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Thread: Pride.5

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    American Ninja ShinobiMusashi's Avatar

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    Default Pride.5


    Pride.5
    April 29th, 1999
    Nippon Gaishi Hall(Nagoya Japan)



    The year 1999 was an interesting year for the sport of MMA. In North America the UFC was finally returning to a regular PPV format in 1999 after nearly being outlawed entirely in 1998. Even though the UFC was returning to a regular pay per view schedule the damage had been done by elitist political agendas over the course of two years from 1996 to 1998 as live MMA events of any kind was still illegal in most states in the USA in 99. While USA pro wrestling was buzzing in 1999 with a three ring circus that was WWF vs WCW vs ECW all competing and feeding off of each other, Japan's shoot style pro wrestling scene was experiencing something very similar. In Japan in the 1990's Rings, Pancrase, Shooto, and UWFI were like four tornadoes. While the tornadoes at first appear to be completely separate entities competing against each other and feeding off of each other, they were each actually made by the same wind, the wind of the original UWF, just kicked up and stirred into four different directions.


    It all started to come full circle with the very first Pride event in October 1997, an event put together by KRS(Kakutougi Revolutionary Spirits), which included some of the same financial backers that got involved with UWFI in it's dying days. KRS seen money in Nobuhiko Takada, the ace of the UWFI promotion, a man that headlined multiple sold out Tokyo Dome shows during the height of the UWFI vs New Japan invasion angle in 95-96. Pride was put together for the sole purpose of finding out who would win a fight between Nobuhiko Takada and Rickson Gracie, a fight that had a huge backstory behind it. The fight turned out to be a big success. In the wake of Pride One KRS continued to promote Pride into a regular series with Takada as the main draw as they built to a revenge match against Rickson, building an eclectic regular roster of fighters underneath him along the way. KRS brought in other fighters from the Gracie family including Renzo Gracie and Royler Gracie, along with stealing the UFC's top heavyweight Mark Kerr, as well as other notable names from the early tournament days of the UFC such as Gary Goodridge, Marco Ruas, and Oleg Taktarov. KRS also shamelessly brought in other pro wrestlers to pit against martial artists, using the Pride ring as a dream stage for Japanese wrestlers such as Naoki Sano and Alexander Otsuka to test their might against the most dangerous and extreme fighters in the world. Over the course of the first 4 shows Pride gradually became a more realistic version of the UWF Reborn that thrived from 1988 to 1990, but in doing so KRS bled money and lost their ass. After Pride 4 KRS sold their interest in the company to a group that would become known as "Dream Stage Entertainment".



    ^The Nippon Gaishi Hall(AKA the "Nagoya Rainbow Hall"), the site of Pride 5, the first Pride event under the ownership of Dream Stage Entertainment

    Dream Stage Entertainment would put former advertising executive Naoto Morishita in as the president of Pride. Morishita was instrumental in turning the company around, establishing Pride as a brand, cutting costs and using his experience in advertising sales to get Pride some critical sponsorship deals that would secure their financial future later on. Pride was only televised on PPV in Japan for these early shows, a lot of their funding would come from the Yakuza, who would put up money to finance the events, as time went on they sunk their hooks deeper and deeper into the company as they used it for gambling and money laundering.


    Around the time that Dream Stage Entertainment took over Pride from KRS, Rings held one of the most monumental landmark shows in MMA history as Akira Maeda took on 3 time Olympic gold medalist wrestler, undefeated Russian Alexandre Karelin. Maeda vs Karelin was set up as a response to Rickson Gracie vs Nobuhiko Takada. Rings was actually in negotiations with Rickson Gracie to fight Akira Maeda in Rings at the Tokyo Dome in September 1998. Rings thought they had a verbal agreement from Rickson to sign for the match until they were swerved with the announcement that he would fight Takada instead. This left Rings without a big time show for 1998 so they went all out and signed one of the all time ultimate bad asses in Alexandre Karelin, breaking the news for the mega match against Maeda just a few days after Rickson vs Takada took place at Pride 4.


    ^Akira Maeda vs Alexandre Karelin, the biggest event in Rings history, drawing 17,048 fans to the Yokohama Arena on February 21st 1999. The event took pro wrestling back to it's roots, presenting a worked shoot style match as if it were a legit sporting event in the same vein as a major boxing match. The show drew a live gate of $2,479,000, other than Pride 1 and 4 in the Tokyo Dome there had been nothing this successful in MMA up to this point. Just like probably hundreds of Rings matches this one was clearly worked shoot but it is credited by all database record keepers as a legit MMA fight. The match also drew coverage from New York Times and Sports Illustrated.

