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  • Pride.4


    Pride.4
    October 11th, 1998
    Tokyo Dome(Tokyo, Japan)



    The first 8 Pride shows are such a grind to watch through, I've seen some people refer to this string of shows as "The Dark Ages of Pride" but I don't think that really fits since they were drawing bank at the Tokyo Dome. Here we are at the halfway point of this grind, the 4th and final Pride event promoted by KRS. In my review of Pride 1 I wrote that the attendance was over 47,000 but reading the Observer writeup for Pride 4 it actually says the number was closer to 36,000(and heavily papered) for that first show. Pride 1 was put together by KRS in 1997 for the sole purpose of the Takada vs Rickson Gracie fight. KRS according to the Japanese book "Pride: Secret Files" was a collection of a number of different industry people under one umbrella, with the concept of Pride as "A ring not touched by a single color, pure white", a place where athletes from any organization could enter without obstacles. KRS had a unique vision for what Pride was supposed to be, not quite a pro wrestling promotion, but not quite a martial arts competition either, it was a dream stage where pro wrestlers tested themselves against the strongest fighters in the world. KRS original ideas for the undercard of the first Pride show included booking Japanese pro wrestlers like Akira Maeda, Masakatsu Funaki, Minoru Suzuki, Kiyoshi Tamura, Shinya Hashimoto, Riki Choshu, and Mitsuhara Misawa against the Gracie family and other UFC fighters on the undercard with Takada vs Rickson as the main event. None of the major Japanese wrestlers took the offers seriously, those who did shot them down because they didn't want to open the show for Takada.


    So after promoting three shows that were not that great quality wise(Pride 2 and 3 were money losers), KRS returns to the Tokyo Dome with Pride 4, the rematch between Rickson Gracie vs Nobuhiko Takada exactly 1 year after their first fight. Takada was easily defeated in the first fight against Rickson at Pride 1 but he came back at Pride 3 and won a worked match over American jobber Kyle Sturgeon at the Budokan, the same building where Takada defeated Koji Kitao(1992) and Daniel Severn(1993) in worked UWFI matches(Takada also lost the "Best in the World" tournament finals and UWFI Championship in a match against Vader at the Budokan in 94). UWFI drew a sold out crowd of 16,000 to the Budokan for Takada's IWGP title defense against Shiro Koshinaka in the peak of the UWFI vs NJPW angle in 1996. For Pride 3 Takada's match against Sturgeon only drew a half full 8,000 fans to the Budokan, with only around 4,500 paying customers. So things didn't work out as planned for KRS following up the success of Pride 1, but at this point after 3 shows they were starting to put together a pretty eclectic and charming roster of regular fighters, including stealing away the UFC's top heavyweight Mark Kerr, always entertaining Gary Goodridge, Akira Shoji, and rising sensation from Takada's Dojo Kazushi Sakuraba. KRS succeeded in drawing interest in a Takada vs Rickson rematch. According to the October 19th 1998 Observer this event drew around 30,000 to the Tokyo Dome, drawing an estimated gate of $3 million, which would be the biggest gate up to this point for any MMA show(the largest live gate of 1998 anywhere in the world for a house drawn by a pro wrestler).


    Igor Vovchanchyn vs Gary Goodridge


    Igor is a favorite of older school MMA fans, probably underrated overall legacy since he never fought in the UFC, he was the original "sprawl and brawl" style fighter back in the era that the sport was dominated by Jujitsu and Wrestling. Igor(a 5' 8" Ukrainian that is built like Taz) was able to keep the fights standing and win with punches and kicks. At this point here making his Pride debut Igor is 34-2, with 27 of his wins by KO/TKO. He was actually originally planned to be in the UFC XI tournament in 1996 but he had some issues with his travel visa and was unable to make the flight to the US for the event. Pride and Rings both had a knack for scouting out international talent and pushing them in their roster, they were better at it than the UFC was at this time. Pride used their big money to steal a lot of great fighters but they also scoured the world for interesting fighters like Igor, who was just an unsigned guy that was floating around out there without a contract. As for Gary Goodridge he's got to be considered a pretty tough opponent for Igor at this stage, Gary is coming off of a string of really interesting fights, knocking out Oleg Taktarov in Pride 1, losing to Marco Ruas in an excellent fight at Pride 2, then knocking out Amir Rahnavardi in entertaining fashion at Pride 3. Gary has Becky Levi in his corner for this fight. Becky was an old school women's MMA pioneer that trained a lot with Don Frye and Dan Severn.


