T Nation

Pride Final Conflict 2006

http://completevaletudoaccess.blogspot.com/2006/08/dse-add-shogunthe-snake-and.html

Word up T-Nation Pride fans,

September 10, Pride Final Conflict visits us once again, like an ass kicking Santa Claus from hell. Final Conflict 2006 has a lot to live up to after Final Conflict 2005, which saw Fedor-CroCop, Silva’s first loss to a 205 pound fighter in Pride, and Shogun secure revenge for the Chute Box Academy and a place for himself in the top 3 light heavyweights in the world. On paper though, I think this has potential to be the best card ever, even better than 2005. While not having Fedor in the tournament might make the tournament seem less crdible, his absence makes it better for me. Why? We don’t know who will win. As with Critical Countdown 2006, I will preview the card and throw out my predictions.

[i]
EDIT: I have placed the new MMA Weekly rankings in paratheses next to each fighters name.

http://www.mmaweekly.com/topten.asp
[/i]


Dream Stage Entertainment Presents PRIDE: Openweight Grand Prix 2006 Final
September 10th, 2006
Saitama Super Arena
Saitama, Japan
Doors Open: 14:00
Fights Start: 16:00

Tentative Fight Card (Card Subject To Change):

3R 10M/5M/5M
Mauricio Rua (#3 LHW) vs Cyrille Diabate (Team BOON!)

Diabate is coming off a four fight win streak in DEEP, but is shit out of luck here. Shogun is back, healthy, training 100%, and will be looking to put on his patented aerial display of kicks, stomps, and creative superman stunts that make him a joy to watch. First round KO, Shogun.


3R 10M/5M/5M
Ricardo Arona (#4 LHW) vs Alistair Overeem (Golden Glory)

Overeem gets the ironman award for 2006 in my book. He’s already fought five times in 2006, and that inclues Kharitonov, Werdum, Belfort, and Diet Nog. All that fighting can’t be doing good things to his body, and with his reputation for gassing I see a rough night for the Dutch wonder. Arona is coming off a long lay off to recover from some foot injuries he suffered. Arona may be the best grappler in MMA, and will blanket Overeem to a boring decision. Arona by UD.


3R 10M/5M/5M
Kazahiro Nakamura (Yoshida Dojo) vs Yoshihiro Nakao (Freelance)

Nakao has become relatively infamous for kissing Heath Herring on the lips and getting KTFO by the Texan who proclaimed to the world “I’m not gay!” Don’t let this overshadow his ability, though, he really has some potential. His ground and pound is excellent. However, the outsized Nakamura is proving he deserves to be a top 10 205 pound fighter, and will give “Kiss Kiss” hell on the ground and the feet. Nak by sub, Round 1.


3R 10M/5M/5M
Yosuke Nishijima (Takada Dojo) vs Evangelista Santos (Chute Boxe)

Nish has really got screwed by DSE in his first two fights. Understand that Nish is probably the most sucessful pro boxer ever to enter MMA, with a 24-2 record and ranked in the top 10 cruiserweights in the WBC. For his decision to join Pride, the 210 pound Nish got 290 pound Mark Hunt and submission master Yoshida. The kid’s heart is unquestionable as he displayed in an epic war with Mark Hunt, and now he’s finally getting a fair fight. Cyborg is a hot Chute Box prospect (ie wide looping punches and sloppy stance) with no ground game, perfect for a straight punching pro boxer. Nish by KO round 1.


PRIDE Openweight Grand Prix 2006 Reserve
Open, 2R 10M/5M
Sergey Kharitonov (#8 HW) vs. Aleksander Emelianenko (#9 HW)

Mark my words: fight of the year. Take two of the best set of hands in the Pride HW division, solid Sambo backgrounds, give them a hard loss in the previous fight, add in animousity between the training camps and this is what you get. This will be a sight to behold for anyone who loves pugilism. Alek’s conditioning has yet to catch up to his slimmer, stronger physique, and Kharitonov’s shoulder injury could be something that will never go away. Tough to call, but I give this one to Kharitonov based on his ability and willingness to go to the body with hard hooks that will suck out what little gas is inside the head-hunting Emelianenko. Winner of this fight is my fifth ranked heavyweight in the world (1.Fedor 2.Nog 3.Cro Cop 4.Barnett), screw the Maine-iac. Sergei Kharitonov, KO round 2.