    Rings made a strong run coming off of Maeda vs Karelin as they continued to move more and more towards a full shoot to compete against Pride, bringing in UFC Champions such as Randy Couture, Frank Shamrock, and Pat Miletich, as well as scouting and signing an all new generation of some of the best talent in the sport such as Fedor, the Noguiera twins, Dan Henderson, Ricardo Arona, Gilbert Yvel, and Alistair Overeem among others. Pride and Rings were like WWF and WCW of MMA in 1999-2000, the two promotions took the young sport of MMA from the dark ages to sold out arenas and million dollar box office gates for the first time.

    Dream Stage Entertainment made some changes starting with their very first show here at Pride 5. They added judges decisions if the fight were to go the distance, also the referee now had the power to stand the fight up and restart it if there was no action. There were no kicks or stomps allowed to the head of a downed fighter yet, the fights are contested in two 10 minute rounds. According to the Observer the attendance for this was announced at 7,565 but was actually closer to 4,000(the venue seated 13,000). We get our first big time opening here as they open the show with some dark theatrical music(with sounds of a lion roaring) while the ring is enveloped by white curtains with the Pride logo. The curtains drop and we get an elaborate light show around the ring. There are also 2 separate cat walk ramps leading to the ring so I'm assuming there were some big time entrances for the fighters, unfortunately the fighter entrances were edited out of the DVD I have of this show.




    Egan Inoue vs Minoru Toyonaga


    Right from the very beginning Pride made aggressive moves to take the top talent from Shooto, Rings, Pancrase, and the UFC. With this event they managed to steal away the Shooto Heavyweight Champion Enson Inoue and his younger brother Egan. Egan is best known for rushing into the ring and tackling Frank Shamrock to the ground after Frank TKO'd Enson in their fight in Shooto's Vale Tudo Japan 97. Egan's opponent here Toyonaga is a young rookie out of Takada's dojo. They show footage of Toyonaga training with Takada before the fight. Egan dominates this fight pretty thoroughly, taking Toyonaga's back early on but Toyonaga gets back up after avoiding being choked. Toyonaga blocks a nice high kick before they take it back to the ground. As they scramble on the ground Egan gets up and lands a hard punch that really hurts Toyonaga. The ref stops the fight as Toyonaga looks to be out of it, even though he wasn't completely finished it was a good stoppage. Egan wins his Pride debut with a TKO at 5:53 of the first round.


    Francisco Bueno vs Satoshi Honma


    Francisco Bueno is a guy I don't know much about outside of his small handful of Pride appearances. Honma is a guy that has fought in MMA style fights as far back as 1990 in Shooto(Shooto was founded by Satoru Sayama in 1985 and is still operational to this day, making it the longest running MMA promotion in the history of the sport). Honma is coming off a really good performance at Pride 4 where he destroyed Pro Wrestling super-junior Naoki Sano with some decent striking skills. Both of these guys mostly just dance around each other for the first four and a half minutes of this fight. Honma connects with leg kicks as he constantly taunts Bueno. Bueno has some pretty gnarly acne on his back, good god. Finally Bueno starts to go after Honma, swarming him with really sloppy straight punches with his chin as high up as he can stick it in the air. The striking technique is amateur level(both guys just wing it at each other with their chins high up in the air with very little defense at all). Honma instead of defending with any type of covering up or head movement or footwork just backs up into the ropes and tries to punch back. Sure enough Bueno tags him right on the button and drops him. Bueno gets on top of Honma and tries to follow up with ground and pound but the ref stops it before Honma takes any more unnecessary damage. Bueno gets the win via TKO at the 5 minute mark of the first round.


