Thursday, December 29, 2005

Predictions Part 3

We have 5 fights still to cover. Have I ever mentioned that one of the main reasons I like PRIDE a little bit better than the UFC is the number of fights they have on a card. 12 fights, are you kidding me? UFC will usually show 5 and you are lucky to get 3 with boxing anymore.

Anyhow, back to the predictions. I jumped around a little last night so we could finish strong.

Mark Hunt VS. Mirko Crocop

Mark Hunt is a kickboxer at heart. He is pretty new to the MMA scene. He does have a victory over Wanderlei Silva which is impressive. He'll need all he can get in this match up since he won't be fighting a light-heavyweight this time.

Crocop has been all over PRIDE. He has recieved a couple of title shots and not come through on them. Despite his losses in championship bouts he is among that level of fighter, just cant get over the hump. He does deserve to fight with those guys and another victory or 2 will put him up there to try again. Items to watch for....Crocop's left leg, it is devastating to say the least. He will throw it and at somepoint it will land. I'm picking Crocop.

Alexsander Emelianenko VS. Pawel Nastula

Alexsander is the brother of the Heavyweight Champ, he trains with him in Russia. Although he's not had as many fights he does display the same type of talent that apparently runs wild in there family. Of his 7 wins only 2 have gone to decision.

Pawel Nastula is a Judo Player that's lost his one and only MMA fight this past summer. I don't know what it is about these Judo guys but a lot of them don't seem to fair to well out of the gates. I respect Judo and all that it has to offer but with the exception of Karo Parysian I can't think of one who has done especially well. Seems like the skills after the throw are lacking.

I look for the 1st Emelianenko brother to pound his way to victory in this fight. Should be pretty bloody!

Charles Bennet VS. Ken Kaneko (no profile)

Charles "Krazyhorse" Bennet is a thrill to watch. His 50/50 (ish) record would indicate that he is not a top contendor but he comes to fight. He's a wrestler by nature with a lot of pure power and if you've never seen him you are in for a treat. He's quite possibly the most charismatic fighter on the sceen. I thnks Krazyhorse's experience will carry him against Kaneko for the victory.

Fedor Emelianenko VS. Zulu (no profile)

Fedor is the Champ. He should remain the Champ. If this is who I think it is Zulu is a very large man from Brazil who studies Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Fedor will be much quicker than he is and quite possibly more powerful. I love to watch Fedor fight, right now I think that if he could get a fight lined up with Andre Arlovsky from UFC we'd be in for a great show. (I could be wrong about Zulu and who he is. It's difficult to find info on PRIDE fights sometimes)

Kazushi Sakuraba VS. Ikuhisa Minowa

Kazushi "The Gracie Hunter" Sakuraba gets his name by winning matches against Royce, Royler, Renzo and Ryan Gracie. He handed Royce and Royler their 1st losses, basically was the 1st guy to show that the Gracie's are indeed human. (Note- Royce does have another loss before this, but it was because he could not continue in a tournament. There was no fight, it was a forfiet loss.) His overall record is 18-9-1. 3 of those losses come at the hands of Wanderlei Silva, 1 to Crocop and 1 to Vovchanchyn. If you are going to have some losses, those are the guys to have them to.

Ikuhisa "The Punk" Minowa has also been around the block a time or 2. With over 50 fights and a list of wins and losses against a virtual who's who of MMA he is always someone to be recognized as a great fighter.

This should be a classic match with 2 great fighters. I believe that Sakuraba will defeat Minowa but it should be fun to see how.

Have a great New Years Day and have fun watching some MMA!!!!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

PRIDE SHOCKWAVE Predictions Part Deaux

Yesterday we covered the 1st 4 fights for the upcoming event. Let's do a couple more, this is almost like Christmas!!!!

We'll start off with Makoto Takimoto VS. Sanae Kikuta

These two fighters are relatively unknown. OK, so one of them is relatively unknown. I have seen Takimoto fight in PRIDE against a very tough Dong Sik Yoon. It was a pretty even and uneventful fight. Yoon took a lot of punishment, this could also indicate taht Takimoto has no power. Other than that I don't know much about him.

Kikuta on the other hand has been around the block a few times. He has been from Pancrase to UFC to PRIDE. Racking up a 24-6-3 record along the way. Unfortunately I don't think this will be much of a fight. Takimoto didn't impress me last time I saw him and I don't think he will impress me on this card. This may be a quick one.

