The History Of Pride FC: Pride FC Total Elimination 2005
Posted by Jeffrey Harris on 05.19.2009
The sequel to the greatest tournament in the history of mixed martial arts features the rise of Shogun Rua to the top of the light heavyweight ladder.
PRIDE FC: TOTAL ELIMINATION 2005
-April 23, 2005 from the Osaka Dome in Osaka, Japan. In 2003, Pride Fighting Championships held their first ever Middleweight Grand Prix tournament featuring the likes of MMA legends and champions such as Chuck Liddell, Wanderlei Silva, Quinton Jackson, and Alistair Overeem in an eight man tournament. Silva was crowned the champion after defeating Hidehiko Yoshida in the semi-finals and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson in the finals all in one night. The fight with Jackson ended with one of the most brutal knockouts in the history of MMA. Here, Pride brings back the Middleweight Grand Prix, except this time itís a 16 man tournament, with all eight opening round fights taking place at Total Elimination 2005.
-The show starts with a video package highlighting the tournament participants. The video then goes to English broadcast commentators, Mauro Ranallo and Bas Rutten, who talk about Wanderlei Silva returning after winning the first Middleweight Grand Prix as well as the amount of talent in this tournament. Bas says already being in the tournament makes you #1. Another video package profiles all 16 fighters and their match-ups against each other.
-The 2005 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix is a 16 man tournament with four rounds. Total Elimination encompasses the sweet 16 fighters and who will advance the elite 8 by the end of the night. All the fights are under standard Pride rules with three rounds; the first round being 10 minutes, and rounds 2 and 3 being five minutes.
-The Pride theme kicks in and Lenny Hart ushers in the parade of the night's combatants. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the greatest tournament in mixed martial arts history. This is more than just MMA. This is the . . . PRIDE FIGHTING CHAMPSIONSHIPS!
Kazuhiro Nakamura (Pride Record: 5-3) VS. Kevin Randleman (Pride Record: 4-5)
Randleman is ticked because Nakamura asked for him, it doesn't matter who it is, no one asks for Kevin Randleman! Randleman promises the fight will not go past five minutes because he will be throwing punches. The fighters are already in the ring for the introductions.
Round 1. Nakamura presses the action early with some punches and hits a single right lowkick. Randleman gets the double-leg takedown into Nakamura's half-guard. Randleman moves Nakamura over by the corner, but Nakamura forces himself up and Randleman continues to push Nakamura into the ring corner. Randleman hits a knee strike, but the referee breaks them up due to the stalemate and takes them to the center. Randleman shoots for the takedown and Nakamura defends. Nakamura and Randleman trade knees, but they get tied up in the corner again. Another stalemate and the action goes back to the center again. Nakamura goes for a big flying knee, but Randleman catches him and drops him down spinebuster style! Nakamura keeps the position in half-guard. Randleman tries to go for some punches, but Nakamura avoids anything major, and the ref moves them in the same position back to the center when they get too close to the edge of the ring. Nakamura tries to scramble away, but they end up back to the corner again. Nakamura is able to stand himself up again and manages a beautiful judo throw on Randleman. Nakamura is in Randleman's open half-guard, but they get moved to the center of the ring where Nakamura gains side control and hits some knee strikes to Randleman's torso. Nakamura attempts to full mount, but Randleman hooks Nakamura's leg into half-guard. Nakamura goes for mount again and gets it and starts raining down punches. Randleman grabs a body lock to avoid more damage and tries to slip out, and Nakamura scissors Randleman's arm perhaps for an armbar. Randleman's in a very vulnerable position but he cartwheels over the side and gets right on top of Nakamura into half-guard. Randleman gets some light punches and the round comes to an end. Well, the fight already went longer than Randleman promised. Randleman looks to have good wrestling and takedowns, but he doesn't know what else to do after that.