    Igor Vovchanchyn vs Akira Shoji


    Up to this event Akira Shoji has fought on every Pride show so far, the only fighter to do so. This is a considerable mismatch here as Shoji is a lighter weight guy with a 3-1-4 record, while Vovchanchyn is probably a top 3-5 heavyweight in the entire world at this point with a record of 37-2(riding a 32 fight win streak coming into this, 26 of those being won by KO/TKO, with dominant TKO stoppages over UFC 8 finalist Gary Goodridge and UFC 7 tournament finalist Paul Varelans). Back in the early days of MMA you could split all of the fighters in the sport up into 3 different fighting styles, you had submission wrestlers which encompassed the Jujitsu fighters from Brazil and the catch wrestling style guys that came out of the Japanese shoot style pro/catch wrestling scene. You had ground and pound fighters, wrestlers like Dan Severn and Mark Coleman that would take the fight to the ground and dominate with strength and strikes. Then you had sprawl and brawl style fighters that would defend the takedowns and use strikes standing in the free movement phase. I think Igor Vovchanchyn was really the first true successful sprawl and brawl fighter in MMA history. He developed his own little ways of defending the takedown or getting back up after being taken down, he would rely exclusively on his kicks and punches to win, and he punched harder than just about anyone else in the history of the sport.

    This is an interesting tactical fight. Shoji is in probably the best shape of his career here, Igor honestly looked off in this fight, his timing was just not there and he overall just seemed to have had a bad night. They dance around each other a lot early on as Shoji uses his speed to stay out of Igor's range. One of Igor's trademark moves was to catch a mid-kick and counter with with a jackhammer overhand right, he does that here against Shoji in the first round and floors him. Shoji fights a very smart fight here, managing to keep himself from being cornered or cut off against the ropes. Considering how big of a mismatch this is Shoji actually fights with a lot of heart, going after Igor with strikes whenever he can. Shoji is just no match for Igor though as he gets countered and dropped a few times. Shoji tries a few takedowns unsuccessfully and assumes the butt scoot position at times, only to get stood up by the referee due to lack of action. They go the distance here in what has to be considered a bit of a moral victory for Shoji, he was able to give Igor some problems with his defense but he just wasn't able to get any effective offense in on Igor to win. Igor wins a unanimous decision after two 10 minute rounds, moving his Pride record to 2-0.


    Enson Inoue vs Soichi Nishida


    This was a big deal because Enson at this point was the reigning Shooto Heavyweight Champion and technically the true lineal UFC Heavywieght Champion as he was coming off of a quick armbar submission win over Randy Couture at the Shooto Vale Tudo Japan '98 event just 6 months before this show. Enson was supposed to fight Mark Kerr at this show but Kerr had to get surgery on his elbow, leaving Pride scrambling to find a last minute replacement. Where would MMA be without pro wrestling? It was because of the Rickson vs Takada matches and the influence of the success of the (worked)Maeda vs Karelin match in Rings that Dream Stage Entertainment had a lot of money they were willing to invest and play around with, they were willing to poach top fighters from other promotions, taking the UFC's top heavyweight in Mark Kerr and Shooto's top heavyweight in Enson Inoue and attempting to pit them against each other in a Pride ring.

    This is a total squash. Nishida is billed as 316 pounds but he looks closer to maybe 250-260 at the most, a flabby guy wearing big baggy Aikido style long pants. Enson comes right out with a straight right hand, a trademark that he would always start his fights off with, sending Nishida to the canvas and completely overwhelming him from the full mount. Nishida rolls over and gives up his back for the choke, Enson wins his Pride debut pretty quickly by submission.


    After the fight we get a great intermission segment where Rickson and Royler Gracie perform an exhibition demonstration about Gracie Jujitsu. This is pretty great display of Jujitsu as a martial art. They start off with a self defense style demonstration before doing more of a sparring style exhibition where they showcase counters and submissions. It was things like this that really won me over and made me a Pride fan.


    ^Contrary to what my mom's favorite actress recently declared in her Golden Globes speech, Martial Arts is the arts. By definition an art is "the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination". They are called Martial Arts for a good reason, the literal definition of the word Martial is "of or appropriate to war; warlike".


    There is no record by which the origins of Jujitsu can be definitely established. It would however be rational to assume that ever since the creation, with the instinct of self preservation, man has had to fight for his existence and was inspired to develop an art or skill to implement the body mechanism for this purpose.

    -Koiziumi Sensei(seventh dan kodukan judo)
    Sterling Publishing, 1960

    Renzo Gracie and John Danaher's book "Mastering Jujitsu" has a great chapter on the history of martial arts and all of the different theories on where it came from(and why there are so many different styles). In the book it points out that every martial art developed as a response to a problem or set of problems, war and civil strife created the need for martial skills. These conditions were not unique to any one place or time, the reality of conflict naturally inspired people of every region to create a fighting system. The sport of Mixed Martial Arts started out and in many ways remains to this day as a proving ground for all of the different martial arts around the world. I liked what Joe Rogan said in his recent podcast with Bas Rutten and Mauro Renallo that MMA is different from the arts that Merryl Streep was referring to, it's not the art of pretending, MMA is the arts being applied in the most extreme "martial" circumstances humanely possible in a controlled environment.

