The History Of Pride FC: Pride FC Final Conflict 2005
Posted by Jeffrey Harris on 06.25.2009
The climax of the Pride 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix is here! Plus, Cro Cop faces off against Fedor for the Pride Heavyweight Championship in one of the biggest MMA showdowns in the history of history.
PRIDE FC FINAL CONFLICT 2005
-August 28, 2005 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The final four combatants of the Pride 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix: Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, Wanderlei Silva, Ricardo Arona, and Alistair Overeem. Shogun and Silva, best friends and fellow training partners at Chute Box, are set on opposite sides of the brackets with Silva facing Arona and Shogun facing Overeem in their respective semi-final bouts. In addition, Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic is set to challenge Pride FC Heavyweight Champion, Fedor Emelianenko, in the dream MMA heavyweight showdown of the year.
-The show starts with a video package highlighting the final four. The video then changes with a recap look at the opening round bouts at Total Elimination 2005 and the quarter final bouts and winners at Critical Countdown 2005. The broadcasters are Mauro Ranallo and Bas "El Guapo" Rutten. Rutten breaks down the Cro Cop/Fedor fight, and Mauro and Bas break down the tournament bouts.
-The parade of fighters begins, and Hidehiko Yoshida trips on the steps on his way up. Classic. Ladies and gentlemen, this is more than just MMA. This is the . . . PRIDE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIPS!!!
MIDDLEWEIGHT GRAND PRIX RESERVE BOUT: Kazuhiro Nakamura (Pride Record: 6-4) VS. Igor Vovchanchyn (Pride Record: 18-7)
There's video footage of Silva's decimation of Nakamura at Critical Countdown. Nakamura says taking off his gi was a mistake, but he was surprised that Silva's punch was not as strong as he thought it was. OK Nakamura, that's pretty poor trash talking on your part. There's also some footage of Overeem submitting Igor. Igor says the loss was his mistake. Nakamura and Igor are both looking forward to exchanging punches. Nakamura says he went to Australia to train with Mark Hunt. The video goes straight to the ring for introductions in this Middleweight GP Reserve Bout. All Grand Prix bouts on this show are two rounds only.
Round 1. Igor gets Nakamura to the ground and works in some ground and pound from the half-guard. Nakamura is eventually able to manage a full sweep and works in some ground and pound of his own, and Igor starts to hold him and stall. The ref breaks them up and hands Igor a yellow card for stalling. Igor takes Nakamura down, and Nakamura is able to get another sweep and passes half-guard into side control. Nakamura isn't able to do much with the side mount, but switches to mount and tries for an arm choke. Igor is able to defend it, and Nakamura keeps shifting mounts and goes for a mounted armbar. Igor is able to escape, and Nakamura goes for an armbar from the full mount, but Nakamura isn't able to finish it and Igor works in Nakamura's full closed guard right before the bell rings. Bas and Mauro talk about how they went for a ground battle rather than a stand-up war.
Round 2. Igor achieves full mount over Nakamura. Nakamura powers out and reverses to top position into Igor's full guard. After a restart, Nakamura is able to work in some ground strikes and passes guard to side mount. Nakamura works for the Kimura/armbar yet again, and Igor escapes. Nakamura tries to the spin from mount into the armbar, but Igor has that move well scouted and works into the closed full guard of Nakamura. After a while the refs breaks them up and yellow cards both Nakamura and Igor. On the feet, Igor hits Nakamura with a left hand and then misses a high knee. Igor sprawls a takedown attempt and remains on top of Nakamura until the end of the round.
The Winner: Nakamura is awarded the unanimous decision. Not exactly a spectacular win for Nakamura or a really impressive performance for either guy. I agree with announcers that Nakamura probably got the edge for the submission attempts and trying to finish the fight, while Igor didn't do much with his takedowns or ground control.
MIDDLEWEIGHT GRAND PRIX SEMI-FINAL BOUT: Wanderlei Silva (Pride Record: 20-1-1) VS. Ricardo Arona (Pride Record: 6-1)
In the video package, Arona says he's not afraid of Silva and God is the only person that Arona fears. Silva says he's in great shape and there's no favorite in the tournament and thinks he will knock Arona out. Arona says Silva has good stand-up but is bad on the ground. The video goes straight to the ring for this semi-final bout.