    Goodridge comes out and looks to take the fight to the ground, clinching up with Igor with double underhooks and overpowering him to his back. Igor gets cut under his eye during the scramble. Gary goes for a heel hook but gives up position and gets mounted by Igor for his efforts. Goodridge just overpowers Igor to turn him back over to retake the top position. Gary tries to decapitate Igor with bombs but Igor manages to evade them and escape up to his feet. Gary promptly ties back up with Igor with a body lock and takes him back down into the side mount. A funny moment comes after Gary stands up over Igor and asks the Japanese referee "Can I kick face?", the ref tells him no. Igor returns to his feet swinging to keep Gary back. Gary constantly tries to close the distance and clinch up with him. Igor unloads with his trademark looping hooks. Gary clinches up but Igor creates space and stuns him with a left hook. Gary tries to reengage and trade punches but Igor tags him with another left hook that turns his lights out. Goodridge slips and falls into the corner, recovering and turning his back to Igor as he clings to the ropes to stay up. Igor lands another uppercut as the referee lunges in to stop it. Goodridge is out on his feet looking at the referee trying to figure out what happened. Igor wins with a standing TKO.




    It looks like a premature stoppage but Goodridge was completely out of it, it was actually a really good stoppage that saved Gary from any unnecessary damage. Igor Vovchanchyn was one of the hardest hitting punchers in MMA history. Goodridge said in an interview years after this fight that getting hit by Igor was like getting hit with a bolt of lightning, it just jars your whole body. Sensational debut for Igor Vovchanchyn here. His ability to defend the takedowns and get back up after being taken down was way ahead of it's time, he was probably one of the best "sprawl and brawl" style fighters of all time.


    Akira Shoji vs Wallid Ismail


    Along with Gary Goodridge, Akira Shoji has fought on every Pride show so far and would go on to fight on many more after this. Shoji looked impressive in a 30 minute draw against Renzo Gracie at Pride 1, defeated Juan Mott quickly by submission at Pride 2, and then went the distance in a not-so-great fight against Takada Dojo rookie Daijiro Matsui at Pride 3. Shoji's opponent here Wallid Ismail is a reputable Brazilian Vale Tudo fighter that has been involved in some pretty crazy rivalries and stories in the pre UFC "Vale Tudo" scene in Brazil. Ismail was from the Carlson Gracie academy, which had an ongoing rivalry with the rest of the Gracie family(Carlson was Helio's nephew, Helio was the father of Rickson, Royce, and Royler as well as the great uncle of Renzo). Wallid was coming off of a huge submission win over Royce Gracie in a Jujitsu competition earlier in 1998.


    Ismail takes Shoji down pretty early in the fight. Not much happens until Shoji manages to escape to his feet and unload with a flurry of punches, stunning Ismail for a moment but failing to finish the job. Ismail takes Shoji back down and takes the full mount. Shoji rolls Ismail over to his back and gets back up to his feet. They tie up on the ropes before Ismail takes Shoji back down. Ismail keeps Shoji down with light ground and pound strikes until the round ends. Early in the second round Ismail looks absolutely worn out exhausted and Shoji puts it on him. Shoji lights Ismail up with shots until Ismail turns his back in a dazed stupor, forcing the ref to stop the fight. Shoji scores what was probably the biggest win of his career here and secures a permanent spot on the Pride roster for the next decade.


    Daijiro Matsui vs Sinae Kikuta


    Man this is one fucking god awful fight. Easily one of the worst major league MMA fights of all time, I'd take 1,000 Kimbo Slice vs Dada 5000 fights over 1 of these. Hell, I'd say this is even more boring than Shamrock vs Severn 2 or Severn vs Kimo(admittedly those fights had way more hype, making them much bigger disappointment). Kikuta is the cure of insomnia, and I'm being 100% serious here, if you are having trouble sleeping just turn out all the lights, get comfortable and turn on a Sinae Kikuta fight from Pride, your ass is going to be sleeping before you know it. Kikuta's whole gameplan is to tie up with his opponent, get the underhooks and a trip to the ground, then just lay on the dude, and that's it. Daijiro Matsui is unable to do anything against Kikuta here, even when he was in the position to do something it was like he just didn't have the killer instinct to hurt him. Neither of these guys really had any type of urgency to win here, it's almost like they made an agreement not to rough each other up too much. Kikuta tries to throw a few strikes throughout this fight and he has no punching power at all, I've seen female 115 pound fighters with more punching power than Sinae Kikuta. His stand up striking is laughable. This fight goes the full distance, that's 3 rounds at 10 minutes each. The fight is ruled a draw. What a snoozer, ugh, moving along...


