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

10/5/03 Saitama Super Arena (12,430)

Eiji Mitsuoka vs. Chris Brennan

Mitsuoka slammed Brennan a few seconds into the fight, but had no offense on the mat. Brennan was mainly holding him close, but caught him in an udehishigigyakujujigatame in the ropes. This was a big controversy because Brennan and his corner swore Mitsuoka tapped before they were reset. They essentially only had one camera angle where Brennan’s body was kind of in the way, so I couldn’t tell. The announcers said no, and ultimately 6 refs got together and ruled against it. Obviously you never want to have to win twice, but Brennan was so disgusted he practically willed an arm submission. Mitsuoka kept him from straightening the arm, but couldn’t get off his back. Eventually, Brennan mounted and won with a Kimura. Brennan seemed a lot more advanced, as all Mitsuoka showed beyond an awful haircut/bleach job was a little of his wrestling background in the one takedown. 1R 4:31

Chalid "Die Faust" vs. Rodney Faverus

These two are both kickboxers, Chalid a K-1 newcomer under Stefan Leko and Faverus under RINGS veteran Bob Schreiber, but you’d hardly know it from this fight. Faverus would jump in punching right away in order to clinch, so Chalid rarely had an opportunity to display The Fist. The clinch would eventually result in a takedown, though it was about 50/50 on who would get it. Finally, Chalid wised up to how Faverus was getting the clinch and caught him, taking him down into the mount. Faverus gave up his back, so Chalid tried a sleeper. I swear it looked like Ed Leslie schooled him in submission. Just an awful remedial match that was all clinch and guard with nothing going on in either. The mount and submission attempt at the end was enough to get Chalid the unanimous decision, though if he had a real opponent he’d certainly die fast. 2R

Sergei Kharitonov vs. Jason Nobunaga

Totally one-sided fight. Kharitonov got the takedown right away and worked on positioning. Nobunaga escaped, only to be taken right back down. Nobunaga relinquished his guard to try to push Kharitonov off with his feet, but Kharitonov passed into side then full mount. His punches opened up the udehishigigyakujujigatame submission. 1R 2:24

Nippon vs. Gracie 5 vs. 5 Match: Carlos Newton vs. Renzo Gracie

My favorite PRIDE fight ever. Old school submission style before MMA became about getting on top and doing enough boring tapping to please the judges. It wasn’t the most exciting bout ever, but waiting is okay when you believe the fighters are really working toward something. The match was about movement and positioning, and the technique was simply outstanding.
To make things better, they were so evenly matches that you pretty much never had any idea who would eventually come out on top. Both showed really good defense, but not in the sense of a closed up match where no one has a chance to do anything, they were working for openings both offensively and defensively and pulled off some nice counters. In some cases, there’d be one or two counters by each after the attempted move before they settled in to something.
The highlight was this crazy takedown by Newton. Gracie was hunched over trying for a single leg, and Newton reached over Gracie’s back and whipped his leg, spinning around his body for the takedown so he ended up 180 degrees from where he started in a position where he could try an ankle lock.

I hate draws, but if ever a bout deserved to be one this was it. Both guys could take each other down, reverse, go for and block submissions, etc. Certainly no one deserved to lose. Newton won a split decision, and Gracie was actually clapping for him. It’s funny that "Japan’s" best fighter is a Canadian, but he waved a Japanese flag coming out and did his entire post match interview in Japanese, so with that plus the fight he put on he proved worthy of adoption. Great match. 2R

Nippon vs. Gracie 5 vs. 5 Match: Dokonjonosuke Mishima vs. Ralph Gracie

Truly an bizarre fight. It would go from really slow to a hyper scramble. When it was bad it was infuriatingly bad because someone would just run away when the other tried to initiate. However, when one of the fighters was able to do something it was often quite impressive.
Ralph was the better standup fighter. He packs a powerful punch; one time he came in and faked a left then nailed Mishima with a right hook when Mishima was trying to bail. He bloodied Mishima’s nose with a left straight, so Mishima was bleeding all over him when he had guard. Mishima could get the takedown, but he wasn’t able to do anything once he did. He had one of the lamest ground and pounds, and that was about all he tried to do. Mishima thought he won the decision, but Ralph did some damage with punches, and the two arm submissions he tried in the final minute were enough to put him over the top. 2R

Nippon vs. Gracie 5 vs. 5 Match: Kazuhiro Nakamura vs. Daniel Gracie

Daniel Gracie on Nakamura bragging about being a Gracie hunter, "The dog who just makes noise doesn’t bite; the dog who is quiet is the one that bites." Nakamura didn’t have a lot of bite in this match, but neither did Gracie. Neither gave any real reason for the judges to give them the decision. The first round was in Gracie’s guard, with Gracie looking for an arm bar but never getting the opening and Hamanaka throwing some punches. Both guys showed good ground striking at times, but nothing that was going to win them the fight. The second round was standing, but they mainly hit each other’s arms. They got a yellow card for stalling without about 30 seconds left. It was even, but in the dull ineffective way. Nakamura got the unanimous decision. 2R

Nippon vs. Gracie 5 vs. 5 Match: Daiju Takase vs. Rodrigo Gracie

Takase might not be much of a fighter, but we got to see him play the Titanic theme on the piano, so he proved he has more musical talent than at least 90% of the "musicians" in the US top 40. The first round saw Takase go for some submissions but never come close, and Gracie do some pounding that wasn’t particularly notable. Takase was using a high guard hoping for a triangle, but Gracie never fell into it.