Round 1. Arona and Silva are both very slow to start and try out some light kicks and minor exchanges. Silva goes in and gets a right. They trade some lowkicks, and Arona is able to knock Silva down with one and pounces. Arona works some ground strikes in Silva's closed full guard until the ref moves them back to the center when they get too close to the ring apron. Arona gets some strikes through Silva's guard. Another restart to the middle and Arona is able to land more impressive strikes through the guard. The ref stops the action and stands Arona and Silva up. Silva is given the yellow card for stalling and passivity. Silva advances on Arona, but Arona is able to get a knee strike in the clinch and gets Silva down again. Arona gets some more ground and pound strikes with only a minute to go. Arona lands some hammerfist blows and lifts Silva up from the guard. Silva goes in and tags Arona with some punches and goes for a knee just as the bell rings. A strong first round for Arona who looks ahead so far. It started slow but picked up.
Round 2. Still slow to start. Arona dodges an early barrage from Silva, and hits some inside lowkicks. Silva goes in and punches Arona to the corner. Arona trades back. Silva gets a couple inside lowkicks. Bas is pointing out that not much is happening with just two minutes left. Arona hits an outside leg kick. Ref breaks the action and gives both fighters a yellow card with about a minute left. Now that was a well deserved yellow card since Silva and Arona were doing little more than staring at each other. Silva goes in and gets a punching combination off on Arona. Arona comes back with a knee strike to Silva's midsection and takes Silva down into the corner. Arona lands more ground strikes and some double hammerfist blows through the ground and pretty much smothers Silva on the mat. Bell sounds and that's the fight.
The Winner: The fight goes to the judges. Arona is awarded the unanimous decision by all three judges to advance to the finals! Silva is defeated at middleweight for the first time ever in Pride! This was the right decision. Silva never turned it on or really tried to win the fight. Arona's performance was impressive even though he was tentative early in both rounds. Silva just looked off here, I dunno, maybe Silva wanted to step aside so his best buddy Shogun would win the tournament tonight. Hey, just saying. Arona celebrates with Brazilian Top Team as Silva takes the long walk to the back.
MIDDLEWEIGHT GRAND PRIX SEMI-FINAL BOUT: Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (Pride Record: 6-0) VS. Alistair Overeem (Pride Record: 6-2)
Shogun is ready to win. Overeem says being Pride champion is his goal, and he's going to do everything possible to win. The winner of this fight will face Ricardo Arona later in the evening to determine the Pride 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix Champion.
Round 1. They clinch early, and Overeem gets a knee to Shogun's head and belly to belly suplexes Shogun into side control. Overeem looks like he's going for his signature guillotine choke early, but Shogun defends but gets another knee to the head followed by a right from Overeem. They clinch over by the ropes. Shogun tries for a takedown, but Overeem reverses and hits the takedown himself into half-guard. Overeem tries to work through the guard, but Shogun attempts a leglock. Overeem escapes and Shogun stands back up into the clinch. Shogun hits a knee strike, but Overeem lands a series of knee strikes to the midsection of his own and takes Shogun down yet again into side control. Overeem goes to north/south position and hits some knees. Shogun tries to get up and leaves the position. Shogun shoots for a takedown, but Overeem sprawls and gets Shogun in a front headlock. Shogun reverses and is able to bodylock Overeem, relentlessly trying to take Overeem down but unable to do so as Overeem's takedown defense is too strong. Shogun pushes Overeem into the corner. Shogun lands a knee and a body shot, but Overeem powers out of the corner and sprawls over another Shogun takedown attempt. Overeem pulls guard and applies the guillotine choke! Itís not tight enough however and Shogun manages to slip his head out. Bas: "Whoo! That is crazy!" Bas is giddy over this fight. Shogun tries to shift but is unable to pass guard. Shogun is able to hit a left and a right through the guard. Shogun decides to stand up and lands two straight soccer kicks to Overeem's head. Overeem rallies back and overpowers Shogun in the clinch with a takedown, but Shogun quickly reverses and takes top position over Overeem. Shogun passes half-guard and gets side control. Overeem tries to stay active and hits some knees from the bottom. Shogun stands up and gets another soccer kick, but misses with a flying stomp. Overeem goes for Shogun's feet, so Shogun starts smacking Overeem's head with Shogun's heel. Overeem gets out of the way, and Shogun lands back into Overeem's guard. Shogun passes guard and starts working some knees and elbows. Shogun takes full mount and starts landing some big winging punches. Shogun puts his knee over Overeem's left arm to stop some of Overeem's blocks and lands more hammerfists and punches. The ref finally steps in and IT . . . IS . . . OVER!
