I apologize for the lateness of this report. Apparently my web host had a power outage for several hours last night.
Next weekend has some excellent fights scheduled in both MMA and Boxing. In MMA, Randy Couture makes his comeback as he takes on UFC Heavyweight Champ Tim Sylvia. Matt Hughes and Rich Franklin are also on the card looking to rebound from tough title-fight losses.
In Boxing there are four solid bouts, two of which have fight of the year potential. Israel Vazquez takes on Rafael Marquez in the Showtime main event and Allan Green takes on Edison Miranda on the HBO under card. Green-Miranda may be one of the most brutal bouts in several years.
Because next weekend is so stacked with good fights it was hard to get pumped up for tonight’s Pride show. But like they did a year ago at Pride 31, the organization has again proven that an outstanding event does not always depend on a dazzling card.
Tonight’s show has been the best of 2007 and it may not be topped. All of the fights had great action. We saw a variety of submission endings along with some spectacular KO finishes. We had fight of the year in Gomi-Diaz and we saw the first two division title holder when Pride Welterweight Champ Dan Henderson added the Pride Middleweight belt to his collection with a sensational KO win over Wanderlei Silva.
If you have not seen this event, I recommend that you check out, it’s one not to be missed.
Fight #1 – Joachim Hansen vs Jason Ireland
This was a good action bout that Hansen almost ended in the second round. Ireland was on his side holding his own arm to prevent from being subbed. Meanwhile Hansen knowing there was less than 10 seconds left in the round began teeing of on Ireland’s forehead with hammer fists. They were pretty hard shots but referee Steve Mazzagati was right on top of the action and clearly saw that Ireland was not hurt. Hansen finally got Ireland’s arm in the next round off a beautiful transition from a triangle choke.
Winner: Joachim Hansen by arm bar at 2:33 of round 3
Fight #2 – Frank Trigg vs Kazuo Misaki
Trigg won the opening round by controlling the fight on the ground. He took Misaki down and held him in side mount. Misaki tried to escape by rolling onto his stomach toward Trigg. Trigg immediately took Misaki’s back but was unable to get the choke. Misaki rolled again and Trigg switched to a body lock and spent the rest of the round punching Misaki’s face from the side.
Trigg started round two with a quick take down and continued controlling the ground portion of the fight. About halfway through Misaki was able to get the fight back up to the feet. For the next two minutes he scored well to Trigg’s body and head. At the 1:18 mark Trigg got the fight back to the ground but by then he was too tired to do much.
Round three started and Trigg scored another quick take down but the action slowed greatly as he was exhausted. He spent the first three minutes in side mount. With two minutes left Trigg took Misaki’s back but again could not get the choke. Misaki managed to escape with about a minute and a half left but Trigg scored one more take down with less than a minute left and went on to win what would be the only decision of the night.
Winner: Frank Trigg by unanimous decision (30-27 on all three cards)
Fight #3 – Travis Wiuff vs James Lee
Lee scored with a short right seconds into the fight. The blow dropped Wiuff and Lee began flurrying in hopes of scoring a quick KO. But Wiuff’s brains weren’t fully scrambled as he drove for a critical KO saving take down. Unfortunately he did not protect his neck and Lee secured a tight Guillotine choke.
Winner: James Lee by Guillotine Choke at :39 of round 1
Fight #4 – Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou
Soukoudjou was a 16-1 underdog in this fight and he once again proves than anything can happen in MMA. The fight started and as little Nog stalked Sokou down he caught a huge left hook to his jaw just below his right ear. He was unconscious before he hit the ground and Sokou landed one more shot for good measure before the ref stopped the fight.
Winner: Sokoudhou by KO at :23 of round 1
Fight #5 – Mac Danzig vs Hayato “Mach” Sakurai
Sakurai gave Mac all that he could handle in the opener. Not only did Sakurai beat on him with punches and strong leg kicks he also tried a key lock and even threw in a nice Judo toss.
Sakurai continued his beating of little Mac in round two but this time he concentrated on some extremely vicious low leg kicks. Just as Mac was beginning to get wise to this new assault, Sakurai switched tactics and went upstairs with a huge overhead right that instantly ended the fight.
Winner: Sakurai by KO at 4:01 of round 2
Fight #6 – Sergei Kharitonov vs Mike Russow
After a minute or so of stand up action, Russow gained side mount by catching a low kick from Sergei. From there he worked a nice mix of sub attempts, ground and pound and a second take down. But with a little over a minute remaining, Sergei caught Russow’s arm as the big man was standing in his guard. Kharitonov cranked his hips and forced Russow to tap. After the fight it appeared as if Russow was complaining to referee Mario Yamasaki about stopping the match. Replays clearly showed him tapping out. If he had anything to complain about it would be the extra time Kharitonov kept the arm lock in place.