PRIDE Openweight Grand Prix 2006 Semifinal
Open, 2R 10M/5M
Wanderlei Silva (#2 LHW) vs. Mirko Filipovic (#3 HW)

This one has been discussed a lot already. I’ll sum up my thoughts:

This fight is exactly what Mirko needs. He has fought uninspired as of late, and everytime Silva opens his mouth he feeds the fire inside of Mirko a little more. Both of these fighters strongly dislike each other. Mirko thinks Silva acts like a disrespectful child inside the ring, Silva thinks Mirko acts like an arrogant prick. After CroCop-Yoshida, Mirko helped Yoshida out of the ring and Silva mocked him for being “fake”. Cro Cop supposedly uttered profanity at Wandy for all to hear, and stated his desire to fight Silva in the post fight interview.

Anyways, my point is that Cro Cop’s stand up skills are light years ahead of Silva. Silva’s game plan is based off of pure aggression. His hands are held wide and he throws wild hooks. Mirko throws hard accurate punches up the pipe and his legs are…well, devastating. The only thing that can stop Mirko from winning this fight is his own level of motivation, and Wandy is taking care of that for him. Mirko, Round 1, KO by soccer kicks.


PRIDE Openweight Grand Prix 2006 Semifinal
Open, 2R 10M/5M
Josh Barnett (#4 HW) vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (#2 HW)

I don’t see this one ending early, unless Nog gets a sub. Both have proven chins, Nog is impossible to KO and Aleks hit Barnett with everything but the kitchen sink. Josh can be knocked out though, and the guy who did it trains with Nog. So I won’t completely rule out the possibilty of Nog putting him on queer street. Barnett has done well so far because he is so well rounded, and the guys he’s fought in this tournament have been one dimensional fighters for the most part. Nog can do everything that Josh can, but does it better. Barnett has better wrestling, but I don’t see him surviving long inside Nog’s active gaurd. Nog wins by decision.

That would give us a CroCop-Nog final. My gut says Nog wins it, but I’m going with my heart which says Mirko. So many variables here due to what happens in their first fights, so a breakdown is tough. But I hope that Mirko can dominate Nog on the feet like he did last time, and stay away from the ground. If he does end up on the ground, his skills from working with Werdum will hopefully keep him from feeding Nog a limb like he did last time. CroCop by decision, and Mirko finally gets a belt. And we get to see Fedor-CroCop II, which is certainly a good thing.

Thanks for that!

Good post!

Good post man. Glad to see some well thought out posts on MMA.

I’ll have to respectfully disagree with your analysis of the Barnett x Nog matchup. Nog has real crisp accurate punching, but is lacking KO power unless you are named Kikuta.

Barnett might have a little trouble working to the inside of Nog’s strikes, like he did against Aleks, but just like he did against Aleks I think he can rush in and close the distance. You say that he won’t last long in Nog’s guard, but I think you are underestimating his groundskills. Look at what a prime Ricco did to Nog, he frustrated him on the ground all the way to being robbed out of a decision.

I definitely think Nog is tops when it comes to guard game, but I also think that an opponent who is competent on the top (a la Ricco, Barnett, and of course Fedor) will be able to work him hard enough to win a decision.

Again, great post!

Despite the size difference and rules favoring Cro-Cop I thought Silva won their first fight and if he’s on, I see him taking this one as well.

[quote]alfuh wrote:
Good post man. Glad to see some well thought out posts on MMA.

I’ll have to respectfully disagree with your analysis of the Barnett x Nog matchup. Nog has real crisp accurate punching, but is lacking KO power unless you are named Kikuta.