Round 2. Nakamura goes in with a side lowkick and gets a right hand from Randleman. Randleman clinches Nakamura in the corner. Stalemate and the action goes back to the center. Nakamura swings with a high kick, but Randleman ducks and puts Nakamura to the mat and Nakamura pulls half-guard. Nakamura tries to move out, but Randlleman gets a full mount. Nakamura turns and escapes runs over to Randleman and gets side control. Knee strike to the head by Nakamura and Nakamura lands a series of grounded blows. Randleman tries to defend and do something, but Nakamura grabs Randleman's arm and applies an Americana. Randleman bridges up on his head and spins out and escapes. Nakamura keeps Randleman from gaining the advantage and grabs a headlock and hits Randleman with another knee strike. Randleman is able to push Nakamura over into guard. Nakamura keeps the distance from opening up, and Randleman is unable to improve his position. Round 2 comes to an end. Pretty dominant round for Nakamura, and Nakamura definitely scored more damage here while Randleman was unable to pull off anything impressive besides escaping some submissions. Not to mention, lay 'n pray doesn't win you the fight in Pride.
Round 3. Nakamura gets a right, and Randleman pushes Nakamura into the corner again and does nothing. Nakamura lands some knees to the body. The ref brings them back to the center, and Nakamura grabs the clinch and takes Randleman to the corner and gets an inside leg sweep takedown into half-guard. Randleman keeps the leg open, and Nakamura gets side control and then moves into full mount. Randleman gets a sweeping reversal into half-guard and Mark Coleman in the corner yells, "LET'S GO!" Randleman lands some body shots, but the ref moves their position back to the center. Randleman is unable to do anything of note. The ref stops them and they both get a yellow card. Randleman shoots and gets another takedown but has nothing to transition to afterward. The bell rings and that's the fight.
The Winner: Nakamura wins by unanimous decision to advance to the next round. Randleman in a show of poor sportsmanship bolts to the locker room in defeat, not even staying to congratulate Nakamura. Nakamura scored more damage really. Randleman was able to take Nakamura down, but had nothing to do afterwards besides lay 'n pray.
Ricardo Arona (Pride Record: 4-1) VS. Dean Lister (Pride Record: 2-1)
Lister says he's got a better ground and submission game than Arona. Arona tells Lister to do his best, "Because I'm going to do it."
Round 1. Arona punches Lister and hits inside and outside lowkicks. They clinch into the corner. Arona tries some knees, but they reach a stalemate and are broken apart. Arona and Lister begin making some light exchanges, and Arona gets an uppercut. Lister gets knocked down with a big right hand from Arona. Arona tries passing the guard into side mount and avoids an armbar. Arona gets a nice soccer kick and gets a strike through Lister's guard. Arona stands up but goes back into Lister's full guard. Bas wonders why Arona wouldn't just go back to his feet and try to get the fight stood up where Arona was doing really well instead of going back to the guard. Lister tries to set up his legs for a triangle choke, but he can't get his leg over Arona's arm. Arona stands back up again. Lister continues buttscooting and is stood back up. Ranallo rambles on about appreciating BJJ specialists grappling on the ground and that its not boring, they are "technicians!" How prophetic. I imagine Mauro loved the Silva/Leites fight from UFC 97. Arona and Lister make light exchanges, but Lister's constant backing away and lack of aggression gets him a yellow card. Wow, yellow cards are being handed out like they are going out of style. Don't you get it, Pride FC fights demand ACTION!!! Arona punches Lister into the ropes, but Lister shoots low and gets a takedown. Lister grabs the leg and drops down in the leglock after the ref demands more "ACTION!" Lister is cut on his forehead. Lister loses hold of Arona's leg, and Arona gets out. Lister moves into Arona's half-guard. Lister tries the leglock again, but Arona moves into top position. Bell sounds to end round 1.
Round 2. Lister shoots for a single-leg, but Arona lands on top into the half-guard. Arona and Lister move around. Lister looks like he's going for a triangle, but Arona gets out and stands up. Lister is stood up. Arona goes in and lands a nice left uppercut. Lister has another cut opened up on the side of his right eye. Arona misses with a high kick but lands with a right hook. Arona goes in for a throw, but Lister lands on top. Lister works but can't pull anything off. Arona shifts and gets his legs up and tries applying an armbar. Arona tries to finish the sub, but the bell sounds. Bas says Lister needs to work if he wants to win. That's pretty much it. Arona is getting the better of the standing exchanges.