    Before the exhibition Naoya Ogawa gets into the ring and presents a bouquet of flowers to both Royler and Rickson. During the exhibition they would keep cutting away to show Ogawa's reaction as he was seated with other Japanese pro wrestlers, all looking pretty disinterested. I kind of get the impression from this that maybe they were hoping to set up a Rickson vs Ogawa match maybe. Ogawa was a silver medalist in Judo in the 92 Olympics(he finished 5th in the 96 Olympics). Antonio Inoki recruited Ogawa and hooked him up to train with Satoru Sayama(Tiger Mask) to push him as the main star of his UFO(Universal Fighting-Arts Organization) side project. Inoki wanted to develop UFO as it's own promotion with tough guy shooters that would eventually clash with New Japan in an interpromotional angle in an attempt to recreate the UWF/UWFI vs New Japan angles, with Naoya Ogawa as the top dog for UFO. So New Japan and Pride would grow to have a very close working relationship starting around this time, for better or worse both companies would have a pretty big influence on each other over the years that Pride existed.


    Kazushi Sakuraba vs Vitor Belfort


    This was a huge upset and a pretty big victory for professional wrestling as UWFI pro wrestler/Nobuhiko Takada understudy Kazushi Sakuraba takes on his third opponent from the Carlson Gracie Jujitsu academy in Brazil, "The Phenom" Vitor Belfort. Vitor hit the UFC like a bat out of hell in 1997 at the age of 19, destroying everyone with quick accurate punches that nobody had ever seen in the Octagon. The UFC tries to build Vitor up as their next big thing in 1997, he won the UFC 12 heavyweight tournament with ease, then defeated Tank Abbott in a superfight in the main event of UFC 13. Vitor's hype train was derailed when he was defeated by old man Randy Couture at UFC 15(a huge upset at the time). After that loss Vitor came back with a win over one of his training partners at UFC Japan in December 97(in what many believe to be a worked fight), then he destroyed Wanderlei Silva in one of the greatest finishes in the early days of the UFC at UFC Brazil in October 98. So here we are just six months after Vitor's win over Wanderlie and Pride has stolen away another UFC star. For Pride to sign Vitor and Mark Kerr away from UFC was pretty huge when you think about it.


    Sakuraba at this point has defeated Vitor's training partner Connan Silveira by submission and went to a draw with another one of his team mates in Allan Goes at the last Pride event. During the introductions Vitor really looks like he's disinterested in this fight and really underestimated Sakuraba, thinking it was going to be easy. At one point during the intro Vitor looks like he can't get his mouthpiece to fit right so he just throws it down as if he wasn't going to need a mouth piece(the ref's made him put it back in before starting the fight).


    The story of this fight is that Vitor breaks his left hand early in the fight, then Sakuraba just absolutely destroys him. Sakuraba goes for a high kick early on and immediately follows up with a single leg takedown attempt. Vitor defends the takedown and just slams Sakuraba down on his head before taking his back in a scramble. Sakuraba goes for his trademark move in this position, the double wrist lock, but Vitor slips out of it and hammers away with punches that all land to the top of Sakuraba's head. I'm assuming this is where he breaks his left hand(Vitor was a left handed fighter, his straight left hand was his most dangerous weapon because he was so fast with it). Sakuraba survives Vitor's flurry of punches and takes him down with a single leg, moving into the guard position. Sakuraba manages to connect with some really good punches from inside the guard before getting up in the standing position, standing over Vitor laid out on his back in what I like to call the Ali/Inoki position. There is a battle of upkicks from Vitor vs Sakuraba's leg kicks until Sakuraba tries to hit a cartwheel guard pass. I seen some very unique diving guard passes in worked shoot style pro wrestling matches in Rings, UWFI, and Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi shows from the pre-UFC days(1991-1992). The oldest cartwheel guard pass I seen was Satory Sayama doing in a pro wrestling match with Tiger Mask vs Inoki in 1997. Sakuraba did it against Vitor's team mate Allan Goes in his last fight and he does it again here in the first round of this one.