The Winner: Shogun gets the TKO at 6:42 in Round 1 to advance to the finals in the tournament to face Ricardo Arona. Good stoppage. Overeem looked really impressive early. He was overpowering Shogun in the clinch and dominating Shogun at the start, but Shogun was able to come back defending well on the ground and passing Overeem's guard to do damage there. Great fight and a good win for Shogun.
Fabricio Werdum (Pride Record: 1-0) VS. Roman Zentsov (Pride Record: Debut)
Werdum previously beat Tom Erikson at Pride 29. Zentsov is a member of the Red Devil training camp with Fedor.
Round 1. Werdum comes out with a running knee but gets nothing. Zentsov sprawls over a takedown attempt, but Werdum comes back with a low double-leg takedown into the corner. Werdum achieves full mount and gets some grounded blows in. Zentsov reverses into Werdum's guard. Zentsov passes into north/south position and gets a headlock. Werdum pulls his head out and gets side control and gets a kimura. Werdum lets go of it and achieves full mount again. Werdum gets Zentsov's backs and gets the hooks, but Zentsov is able to turn it over into Werdum's guard. Zentsov tries to work from the guard, but Werdum slides his legs up and gets a triangle armbar submission. Zentsov taps and that is it.
The Winner: Werdum wins his second fight in Pride with the triangle armbar submission at 6:01 in the first round. Slick submission and an impressive win by Werdum.
Tank Abbott (Pride Record: Debut) VS. Hidehiko Yoshida (Pride Record: 3-3-1)
Tank Abbott says he needs a 12-step program for fighting because he's addicted to it and its not over for him. Yoshida says he's not afraid of Abbott. Abbott says if Yoshida fights Abbott's way, it will be a short night and a trip to the hospital for Yoshida. Yoshida says, "let's do it."
Round 1. Yoshida gets a high kick off early, and Abbott comes right back with a takedown into Yoshida's full guard. Yoshida shifts his legs up and tries for an armbar and almost gets it but his legs slip off. Yoshida stalls and holds onto Tank's wrists. A restart into the middle and Yoshida tries to push Abbott off from the guard. Abbott stays down, and Yoshida tries for another armbar, but Abbott moves the position up against the ropes so Yoshida can't finish it. Abbott is able to pass guard into side control. Not much happens and Abbott works again in Yoshida's guard. Abbott lands some body shots, and Yoshida keeps trying to push Abbott off again. Yoshida continues to hold Abbott's wrist. Shamada breaks the position and gives both Abbott and Yoshida a yellow card for being boring. Yoshida on the feet gets some punches on Abbott and a knee to the midsection. Yoshida blocks a takedown and gets a headlock. Yoshida starts landing knee strikes to the head. Yoshida gets Abbott's back and both hooks in. Yoshida applies the GI Choke, and Abbott taps out.
The Winner: Yoshida wins by submission at 7:40 in Round 1. Decent finish I guess, and more or less a gimme fight for Yoshida against an old and past his prime Tank Abbott who was very overmatched by Yoshida's submissions. Yoshida gets the mic and says he was victorious because of the fans' support and that Abbott was too heavy. Yoshida says he wants to compete at heavyweight.
PRIDE FC HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP BOUT: Fedor Emelianenko (c) (Pride Record: 10-0) VS. Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic (13-2-2)
No video or highlight package on the DVD, and the video goes straigh to the ring for introductions. Here we go, one of the biggest heavyweight championship showdowns of the decade. Cro Cop and Fedor touch gloves, and the crowd is excited.