    Kazushi Sakuraba vs Allan Goes


    This is a bit of a revenge match for Allan Goes as he represents the Carlson Gracie Jujitsu academy. Sakuraba tapped out Goes' training partner from that academy at UFC Ultimate Japan in December 97 when he armbarred Connan Silveira in under 5 minutes, the fight that started the Sakuraba legend. This is only Sakuraba's 4th real fight in MMA, he's coming off of submission wins over Pancrase/Lions Den fighter Vernon White at Pride 2 and Carlos Newton at UFC 3, both fights I'm suspicious of being works(though I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, and say that I don't know for sure). Sakuraba comes from UWFI and trains at the Takada Dojo where he learned from Billy Robinson. So here in this match you essentially have Carlson Gracie Jujitsu vs Billy Robinson catch wrestling.


    ^The Takada Dojo back in the early UWFI days. Standing: Kiyoshi Tamura, Masahito Kakihara, coach Billy Robinson, Yuko Miyato, & Yoji Anjo. Seated: Hiromitsu Kanehara & Kazushi Sakuraba. Robinson himself was a product of the legendary catch wrestling dojo "The Snake Pit" in Wigan England, the same dojo that produced Karl Gotch. At the Snake Pit Robinson was the protege of longtime British and European heavyweight champion Billy Joyce, a man that Karl Gotch once called the greatest British wrestler ever. Robinson was a pretty popular wrestler in the 70's working big matches against Verne Gagne in AWA(including their match at Comiskey baseball park in Chicago drawing over 22,000), also had some good matches against Dory Funk Jr(for the NWA Championship at a time when it was THE title in pro wrestling), and strong runs in Japan as well as Stu Hart's Stampede Wrestling territory in Canada.

    Daniel Bryan once wrote in an article; “When I think of a wrestler, I think of Billy Robinson,”. After Robinson's pro wrestling career bottomed out his life kind of bottomed out, he worked odd jobs managing gas stations and working security for a casino until UWFI came calling for him in 1991. UWFI brought in Lou Thesz, Danny Hodge, and Billy Robinson as commissioners to put it over as legit wrestling, Billy Robinson also took a job training the Takada Dojo students on working and shooting(Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi was doing something very similar with Karl Gotch). Sakuraba was always praised by Robinson as one of his top students during his time in Japan.

    This is a damn good fight. I actually think this is Sakuraba's best fight of his career up to this point, even better than the more critically acclaimed fight against Newton from Pride 3. This match definitely feels more like a shoot as Goes gives Sakuraba all kinds of problems. The standout thing about this fight is Allan Goes use of the open guard from his back, his use of upkicks as Sakuraba stands over him. This was a really common position in Pride with one fighter standing over another fighter that is in the same position that Antonio Inoki took for most of his fight against Ali. Sakuraba hits a cartwheel guard pass early in the fight, this is the unorthodox type of stuff that he was known for, most likely inspired by his childhood hero Tiger Mask(Satoru Sayama hits a cartwheel guard pass in a Tiger Mask vs Antonio Inoki match in 1997). According to Sakuraba's Japanese autobiography "Me", he first fell in love with the Tiger Mask manga when he was in his first year of middle school. One day he read the TV listings for "Pro Wrestling- Tiger Mask" in the TV Guide so he stayed up all night to see New Japan Pro Wrestling and it was a life changing deal.


    "Seeing Tiger Mask for the first time as a kid had an amazing impact on my heart. Jumping, flying, all of his movements were so beautiful, I was completely blown away that this kind of interesting sport existed in the world. It was at this time that I decided what I wanted to be when I grew up- a pro wrestler. "

    -Sakuraba

    The first 10 minute round of this fight I'd have to give to Goes though, he really does such a great job of keeping Sakuraba at bay with the upkicks to the legs and face, bloodying his ear early on with them. The second round is equally as good as they roll around with some pretty nice grappling exchanges. Sakuraba gives up his back to go for a kimura/double wristlock but in this fight Goes gets out of it and almost catches him in a rear naked choke a few times. Goes tries to hook a guillotine choke at one point but Sakuraba gets out and counters with his rolling kimura spot. They eventually end up back in the same position with Sakuraba up on his feet standing over Goes in the butt scoot position. Goes lands some really creative upkicks from interesting angles, battering Sakuraba's legs and landing some pretty hard ones to his face, bloodying his nose. Sakuraba doesn't really have an answer to Goes' upkicks or a solution to this position, other than the one time in the first round where he used the cartwheel guard pass, he never manages to pass Goes' guard again or land any significant offense while down in his guard. What's interesting is that Sakuraba is faced with this position in his later fights and he uses some clever tricks to get around/counter it, so it's like he learned from this fight.