    Saku fails to pass Vitor's guard with the cartwheel but the crowd still loved it. Sak fakes another cartwheel guard pass and tries to sneak past Vitor's guard but Vitor won't let it happen. It's interesting that Sakuraba would try to avoid just entering Vitor's guard, which was very smart as the guard was a neutral position and a dangerous place to be against a Carlson Gracie Jujitsu black belt like Vitor. Instead of laying in Vitor's guard Sakuraba looks for ways to get past it while standing up over him. Vitor just lays on his back until Sakuraba picks up his leg and holds it to blast it with vicious kicks to the same spot of his thigh over and over again. Vitor develops some pretty sick bruises on his thigh through the course of this fight. Vitor manages to connect with some upkicks here and there but he takes a beating with Saku's kicks to his legs. Sakuraba finally manages to work his way down into half guard to land a flurry of strikes. Vitor brings the fight back up to the feet in the clinch where the bell rings for the end of the first round.


    I was once told something that I learned through experience to be very true; for fighters it usually takes somewhere between 6-7 fights for you to find a routine and a comfort zone in the cage/ring, and once you hit that point to where you know what to expect both from yourself and from the overall experience, you open up as a fighter and really start to fight at your true potential. I think Sakuraba hits that point in the second round of this fight here against Vitor. This is the fight where Sakuraba becomes Sakuraba, as he really starts to pick Vitor apart here in the second round. The thing about this fight that always stood out to me and even had a profound influence on my own fighting style was the way that Sakuraba would flinch and feint and move to throw Vitor off mentally. Sakuraba just had an overall way that he would move in a fight that I can't quite put into words. I've heard that fighting styles are like fingerprints, there are no 2 that are exactly the same. That was definitely true for Sakuraba, he just had a certain way that he would move that I always loved. As I got deeper and deeper into my own MMA career and started to find my own comfort zone, I would often try to emulate this style of movement in my own fights and it worked really well for me. After going back and watching a lot of Tiger Mask's pro wrestling matches I learned just how big of an influence he had on Sakuraba's movement and style, so in an indirect way Tiger Mask, a pro wrestler, had a pretty big influence on my fighting style.


    Sakuraba just destroys Vitor here, landing a sick spinning back kick that drops him at one point. The ref orders Vitor to get back up but Vitor just takes a few steps and drops back to the mat again in the Ali/Inoki position. Sak tells the referee to just let him lay down, then goes to work on his legs with sickening kicks, over and over again to the same spot as the crowd starts chanting "HEY" to each kick.




    The ref stands Vitor back up and Saku lands another really nice spinning back kick Tiger Mask style. A few moments later Sakuraba sets up another beautiful spinning back kick with a beautiful feint. I never threw a spinning back kick in my brief MMA career but I did use this exact same feint(the way he would twist his hips to make it look like he was about to throw a spinning back kick, only to create an opening by making the opponent flinch) in a lot of my fights and it always worked. You can hear Vitor's cornermen screaming out instructions to Vitor and he just doesn't listen to them. Vitor throws the left hand that barely lands but then he drops down to his back immediately after that. Sakuraba just toys with Vitor in the late stages of this fight. You can see Sakuraba's confidence really grow through the course of this fight. He eventually even tries his first ever flying guard pass.




    Sakuraba finishes strong with more kicks to Vitor's legs as he lays on his back. The bell rings for the end of the second round and Sakuraba wins a unanimous decision, the biggest win of his career so far. Just an incredible performance by Sakuraba. After the fight Sakuraba goes out of his way to pay his respect to Carlson Gracie in Vitor's corner. They keep cutting away to show Rickson Gracie's reactions during all of this. I remember me and my little brother were huge Vitor Belfort fans, this fight was the first time we ever seen Sakuraba in action and we were instantly won over. I never really realized just how much of a pro wrestler Sakuraba was, I think that's probably also true for the average pro wrestling fan who probably considers him more of an MMA fighter than a pro wrestler. I actually went to a few Billy Robinson seminars in Little Rock Arkansas back when I was fighting, the more I looked up and learned about Billy Robinson and UWFI the more I realized just how much of a pro wrestler Sakuraba really was. Sakuraba was pro wrestling, and pro wrestling is quite strong.