Next we move on to Kazuhiro Nakamura VS. Yuki Kondo

This one has a good chance to be the yawner of the night. I like Kondo but he just doesn't seem to finish, Nakamura is the same. I don't even know if this will be one of those technical fights, just plain old boring.

Come on guys, prove me wrong, I'd love to see it.

Let's finish off strong with a couple of big boys....

James Thompson VS. Giant Silva

No typo here..... Silva is 7 ft 5 and comes in at 360 while Thompson is a mere 6 ft 5 and 264! If you haven't seen him you will want to, Thompson can put on a show. A lot of the big boys are slow and gas out easy. Thompson is not slow and we don't know what's in the gas tank because he either has a knock out or has been knocked out. Silva comes from a Pro Wrestling background and will depend on his size to slow down Thompson. Although I think Thompson will win I am alway interested in watching someone take on another person so much bigger. That is one of the reasons I admire Royce Gracie, I know a lot of people don't like him but he took on a lot of people much bigger than he. If you've never grappled with someone, even with little or no experience, who is that much bigger you should try. It's not that easy to move someone a foot taller and 100 pounds bigger.

That's all for now! five more fights to go!!!! There should be some good ones left.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

PRIDE Predictions, Part 1

PRIDE SHOCKWAVE is coming this New Years Day. It will be offered on Direct TV PPV at 8pm (Nashville Time) on January 1, 2006. Since there are 12 fights lined up for that night I am brining my predictions in 3 parts.

Click fight card for a complete list of fights from Shockwave. This will also give you links to Sherdog's fighter profile. In this article the fighter profile will be from the PRIDE website. Generally speaking Sherdog has more complete information.

This is a great card, tonight I will be focusing on 4 of the fights. I will note that the order on the website is not neccesarily the order they will show on New Years. Since this is held in Japan we are not watching the live event like you would with a UFC.

For the 1st fight we will focus on finale of the lightweight tournament.

Takanori Gomi VS. Hayato Sakurai

I am really looking forward to this fight. Gomi is one of my favorite fighters today. He's exciting to watch, loves to throw big punches and he can take a great shot. I was hoping that he and Yves Edwards would make it to the finals. Unfortunately Yves was eliminated in a very close decision. Gomi comes in with wins over Luiz Azeredo (unanimous decision) and Tatsuya Kawajiri (rear naked choke). Gomi is 22-2-0 overall and has been beating all in his path lately. The decision against Azeredo was one of 2 decisions in his last 9 fights, the others mostly ending in some king of KO. Gomi's notable losses are to BJ Penn and Joachim Hansen both in 2003. His notable wins are Azeredo (twice), Charles 'crazyhorse' Bennet and Jens 'little evil' Pulver.

Sakurai is no stranger to fighting. He had to get through Jens 'little evil' Pulver (victory by TKO) and Joachuim Hansen (unanimous decision) in the tournament to earn this spot in the final. With an overall record of 27-6-2 he's a pretty accomplished fighter. Notable losses to 2 of the Gracie Family members, Matt Hughes and Ryo Chonan wont put too much of a tarnish on any record. No shame in those losses. Notable wins include Frank Trigg, Caol Uno and Luiz Azeredo.

Ultimately I believe Gomi will prevail in this fight. I like his style and he's been on a roll lately. Nothing against Sakurai though, this may be the fight of the night with to guys who can flat fight!

Second on my list of fights for New Years is the other tournament final.

Dan Henderson VS. Murilo Bustamante

Henderson comes from Team Quest out of Oregon so those of you who read regularly should already know this pick. His notable wins come over Kondo, Babalu, Rua and Ryo Chonan (who he defeated to earn his spot in the final). His 4 losses come at the hands of Wanderlei Silva (the champ), Nogueira (twice) and Ricardo Arona (who is fighting for the championship). Henderson beat Chonan and Gono both by 1st round KO's, he beat Chonan in 22 seconds. He also holds a victory of Bustamante back in 2003.

Bustamante come in with wins over Masanori Suda and Ikuhisa 'the punk' Minowa. He also won both inthe 1st round, 1 by KO and 1 with an armbar. Bustamante's notable wins include Dave Menne, Matt Lindland (a fellow team quest member) and Ryuta Sakurai while his losses were to UFC Champ Chuck Liddel, Quinton Jackson, Nakamura and Henderson.

This should also be an excellent fight. Bustamante has good defense and doesn't mind working from his back. Henderson would prefer to use his wrestling background and control from the top. Although these guys are both ground fighter it will stay up on it's feet until someone gets uncomfortable, they are both warriors who don't mind trading blows. I'm going to be pulling for my fellow Oregon boy Henderson in this one.