    The third rounds plays out very similarly but with less action as both guys start to get tired. Goes takes Sakuraba to his back early in the 3rd. Sakuraba uses some nice open guard work to keep Goes off of him. Unlike the Kikuta vs Matsui fight there is just constant non-stop battling from both men in a fight for position on the mat. Goes gets close to taking the mount but Sakuraba postures up and turns into the turtle position with Goes taking his back. Goes manages to sink in a TIGHT rear choke but he doesn't get his hooks in with his legs so Sakuraba is just barely able to spin out of it. He was in a lot of trouble there, the crowd collectively gasps as he gets out of the choke. From there they go back to the same position with Sakuraba standing over Goes. This time Sakuraba is much more aggressive with kicking back at Goes' legs. Goes hammers Sakuraba with an upkick to the body, he also steadily targets Sakuraba's taped knee with jab kicks from the ground. The fight goes the distance(30 minutes) and is ruled a draw since there are no judges. If I were a judge I would definitely give this one to Allan Goes. It wasn't a dominant performance by Goes but he did score more with the upkicks. Overall I'd say this is a damn good fight, maybe one of the best of these early Pride shows. Just a very evenly matched fight with some great action for the entire 30 minutes. Would have loved to have seen these guys fight each other again in Pride but they never did. Allan Goes gives Sakuraba his toughest challenge out of all of these Brazilian opponents during his hot streak.


    Satoshi Honma vs Naoki Sano


    Sano is former SWS, New Japan, UWFI wrestler that was training with the Takada Dojo around the time of this fight. He is best known in pro wrestling for his series of matches against Jushin Liger including the 1990 Wrestling Observer Newsletter match of the year that December. Satoshi Honma is a product of Shooto, with pro fights on his record going as far back as 1990 in Shooto. Kiyoshi Tamura is shown throughout the fight down at the ringside area shouting instructions to somebody, I'm assuming Sano. Tamura was being pushed pretty hard by Rings around this time. The backgrounds of these guys really shows in the match as Honma really puts it on Sano here, bloodying him and picking him apart with strikes. Honma drops Sano with leg kicks late in the first round but the ref doesn't stop the fight, instead Sano eats some more punches from top mount before this shit referee stops it. Sano put up a fight early on but really started to fall apart as this fight progressed, he just took a beating here. Actually a pretty decent scrap here, Honma wins with a ref stoppage around 9:25 of the first round.


    Marco Ruas vs Alexander Otsuka


    Up to this point in MMA history I believe this was the biggest upset the sport had ever seen, big enough that this fight made the lead story in the October 19th 1998 Wrestling Observer Newsletter(Meltzer compared it to Buster Douglas vs Mike Tyson in the same building 7 years earlier) as well as lead news stories for several sports newspapers in Japan. Otsuka is a pro wrestler from Battlearts(also wrestled some in Rings earlier in 1998) going against a Vale Tudo legend from Brazil, UFC 7 tournament champion Marco Ruas. Otsuka has guys in his corner wearing Tiger Mask style pro wrestling masks while Ruas has Bas Rutten in his corner. Otsuka reportedly had worked a pro wrestling match in a Battlarts Korakuen Hall show just 6 days before this match.


    On top of that Otsuka was a part of the ring crew the morning of this show where he helped construct the ring. This was something I found to be interesting because back when I was fighting this was something that I grew to be superstitious about. I fought a majority of my fights on a circuit that was run by the gym that I trained at, I helped cold call MMA gyms from the areas where the show was to try to get fighters on the card, I would do radio spots whenever there was an interview to promote the show, and on the night before the show I was part of the ring crew that would truck the cage to the venue and put it together(and break it down and pack it in after the show). On top of all that I was fighting on the cards and usually saving the shows by taking on the tougher guys that other fighters in my gym wanted no part of, usually putting on the best fight of the night. I never lost a MMA fight in a cage that I put together, it just gave you a certain feeling, a strange comfort being inside a cage that you put together piece by piece, it almost made me feel like I was a part of that cage, and it gave me a mental edge over my opponent. When I cornered my little brother for a fight later on I made it a point to get there early enough to help put the cage together just out of superstition, it just became part of my routine. For this particular show the actual ring crew was running late so me and my 2 brothers put the whole cage together. The promoters thought we were the ring crew, so when the actual ring crew showed up the cage was already put together the promoters were all like, "hey if you are the ring crew, then who the hell are these guys?". It was a pretty good first impression on those promoters for us to show up early and put the cage together for free, my little brother put in a hell of a performance that night but we were screwed out of the win(fight was declared a no contest on a bullshit back of the head call, when it should have been a TKO via doctor stoppage since it was a legal strike; a clean jab to the eye- that rendered the guy unable to continue).


