A first for The Two Sheds Review here. Although I’ve reviewed MMA shows from UFC, Cage Warriors and K-1, I’ve never seen a show from the Pride Fighting Championships. So, with help from Wrestle-Zone UK’s Gary Graham, here’s the first part of my review of Pride’s latest two disc set, a review of Pride 5.
First up, Japan’s Minoru Toyonaga takes on Egan Inoue of the USA. The American was clearly the dominating force in this bout, which the referee stopped after Inoue battered Toyonaga senseless. Inoue was awarded the TKO in an impressive showing.
Then we have Japan’s Satoshi Honma taking on Brazil’s Francisco Bueno. At the beginning this bout seemed like an episode of Strictly Come Dancing, as both men spent a great deal of time dancing around the ring and staring at each other, until Bueno suddenly came to life with a flurry of punches, eventually knocking Honma out with a right to the chin. So-so kind of stuff here.
Next we have Igor Vovchanchyn of the Ukraine against Japan’s Akira Shoji. The first round saw the powerful European take the early hand before it became something of a stalemate. The second saw Vovchanchyn connect with an accidental low blow, and some brief flurries from both men, before Vovchanchyn was declared the winner by judges decision.
More US v Japan action as Enson Inoue went up against Soichi Nishida, with Nishida having a massive one hundred pound advantage. But this meant nothing as Inoue took him down quickly before synching in a rear naked choke. Something of a mis-match here.
We then moved away from MMA action with a ju-jitsu exhibition featuring two of the Gracie brothers, Rickson and Royler, demonstrating self defence and grappling techniques. A great demonstration of the art here.
A return to fight action sees Japan’s Kazuski Sakuraba taking on UFC veteran, Brazil’s Vitor Belfort, a man I had been very impressed with in the UFC. The first round saw Belfort on his back most of the time, while Sakuraba connected with some kicks to Belfort’s left leg, before a brief flurry of punches at the end. The second round saw Sakuraba clearly outclass Belfort, whose only plan seemed to be to lie on his back and attack from the mat, which only served to infuriate his opponent. But in the end, Sakuraba won on the judge’s decision, and rightfully so. Belfort was far from impressive here.
The final bout sees I man I used to mark out for big time in the old UWFI, Nobuhiko Takada, going up against former UFC Heavyweight Champion Mark Coleman. The first round saw Coleman clearly dominate, and Takada probably would have tapped out to a Coleman key-lock had the bell not sounded. The second saw Takada throw a few quick kicks before Coleman came back with a take down. But then, to the surprise of everyone, Takada took Coleman down with a heel hook, a big surprise here, as it looked like Coleman would put Takada away.
In conclusion - as a first taste of Pride, I was impressed, especially with the styles of fighting that were shown, although a couple of the fighters disappointed me a little. But overall, very enjoyable, and recommended to anyone who has yet to experience the Pride phenomenon.