Quebrada Pro Wrestling, Puroresu, & Mixed Martial Arts Reviews by Mike Lorefice

DSE SKY PerfecTV! LIVE SPECIAL PRIDE.13 Collision Course
3/25/01 Saitama Super Arena (20,260)

Vitor Belfort vs. Bobby Southworth

Belfort didn't focus on winning with his hands. Instead, he took Southworth down a little over a minute into the match. Southworth got up momentarily, but Belfort took him right back down. Belfort simply outmanuevered Southworth. The fight was surprisingly dull since Belfort, who isn't exactly known for his mat prowess, got the hadakajime submission so easily that he never had to flash his Jeff Speakman quick punches. Southworth showed absolutely nothing. The match wasn't a fraud, but it was hardly more interesting than Belfort's "shoot" with the guy who had us wishing he'd remained in the ghetto.Round 1 4:09

Guy Mezger vs. Egen Inoue

Egen didn't want to strike with Guy, but he didn't do much to prevent it from happening. He tied Mezger up once, but just wasted energy pinning him in the corner. The rest of the time, he mainly stayed away from Guy. Guy essentially won with the first two blows that landed, a knee lift that he followed up well with a right straight. The KO was nice, but otherwise the fight was lousy. Round 1 2:25

Heath Herring vs. Sobolev Denis

Herring shot in weakly for a single leg, but his sprawl was quick enough and Denis' defense was poor enough that he still got the takedown. Herring threw a few punches and knees while he took the side mount then applied the V1 armlock. Tsuyoshi Kosaka was seemingly in this move for a total of 10 minutes during his classic 9/26/97 shoot with Frank Shamrock, but Denis lasted about 1/10th of a second. Some people are going to say, "wow, this Herring is a monster," but, while Herring is good, too me this was just a totally inept performance by Denis. Round 1 1:22

Renzo Gracie vs. Dan Henderson

The first exciting fight of the night pitted a master of fighting on his back against a master wrestler. There was no question that Henderson could have taken Renzo down anytime he wanted; the question was who benefited more from the takedown? After watching the match, I still can't answer it. I can tell you Henderson is clearly the better all around fighter, but you already knew that.

Renzo isn't a no strike Gracie like Royce, but Henderson's standup ability is underrated. Gracie was very much overmatched as long as they stayed on their feet. He didn't have much choice because he's not going to takedown a wrestler of Henderson's calibre. He did try, but it proved to be a futile attempt that cost him the match.

You knew Gracie was in trouble when he was shooting in for takedowns right off the bat. It's no surprise that Henderson defended all of them, but what impressed me was how much improvement we saw in him from attempt to attempt. He had Gracie timed a little better with each takedown, which first allowed him to get a strike in and then allowed him to get a better and better one in. The damage done was bad enough, but the real heartbreaker for Gracie was that Henderson always let Gracie right up after dropping down on top of him to stop the takedown. This is what separates a fighter like Henderson from a fighter like Kevin Randleman. Randleman would stay down even though he knew his opponent's goal was to get the fight to the mat just to prove he could fight the other guys fight and still win. The smart fighter maximizes their advantages, and that's what Henderson did all night.

The KO in this match is something of a mystery. It occured in between Renzo shooting in for a double leg and Henderson dropping down on top of him. Henderson didn't simply try to grab Renzo's neck, he threw a right uppercut and then locked him up after it hit. What I think happened is that Henderson knocked Gracie out with this punch to the neck. You could tell Gracie was out because he had no control of his body and gravity began to pull him to the mat as soon as Henderson released him to throw another punch. Henderson almost missed with his right hand punch because obviously he didn't expect Gracie to be falling like that. Henderson immediately threw a left that rocked Gracie's world, if by some chance there was anything left of it. At this point, Henderson could tell that Gracie was out so he stopped punching and the ref stopped the fight. Round 1 1:40

Mark Coleman vs. Allan Goes

Although there were a few notable upsets that make it all worthwhile to some people, this card was plagued by mismatches that proved to be as lousy and non-competitive as they sounded. None were more obvious than this. What exactly was Goes going to do against Coleman? I don't think he had any good idea, or maybe he knew there was no good idea. Goes came out throwing movie kicks. They elicited a laugh from the crowd, but struck no fear in The Hammer's heart. Goes then tried for a takedown, but Coleman is way too strong, and just muscled Goes to the mat.