Round 3. Lister gets and outside legkick and shoots for a takedown. Lister hits the takedown but he's getting tried up almost in an triangle. Arona wraps his legs around Lister's arm sort of like an omoplata, but Lister tries to grab the foot in an Achilles tendonlock. Arona moves up and gets on top into full-guard and gets full mount. Arona starts landing punches, and Lister turns over giving up his back. Lister turns over and gets out of position to get RNC'ed. Arona and Lister scramble, and Lister goes into full-guard. Bas keeps saying Lister needs to do something. Arona stays aggressive from the ground and lays defensive punches. Arona pushes Lister away with his feet and gets over into side mount on Lister. Arona lands knee strikes and punches from the side mount and goes for a full mount. Lister tries for a leglock so Arona spins up and away. The ref stands Lister up, and Bas says with the time left for Lister to win, "its going to have to be a flying knee to the face." Nope. Bell rings, and the fight goes to the judges for the academic decision for Arona. Bas and Mauro debate over why the fight was so boring and un-exciting. Well two BJJ ground specialists just isn't technical enough for a Pride audience I suppose.
The Winner: Arona is awarded the victory by unanimous decision to get to the next round. Easy decision. Lack of aggression and really much of anything besides some submission attempts by Lister. Both these guys had a strong ground game and both had the other guy well scouted on the ground as well. However, Arona had the better standup and was able to score more points that way. If Arona's standup was more polished he might've been able to knockout Lister. But honestly, the debating over technical fighting on the ground vs. exciting fighting was hilarious considering what happened with the Silva/Leites fight. Mauro was quick to defend the fighters as being technicians earlier, but by the end Bas and Mauro were both bad-mouthing the fight and practically called it crap.
Igor Vovchanchyn (Pride Record: 17-6-0-1) VS. Yuki Kondo (Pride Record: 1-2)
Video goes straight to the ring for the fighter introductions. Igor has won his last two fights in Pride against Yoshiki Takahashi and Dan Bobbish. Kondo is coming off of a loss at Pride Shockwave 2004 against Dan Henderson.
Round 1. Igor lands a kick to the body early. Kondo and Igor both look a little tentative. Kondo misses a high kick and stuffs a takedown from Kondo, pushing him down into side mount position. Igor hits a knee strike straight to the top of Kondo's head. Kondo moves and closes full-guard. Kondo isn't able to maintain wrist control and Igor lands some combination strikes. Kondo goes for the armbar, but Igor stays away. Kondo grabs for a toehold. Igor tries to get up, but Kondo holds on. Igor finally is able to step out and escape. Igor works in the guard for a while and attains full mount, but Kondo sweeps and gets a reversal to top position. Kondo works on top, and Igor tries for a kimura sub. Kondo tries to roll over, but Igor gets on top and finishes the kimura in side control. Kondo keeps moving, and Igor isn't able to keep the hold applied. Igor gets full mount for some ground and pound. Igor's able to land a constant stream of hooking blows and keeps Kondo from rolling over. Igor tries for an armbar, but Kondo is able to roll the position over and goes into full-guard again. Igor gets the sweep into half-guard. The bell rings and the round ends. Well that was definitely Igor's round. Kondo showed a lot of toughness and took a lot of punishment, but he's still well behind Igor.
Round 2. Kondo shoots for a takedown, but Igor stops it with a headlock. Kondo gets out but receives a series of combination strikes and a body kick. Kondo retaliates with a right hook but is on the receiving end of a takedown from Igor. Igor works in guard and the ref moves them over to the center after being tied up in the ropes. Igor is able to land more grounded strikes in the guard position. Igor gets side mount and lands some knees over on the kidneys of Kondo. Kondo tries to slip out, but Igor grabs the head and lands a pair of knee strikes. Igor is able stay in full mount, but Igor is starting to look tired and throwing less power in his punches. Kondo puts his hands up and gets more strikes from Igor as the bell rings. Igor is still looking ahead and easily dominated this round as well, but near the end he was looking very tired and he's unable to finish off a very vulnerable Kondo at all.