    So Otsuka helping put the ring together on the morning that he upset Marco Ruas really interests me, maybe there is something to my theory. Maybe not. I also heard that Ruas was injured while training(with Bas Rutten and Mark Kerr, what a team that was) for this fight and he was taking medicine. You can see that Ruas clearly wasn't himself in this fight. Ruas lands a thunderous low kick early but he gets taken down as soon as he throws it. Otsuka doesn't really do anything in Ruas' guard. Otsuka stands up over Ruas but Ruas hooks him with his open guard and beautifully pulls him into a heel hook similar to what he beat Larry Cureton with at UFC 7. Otsuka escapes and retakes the top position in Ruas' guard. Ruas manages to sweep Otsuka over to the top mount position. Ruas actually almost wins this fight as he turns up the heat on Otsuka and nearly finishes him with a rear choke at the end of the first round, Otsuka is saved by the bell big time. The second round Ruas is completely out of gas. Otsuka takes him down and bloodies him. Otsuka doesn't really thrash Ruas or anything but he stays on top and clearly wins the second round. At the end of the 2nd round Ruas can't even get up he's so out of it. Ruas is helped to his corner and is in such bad shape that he can't answer the bell for the third round. Otsuka wins and does a springboard moonsault off the ropes to celebrate. The crowd goes wild for Otsuka. Huge upset.


    Mark Kerr vs Hugo Duarte


    This was Kerr's 3rd fight in Pride after they stole him away from the UFC with big money. Just like his first 2 fights this one turns out to be a debacle as Duarte was intimidated and looking for a way out as soon as the fight started. Hugo Duarte was a Brazilian Luta fighter that the UFC had big plans for until Tank Abbott beat the brakes off of him in his debut at UFC 17(Tank gave him the Stone Cold treatment after the fight by giving him the fingers and throwing his t-shirt at him). Kerr is in the absolute peak shape of his career here, he was trimmed down a bit compared to the more hulked up physique he had before and after this fight, he had left the Hammer House and was training with Bas Rutten and Marco Ruas(and Pedro Rizzo) for this fight. Kerr comes out and opens up with a really nice high kick that misses. The fight quickly goes to the ground and degenerates to Duarte pandering to the referee and trying to flop like a soccer player. Kerr opens up a pretty nasty cut under Duarte's eye at one point and then digs his head into it. Duarte keeps acting in a way where you can tell he's trying to get the fight stopped, he's constantly working his way out of the ropes to the apron of the ring until finally the referees stop the fight and give Kerr the win.


    So Kerr at this point is 10-0 and the clear cut top heavyweight fighter in MMA in the world. To put it into perspective, there was no UFC Heavyweight Champion after Randy Couture left the UFC in October 1998(and lost to Enson Inoue in Shooto around the same time as Pride 4 happened), the title remained vacant until May 1999 where it was won in controversial fashion(and later dropped, so really there was no definitive UFC Heavyweight Champion from October 1998 until November 1999, 13 months), while Kerr in Pride looked to be invincible.


    Nobuhiko Takada vs Rickson Gracie II


    This rematch had a lot riding on it. When you think about the way Takada won a worked match at Pride 3 to hype this up, and you think about the huge money that a 3rd rubber match would have done, you got to believe that they at least tried to ask Rickson to job out to Takada in this match. New Japan had a vested interest in this fight because had Takada won he would have been a national hero and probably the most popular pro wrestler ever in Japan, which would have set him up for another run of stadium shows for New Japan. There were rumors going around that if Takada won New Japan most likely would have set up a Tokyo Dome show for January 4th 1999 with Takada vs Shinya Hashimoto rematch for the IWGP title. I also read in the Observer writeup for this show that apparently New Japan still "owed" Takada a victory over Hashimoto that was left over from their 1996 interpromotional deal.


    Rickson didn't do any jobs here but Takada was able to come out of this looking good because he put up a much better fight than the first one a year earlier. Takada earns respect by getting up from his ass whooping and coming back for the rematch, showing some improvement and actually making a fight of it. They clinch up right at the start to trade some knees. Takada forces Rickson to the ground but Rickson works his way back up in the clinch. Takada breaks the clinch with a hard knee followed up by a right hand but Rickson cracks him back with a right hand of his own before clinching back up with him. Takada then pins Rickson into the corner and keeps him there by holding the ropes. Takada actually hurts Rickson at one point with a knee to the stomach. Rickson drops to try to pull Takada down into his guard but Takada brings the fight back up to the clinch, where Rickson is visibly hurting from the body shot. Takada flings Rickson to the ground and lays in his guard. Sakuraba is in Takada's corner giving instructions just a few feet away. Takada's big mistake comes when he stands up in Rickson's guard and tries to go for a heel hook, prompting Rickson to grab him by the heels and trip him backwards, rolling up onto him in the full mount. Takada manages to fight Rickson off to half guard but Rickson retakes the mount and lands a pretty hard punch to the face. Takada again manages to kick Rickson off of him and go for a heel hook but Rickson slips out, retakes the full mount, and immediately finishes it with the armbar at around 9 minutes into the fight.