Barnett might have a little trouble working to the inside of Nog’s strikes, like he did against Aleks, but just like he did against Aleks I think he can rush in and close the distance. You say that he won’t last long in Nog’s guard, but I think you are underestimating his groundskills. Look at what a prime Ricco did to Nog, he frustrated him on the ground all the way to being robbed out of a decision.

I definitely think Nog is tops when it comes to guard game, but I also think that an opponent who is competent on the top (a la Ricco, Barnett, and of course Fedor) will be able to work him hard enough to win a decision.

Again, great post![/quote]

You make some great points. Looking at what I wrote I was probably not giving Josh enough props. IF he can get side control on Nog, Noguiera will have a long night, and probably a losing night. Nog has really beefed up lately, from 225-230 pounds to 242 in his last fight, hopefully he can use that weight to at least minimize the danger from Barnett’s take downs. I will say this: If Barnett beats Nog, he’s my pick to win it all, especially if it’s Silva in the final.

That’s the best thing about this tournament, every single fighter has a great chance to win it.

Whether or not this is the best card ever I don’t know, I do know I can’t wait for it. Here are my predictions:


Mauricio Rua (Chute Boxe) vs Cyrille Diabate (Team BOON!)

I just don’t see anyway Shogun loses this fight. This one is ending early for sure.


3R 10M/5M/5M
Ricardo Arona (Brazilian Top Team) vs Alistair Overeem (Golden Glory)

I don’t know what to make of Overeem. Seems like the first 5 minutes of his fights I find myself saying things like “wow, he looks really good.” After that he just seems to gas, and when he gasses he is done. I’m gonna go with Arona based on the fact that I think this fight will make it past the 5 minute mark.


3R 10M/5M/5M
Kazahiro Nakamura (Yoshida Dojo) vs Yoshihiro Nakao (Freelance)

I really don’t know enough about either of these fighters to make a prediction, so I won’t.


3R 10M/5M/5M
Yosuke Nishijima (Takada Dojo) vs Evangelista Santos (Chute Boxe)

Same as above.


PRIDE Openweight Grand Prix 2006 Reserve
Open, 2R 10M/5M
Sergey Kharitonov (Russian Top Team) vs. Aleksander Emelianenko (Red Devil Sport Club)

Not sure if I agree that this will be the fight of the year. I have been disappointed with Alexander in his recent fights, and Kharitonov is dangerous. I see Kharaitonov winning this in the first round.


PRIDE Openweight Grand Prix 2006 Semifinal
Open, 2R 10M/5M
Wanderlei Silva (Chute Boxe) vs. Mirko Filipovic (CroCop Squad Gym)

This is the fight of the night for me. I really can’t wait to see this one. I could see this fight going either way. The thing about Silva is he just keeps coming at you relentlessly. This is something that has given Cro-Cop problems in the past. Of course, Cro-Cop is a more precise striker than Silva, so that will be a factor as well. Too close to call for me so I am going to go purely off emotion here, Silva in a decision.


PRIDE Openweight Grand Prix 2006 Semifinal
Open, 2R 10M/5M
Josh Barnett (AMC Pankration) vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (Brazilian Top Team)

I see Nog winning this one by submission.

If my predictions are true, that would be Nog and Silva in the finals, and I really don’t know what to make of that. This would be like oil fighting water. One fighter is all-out aggression, the other is a patient surgeon. I could definitely see Silva getting himself into a bad spot and getting caught by a submission. Of course, I would love nothing more than to see Silva win a tournament against some of the best heavyweights in the world. It would instantly propel him to GOD status in MMA.

[quote]SprinterOne wrote:

3R 10M/5M/5M
Kazahiro Nakamura (Yoshida Dojo) vs Yoshihiro Nakao (Freelance)

I really don’t know enough about either of these fighters to make a prediction, so I won’t.
[/quote]

Nakamura trains under famous judoka Hidehiko Yoshida and is a very skilled 205 lber. He has good grappling with some decent subs. His record is at 9-5, but his losses are against some real tough opponents (Rog Nog 2x, Henderson the now paper ww champ, Silva the long reigning mw champ, and Barnett former ufc hw champ)