Winner: Kharitonov by arm bar at 3:46 of round 1
Fight #7 – Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs Alistair Overeem
Overeem got off to a good start in this one. He used his reach to out strike Rua and whenever Shogun managed to force a standing clinch, Alistair was able to shove him off and create space to throw. But it was only be a matter of time before Rua secured ground control and when he did he ended the fight in violent fashion.
While standing over his opponent, Rua threw a huge overhand right that stunned Overeem. Since he was already lying on the canvas when absorbed the blow, it was hard for referee Steve Mazzagatti to tell how hurt Alistair was. Rua teed off with a brutal five punch combo, three of which landed solidly. Fortunately a mouthpiece flying out of a slack jaw signaled Mazzagatti to halt the bout.
Winner: Rua by TKO at 3:37 of round 1
Fight #8 – Takanori Gomi vs Nick Diaz
This is fight of the year so far and it will be a tough one to top. There was so much brutal back and forth action it was hard to keep up. Diaz is an animal in the ring and when he got hurt he became even more dangerous.
The fight opened with Gomi scoring a quick double leg take down. From there he alternated between jumping into Nick’s guard to inflict ground n pound damage and standing over him to kick at Nick’s legs. After one position restart the ref called for both fighters to stand and that is when things got really wild.
The two started trading in earnest. Diaz scored with rights and lefts and backed Gomi up to the ropes, but with one punch the Fireball Kid nearly ended the bout. Gomi exploded with a huge right that dropped Nick and he immediately followed up with more ground and pound. Diaz did a very good job weathering the storm and with about two minutes left he made it back to his feet.
Completely undeterred, Diaz immediately returned to his aggressive striking strategy. Gomi met him head on and both fighters traded brutal shots as the crowd went nuts. In the last minute, Diaz really began to take the fight over as almost everything he threw was landing. Jabs, rights, lefts and even an uppercut. Gomi began to get desperate as he was trying to land one fight ending bomb. When the bell rang Gomi slouched on the ropes in exhaustion before making his way to his corner.
When the second round started Diaz had an incredibly focused look in his eye. You could see he was completely in his element and was loving every minute of this brutal bout. When the bell rang he was all over Gomi again, pressuring him with hard punches. Gomi fought back valiantly but he was taking more than he was delivering. Finally Gomi connected with a sweeping right hook that opened up a nasty cut beneath Diaz’ left eye. There were some tense moments for Diaz as the ringside physician examined his wound. Fortunately for him, and the crowd the fight continued.
With blood pouring out of his face, Diaz looked possessed. Gomi was getting outstruck and was growing more tired by the second so he decided to take Nick down. Once Gomi fell into Diaz’ guard he seemed to relax and Nick took full advantage by easily manipulating Gomi’s head and arm into a Gogoplata. Gomi tapped out seconds later.
This was a hell of a performance from Nick Diaz. He came back after being dropped with a bomb and applied even more pressure on Gomi. And to end the fight with a rare Gogoplata was truly impressive. This is one fight I’d love to see again.
Winner: Diaz by Gogoplata at 1:46 of round 2
Fight #9 – Wanderlei Silva vs Dan Henderson
After watching such a phenomenal fight between Gomi and Diaz I expected the main event to be a bit of a let down. I was wrong. This fight delivered almost as much action and drama as Gomi-Diaz did.
Henderson fought a brilliant fight and clearly beat Silva in both the stand up and the ground war. In the first round Dan’s hand speed allowed him to out strike Silva time and time again. Wand had his moments as he landed a nice combo that rocked Dan but Dan recuperated quickly and continued to score points with effective striking.
In the second round Dan took Silva down from a standing clinch and after a position restart he ground and pounded Silva with everything from hammer fists to shoulder butts. Soon a cut opened and blood began to trickle down Wanderlei’s head. It was eerily reminiscent of his violent KO loss in his last fight to Mirko Filopivic.
Knowing he was down on the scorecards, Silva came out in the third with fresh determination. He traded more recklessly with Dan and it cost him dearly. The beginning of the end came at the 3:17 mark when Dan landed a spinning back fist to Silva’s jaw. Seconds later a furious exchange erupted between the two that ended when Henderson landed an enormous left that sent Silva crashing to his back. Silva’s head violently bounced off the canvas just as Dan landed a right hand bomb to his chin. The ref immediately halted the bout.
Winner: Dan Henderson by KO at 2:08 of round 3