    My DVD of this event is one of those double sided DVD's and it is scratched beyond repair to the point that it won't play anymore(I don't have the heart to throw it in the trash though since I've had it for so long). So I watched this on the UFC Fight Pass, something interesting that was on this version was not included on my DVD, they show Takada being escorted all the way back to the locker room to show the emotion on his face while Rickson cuts an interview in the ring. Rickson puts Takada over for giving him a tough fight and says that it was an honor to fight in Japan because that was where Gracie Jujitsu came from, saying that he brought back the Samurai spirit that Conde Koma brought to his family in Brazil earlier in the century. I thought that was cool the way the cameras followed Takada all the way back to his dressing room showing the aftermath, that's not something you seen in MMA.


    Something else that is interesting was that New Japan was having a show in the Korakeun Hall right next door to the Tokyo Dome at the same time as Pride 4. Shinya Hashimoto left the NJPW show after his match and watched the final two matches on the Pride show. I read that there were plans for Hashimoto to challenge Takada if would have won, instead he challenged both Takada and Gracie after the show. Something else that was going on in the world of New Japan was that Inoki had started a new shoot style promotion called UFO for the sole purpose of trying to build up a squad of shooters to recreate the UWF vs NJPW and UWFI vs NJPW angles, there were talks of them bringing Takada over to head the UFO invasion of NJPW had he defeated Rickson.


    So that's Pride 4, definitely the best Pride show so far but still these early Pride shows were nothing compared to what Pride would turn into by the early 2000's. KRS ended up losing a ton of money with the first 4 Pride shows so they got out of the business after Pride 4. Dream Stage Entertainment ends up taking over Pride starting with the next show, and their ties to the Yakuza ran deep(and eventually killed Pride). Something else that developed in Japan over the course of these first 4 Pride shows was a big rivalry between KRS and Rings, renewing the rivalry that goes back to Takada's UWFI competing with Maeda's Rings starting when both promotions were formed out of the ashes of UWF Reborn in 1991. Maeda held a retirement show over the Summer of 1998 that turned out to be a disaster(Takada was there as a special guest along with Inoki and several others to honor Maeda). The Maeda/Rings vs Takada/Pride rivalry started to pick up in 1998 after Rings booked an Akira Maeda vs Rickson Gracie fight for September 1998, going as far as booking a date in the Tokyo Dome for the match. Rings was left hanging when Rickson signed for the rematch against Takada for Pride 4 instead, which came as a bit of a shock to Maeda and Rings who thought they had the deal with Rickson ready to sign. This left Rings without a big show at all for 1998, but they retaliated by going above and beyond anything they had ever done before, going out and signing legendary Russian Olympic wrestling terminator Alexandre Karelin for a match against Akira Maeda. Rings announced Maeda vs Karelin just a couple of days after Pride 4 in an attempt to steal some of their heat. Maeda vs Karelin was booked for February 1999. The Rings vs Pride rivalry in Japan started here and would eventually push Rings to be more of a shoot, with both promotions competing against each other from 1998 to 2000 ending up pushing the young sport of MMA to an all new level.

  • #2
    Re: Pride.4

    I was such a big Igor fan about fifteen years ago. The guy absolutely dominated one Vale Tudo tournament I had on VHS. I think it was the same tournament where he KO'd Nick Nutter with an utterly, life sapping, neck snapping, soul destroying knee to the cranium in, like, five seconds, after Nick tried to bum rush him from the jump. It's crazy to think he was only five, eight. He beat on fools like he was ten feet tall. Fucking loved that guy.

    Very interesting information here, Shinnykins. Never knew that about what the vision for Pride was initially. Such an amazing concept. Just a ring for anyone to fight anyone, no questions asked.

    It's a shame Takada never beat Rickson (but not really surprising), as the resulting NJPW shows that would have come out of it would have been history making gold. Oh well... Coulda, woulda, shoulda...

    Oh, and, yeah, [MENTION=103897]ShinobiMusashi[/MENTION] you win PW for these Pride posts. Great work, bro. Great fucking work.
    PW Nerdery's Most Underrated Poster Of 2015

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Pride.4

      I was such a big Igor fan about fifteen years ago. The guy absolutely dominated one Vale Tudo tournament I had on VHS. I think it was the same tournament where he KO'd Nick Nutter with an utterly, life sapping, neck snapping, soul destroying knee to the cranium in, like, five seconds, after Nick tried to bum rush him from the jump. It's crazy to think he was only five, eight. He beat on fools like he was ten feet tall. Fucking loved that guy.

      Very interesting information here, Shinnykins. Never knew that about what the vision for Pride was initially. Such an amazing concept. Just a ring for anyone to fight anyone, no questions asked.