Next on my list is the Championship bout.

Wanderlei Silva VS. Ricardo Arona

What can be said about Silva that hasn't been said. The guy is awesome. 29-5-1 overall record and he goes out and throws some punches. There was a point where he had 10 of 12 victories in a row by some sort of KO. As of late his immortal status has been tarnished. Last New Years Eve he lost his 1st PRIDE fight to Mark Hunt. he lost to Arona, yes the one he's fighting for his championship, back in August.

Arona is coming off his win over Wandy and a loss over Mauricio Rua. He's 12-3-0 overall and has been performing very well. He's been in with a lot of great fighters, he's 4-1 in his last 5 fights with wins over Wandy, Lister and Sakuraba.

I don't think that Arona can defeat Wandy twice. I look for Wandy to get back on track and be very focused coming in. I'm predicting a 1st round KO.

Last but not least on my 1st round of Predictions is the fight between Hidehiko Yoshida (not listed on PRIDE) VS. Naoya Ogawa

I don't know a whole lot about either one of these fighters. Hidehiko has a lackluster record but has fought Silva 2 times for 2 losses and lost to Rulon Garnder who was a pretty darn good wrestler. Ogawa's 1 loss was in 54 seconds to Fedor Emelianenko who is also pretty darn good. I'm sorry I don't have more to offer on these 2 but I just haven't seen them.

I am picking Hidehiko just off the information available to me.

Check back tomorrow evening for the next installment.

Monday, December 26, 2005

PRIDE: Shockwave 2006

PRIDE is bringing in the new year with a great card of fights on January 1st, 2006. This will be aired on PPV, if you don't have plans you can come on down.

I will be breaking these fights down throughout the week so keep an eye out. There is a lot to work on and I'm getting a late start. I will say that this will be an outstanding night of fighting. There are some incredible fighters on this card. This 1st three fights listed are for soe kind of championship, either a tournament or a belt! Emelianenko (fedor) is also a champion but I cannot find out if this is for his belt, it may be another belt on the line.

The fight card is as follows....

All profiles are from Sherdog

Takanori Gomi VS. Hayato Sakurai

Dan Henderson VS. Murilo Bustamante

Wanderlei Silva VS. Ricardo Arona

Hidehiko Yoshida VS. Naoya Ogawa

Makoto Takimoto VS. Sanae Kikuta

Kazuhiro Nakamura VS. Yuki Kondo

Mark Hunt VS. Mirko Filipovic "Crocop"

Fedor Emelianenko VS. Zulu (no reference on Sherdog)

Charles Bennet VS. Ken Kaneko (not on Sherdog)

James Thompson VS. Paulo Cesar Silva

Aleksander Emelianenko VS. Pawel Nastula

Kazushi Sakuraba VS. Ikuhisa Minowa

To all my international readers.........

I took a lot of flack for referring to the UFC as "The Big Show".

Thank you for your comments and let me be the 1st to say, You are right. Now just convince all the other fans of mixed martial arts!

It amazes me that everytime I throw a little party for a PPV event that I get a great turn out for UFC and a next to nothing turn out for PRIDE.

Like many of you who commented I also think that PRIDE is the BIG show! But here in America, yes where I live, it doesn't get the respect I think it deserves. I like the minor rule changes, the yellow card system and the way the judge the fights better than in the UFC. I also enjoy the crowd excitement of PRIDE, I think the average PRIDE attendee knows more and enjoys more that the average UFC attendee. Of course I am generalizing and expect to here comments now from the UFC fans. No worries, I can take it!

I have said before and I will say again, I think UFC has the top level Best fighters. Meaning I believe that the champs from UFC could beat the Champs from PRIDE. Yes, I said it! But I also believe that PRIDE has the best all around fighters. Meaning I think PRIDE has more overall talent.

Now I will also make a plea to Dana White....

Dana, Bring back the lightweights, they are far to exciting to be ignored! One area PRIDE is ruling you in is the mini's. Edwards, Gomi, Bennet and Pulver just to name a few, would put on a far better show that Gonzaga and Buentello on their best days. Those lightweight fighters can flat throw down and they do NOT gas out like the big boys. They rule the undercard and always will.

One commentor said that we American's only know and watch what we have, meaning UFC. On one hand I agree with you, most my friends who do not eat, drink and sleep fighting only know of and watch UFC. But we are learning. The Ultimate Fighter has began a shift in mixed martial arts viewers, it is becoming more mainstream. I believe in the next few years our industry will change more than it has in the past 11 when the UFC began.