Round 1. Fedor advances on Cro Cop at the start and clinches, but Cro Cop escapes. Fedor checks a Cro Cop kick and goes in with a right. Cro Cop exchanges back with some of his own. Fedor continues to follow Cro Cop around the ring and gets a left and a body kick. Cro Cop tries to evade Fedor's strikes and try to get some of his own punches in. Fedor throws a left leg kick, and Cro Cop hits a nice left jab. Cro Cop snaps off a loud kick, but Fedor counters with a left and goes after Cro Cop with some right punches. Fedor now starts catching up with Cro Cop against the ropes and getting off more punching combinations as it looks like Cro Cop's strategy is failing. Cro Cop goes for a big kick, but Fedor ducks it and picks Cro Cop up for a takedown, but in an amazing visual Cro Cop bounces off the ropes and lands on his feet and Fedor goes through the ropes right onto the ring apron. Wow. It looks like Cro Cop basically pushed Fedor out of the ring. Fedor gets back in and later rocks Cro Cop with some punches and continues to press the action. Cro Cop then presses Fedor with some nice left punches and ducks a huge swing from Fedor. Cro Cop misses most of one of his big high kicks and Fedor is able to come back and get a takedown. Fedor lands some punches on the downed Crop Cop, but Fedor is bleeding heavily. It looks like Fedor got cut from that skimming high kick or left. The corner wipes Fedor down and Shamada restarts the fight in the middle of the ring. Cro Cop tries to defend against Fedor's onslaught in the guard. Shamada stops the fight again to wipe the blood off of Fedor and Cro Cop. Shamada restarts it in the same position. Fedor stands and lands some punches while Cro Cop tries to hit some upkicks. Fedor blows his nose out and lands another punch. Cro Cop tries to shift round and lands some punches while Fedor stands up. They roll round for a bit, and Fedor passes into north/south. Fedor however leaves the mount position and goes back into Cro Cop's guard. Fedor lands some more bombs while Cro Cop tries to remain active. Cro Cop is able to keep Fedor from passing and defends. Bell sounds and that's the first round. Whew. Cro Cop did get some damage in on Fedor and got first blood. However, right at the start, Fedor already imposed his will on Cro Cop and dictated the pace and pressed the action. Cro Cop did his best to try and evade Fedor's strikes, but it was only a matter of time before Fedor got more and more off. Cro Cop started to do better, but then Fedor gets a takedown and dominates Cro Cop on the ground which is not Cro Cop's strong suit.
Round 2. Fedor gets some body shots on Cro Cop against the ropes and lands a head kick. Cro Cop answers back with a kick to the liver, misses a head kick, and gets a left punch. They both fight over a bodylock for a little while. Cro Cop looks like he's starting to tire, and Fedor continues to press the pace. Fedor gets some knees in the clinch and shrugs Cro Cop off. Fedor and Cro Cop clinch against the ropes, and Fedor gets an inside leg trip. Fedor delivers more of his ground punishment and fights to pass, but Cro Cop defends from Fedor getting mount. The second round ends pretty much the same as the first. As the fight continues, it remains to look like Cro Cop is playing right into Fedor's game and is starting to fatigue. Cro Cop is surviving and landing some strikes, but Fedor is generally scoring more in the standup and on the ground.
Round 3. Third and final round. Fedor continues to look to be getting the better of the standing exchanges. Fedor shoots for a takedown, but Cro Cop almost reverses it and gets Fedor's back. Fedor however turns it over on top of Cro Cop. Cro Cop lifts up his leg and looks like he has an armbar! Fedor however lands a series of hammerfist strikes, and Cro Cop is not able to keep the hold. Fedor passes into side control. Fedor moves back into full guard and lands some more ground strikes while Cro Cop tries to fight from the ground. Cro Cop starts holding Fedor's arms and Shamada issues a yellow card to Cro Cop and stands both men up. I think that was a stupid yellow card. They've let a lot more go on without yellow cards. Cro Cop clinches up with Fedor and struggles, but Fedor gets the takedown. The ground battle continues, and Cro Cop tries maybe for another armbar, but Fedor fights through it. Shamada issues yet another stupid yellow card. I have no idea why. I think Shamada just wanted to stand them up for the last minute so they pulled this crap. This fight has by far the stupidest utilization of yellow cards I have ever seen. Back to standing. Cro Cop lands a pair of body kicks, but he's starting to drop his hands and Fedor isn't backing down. Fedor presses Cro Cop against the ropes and shoots for a takedown but instead basically just shoves the tired Cro Cop to the ground and moves into full guard. Cro Cop tries to fight from the ground but its all but useless. The bell sounds and that is all. Fedor helps Cro Cop to his feet.
The Winner: The judges award Fedor the academic unanimous decision after this grueling, titanic, heavyweight clash. Fedor neutralized whatever ground game Cro Cop had been working on. Even in the stand-up where Cro Cop's skills are strongest, Fedor was able to take Cro Cop's best and fight through it. Again, I think Cro Cop went in with a bad strategy in letting Fedor impose his will and dictate the pace and action of the fight. That said, I think in the third round Fedor could've done a little more to finish Cro Cop when Cro Cop's tank was clearly starting to run on empty. Credit to Cro Cop going the distance, even if he basically got dominated. Nobuhiko Takada comes in for Fedor's victory celebration and awards Fedor a plaque. Great visual with Fedor winking with his swollen eye. Fedor gets a big trophy and is given back his title belt. Fedor gets on the mic and dedicates his win to the fans in Saitama and around the world who supported them and also thanks them in Japanese.