    Nobuhiko Takada vs Mark Coleman


    This is a 100% worked shoot style pro wrestling match, just as Akira Maeda vs Alexandre Karelin was in Rings just 2 months prior to this. Coleman has admitted in the past that this was a work. Coleman entered the UFC in 1996 and just completely dominated the UFC 10 and 11 tournaments, eventually defeating Dan Severn at UFC 12 to become the first official UFC Heavyweight Champion(the title was known as "Superfight" championship in it's earliest days). Coleman suffered his first loss and lost his UFC Heavyweight title and his aura of invincibility to Maurice Smith in 1997. Coleman suffered a knee injury shortly afterwards then came back and got knocked out with a head kick by Pete Williams at UFC 17. Coleman lost his 3rd fight in a row by decision against Pedro Rizzo at UFC 18 just 3 months before this show, so he went from being invincible to being down and out with 3 consecutive losses. Pride brought him in to do the job to Takada for this show, paying him $60,000. Both Coleman and Kerr(training partners at Coleman's "Hammer House" gym) were both training in pro wrestling around this time, with Kerr being strongly considered by WWE and Coleman setting up tryouts with ECW.

    I know a lot of pro wrestling fans would probably make a case that this is not a pro wrestling match, this is a fake fight. There are a lot of different styles of pro wrestling, not every one of them involves irish whips and jumping off the top rope. Shoot style pro wrestling is a style of pro wrestling just as Lucha, hardcore, technical, puro, etc. The difference between a shoot style pro wrestling match and a fake/fixed fight is that and worked shoot style pro wrestling matches had more of an artistic element, the way they had it down to a science in Japan going back to the original UWF, the way they would work/build their way into certain spots and use certain psychology to work a crowd into an emotional frenzy. They do that here a little bit in this match.

    Coleman comes out and lands a pretty big double leg takedown slam early on. Coleman works in Takada's guard and is pretty stiff, working neck cranks, landing body shots. The struggle between the two of them looks real. Coleman tries to use headbutts and elbows at times but the ref informs him that they are illegal. Coleman finally overpowers Takada to just turn him over and pass his guard. Coleman lands some knees to the body and grinds his forearm across Takada's face before moving into the full mount and posturing up to land some punches. Takada turns around and makes his way back up to his feet clinching up with Coleman. Takada pulls guard and gets slammed back down to the mat. Coleman passes Takada's guard and works his way into his special move finisher, the side mount can opener neck crank(he defeated Dan Severn with this at UFC 12). Takada is in major peril here but he manages to escape. Coleman keeps Takada downed and manages to trap his arm for a top wristlock(keylock). Takada is in big trouble with the top wrist lock but wouldn't you know it he's saved by the bell at the end of the first round!

    The first round of this looked like a legit MMA fight. I'd say the only thing that gives this away as a work was the finish early in the second round. Takada gets taken down early on but he manages to work his way into a heel hook. Coleman tries to spin out of it but Takada sinks it in and forces the tap after a brief struggle. For a worked shoot style pro wrestling match this wasn't anything special by any means but it was actually decent, I'd probably give it 3 & 1/2 Stars.




    It was definitely better than Maeda vs Karelin. For a work this looked pretty legit, especially in the first round, the only thing that gives it away is the finish but I could see how somebody not real familiar with MMA or Mark Coleman could get worked into thinking this was real. One thing that is for certain was that the live crowd ate this match up and loved every bit of it. Something interesting that I read in Meltzer's writeup for this show in the Observer was that there would be no Pride without Takada, and there would be no Takada without these worked matches like this.


    So that's Pride 5, the first Pride show under the Dream Stage Entertainment banner. I don't know that I would recommend these first 5 Pride shows to anyone curious about Pride, the company eventually gets waaaaaaaay better through the years, but there is definitely something special about these first 5 Pride shows that I've always really loved and still do. This was a good one, quite possibly the best Pride so far.
    Last edited by ShinobiMusashi; 02-11-2017 at 08:35 PM.

  2. #2
    Ravishing Slick Dude KashDinero's Avatar

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    Default Re: Pride.5

    Sakuraba vs Vitor was one of the few Pride matches I had on VHS. I remember feeling frustrated at Vitors performance here while marveling at Sakurabas take no prisoners or shit attitude, and placing him right near the very top of my favourite MMA fighters. A spot he has kept to this very day.
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    I feel kinda invincible Kilgore's Avatar

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    Default Re: Pride.5

    I can't help up but mark out every time Shin mentions doing Sakuraba feints in MMA fights. We all have our dudes in the fight game, our all star team of favorites that only make sense on a personal level. Hell, Sakuraba is probably on most of them. On that level of being a kid, shooting hoops with a buddy, and recreating a Jordan shot, or some shit, Shinobi was a man, in a bonafide fist fight with another man, in a fucking cage, recreating a favorite move, from a favorite fighter, for fucking real. And it worked! I couldn't overstate how extraordinary that is, if I tried.