      It's a shame Takada never beat Rickson (but not really surprising), as the resulting NJPW shows that would have come out of it would have been history making gold. Oh well... Coulda, woulda, shoulda...

      Oh, and, yeah, [MENTION=103897]ShinobiMusashi[/MENTION] you win PW for these Pride posts. Great work, bro. Great fucking work.
      PW Nerdery's Most Underrated Poster Of 2015

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Pride.4

        Although it was always a "What could've been," I've never heard of "It almost happened," when it comes to Rickson vs. Ruas, but if Ruas doesn't lose at Pride 4, doesn't Rickson vs. Ruas seem like it would have definitely happened?

        For those that don't know Brazilian Jiu Jitsu had a local rivalry with this other Brazilian Martial Art called Luta Livre. BJJ became more beloved in Brazil, and Luta Livre had a bit of a younger brother syndrome, always chasing BJJ, hoping to eventually surpass it. By the late eighties/early nineties, Rickson was the king of BJJ, and Marco Ruas was the king of Luta Livre (and "The Streets" according to Marco ) , and there were debates about who would have won (Rickson would have). The closest we got to a big matchup was Rickson Gracie vs. Hugo Duarte in a goddamned impromptu Brazilian Beach fight, which Rickson won.

        Like Yoji Anjo would later find out, Rickson had the same open door policy for any Luta Livre practitioner who wanted to challenge him, specifically Marco Ruas, but Ruas never accepted the challenge, and maybe rightfully so, not knowing whether it would be a fair fight. Going to somebody else's gym to fight them, is kind of insane, and I don't hold it against anybody for thinking better of it. Post Rickson's Vale Tudo Japan success, and Ruas UFC Tourney win, Ruas started calling Rickson out publicly, specifically at an early PRIDE show, like Shin mentioned in a review last week. It seemed like PRIDE was setting this encounter up.

        And then Ruas lost.

        I wonder if that would've been next for both of them.

        $

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Pride.4

          Although it was always a "What could've been," I've never heard of "It almost happened," when it comes to Rickson vs. Ruas, but if Ruas doesn't lose at Pride 4, doesn't Rickson vs. Ruas seem like it would have definitely happened?

          For those that don't know Brazilian Jiu Jitsu had a local rivalry with this other Brazilian Martial Art called Luta Livre. BJJ became more beloved in Brazil, and Luta Livre had a bit of a younger brother syndrome, always chasing BJJ, hoping to eventually surpass it. By the late eighties/early nineties, Rickson was the king of BJJ, and Marco Ruas was the king of Luta Livre (and "The Streets" according to Marco ) , and there were debates about who would have won (Rickson would have). The closest we got to a big matchup was Rickson Gracie vs. Hugo Duarte in a goddamned impromptu Brazilian Beach fight, which Rickson won.

          Like Yoji Anjo would later find out, Rickson had the same open door policy for any Luta Livre practitioner who wanted to challenge him, specifically Marco Ruas, but Ruas never accepted the challenge, and maybe rightfully so, not knowing whether it would be a fair fight. Going to somebody else's gym to fight them, is kind of insane, and I don't hold it against anybody for thinking better of it. Post Rickson's Vale Tudo Japan success, and Ruas UFC Tourney win, Ruas started calling Rickson out publicly, specifically at an early PRIDE show, like Shin mentioned in a review last week. It seemed like PRIDE was setting this encounter up.

          And then Ruas lost.

          I wonder if that would've been next for both of them.

          $

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Pride.4

            Originally posted by Kilgore View Post
            Although it was always a "What could've been," I've never heard of "It almost happened," when it comes to Rickson vs. Ruas, but if Ruas doesn't lose at Pride 4, doesn't Rickson vs. Ruas seem like it would have definitely happened?

            For those that don't know Brazilian Jiu Jitsu had a local rivalry with this other Brazilian Martial Art called Luta Livre. BJJ became more beloved in Brazil, and Luta Livre had a bit of a younger brother syndrome, always chasing BJJ, hoping to eventually surpass it. By the late eighties/early nineties, Rickson was the king of BJJ, and Marco Ruas was the king of Luta Livre (and "The Streets" according to Marco ) , and there were debates about who would have won (Rickson would have). The closest we got to a big matchup was Rickson Gracie vs. Hugo Duarte in a goddamned impromptu Brazilian Beach fight, which Rickson won.

            Like Yoji Anjo would later find out, Rickson had the same open door policy for any Luta Livre practitioner who wanted to challenge him, specifically Marco Ruas, but Ruas never accepted the challenge, and maybe rightfully so, not knowing whether it would be a fair fight. Going to somebody else's gym to fight them, is kind of insane, and I don't hold it against anybody for thinking better of it. Post Rickson's Vale Tudo Japan success, and Ruas UFC Tourney win, Ruas started calling Rickson out publicly, specifically at an early PRIDE show, like Shin mentioned in a review last week. It seemed like PRIDE was setting this encounter up.