Round 3. Kondo shoots for a single-leg. Igor grabs Kondo in a headlock and flips them both over and gets top position to land some ground and pound strikes. Igor continues working in the guard, and Kondo stands up and the two fighters are maneuvered into the corner. Igor punches out of that position. Kondo tries for another takedown, but Igor sprawls right into a big knee strike from high above. Kondo stands up in the clinch and they trade knees to the body. Igor lands a right hook and some body shots, and Kondo pulls full-guard. Igor attains full mount yet again and lands some more blows. Kondo keeps trying to roll over but itís no use. The bell rings to sound the end of the fight.
The Winner: The judges give the fight to Igor via unanimous decision. This is the third straight decision of the night. Igor definitely dominated, but he looked tired and was unable to capitalize and finish Kondo when Kondo was very vulnerable and Igor was totally in control.
Vitor Belfort (Pride Record: 4-1) VS. Alistair Overeem (Pride Record: 3-2)
Belfort was sent to fight in this tournament by the UFC to represent the UFC much like Chuck Liddell did when he participated in the first Pride Middleweight Grand Prix in 2003. Belfort says he's Brazilian and even in the UFC feels like a foreigner, but he's proud to represent the UFC in this tournament. Overeem says he has more fights and is going to take Belfort's head and punch it! Belfort says he's going to follow his gameplan and win. Overeem is coming off of a loss against Little Nog at Pride 29. Belfort is coming off of two straight losses in the UFC having lost the light heavyweight title back to Randy Couture and a loss to Tito Ortiz. Overeem competed in the first Pride Middleweight Grand Prix, losing to Chuck Liddell in the opening round.
Round 1. Overeem goes in with a flying knee strike, and Belfort turns it around, clinching Overeem in the corner. Overeem turns it around and belly to belly suplexes Vitor down to the mat. Overeem lands some hammer fists in the full guard and avoids a submission attempt. Belfort tries for an armbar, but Overeem stops it with a nasty soccer kick to the back of Belfort's head. SOCCER KICKS ARE LEGAL!!! Belfort is stood up, and they stand and trade. Overeem takes Belfort down and gets up from the ground. Jumping stomp! Belfort stands up and chases Overeem with some punches, but Overeem locks Belfort up in the corner. Stalemate and the ref puts them back in the center. Overeem connects with a high kick. Belfort recovers and takes Overeem down into full-guard. Overeem struggles for wrist control, and the ref moves them to the center after getting too close to the ropes. Belfort works in the guard and hits some body shots. The referee breaks them up and gives Belfort a yellow card. Overeem and Belfort are stood back up. Overeem lands a right hook and another kick. Overeem goes low and gets a double-leg. Overeem continues to work in the full guard. Overeem isn't able to improve his position to land some better strikes. The ref breaks them up again and this time gives Belfort a yellow card. Overeem comes in with a knee to the head and knocks Belfort down raining in the punches. Belfort scrambles and Overeem avoids an armbar. Overeem hooks on a tight guillotine and hooks his legs around Belfort. Belfort taps and that is it.
The Winner: Alistair Overeem wins by submission with the guillotine at 9:36 in Round 1. Finally something other than a boring decision. Strong performance by Overeem who sends the UFC packing from this tournament pretty quickly. Belfort would not return to the UFC after this fight. Belfort would jump around promotions for a while and had a failed drug test after hiss loss to Dan Henderson at Pride 32. Belfort would then go down to middleweight and amass a four fight winning streak including a devastating knockout victory over Matt Lindland at Affliction: Day Of Reckoning.
Dan Henderson (Pride Record: 7-3) VS. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (Pride Record: 6-0)
Henderson says he has more knockout power than Nogueira and he can avoid Nog's submissions well. Nogueira says Henderson is a good fighter but he's overall better and will prove that Henderson is wrong about escaping from Nogueira's submissions. Yuji Shimada(!) is your referee of honour.