I haven’t seen any of Nakao’s fights, but he is a wrestler who has transitioned over to MMA. He has a 5-0 record, but 2 of his wins are by way of No Contest and he hasn’t faced really difficult opponents. He is most famous for this http://youtube.com/watch?v=GBoNhilHiX8

Nakamura should win this by sub

Nishijima is new to MMA and has a 0-2 record with losses against Hunt and Yoshida. He was a pro boxer before coming over to Pride and has some good boxing skills and managed to go up against the giant sized Hunt for quite some time before eating a big shot. As you can see he trains at Takada’s Dojo (former home of long time Pride ace Sakuraba and run by Pride exec Nobuhiko Takada), but expect his skill set to still be extremely limited.

Santos is a member of Chute Boxe (Silva and Rua’s camp) and fights along the same style as them. He is a very aggressive fighter with some wild punches. He has been prone to gas after the fight goes for a while (just as you noted Overeem does). Oh and his nickname is Cyborg and he looks scary as hell.

This is actually the best match up that Nishijima could hope for. In Cyborg he gets a guy that will most likely stand toe to toe with him and is not too technical with his strikes. Although Cyborg has the definitive advantage on the ground he will likely look to brawl it out. I think that Nishijima’s crisp boxing technique and better cardio will win him this fight.

Now you know a bit more about thos fighters. :]

That was a good post.
Though people saying Ricco against Nog was robbed like it is common knowledge, I do not agree.
If you know Pride rules in detail and their judging criteria(different from the UFC) then you can make the case for Nog winning that fight.

Did they show Bushido in the states? Dan Henderson lost to Misaki. Dan has had two very tough fights against Misaki. The Grabaka fighters should be taken seriously now. I haven’t seen Gono and Misaki get any credit, it seems they are suffering from the “Japanese fighters=can” syndrome.

[quote]SprinterOne wrote:
Of course, I would love nothing more than to see Silva win a tournament against some of the best heavyweights in the world. It would instantly propel him to GOD status in MMA.
[/quote]

Agreed, he would immeadiately be THE legend, no matter what else happens.

[quote]otoko wrote:
That was a good post.
Though people saying Ricco against Nog was robbed like it is common knowledge, I do not agree.
If you know Pride rules in detail and their judging criteria(different from the UFC) then you can make the case for Nog winning that fight.

Did they show Bushido in the states? Dan Henderson lost to Misaki. Dan has had two very tough fights against Misaki. The Grabaka fighters should be taken seriously now. I haven’t seen Gono and Misaki get any credit, it seems they are suffering from the “Japanese fighters=can” syndrome.[/quote]

First, I agree that Nog won under Pride rules. In the UFC, Ricco would have taken it. I guess that’s just knowing your homefield and how to take advantage of it.

Second, yes the Pride Bushido was shown, albeit in a limited fashion, on free TV for the first time in the USA. Misaki did great against Hendo. It was a close fight, but Misaki definetely did enough to win it. I think Kang is the man to beat, but Misaki is definetely the dark horse.

[quote]otoko wrote:
Did they show Bushido in the states? Dan Henderson lost to Misaki. Dan has had two very tough fights against Misaki. The Grabaka fighters should be taken seriously now. I haven’t seen Gono and Misaki get any credit, it seems they are suffering from the “Japanese fighters=can” syndrome.[/quote]

They showed the WW GP fights as well as Melendez and Gomi fights. They were all edited though so that any stalling or non action was taken out to make Pride look extremely exciting. Unfortunately I didn’t catch all of the Hendo fight so I can’t say much about Misaki as of yet. However, I have seen quite a few of Gono’s fights and that guy is legit and exciting as hell. I dig the entrances too!

I think the guy who isn’t getting enough attention (at least stateside) is Aoki. He was a top 10 WW before and if he stays at LW he could be in contention for the title with a few more under his belt. The linesmakers sure didn’t know much about him, too bad for them that I did. :]

Have you heard about Gomi calling out Melendez? He wants revenge for his Team Rascal teammate … as opposed to getting his own revenge against Aurelio. He is ducking him hard core!