MIDDLEWEIGHT GRAND PRIX CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS: Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (Pride Record: 7-0) VS. Ricardo Arona (Pride Record: 7-1)
Here we go with the final bout to determine the winner of the blockbuster 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix. Shogun took a bit of a beating but finished his fight earlier in less than seven minutes. Arona handed Wanderlei Silva of all people Silva's first defeat at middleweight in the history of Pride FC. Silva smiles in Shogun's corner. Paulo Filho holds two fingers in Arona's corner. Shogun and Arona touch gloves before the fight and it is on.
Round 1. Shogun right off the bat does a unique jumping spin kick but gets nothing. They fight for a takedown in the clinch and Arona lands on top. Shogun scrambles and gets an omoplata. Arona slips out, and Shogun tries for a head stomp, but Arona puts his feet up and blocks it. Shogun lands some strikes from the top and misses with a soccer kick. Arona stands to his feet, but Shogun continues to blast Arona. Shogun gets the Thai clinch and lands his patented knee strikes. Arona pushes Shogun over into the ropes and down to the mat. Shogun gets back up to his feet in clinch position. Shogun shifts over and gets the takedown from the body lock. Arona tries to push Shogun off, but Shogun stays on top. Shogun passes the half-guard into side mount control and starts landing some elbow shots to the body. Arona keeps Shogun away from full mount and blocks another stomp. Shogun misses another one, but lands in a good position over Arona and drops some big hammerfist bombs. Arona is out! And that is it!
The Winner: Shogun gets the KO at 2:54 in Round 1. Bas and Mauro are going nuts, and Chute Box rush in and tackle Shogun in the ring. Now this was more like a classic Shogun performance after almost getting dominated and beaten by Overeem earlier in the evening. This put the young rising star in Shogun (only 23 years old at this point) at the top of the middleweight/light heavyweight heap in the world of MMA over the next couple of years. Shogun is awarded his check of 20 million yen which is about $200,000. The glum Arona gets his loser dog trophy and 5 million yen check. Hey for losing, that's not bad. Takada gives Shogun his winning certificate. George Greenberg from FSN comes out to announce Pride FC being broadcast on FSN in the US. Shogun is then presented with his first place trophy and then his golden Grand Prix title belt which Wanderlei Silva personally wraps around Shogun's waist.
DVD BONUS AND BONUS DISC FEATURES
What Is Pride FC? - The 10 minute infomercial documenting Pride FC that's on almost everything they release.
Event Commercial? - A 30 second English TV spot hyping the event for PPV. Too bad BCI never puts the Japanese event commercials on here as those are usually much cooler.
Event Preview - A one minute video that's also shown at the beginning of the event featuring the final four of the tournament with some clips of their quarter final match wins.
Cro Cop vs. Fedor Preview - A 90 second PPV ad for the Cro Cop/Fedor fight. Some good footage of both guys wins, including Cro Cop's brutal head kick victory over Alek, Fedor's brother.
Fighter Intros - The montage video of fighter entrances that are cut from the main show on DVD. Overeem comes out with a smoking hottie waving the Dutch flag. Was this perhaps the girlfriend he had to dump in order to change his lifestyle and start winning again besides also eating horse meat? One of Arona's cornerman comes out with the Israeli flag. What's that about? Is Arona is also kosher? Or is that just one of his training partners? All together the video runs about 9 minutes.
Pride Girls - A one minute clip of the Asian hottie Pride ring girls doing their thing.
Uncut Fighter Interviews - All the pre-fight interviews with Jerry Millen shown uncut that can be watched individually or all together as one feature. Again Millen avoids asking Silva about what would happen if Silva ends up in the finals with Shogun. Instead Millen asks about a stupid story where Silva didn't want to sit next to Arona on a plane and some nonsense about Sakuraba training at Chute Box. All together there's about 40 minutes of interviews.
The 411: A really good show. Fedor/Cro Cop is a great fight all MMA fans should see even if it doesn't have a super exciting finish. This is a good look at Shogun's rise to the top and how dominant he was before his hiccups in 2007-2009. Shogun now has a shot at redemption in the Machida fight, but there are still a lot lof questions about Shogun while Machida has looked stellar in his last two bouts. UP NEXT: Having covered most of Pride in 2005 and all three 2005 Grand Prix's, its time to take a look at Pride FC in 2006. First up is Bushido Vol. 10, one of the most loaded Bushido events of all time, and of course the 2006 Openweight Grand Prix.