Round 1. Henderson gets a right punch in the clinch and an outside legkick. They clinch and struggle for the takedown. Henderson reverses the leverage and gets a takedown and tries to mount. Nogueira turns around and tries to grab Henderson's leg for a submission. Henderson keeps top and lands some hammering blows from a crucifix position. Nogueira gets out and gets into buttscoot position. Nog's nose is pretty bloody. Shimada wipes Nog down and we see Big Nog outside the ring observing the fight. Nogueira and Henderson go for a little dirty boxing and clinch over into the corner. Nogueira lands a low blow and the ref breaks it up. Henderson gets back into the fight but is knocked down by a right jab from Nogueira. Nogueira gives chase to Hendo on the ground, and Henderson tries to close the distance. Henderson kicks Nogueira away and gets back to his feet. Henderson goes for one of his overhand right hooks, and Henderson and Nogueira both start unloading with the punches. Henderson goes in and lands a single-leg takedown into Nog's full-guard. Nogueira throws his legs up on Henderson's arm and gets the omoplata. Henderson shifts his legs over Nogueira and is able to get out of the hold. Henderson stands up and tries to land a stomp, but Nogueira blocks. Henderson gets on his knees but takes some punches to the head from Nog. Henderson moves away and Shimada stands them up. Bas sees Henderson resting with his hands on his knees noting that Dan is looking pretty tired. Henderson clinches Nog into the corner and works for some knee strikes, but he is starting to look pretty gassed. Mauro and Bas then start discussing fighters in this tournament showing each other too much respect not to make a mistake so they don't lose. Nogueira stuffs Henderson's takedown attempts and puts Henderson on his back and gets side mount. Nogueira looks for the kimura and then swings his hips around and drops down for the Nogueira armbar! Henderson tries to clinch his hands up! Bas: "There you go, buddy boy!" Nogueira keeps pulling back and fully hyper-extends Henderson's arm. Henderson taps, and it . . . is . . . over!
The Winner: Nogueira advances with the submission at 8:05 in Round 1. Nice finish. Nogueira was able to use his height and weight advantage well in the standup against Henderson, and Henderson didn't have any answer to the superior BJJ game from Nogueira. Henderson also looked very tired halfway into the fight, and to his credit he did get a lowblow which he didn't take much time to rest for afterward. A disappointing loss for Henderson, but don't feel too bad. Later in the year he would go on to compete in the Pride Welterweight Grand Prix and swept all three rounds to become the first and only Pride Welterweight Champion.
Kazushi "The Gracie Hunter" Sakuraba (Pride Record: 15-6-1) VS. Yoon Dong-Sik (Pride Record: Debut)
Phil "The New York Badass" Baroni joins the English broadcast team for this fight to wreak havoc on our aural senses. Baroni has just been signed to fight for Pride. Yoon is a prolific judoka practitioner making his MMA debut for this fight.
Round 1. Yoon takes it to Sakuraba early with some punches. Sakuraba comes back and lands some strikes that put Dong-Sik into the fetal position and the ref stops it.
The Winner: Baroni's prediction comes true as Sakuraba knocks out "Pork Fried Rice, whatever his name is" at 38 seconds in the first round.
-A video hypes the Pride Bushido Vol. 7 event set to air on PPV later on June 3.
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (Pride Record: 10-4) VS. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (Pride Record: 4-0)
Jackson is coming off a controversial split decision victory over Murilo "Ninja" Rua at Pride 29: Fists Of Fire. Shogun wants some retribution over the loss. Jackson says he wasn't himself for the fight and made mistakes cutting weight. Jackson says if he was in Shogun's corner he would tell Shogun to be careful because he [Rampage] is unstable and even he doesn't know what he's going to do. Shogun says he's very well prepared. Jackson says Shogun has no chance of beating him even if both are at 100% and that Shogun will be lucky to get out of the first five minutes. Shogun promises to knock Jackson out in the very first round.
