 man tournament at UFC 17 in early 1998 where he lost in the finals to Dan Henderson in a great fight. This is Newton's first fight since losing to Henderson just a little over a month prior to this show.


    This is scientific mat wrestling. The subtle ways that Sakuraba moves in this fight, the cartwheel style whizzer he uses early on as Newton advances for a trip takedown, the way he works his way around Newton's body to go for that first armbar attempt, it's like poetry in motion to me, Sakuraba was an artist, I don't think Meryl Streep ever seen any of his fights. The crowd is hot for all of Sakuraba's submission attempts, cross armbreakers, figure four ankle locks. They throw very few strikes in this first round, Sakuraba lands a grazing blow on the ground at one point. They work their way back up and Sakuraba throws a knee while Newton fires an uppercut at the same time, neither strike lands cleanly. Second round features some excellent grappling sequences early on, this is where Stephen Quadros says the quote that I like, "If you want to learn about grappling, watch matches like this."


    Newton takes Sakuraba's back and lands a knee to the body. This part of the fight makes me think it's possible this fight was a worked shoot style pro wrestling match. He lands one knee and then never does it again, he could have ended the fight there if he wanted to. Later on Newton takes Sakuraba's back again and opens up with a few more strikes but I got to tell you, from what I've seen of UWF, UWFI, Rings, PWFG worked matches I really am kind of leaning towards this match being a worked match like those. There's also one point where Sakuraba extends Newton's arm with an armbar, Newton escapes and there is a brief moment where they are talking to each other in Japanese(Newton was Canadian but he was fluent in Japanese). They roll around after that and then Sakuraba snatches Newton's leg in a knee bar for the submission. Damn good fight, especially for it's time. Quite possibly worked, if it was I'd go around 3 & 3/4 Stars being stingy with my stars.




    Gary Goodridge vs Amir Rahnavardi


    The backstory for this fight is that it was supposed to be Gary Goodridge vs Kimo but Kimo blew his knee out and pulled out of the fight at the very last minute. Amir was part of Kyle Sturgeon's cornrmen when Pride asked him if he would take the fight with just 24 hours notice and he took the offer. Stephen Quadros spoils the results of the fight while telling the story of Amir calling him and telling him about losing it, giving away that this commentary was recorded probably years later. Gary opens up with uppercuts and knees to the body early on but Amir ties up and tries a Judo throw, only to get taken down into the half guard position. Gary tries to posture up and fire away with bombs but Amir catches him in a kneebar similar to what Sakuraba just won with in the previous fight. Gary manages to escape and work his way into Amir's full guard.


    A pretty funny moment happens in this fight, Amir fires up at Goodridge with punches from his back, Gary mocks his punches, "CHILDS PLAY!". Amir hits him again and Gary just looks at him and taunts him, "AGAIN!". Amir hits Gary again and Gary just keeps screaming back at him, "AGAIN!, WHOOO!". Shortly after taking Amir's punches Gary drops bombs and just knocks him out cold about 7 minutes into the fight.




    Gary uses a really nifty little ground and pound trick with the way he traps Amir's left arm behind his back. This is one of my favorite Pride moments, Goodridge was a hell of a character, his fights were the most entertaining fights on these first 3 Pride shows for sure. This was great.


    Mark Kerr vs The Pedro


    The Pedro is Pedro Otavio from Brazil, he's the guy that lost to Gary Goodridge in the finals of the first IVC tournament in Brazil by having his balls squeezed in what was by far one of the most bizarre and hilarious finishes to any fight in MMA history. Mark Kerr is the top heavyweight in MMA at this point at 8-0, he had just been stolen away from the UFC to make his debut at Pride 2 with a DQ win over Branko Cikitic. Kerr comes out and shoots in with such a beautiful double leg takedown, Pedro can do nothing to stop it and he's put straight to his back. Kerr eventually works his way into a double wrist lock but the referee stops the fight before he can really torque on it. Pedro throws a huge tantrum because he never tapped out, but I think it was a good stoppage as Kerr was probably about to rip his arm off his body. Kerr wins after around 2 minutes, moving his record to 9-0 without really being challenged by any of his opponents so far.