            And then Ruas lost.

            I wonder if that would've been next for both of them.
            That Brazilian Beach fight video is a trip. I actually read about another Brazilian Beach Fight involving Wallid Ismail so I'm guessing this was something common for Brazilian Jujitsu vs Luta fighters rivalry to just charge each other up on the beach. Pride should have went full FMW and booked a Ruas vs Rickson Brazilian Beach Fight! That would have been like something out of a straight to vhs action movie from the 90's.

            That would have been a great fight though if they ever would have hooked it up for real.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Pride.4

              Originally posted by Kilgore View Post
              Although it was always a "What could've been," I've never heard of "It almost happened," when it comes to Rickson vs. Ruas, but if Ruas doesn't lose at Pride 4, doesn't Rickson vs. Ruas seem like it would have definitely happened?

              For those that don't know Brazilian Jiu Jitsu had a local rivalry with this other Brazilian Martial Art called Luta Livre. BJJ became more beloved in Brazil, and Luta Livre had a bit of a younger brother syndrome, always chasing BJJ, hoping to eventually surpass it. By the late eighties/early nineties, Rickson was the king of BJJ, and Marco Ruas was the king of Luta Livre (and "The Streets" according to Marco ) , and there were debates about who would have won (Rickson would have). The closest we got to a big matchup was Rickson Gracie vs. Hugo Duarte in a goddamned impromptu Brazilian Beach fight, which Rickson won.

              Like Yoji Anjo would later find out, Rickson had the same open door policy for any Luta Livre practitioner who wanted to challenge him, specifically Marco Ruas, but Ruas never accepted the challenge, and maybe rightfully so, not knowing whether it would be a fair fight. Going to somebody else's gym to fight them, is kind of insane, and I don't hold it against anybody for thinking better of it. Post Rickson's Vale Tudo Japan success, and Ruas UFC Tourney win, Ruas started calling Rickson out publicly, specifically at an early PRIDE show, like Shin mentioned in a review last week. It seemed like PRIDE was setting this encounter up.

              And then Ruas lost.

              I wonder if that would've been next for both of them.
              That Brazilian Beach fight video is a trip. I actually read about another Brazilian Beach Fight involving Wallid Ismail so I'm guessing this was something common for Brazilian Jujitsu vs Luta fighters rivalry to just charge each other up on the beach. Pride should have went full FMW and booked a Ruas vs Rickson Brazilian Beach Fight! That would have been like something out of a straight to vhs action movie from the 90's.

              That would have been a great fight though if they ever would have hooked it up for real.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Pride.4

                Originally posted by ShinobiMusashi View Post
                That Brazilian Beach fight video is a trip. I actually read about another Brazilian Beach Fight involving Wallid Ismail so I'm guessing this was something common for Brazilian Jujitsu vs Luta fighters rivalry to just charge each other up on the beach. Pride should have went full FMW and booked a Ruas vs Rickson Brazilian Beach Fight! That would have been like something out of a straight to vhs action movie from the 90's.
                It's all very Karate Kid. It needs some Bananarama Cruel Summer, as does most things.

                $

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Pride.4

                  Originally posted by ShinobiMusashi View Post
                  That Brazilian Beach fight video is a trip. I actually read about another Brazilian Beach Fight involving Wallid Ismail so I'm guessing this was something common for Brazilian Jujitsu vs Luta fighters rivalry to just charge each other up on the beach. Pride should have went full FMW and booked a Ruas vs Rickson Brazilian Beach Fight! That would have been like something out of a straight to vhs action movie from the 90's.
                  It's all very Karate Kid. It needs some Bananarama Cruel Summer, as does most things.

                  $

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Pride.4

                    Oh hell yeah. That works as well but I was thinking more like Kickboxer 3:



                    Marco Ruas is actually in that movie, he does the job to David Sloane in the fight scene in the restaurant, I believe that movie came out before he came to the UFC also.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Pride.4

                      Oh hell yeah. That works as well but I was thinking more like Kickboxer 3:



                      Marco Ruas is actually in that movie, he does the job to David Sloane in the fight scene in the restaurant, I believe that movie came out before he came to the UFC also.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Pride.4

                        Man, Michelle Waterson is unbelievable gorgeous.

                        UFC 209 looking like it's going to be a good one.

                        Edit: Fuck, wrong thread. I thought I was in the UFC 208 thread. This is your brain on weed.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Pride.4

                          Man, Michelle Waterson is unbelievable gorgeous.

                          UFC 209 looking like it's going to be a good one.

                          Edit: Fuck, wrong thread. I thought I was in the UFC 208 thread. This is your brain on weed.

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