Goes is normally very capable on the mat, but he made a huge mistake here in allowing Coleman to get him in a front facelock. I don't know if he forgot that your opponent can now legally knee you in the head from this position, but Coleman certainly didn't. Coleman delivered 5 knees to the head - 4 of which were massive - 3 more than were necessary. The reason for the extra three was the typical incompotence from a PRIDE refs - who were almost invisible tonight - which always comes back to haunt someone other than them.

In a bizarre post match scene, Goes came up from behind while Coleman was celebrating and grabbed his knee in an attempt to take him down. I really don't know what Goes was thinking, but obviously he'd been hit in the head too hard. Perhaps he didn't remember the match had ended when he woke up, but you'd think he'd notice something was up given his opponent was posing and the ref was trying to hold him back. In any case, the ring quickly filled up, and since neither of the competitors are named Bowe or Golota, the seconds posed as peacemakers. That was lucky for Goes because Coleman was furious and ready to make like Goes was Joanne Whalley and kill him again. If nothing else, Coleman proved that he's definitely one of the meanest and most intimidating people on the planet when he's angry. Round 1 1:19

Tadao Yasuda vs. Masaaki Satake

Far be it from me to ever come out in support of editing for time or content, but if it ever has to be done, here's a prime candidate. In some perverse way, it was fascinating to see someone win a fight solely because of their sumo prowess. Unfortunately, winning in this matter made for one of the most tedious and repetitive fights known to mankind (but probably not to Cactus Jack or Dude Love).

Yasuda backed Satake into the corner with a sumo rush then did virtually nothing but hold him there for several minutes. Repeat this ritual a dozen times and you have most of this gem. Satake tried to backpedal and punch Yasuda when he would rush in, but he doesn't have the quickness or power he did in the early to mid 90's and Yasuda is so huge that I expect it's very hard to get a true one punch KO on him. Yasuda suffered some cosmetic facial damage, but he always accomplished his goal of getting Satake into the corner. Once the ref finally yellow carded Yasuda for doing his best to make Satake the newest addition to the cast of The Sopranos, that was pretty much the end of Yasuda's striking from this position.

Satake never got anything going. He didn't have time to throw his kicks or room to throw his knees. He wasn't wearing Yasuda down because, when he was stuck in the corner, Yasuda was leaning all 330 pounds on hime. Occassionally Satake would he'd get one or two good punches in, but this fight was proof that you don't win in that fashion unless you knock your opponent out. Yasuda essentially did no damage to Satake, but he was in control almost the entire fight, pushing Satake around like he was a little boy. I'd hesitate to say Satake hurt Yasuda, but Yasuda came out of the fight looking worse physically even though he'd just removed whatever mythical aura his opponent may have had. 20:00

Igor Vovchanchyn vs. Tra Telligman

I've always thought Igor was ridiculously overrated, but the last person I'd expect to beat him would be...Actually, scratch that, he beat that guy on 10/31/00. Anyway, it's hard to find a less impressive resume than Telligman's among guys who have been appearing on high profile shoot shows. I guess he won a match on the original Ultimate Japan that didn't make the commercial tape and won a few matches in Hawaii, but the only reason he doesn't epitomize the phrase jobber to the stars is that he loses to more marginal talent like Carlos Barreto and Vitor Belfort in the days when he had nothing beyond boxing (and his bogus martial arts belt).

As much as I'd like to go through all the reasons Igor didn't get the job done, I can't because I'm puzzled and really at a loss for how this happened. I assumed it would be the great preparation of the Lion's Den, but Telligman didn't do anything that Igor hasn't repeatedly stopped before, and he seemed to ignore all his corners prodding and advice.

Igor won the early exchanges, but Telligman was smart and quick enough to get out of harms way before Igor could put anything together. Igor showed that he's one of the more honorable fighters here. He accidentally kicked Telligman low, but instead of trying to take advantage of his opponent and conceal the truth from the ref so he wouldn't get in trouble, he stopped fighting and fessed up. Telligman began taking his rest, so the ref was forced to give Igor a yellow card.

