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

6/23/02 Saitama Super Arena (22,586))

Bob Sapp vs. Kiyoshi Tamura

Bob Sapp TKO'd Kiyoshi Tamura in 11 seconds. Sapp is practically the size of two Tamura's. He rushed Tamura at the bell so Tamura couldn't stick and move. Pinned against the ropes, Sapp held Tamura's chin with his left hand and leveled him with his right. That was basically all she wrote. 1R 0:11

Gary Goodridge vs. Labazanov Arhmed

Gary Goodridge beat Labazanov Arhmed via split decision. Bad and boring fight made worse by a lousy decision. Arhmed should have won because he was clearly superior in every standup segment and took Gary down at will. Sure, he didn't do much damage, but he controlled the majority of the fight and at least there's no question that the guy has talent. Through all his experience, Gary is basically the same fighter he's always been. He's got Herculean strength, but no skill or technique to back it up. His side mount was the worst I've ever seen, no control whatsoever just a little dead weight. It's no wonder that Arhmed was able to stand up out of it. Another reason Arhmed won was escapes, and even if they were more because Gary's positioning is so poor that most anyone could have escaped, that doesn't change the fact that Arhmed did regain control. Arhmed's problem is that he stamina is pretty poor. The PRIDE scoring style really hurts fighters like him with no tank because the fight is judged as a whole rather than as three separate rounds (it makes sense to someone to have R1 be longer than the others). This sometimes leads to a more accurate scoring because one blow can be worth more than two rounds, but more often than not will result in the guy that wins R3 getting the decision if the other two rounds were "close enough." Gary did have a segment where he got some good punches in during the final round, but otherwise...3R

Anderson Silva vs. Alex Stiebling

Anderson Silva defeated Alex Stiebling in 1:23 via doctor stop. Silva moved up in weight, but looked sharp as even making short work of his substitute opponent. Silva's strikes are fast, accurate, and powerful. Stiebling actually took him down after he connected on a high kick, but the shin flush across Stiebling's eyebrow cut him and swelled right up. 1R 1:23

Jeremy Horn vs. Gilbert Yvel

Jeremy Horn won a unanimous decision over Gilbert Yvel. This decision may have been the right one, but it made absolutely no sense after the Goodridge decision. Yvel has been training constantly on the mat, and here he proved himself to be a skilled fighter. No more lay and pray, he had countless escapes and reversals to get back into position for his famous strikes. This was very dynamite and the best technical fight of the night. It was explosive Yvel vs. steady Jeremy. Horn controlled most of the fight, taking Yvel down everytime he tried. Yvel did the damage, landing big knees at the start of the rounds. Yvel made more mistakes. He allowed Horn to get his arm under the chin for a chance at the rear naked choke and regularly got taken down because he didn't disengage quick enough and allowed Horn to suck him into the grappling game. The final minutes were the least exciting with no one making a statement that they wanted the fight, but overall it was quite good and diverse. 3R

Renzo Gracie vs. Shungo Oyama

Shungo Oyama won a unanimous decision over Renzo Gracie. Definitely one of the highlights of the show seeing the supposed best Gracie not only lose, but look terrible against a good and athletic but inexperienced fighter. Oyama, when he was going good, was Sakuraba Jr. imitating the man's attacks and nearly equaling his charisma. He was at his best when he was standing up and Gracie was on his back, and this portion was very exciting and entertaining. There was a lot of standup though, and it wasn't good at all. Renzo didn't want to do anything from any position he could get, but he was pretty much just running here which would be peculiar if you didn't realize the good striker tag was more hype. Oyama might hit hard if he ever connects, but he doesn't because he loads up so not only does he telegraph his blow he basically eliminates the possibility of throwing a second. Renzo won the 1st round because he controlled, though he wasn't able to do anything. After that, Oyama dominated the fight because Renzo couldn't take him down and he was smart in not getting suckered into going down on his own. Overall, this was hardly a great fight, but it worked out well for PRIDE even if it wasn't as exciting as it might have been if Oyama was more aggressive.3R

Daniel Gracie vs. Takashi Sugiura

These fighters weren't at all impressive. That didn't make the match bad, but I found it frustrating. There were so many opportunities they should have been able to capitalize on, but on the other hand if they were better fighters these openings wouldn't have been there in the first place. Sugiura is a wrestler that's learned to box, which should be good except he seemed to have forgotten how to wrestle. In any case, he was was the better standup fighter and was able to take advantage of Gracie's slow deliberate punches.

Gracie won because Sugiura was a turtle on his back. He couldn't defend against Gracie's ground strikes, but he was saved by Gracie punching himself out quickly. Later Gracie had Sugiura's back forever, but he was just looking for directions. Sugiura kept his head down and his hand over his face so Gracie couldn't choke, and Gracie couldn't get a stoppage with strikes despite Sugiura not defending himself for several minutes.

Sugiura didn't have much left for round 2, but he did take Gracie down with something of a backdrop. Gracie took his arm when he was on top punching, but couldn't get the leverage for the arm bar and Sugiura was able to use his big strength advantage. It was this type of spot that led to Gracie getting the split decision because even though he didn't capitalize on all his chances, he had them and Sugiura didn't. 3R

Fedor Emelianenko vs. Semmy Schilt

Fedor Emelianenko beat Semmy Schilt via unanimous decision. Fedor fought a smart fight. He has some standup, but Schilt isn't going to lose in standup because he's a very good striker with a decided reach advantage over literally everyone in the sport. Fedor would take him down, rather impressively, and keep him down. Fedor's transitions were also impressive and he showed both striking and submission skills on the mat. Schilt is so tall that it's easier for him to strike from the bottom because Fedor's head only comes up to his chest when Schilt has the guard. Fedor cuts easily, so to look at the two of them you'd think Schilt was having his way with him even though he was dominated. The match was pretty boring because they'd get to the same position everytime and it would either be repetitive or just stall completely. Have to credit Fedor though for knowing it's better to win ugly than lose in exciting fashion. 3R

Don Frye vs. Yoshihiro Takayama

Don Frye TKO'd Yoshihiro Takayama in 6:10. Not much technique here, but it was almost unreal how they were pounding each other. The start looked like something out of pro wrestling because you just don't see two guys stand chest to chest and pound each other repeatedly. They literally held each other's heads with one hand and punched them in the face over and over as fast as they could with the other. Takayama, who took the fight on a week's notice, fought as if he knew nothing of his opponent. Instead of trying to utilize his reach advantage, he duked it out with Frye on the inside. Needless to say, Takayama quickly got a wicked mouse under his left eye. Takayama did have a nice belly to belly, but his ground "skills" and especially "defense" are so bad that he wouldn't even take Frye on there. Frye was cut mid forehead, while Takayama was cut on the nose. Takayama's face was quickly closing and swelling together though. The pace was too quick for Takayama and he was getting the worst of the exchanges. His second belly to belly seemed like a last ditch attempt because he needed a breather, but it backfired and Frye fell on top in the mount. Excellent absolutely brutal slugfest. R1 6:10

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* MMA Review Copyright 2002 Quebrada *