Takase was cut on the bridge of the nose early in R2, but I couldn’t tell if it was from a punch or a butt. Half the round was spent in Gracie’s guard, but at 2 minutes they were given a yellow card for stalling. Gracie scored once after that. When they were leaning on each other Takase tried a knee, which left him a bit hunched, so Gracie straightened him up with a knee to the head then landed a big hook. Another very close, but not very eventful fight. This time Gracie got the decision, evening the series going into the final match. 2R

Nippon vs. Gracie 5 vs. 5 Match: Kazuhiro Hamanaka vs. Ryan Gracie

Gracie controlled the match, but was real conservative. Even when he had Hamanaka’s back he was mainly waiting. I can’t remember ever seeing someone receive a yellow card when they had back control before. On the restart, Hamanaka got KO’d ducking Gracie’s punch when the area under Gracie’s elbow hit Hamanaka in the top of the head. Gracie gave Hamanaka two soccer kicks then missed a stomp before the ref could get in. He pushed the ref off, but controlled himself in time not to cheap shot Hamanaka. Ryan challenged the vaunted Yoshida after the match. 1R 7:37

Akira Shoji vs. Mauricio Shogun Rua

Good all action fight. Shoji did what PRIDE wanted, being more concerned with having an exciting match than with winning it. He took a lot of chances, which was okay for him on the ground, but being that Shogun is a Muay Thai, really silly in standup. Shoji got off to a good start with a takedown and kneebar attempt, but after that Shogun started getting some of his kicks through. He landed 2 high kicks in a 10-second period and neither seemed to phase Shoji, but Shoji was really feeling the low blow. Shogun soon caught Shoji with a left straight and left hook for the KO. 1R 3:47

Assuerio Silva vs. Alexandre Emelianenko

Another very close fight. Silva was losing most of the first round, but he was active enough to tire Emelianenko. One of the reasons the big guys are more and more dominant is the time limits are just too short. Now that guys are training full time, it’s hard to gas your opponent and have enough time to come back and beat them. That said, if this match was the usual 3 rounds Silva most likely would have done it, but that’s more because Emelianenko’s stamina wasn’t too impressive than because Silva was doing a Frank Shamrock job of burning Alexandre’s tank.
Silva showed the distance the Emelianenko’s need for their ground and pound can also work against them. He was actually able to bloody Alexandre’s nose with strikes from his back. Like his brother, ground and pound was the big weapon of Emelianenko.

Match started fast, but then slowed down. They were giving yellow cards out today like they grew on trees, which was driving Royce Gracie crazy. A lot of them were justified, but it was getting to the point where you felt like they looked at the house and decided to reclaim as much of the promised payoffs as possible. That was the case here because you couldn’t expect them to keep the same pace throughout, and they even hit them with another one when the second round was almost over.

Emelianenko was on top for much of the first round and did his share of pounding, though Silva was able to keep him at bay at times, for instance when he tried a heel hold and Emelianenko had to return to his feet to escape. Silva got the takedown in round 2. He tried a hadakajime at one point, but Fedor kept his neck protected. I thought Silva won because even though he lost the first round, what he did set him up for winning the second round. In UFC scoring Alexandre probably wins, but since PRIDE scoring is steeped toward what you are doing in the end I felt Silva won. Emelianenko was the guy they wanted to win since his brother is one of their top guys, so it’s not surprising he got the benefit of the doubt so to speak. 2R

Mirko Cro Cop vs. Dos Caras, Jr.

Remind me what credentials Jr. has to be headlining this show against Cro Cop? Cro Cop regularly pays sparring partners that are better than this to come to Croatia (and get knocked out every day for 2 weeks). What impressed me about Cro Cop here is that Caras wasn’t even able to lock him up. He grabbed Mirko, but couldn’t keep hold of him for more than a second or two.
Caras was obviously dead once he had to stand with Mirko. Specifically, he lacked the knowledge of ring positioning. He knew he had to stay away, but didn’t know how to circle away, so Mirko quickly trapped him in the corner. Caras saw the lethal left high kick coming and tried to duck, but the bottom of the leg to the top of the head knocked him out anyway. The ref was too far away, so Caras got punched in the face before Cro Cop knew it had been stopped. 1R 0:46

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* MMA Review Copyright 2003 Quebrada *