Great card. CroCop/Minowa and Nog/Zulu were about pointless, but everything else was fantastic. Hunt/Kohsaka definetely gets my vote as fight of the year to this point. I felt so bad for Kohsaka, but I think he can retire with pride after the greatest display of heart I have witnessed.
The fact that he turned down the microphone because he felt that the loser doesnt deserve to speak, at the final fight of his career, and in front of a home crowd just shows the kind of honor and warrior spirit he posseses.
Barnett/Emelianenko went the way I was afraid it would go. Josh got his face fucked up real bad and Aleks looked incredible on his feet. But damn, Aleks gassed hard. Easy take down and sub for Barnett, Aleks could hardly stand at the end of the first round.
Calling out Fedor was probably a bad move on Barnett's part. Fedor doesn't gas and will game plan him perfectly.
I agree with your prediction of a Fedor/Barnett fight. Fedor is basically a more skilled, more powerful, generally more refined version of his brother. I'm not sure that Barnett has a chance.
One thing of note: Thompson actually looks like he's going to be a decent HW. His fight against Fujita had him looking very slow, but still resembling a real fighter. If he spends more time punching and less time lifting, he could be a force. He also looks to be a bit of a lightbulb, which is amazingly silly if you're a fighter.
Even though the first round of the OWGP didn't look too good on paper, it turned out to be great. I was pleasantly surprised. The second round of the OWGP, with Big Nog, Werdum, Hunt, Fujita, Yoshida, CroCop, Barnett and Fedor will be even better. Just think of the possible matchups: Hunt vs Fedor, Fedor vs Barnett, Hunt vs Fujita etc.
I had prefered a heavy weight GP, but in the second round that's basically what we'll get.
Yeah, I wasn't sure what to expect without some of the star light heavies and heavies but it was an awesome card. No decisions and a ton of heart displayed by TK, and even Minowa for taking on the far superior Cro Cop. I would kill to see Fujita vs. Hunt in Round 2. Battle of the iron chins.
TK vs Hunt was the most emotion filled fight i have ever seen. And i have seen every UFC and Pride. TK is a true warrior. Hunt wasnt crisp that night but TK kept pushing it and didnt shy away from punishment one bit. He along with Fujita showcased heart like cardio is just as significant as skills in MMA.
Mirko and Nog didnt get to showcase their skills much. Nog showed impressive ground control for the brief while before armbaring zulu. Mirko totally destroyed Minowa with that uppercut to the body, proving size does matter.
I cant wait to see the next round. Heres what i want to see:
Yoshida vs Hunt Big Nog vs Barnett Fedor vs Crocop Werdum vs Fujita
Every time I see a Pride event like this one I'm reminded how much better their heavyweights are than the UFC's...would Silvia even have a chance against Crocop...Arlovski against Noguiera? From top to bottom, their heavyweights put on WAY better showings than UFC's.
As a brit our history of mma isnt as classy as the rest of the world. However its good to see bisping in the UFC and Thompson slowly improving in Pride.
I think a lack of an effective ground based art thats been taken on by the MA community here hinders us greatly.
I think thompson should have won but for getting into a stupid manly exchange with a guy who has a granite chin. i doubt he could ever be a true classy striker but a G&P tactic similar to kerr's wouldnt be out the question.
Still, onto the next round and to be fair its fedor all the way unless nog has something up his sleeve imo.
The first round turned out better than I expected. I hope they can convince some MWs to fight in the next round. There is talk of trying to convince Chute Boxe to send someone, Silva or Ninja? I think Arona could compete with the heavyweights. Also Coleman. Fujita-Yoshida is the bout that Pride wants. I would like to see, if they got Silva and Coleman also would be: Fujita-Hunt Silva-Coleman Barnett-Nogueira Yoshida-Fedor Of course this would leave Werdum-Cro-cop who train together, so maybe my match-ups are not that good. Did anybody notice Yoshida was holding the bottom rope near the end of his triangle?
Actually no one can join the GP anymore, other than the alternate Zenstov incase someone pulls out. Only fedor got a first round bye, the chute boxe fighters arent all that to begin with giving them a bye over Big Nog and Crocop would be unjust.
I agree with your point about Arona being more than capable of hanging with HWs, look back to his RINGs days he took fedor down at will and his leg kicks are brutal. Arona is infact arguably the best grappler alive. His ADCC record speaks for itself, no one even scored a point against him in all those years.
The coleman silva fight needs to happen. It has to, the buildup is so intense. Sadly Silva isnt under contract with Pride (even though he is their MW champ) and by the time they negotiate anything with both parties Shogun will already be healed and will be in line for a rematch with coleman.
Pride is also coming to USA soon so maybe they will have Coleman fight on that card?
Yes Silva doesn't have a contract now, but I think they will try hard to sign him. Pride President Sakakibara mentioned that he wanted someone from MW, specifically Chute Boxe, Ninja or Silva to take the reserve bout or be an injury replacement, if somebody gets hurt. Yes you are correct that nobody gets added.
But the reserve/replacement gives them a chance to have Silva fight(if signed of course). At least they can do Silva-Coleman. I remember seeing the backroom footage of Coleman trying to apologize to Chute-Boxe and Silva was furious. He was saying "I'll fight you!" to Coleman, and then Baroni. Rampage Jackson was standing next to Coleman, Silva kept pointing and saying "and you, and you!"
Rampage Jackson was surprised and said "Me!? Wait a minute."