Round 1. Shogun comes in with a 1-2 punching combination and Rampage pushes Shogun to the ropes. Shogun reverses the clinch and they both trade some knee strikes and Shogun hooks in some punches. Shimada breaks them up and Jackson lands a straight left jab. Shogun is able to grab the Thai clinch and lands some vicious knee strikes. Bas exclaims that Jackson lost two fights the exact same way and needs to get out and go to the side. Shogun lands a big jumping high kick and unloads with more punches and boxes Jackson into the corner. Baroni says Rampage is hurt. Shimada breaks up the clinch in the corner and takes them back to the middle to restart the fight. Baroni on Jackson: "He should get his head together. He should get it out of his butt, that's what he should do right now." Thank you for the amazing advice Phil Baroni, now go shut up and get knocked out somewhere or something. Shogun locks up Rampage on the side and lands some knees to Jackson's thigh. Another stalemate and Shimada breaks it up again. Shogun goes back on the attack and Jackson simply looks unaggressive and lacking the killer instinct. Shogun clinches and gets a takedown. Shogun gets side control, but Rampage tries to scramble up and Shogun lands a nasty knee strike. Baroni talks about the fighters earlier in the night fighting to not lose and Shogun is just going for it. Shogun grabs the Thai clinch once again and continues punishing Rampage with the knee strikes Wanderlei Silva style rendering Rampage completely and utterly powerless. Jackson's only defense is trying to grab the clinch and he starts jacking with his corner. They start trading and Shogun lands an uppercut. More knee strikes from the clinch and Rampage falls on the ground. Rampage manages to get back to his feet, but Shogun continues to punish Rampage with some sick Muay Thai. Rampage goes down again and Shogun starts laying in some soccer kicks before Shimada steps in to stop the fight. Yikes.
The Winner: Shogun Rua wins by wholesale murder in round 1 at 4:47. This was a huge win for Shogun and established him as a dominant light heavyweight to be reckoned with. Bas notes that Jackson should've come up with a better defense since he lost this fight the exact same way he lost to Wanderlei Silva, TWICE!
Wanderlei "The Axe Murderer" Silva (Pride Record: 18-1-1-1) VS. Hidehiko Yoshida (Pride Record: 3-1-1)
Silva says he's confident about winning the tournament and getting a knockout victory. No mention of what would happen if he were to possibly face his best friend and Chute Box partner, Mauricio. Silva is coming off a close split decision loss to Mark Hunt at Pride Shockwave 2004, marking Silva's first ever loss in Pride. Silva took that fight when he was originally set to face Kazushi Sakuraba for the event. Yoshida faced Silva previously at Pride Final Conflict 2003 in the semifinals of the 2003 Middleweight Grand Prix where Yoshida lost by unanimous decision. They face each other once again in the opening round of this tournament. Baroni has thankfully left the commentary booth after the last fight.
Round 1. Silva takes Yoshida down into full-guard. Nothing happens and Shimada hands out the yellow card to Yoshida for "passivity." Silva and Yoshida start trading and Silva connects more. Silva hits a lowkick and defends a takedown from Yoshida. Yoshida lands an overhand right and shoots for a takedown. Silva defends and lands some knees to the body in the clinch, but Yoshida finishes the takedown on Silva. Silva passes guard and gets side control. Silva gets up, but Yoshida lands a knee while he has Silva in a headlock. Yoshida lands another takedown but they are too close to the edge and are moved back to the middle of the ring. Yoshida manages to land some punches through Silva's guard. Ranallo and Bas are very impressed. Silva and Yoshida start trading on the ground with Silva landing some knees from the ground position, and then Silva gets his legs up for an armbar position. Silva lets it go and is back in an open guard. Bas: "He let it go. Why did he let it go? Why did he let it go?" Silva defends and tries to go for the armbar again, but he doesn't have it. Yoshida picks Silva up and powerbombs him down, shades of Rampage. Silva gets up with not a lot of time left. Silva stuff a takedown attempt and chases Yoshida on the ground and goes for some Silva stomps, but the bell sounds to save Yoshida from certain death via footsies to the facies. Well, all things aside, Yoshida definitely showed up for this fight and did very well in the first round. I'd say Yoshida came out ahead.
