Thursday, 12 July 2007

Pride Shockwave 2004 - TV Review

They’ve finally done it. Having provided us with extensive MMA coverage over the past few years, Eurosport’s Fight Club series finally brings us some action from the Pride Fighting Championship, beginning with the Shockwave 2004 show, which took place in December of that year.
First up, Stefan Leko takes on Ikuhisa Minowa. A quick bout to open the show here, with Minowa quickly synching in the leglock for the win.

Then it’s on to former WWE star Giant Silva, as he goes up against Choi Mu Bae. Lasting a little longer than the opener, Choi dominates the fight, despite the fact that Silva had a massive size advantage, and after just over five minutes of action. Choi got the tap out win, applying a choke on the big man.

Then it’s time for Ryan Gracie to go up against another wrestler I used to enjoy watching in the old UWFI a few years back, Yoji Anjoh. Gracie controls the match right at the beginning, taking Anjoh down and dominating. However, there was a little controversy as the ref moved the action back into the middle of the ring, and as he tried to put the fighters into the positions they were in before the break, Gracie pushed him, earning himself a yellow card and a severe telling off for his troubles. When the action re-started, Gracie continued to dominate, but Anjoh did his best to stop Gracie’s attack. But it wasn’t enough, as Gracie applied the armbar, and Anjoh just had to tap.

We move on then to Anderson Silva against Ryo Chonan. Silva took the advantage early on, applying a rear waistlock, and trying to apply a rear naked choke several times, before Chonan managed to escape the hold and get into the full guard, pounding down before Silva got into the full guard position. The first round ended with the stand-up game, and this was how the second round began, although Chonan escaped a Silva take-down attempt. Eventually, Chonan got the takedown, and looked the better of the two as the round came to an end. The third started out very slowly, until both men began to brawl, and from out of nowhere Chonan applied a leglock and got the quick submission victory.

Then it’s on to a re-match from the Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament, with Mirko Cro Cop seeking revenge against Kevin Randleman. A fast one here, as Randleman went after Cro Cop quickly, but the Croatian synched in a guillotine choke for the win.

Next to Jens Pulver taking on Takanori Gomi. Surprisingly the two grapplers spent all the time on their feet, preferring to slug it out, until Pulver took one punch too many, going down after a strong left uppercut. The referee had no choice but to stop the match as Gomi was announced the winner.

Then it’s the turn of the undefeated Wanderlai Silva to go up against former K-1 star Mark Hunt. A fight that promised much delivered in spades here. The first round was a great back and forth affair, Silva using his superior grappling skills to take Hunt down, with Hunt using his superior power to get out of the situation, and then taking the advantage for himself. The round ended with Hunt bleeding from the nose. The second proved to be just as action packed as the first. Hunt kicked Silva down early on, before Silva grappled his way back, before Hunt again powered his way out of danger. The third round was action packed as well, even though both fighters were now tiring a great deal. Silva tried the ground and pound, but Hunt defended himself well as the round and the bout came to an end. The judges decision - Hunt got the win on a split decision, handing Silva his first ever defeat in Pride.

On to the main event, and out second re-match of the show, Antonio Rodgrigo Nogueira against Fedor Emelianenko, the two having met in the final of the Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament, that bout having been declared a no contest after an accidental clash of heads. The first round seemed more like a chess match, with two giants of the MMA world trying to work out what the other was going to do, although Fedor clearly had the edge here, until Nogueira took him down towards the end of the round. Fedor tried to keep the bout upright at the beginning of the second, until Nogueira managed to take him down in a closed guard, although it wasn’t long before Fedor returned the fight upright, before taking Nogueira down himself. The round ended with Fedor taking Nogueira down again. Fedor took Nogueira down again at the start of the third, before we returned to the upright game a few moments later. When the action went down to the mat, Fedor was always a reluctant participant, and the third round and the fight ended with both men slugging it out, and the judges awarding Fedor the fight by unanimous decision.

In conclusion - it’s great to see Pride finally make it’s debut on Fight Club, having previously appeared on Men and Motors in thirty minute segments, which never really did the shows justice. However, although the majority of the bouts were great, the production could have been better. The lavish entrances and introductions weren’t missing, and the usual Pride announce team, Mauro Ranallo and Bas Rutten, were replaced by Fight Club regular Wim Wanders, who missed calling a lot of the action, instead hyping Fight Club’s current competition. Poor commentary can often detract from a show, and sadly, that’s what Wanders did here.