Telligman actually did well when he was moving forward and initiating the striking. I say actually because Igor is one of the best counter punches in the sport; he doesn't just like guys to come at him, he lives for it. Don't get me wrong, Igor was still getting a big punch in now and then, but we certainly weren't seeing his usual counter punching excellence.

The turning point of the fight came when Telligman hit Igor in the chin with a left straight while Igor was trying to throw a left hook. The added damage of Igor moving into the blow went a long way toward making it enough to put him down, although he did throw a punch before he flopped. Telligman got right on top, but just rested. It didn't come back to hurt him because Igor never seemed to recover. Igor had been winning the round up until the knock down, but after that he didn't do a thing. Telligman didn't do anything of note either, but he was in control for the majority of the duration.

Rounds 2 and 3 were boring and uneventful. Igor didn't look sharp. If anything, he looked rather sluggish. Telligman was able to take him down a few times, but takedowns and control were the only things he had going for him. He was gassed, but apparently his opponent had nothing. Certainly the last two rounds were DUDs for Igor. Even when Telligman would let him up, he showed no fire or sense of urgency. I'm sure he knew he was losing, but he was in low gear all day and didn't have it in him to shift. I'd say Telligman won this match due to one lucky punch, but Igor didn't seem to have it today even though he was winning prior to the punch. 20:00

Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Vanderlei Silva

Sakuraba succeeded in having the most exciting match on the show once again. Unfortunately, this was in spite of the fact that very few if any of the reasons his matches are typically the most exciting were evident here. I'm sure Sakuraba had a game plan, but Silva never gave him a chance to try to implement it. Silva put the heat on right away, and kept it on for the entire 1 minute and 38 seconds of violence.

The crowd erupted when Sakuraba caught Silva with a right hook just as he appeared to be was starting to shoot in. The sad thing is that, in retrospect, Sakuraba would have been better off without his best blow if Silva really was going to take him down. It's no pleasure to have Silva on top of you, but there's a hell of a lot better chance of Sakuraba getting a reversal or submission from the bottom than there is of him beating Silva in a standup slugfest.

Sakuraba seemed out of control, forcing wild strikes rather than using his head and setting something up that should be more effective and less risky. His wildness allowed Silva to get a hold of him, and from there obviously he was in big trouble. Silva adapted to the new rules better than anyone on the show. All the knees to the head while Sakuraba were on all fours weren't previously legal. Neither was the kick to the head when Sakuraba was crawling at Silva in a lame attempt to get a takedown. Sakuraba stuck with this hopeless method way too long. To make things worse, he essentially did a do or die lunge at Silva after ducking Silva's high kick. Silva danced away from the tackle, at which point Sakuraba realized he was screwed and just curled up on all fours and waited for Silva to lower the boom. With Sakuraba lying prone on his knees, Silva realized he didn't have to try to put him out with one shot so he took a position where he could throw repeated blows. He dropped some nasty knees down into the back of Sakuraba's head, which smashed his already bloody nose into the mat. Sakuraba actually got to his side after taking 4 of these newly legal knees, but he was too far gone by then. Of course, Silva got to boot Sakuraba in the nose before the ref realized this and stopped the match.

The fight proved what we already knew, that no one in the division can strike with Silva. These new rules make him far more dangerous. The varying round lengths (10 minute 1st round, 5 minute 2nd & 3rd round) make things confusing more than anything else, but the liberation of striking made the show a lot more brutal and exciting. The problem is, even as short as this match was, a fighter is never the same after taking a few beatings like this.

Tito Ortiz was in attendance, seemingly as a future opponent for Sakuraba because he's already beaten Silva. His "job" was to take the bouquet flowers from the flower girl before the match and give them to the fighters so they could in turn give them to someone in their corner who will probably throw them away once they get back to the dressing room. Ortiz kissed Sakuraba on the cheek when he presented him with the flowers as a joke, and Sakuraba smiled because it was a funny surprise. After the match, Silva kissed Sakuraba on the head. Sakuraba didn't smile because he was half out of it and in too much pain. Too bad the one time Sakuraba was such a stud when the match wasn't going on, he wasn't able to be one when it was. This was the first time he's had to fight a Muay Thai guy in PRIDE, so I'm sure he'll learn from this and be back with some strategy. I'm sure at least part of everyone is wishing they had their chance at Silva prior to these rule changes, but the glory of defeating him has never been higher. Round 1 1:38

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