Round 2. Mauro and Bas talk about Silva looking "ALOT" smaller. Maybe Silva has been drinking less juice. Or eating less horse meat. Silva lands some punches and goes into Yoshida's guard. Yoshida tries an armbar but can't pull it off. Silva starts landing some strikes through the guard. Silva lands a right and a left punch through the guard. Yoshida tries to neutralize Silva while Silva keeps landing some punches and it goes that way to the end of the round. A better, more dominant round for Silva.
Round 3. Silva keeps peppering Yoshida with some lowkicks. Silva gets a punching combination over on Yoshida. Silva keeps picking apart at Yoshida's legs with the kicks. Yoshida gets a couple punches in on Silva. Silva boxes Yoshida into the ropes and Yoshida goes down. Silva stomp is blocked! And Yoshida goes for a toehold! Silva sits up, and Yoshida grabs onto a guillotine! Shimada checks on Silva and Silva wags his finger "no!" Yoshida keeps the hold applied and the bell rings. Strong finish by Yoshida, but I don't think it was enough to come back from the lead Silva was able to amass from the second and third rounds. Yoshida did very well in the first round, but Silva was easily able to dominate Yoshida with the standup game and the lowkicks. Silva should've tried more with the lowkicks earlier since that's where Yoshida seemed most vulnerably.
The Winner: The fight goes to the judges, and Silva gets the split decision victory. Silva and Yoshida are both good sports about it. It was a close fight, and I can see why with the finish near the end, a judge would've given it to Yoshida. But scoring and damage wise, I'd say Silva came out ahead. Yoshida was too passive on the ground and generally all he would do is grab his gi. Another reason why fighters should not be allowed to wear their stupid gis during an MMA battle. Silva now advances to the next round at Critical Countdown 2005. Silva celebrates with his seconds as Yoshida heads to the locker-room to end the show.
DVD BONUS DISC FEATURES
Fighter Entrance Highlights - A six minute video montage of all the fighter entrances that are clipped from the event. Sakuraba comes out with some props on his back, not sure what the significance of that is.
Event Preview - A 10 minute hype preview that highlights the opening round matchups and the fighters as well as highlights of some of their more recent victories. A similar version was shown early in the broadcast of the show, but this one was a lot more in-depth.
Uncut Pre-Fight Interviews - These are the full versions of the black and white fighter interviews shown in the pre-fight video packages. They can be selected in a menu for one particular fighter or played all together. Together the interviews run for 53 minutes. Witness Randleman's absolute and glorious craziness.
PRIDE Girls - A short one minute montage of the Pride ring girls doing their thing. A pretty pointles, superfluous feature, but hey hot, scantily clad Japanese women.
Event Commercial - This is a 30 second TV spot for the event. Just an extremely condensed version of the 10 minute preview.
What Is Pride FC? - This is essentially a 10 minute infomercial for Pride FC. It's been re-used and packaged on other DVD's as an extra before. So nothing new here.
The 411: Well, it felt important to take a look back at this show shortly after a time where fans were once again heatedly debating on the merit of a fight and its more important to be exciting or doing what it takes to simply win and get the W rather than going out to entertain and dazzle the fans. Fans have claimed that Anderson Silva vs. Thales Leites was a technical MMA battle, and we shouldn't criticize for that. Its just dumb redneck hillbilly MMA fans who will boo whenever a fight goes to the ground and there doesn't seem to be as much action. Mind you, the fans booing the hell out of that fight were mostly natives of Montreal, Quebec. So yes, the first few fights on this show were a little boring with ground specialists clashing pretty badly. But the last two fights were a lot of fun with Shogun's borderline murder of Jackson that would make Silva proud and put Shogun on the fast track to stardom. The Yoshida/Silva rematch was a lot of fun despite how it ended. Overall a good show and a strong start to the 2005 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix. Not to mention the lineup for the tournament is ridiculously star-studded with many of who are still the most famous and top notch fighters in the world today. Also no dumb, freakshow side attraction matches.