    Nobuhiko Takada vs Kyle Sturgeon


    This is a for sure 100% worked shoot style pro wrestling match. Takada is already signed to fight Rickson Gracie in the rematch at the Tokyo Dome a few months down the road, they needed him on this card to sell tickets but there was no way they were going to risk him losing and fucking up the Rickson fight. Sturgeon is a no namer from Joe Morreira Jujitsu school, they show some pics of him standing next to Kimo so I'm assuming he trained with him there at some point. They actually did a big press conference event in Japan for this show but Takada did not show up to it, which allowed Sturgeon to trash talk him about how much of a coward he is to hype up the match. They show a camera shot of the Budokan during the intros and there are a bunch of empty seats. Sturgeon comes out and throws a high kick that sends Takada bouncing into the ropes. Takada takes the center of the ring and challenges Sturgeon to do it again. Sturgeon throws another kick and this time it knocks Takada down to the mats. Takada sells his face and gets up more intense. Takada throws some low kicks before Sturgeon shoots in to take Takada down. Sturgeon bounces around a lot in a really animated way like he's trying to act like he's struggling. Takada ends up on top where he falls back and forces the submission with a heel hook at just 2 minutes. Not a very good match at all, just a squash really, and not a very good one. 1 & 1/2 Stars


    Takada gets a big trophy for the celebration. This fight is definitely worked but it is recognized by all MMA record keeping databases as a legit MMA fight, you can even watch it on the UFC Fight Pass for just $9.99 a month!


    So that's Pride 3 in the books. Still not that great of a show but a little better than the first 2, you had the freak show spectacle of Yarborough vs Takase, an excellent fight between Newton vs Sakuraba, a fun Goodridge KO, and a worked shoot main event. With this show you now had back to back money losers for KRS, the Pride series was not off to a very good start from a quality standpoint.
    Last edited by ShinobiMusashi; 01-27-2017 at 01:25 PM.

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    Senior Member Pinkman's Avatar

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    Default Re: Pride.3

    Loving these reviews.

    I really want to watch that Yarborough vs Takase fight now, it looks like such a huge mismatch given the weight differences, why would you even bother to try and single leg takedown a guy who weighs 400 pounds more than you?

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    Default Re: Pride.3

    Just noticed these early Pride show reviews, and I love 'em. I'm intrigued to dig up my old MMA thread and compare notes. Obviously yours are a lot more detailed and accurate because you know your shit and I don't, but I'm interested to see if we match up on how we evaluate the matches in terms of fun/boring. I imagine they'd be pretty similar.

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    Default Re: Pride.3

    Went back and read my old thread. I loved this show. Only the first match was a dud. The rest was fantastic. Did you watch the Fight Pass version with Ruten and Quadros commentating? They had a blast with the Yarborough fight.

    "You cannot even kill this guy with a samurai sword if you stab him; he's too big."

    "We haven't had an earthquake yet in the Pride Fighting Championships, but if Yarbrough goes down, we might just have one!"



    Newton vs Sakuraba is probably my favourite MMA match. Goodridge combines power punches and trash talking in a highly enjoyable way. The last two matches were short but sweet, even if the main event was a work.

    I'm surprised you say this is "not that great a show." I thought it was great.

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    Default Re: Pride.3

    Sakuraba vs. Newton. The Malenko-Guerrero of MMA.


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    American Ninja ShinobiMusashi's Avatar

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    Default Re: Pride.3

    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor View Post
    Went back and read my old thread. I loved this show. Only the first match was a dud. The rest was fantastic. Did you watch the Fight Pass version with Ruten and Quadros commentating? They had a blast with the Yarborough fight.

    "You cannot even kill this guy with a samurai sword if you stab him; he's too big."

    "We haven't had an earthquake yet in the Pride Fighting Championships, but if Yarbrough goes down, we might just have one!"

    Loved their reaction when Takase shot in for a single. Then Quadros comparing Yarborough climbing up on top of Takase to that one scene in Jaws.


    Newton vs Sakuraba is probably my favourite MMA match. Goodridge combines power punches and trash talking in a highly enjoyable way. The last two matches were short but sweet, even if the main event was a work.

    I'm surprised you say this is "not that great a show." I thought it was great.
    It was a good Pride show, I don't know that I'd put it up there with the great ones though. I loved your old thread, would love to see you pick back up where you left off with that.

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    Default Re: Pride.3

    Quote Originally Posted by ShinobiMusashi View Post
    It was a good Pride show, I don't know that I'd put it up there with the great ones though. I loved your old thread, would love to see you pick back up where you left off with that.
    These threads might inspire me to do just that. The last show I covered there was Pride 10, and I got up to like UFC 20.

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    Default Re: Pride.3

    Keith Hackney vs Yarborough at UFC III is a classic from the mismatch era I'll never forget. Main reason being that deadly chop to the head that put that fat arse on his fat arse. Deadly stuff.
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