    The pro wrestling/MMA lineage is undeniable, and Shin's done a fantastic job curating this information through various projects. Sakuraba is all that lineage in one gangly frame in bright orange underwear, whooping asses of complete badasses. With Rickson out, you could call PRIDE FC the Sakuraba Show for the next two years.


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    American Ninja ShinobiMusashi's Avatar

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    Default Re: Pride.5

    Quote Originally Posted by Kilgore View Post
    I can't help up but mark out every time Shin mentions doing Sakuraba feints in MMA fights. We all have our dudes in the fight game, our all star team of favorites that only make sense on a personal level. Hell, Sakuraba is probably on most of them. On that level of being a kid, shooting hoops with a buddy, and recreating a Jordan shot, or some shit, Shinobi was a man, in a bonafide fist fight with another man, in a fucking cage, recreating a favorite move, from a favorite fighter, for fucking real. And it worked! I couldn't overstate how extraordinary that is, if I tried.
    Thanks bubba. I used a lot of stuff in my 9 fights that I learned these Pride/UFC tapes. Going into MMA I always pictured myself as a Jujitsu guy, it was the part of the sport that I liked the most, I wanted to be Royce Gracie. As I started fighting and training though I found out that my strength was in the stand up. In my very first fight I had a plan to run out with the Pat Smith running front push kick, throw a few punches to set up a takedown and win it with Jujitsu. Everything worked really well, I ran out and landed the kick flush, then bombarded the guy with some Wanderlei Silva punches up against the fence. He came at me trying to knock me out but I clinched him with a collar tie and landed a few Randy Couture dirty boxing punches before backing out of range and using a trick I read about in my BJ Penn book, I threw a jab at his face and shot for a takedown all in the same motion at the exact same time. It worked, I took him down with ease, but then I was just completely out of my element. This guy was like 14-2, he was way better on the ground than me. He rolled around and got me in a omoplatta but I did a front roll out of it, we scrambled up in a clinch and he hit me with a beautiful Ronda Rousey vs Alexis Davis Judo throw, flipped me all the way over and knocked my breath out. I immediately worked my way to put him in my guard but I really didn't know what to do from there yet, I didn't really understand wrist control or bicep control or anything like that yet, I had never really sparred with somebody else that knew what Jujitsu was, so I got knocked out pretty brutally. But had I kept that fight standing I probably would have won that fight, I was doing really good until I took him down. I learned that night that you can't have a script for an MMA fight, you just got to call it on the fly, flow with the go.

    I lost my next 2 fights, the 2nd one I just got completely out-wrestled and lost by TKO in the 3rd round after winning the 1st and 2nd rounds with stand up, they showed me the judges scorecards after the fight, had I just rode out the last round I would have won but I tried to throw a high kick and slipped, dude took my back, I was so tired my muscles seized up and I almost threw up(I did throw up in the back after the fight was over). Then the third fight I got choked out with a guillotine in like 30 seconds against a guy who was training with one of the top Jujitsu gyms in our area. After that fight I really started training with a real fight team and learned that I just felt more in control of a fight standing up with somebody than rolling on the ground. Anything could happen on the ground, but standing up I felt like I could control the fight, nobody could catch me with a clean punch and I had a long reach for my weight class. My biggest influences for my 9 fight MMA career were Sakuraba, Cro Cop, and Pedro Rizzo. The Cro Cop style kicks were my best weapon, I've posted a lot about this but I would watch his fights over and over again in slow motion sometimes just to see exactly what he was doing, practicing on my big heavy bag for hours with kicks(some of the first fights I won I never threw a single punch standing up, just spamming kicks and brawling on the ground whenever they would come in to try to counter the kicks) but I would move my hands and head a lot to set up punching combos like Pedro Rizzo, and I would feint and use those short burst explosive movements like Sakuraba, all of that combined was what really worked for me, it just took me a few fights(and some real actual training) to realize it.
    Last edited by ShinobiMusashi; 02-14-2017 at 12:14 PM.

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