Its a shame that DSE has both of the Bushido champs as paper champs as well as their MW champ in Pride (although Silva somewhat legitimized his belt by beating Arona the 2nd time around). Good thing Fedor is unstoppable.

Here is Gono’s entrance for those interested

www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsgqNxpcsnc

Its straight pimp!

Otoko, what do his shorts say?

This the best MMA card of all times!

The only thing that’d make it better is if Fedor was in it.

IF, I mean IF, theres a card with UFC champs vs Pride champs then that would be the ultimate in MMA. Till then this is as good as it gets, on paper at least.

Ahhh…a breath of fresh air.

I love good posts.

Everyone has put together concise and valid opinions. Makes me very excited for this card just reading this.

Although I have my own predictions, like I usually do, I’m not going to beat a dead horse since many of you have already chimed in.

I do want to stress a point someone made earlier about the Cro Cop v Wandy fight. We all know that Cro Cop is a devastating counter striker and much more accurate than Wand, but Wand always presses the action, and as we saw in the Fedor fight, that does not bode well for Cro Cop. However, I can see Wand getting sloppy and catching a huge straight left from Cro Cop.

Should be a great night regardless. Can’t wait.

[quote]SwD wrote:
This the best MMA card of all times!

[/quote]

Don’t get too crazy now. It looks good on paper, but that doesn’t always translate well. UFC 61 had a great line up and it turned out that it pretty much blew and this past UFC had a less than stellar card and delivered pretty well (sans Griffin x Bonnar 2).

I think one of the best cards in recent history (and its up there in my all time as well) is Bushido 9.

Does anyone know how I might be able to order the fight if I don’t have satelite?

I’m at college right now and the cable here is provided by the school (ppv’s can’t be ordered.)

I know ufc fights can be watched online, does pride have the same ability? I’d really like to see this card.

I believe in Kang. He looks better and better. Kang, Filho and Misaki. I think a fight between Kang and Misaki would be very entertaining.
Unfortunately Dan keeps his title. Gomi also. It is strange that they do that.
They are still great fighters but a loss is a loss I think.

[quote]alfuh wrote:
otoko wrote:
Did they show Bushido in the states? Dan Henderson lost to Misaki. Dan has had two very tough fights against Misaki. The Grabaka fighters should be taken seriously now. I haven’t seen Gono and Misaki get any credit, it seems they are suffering from the “Japanese fighters=can” syndrome.

They showed the WW GP fights as well as Melendez and Gomi fights. They were all edited though so that any stalling or non action was taken out to make Pride look extremely exciting. Unfortunately I didn’t catch all of the Hendo fight so I can’t say much about Misaki as of yet. However, I have seen quite a few of Gono’s fights and that guy is legit and exciting as hell. I dig the entrances too!

I think the guy who isn’t getting enough attention (at least stateside) is Aoki. He was a top 10 WW before and if he stays at LW he could be in contention for the title with a few more under his belt. The linesmakers sure didn’t know much about him, too bad for them that I did. :]

Have you heard about Gomi calling out Melendez? He wants revenge for his Team Rascal teammate … as opposed to getting his own revenge against Aurelio. He is ducking him hard core!

Its a shame that DSE has both of the Bushido champs as paper champs as well as their MW champ in Pride (although Silva somewhat legitimized his belt by beating Arona the 2nd time around). Good thing Fedor is unstoppable. [/quote]

Yeah Aoki-Black was a pretty easy pick.
Gomi should fight Aurelio. Actually Gomi, Aureliio and Ishida have to fight each other and sort it out.
I doubt a fight between Franklin and Henderson would happen. If it were to to, it would lose some luster because of Dan’s loss to Misaki. Kind of like Judah getting his fight with Mayweather even though he lost to Baldomir.

[quote]alfuh wrote:
Here is Gono’s entrance for those interested

www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsgqNxpcsnc

Its straight pimp!

Otoko, what do his shorts say?[/quote]

His shorts say Ebi Fry(fried shrimp) only in Nagoya. It is totally irrelevant, but kind of funny.