Saturday, May 28, 2011

Best of Pride Fighting Championships 2/9/11

Last year during Every Day May I was a major contributor and a good chunk of my pieces were MMA-related. As an homage, if you will, here on the mothership, allow me to dazzle you with another MMA review:

1. Mirko Crop Cop vs. Heath Herring - Pride 26: Bad to the Bone - 5
2. Minotauro Nogueira vs. Enson Inoue - Pride 19: Bad Blood - 5
3. Igor Vovchanchyn vs. Katsuhisa Fujii - Pride Bushido 5 - 5
4. Sammy Schilt vs. Akira Shoji - Pride 16: Beast from the East - 4
5. Bob Sapp vs. - Yoshihisa Yamamoto - Pride 20: Armed & Ready - 3
6. Tom Erikson vs. Matt Skelton - Pride 17: Championship Chaos - 2

I love this show. Thankfully I've got a DVR and every 6-8 weeks a new episode will randomly appear. This particular episode focuses on the heavyweights. Mirko plays the role of a matador well, sidestepping Herring and avoiding the ground game in favor of a stand-up war. Cro Cop dropped him with a sickening liver kick then pounded him out. Nogueria is so creative on the ground, here, in his first defense of the PrideFC title, he transitioned from hold to hold, until he got one that stuck (triangle choke) and tapped out the Japanese muscleman. Inoue gave a valiant effort though and this is worth seeing for the epic struggle on the mat.

When people discuss the greatest MMA heavyweights many overlook Igor who amassed an unbelievable 30 fight winning streak. Igor just killed here, big knees, dangerous soccer kicks, etc. Fujii got annihilated but this lacked the competitiveness to be scored higher. I'm very familiar with Schilt from his K-1 stuff, known as one of the best kickboxers of all-time. He's twice as tall as Shoji and this is the sort of freakshow fight you'd only find in Japan. Crowd is roaring "Shoji! Shoji!" Schilt wasting time in his guard was as puzzling as Hurricane Helms' signing with Lucha Libre USA instead of TNA. Schilt looks like a Russian cyborg from an '80's action flick. Punishing finish as Akira ended up being a meat punching bag but this took too long and was so uneven that I can't grade it higher.

Sapp is such a piece of shit now, his fights the last couple years have been jokes, he makes big bank on name alone, but seems scared to engage and about as tough as your elementary science teacher. Back then a bit more vicious, some hard short jabs, throws his weight into knees, etc. The ending barrage is pretty visually impressive. This felt more like a one-sided scuffle behind the bleachers at a high school football game. Billed as Pride vs. K-1, wrestler vs. kickboxer, this was short and silly as Skelton looked about as comfortable on his back as Tiffany did on her first employee meeting with McMahon.

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