This was a kick-ass FIVE-STAR fight show from start to finish. Every fight was great - yes, every single fight. This is the new measuring stick for modern-era MMA shows. Pride needed badly to put on a great show, and all the stars aligned for them tonight, no doubt about it. Absolutely stellar show:
INTRO -Damn. That one word accurately sums up the spine-tingling opening of Pride 33, making it seem as if the fate of the entire world depends on this show. Which says a lot for a fight card. The crowd is absolutely electric.
JASON IRELAND vs. JOACHIM “HELL BOY” HANSEN -Match starts with a lot of leg kicks from Ireland, which are doing considerable damage to Hansen. Hansen takes the fight to the ground, where he eventually moves into a figure-four bodylock. Ireland escapes a near armlock, but Hansen quickly and rather impressively flips him into a bodylock again. Ireland finishes the first round on top with a series of punches. Solid first round of action.
Ireland starts with a quick takedown, but Hansen is going after him with his signature standing knee strikes. Ireland is barely surviving. Hansen is stalking his prey now, with a specific game plan. A couple minutes of being tied up on the ground leads to Hansen doing everything he can to try making Ireland give up.
Hansen finishes the fight a couple minutes into the third round with a triangle lock, transitioned into a head-and-armlock, in which Ireland could only verbally submit. Awesome fight, excellent finish, great start to the pay-per-view.
Winner: Hansen (submission)
FRANK TRIGG vs. KAZUO MISAKI -Very even start to the match with both fighters posturing for position. So far, Trigg has a very loose head-and-arm choke, but is essentially using the lay-and-prey technique. Transitions onto Misaki’s back with a body triangle, trying repeatedly for a rear naked choke. This lasts for the final two minutes of the first round.
Whoa. Harrison Ford is shown watching in the crowd. Hans Solo himself is an MMA fan? Wild.
Big (and fortunate) takedown by Trigg, however he’s now trying to lay in some minor damage with shoulder bumps to Misaki’s face. Misaki spins out of Trigg’s consecutive attempts at full mount and back control. Misaki lands a wicked right hand on the button, which makes the crowd “Oooooh” along with me. Trigg looks tired on his feet and is taking several shots, so he takes Misaki down for some LnP… and now some ground and pound.
Trigg again controls from the side, tries over and over for the full mount. Lands several knees to the head in the meantime. They trade blows on their feet for a minute before dropping back to the ground for the final minute. Trigg controlled the entire fight… very surprising, but convincing. And Harrison Ford is on his feet clapping. And there’s some blonde woman with huge implants screaming psychotically at the camera. So much for family entertainment…
Winner: Trigg (unanimous decision)
SIDE NOTE: -I *really* like how quickly the officials are clearing the ringside area. There’s definitely no shortage of officials waiting nearby to vacate the ringside area. There’s virtually no downtime between matches. Sounds easy, but it’s fantastic and so difficult to achieve. Would love to see how their stage management operates…
TRAVIS WIUFF vs. JAMES LEE -During the introductions, we see Chuck Norris in the crowd with his wife and baby. WHAM! Right out of the gates, Lee drops Wiuff with a big right hook. Guillotine attempt, and James Lee submits Wiuff in only 39 seconds. DAMN! Big upset. Even better, Lee was only added to this fight a few weeks ago as a replacement for Wiuff’s original opponent.
Winner: Lee (submission)
SIDE NOTE: -My only complaint so far is that during the video intros before each fight, we’re being given the live audio feed from inside the arena. As a result, the audio echoes and is mostly inaudible. Sure, being able to hear the crowd adds a little bit of ambience, but whatever benefit this adds is greatly nullified. Poor decision, but they must just prefer it this way.
ANTONIO ROGERIO NOGUEIRA vs. SOKOUDJOU -Nicolas Cage is shown in the crowd during the intros. WOW! Sokoudjou knocks out Nogueira (one of the top fighters in the world today) with a huge flurry of kicks and a left hook in only 23 seconds. CRAZY!! This show has been nothing short of AMAZING so far! Looks like all of Hollywood has shown up to watch this show, based on all the famous faces sitting in the first few rows.
Winner: Sokoudjou (KO)
MAC DANZIG vs. HAYATO SAKURAI -Sakurai explodes with a lightning round of kicks and shots. In the final 30 seconds, Sakrurai hits a sweet-looking hip toss and fails to submit Danzig with an Americana attempt. Good round with back-and-forth action, mostly controlled by Sakurai.
The second round has been mostly all stand-up fighting, with Sakurai effectively chopping away at Danzig’s legs with low kicks. KAPLOWEE!! Sakurai nearly took Danzig’s head off with a brutal right hook, instantly knocking out Danzig. Best knockout so far!
Winner: Sakurai (KO)
SERGEY KHARITONOV vs. MIKE RUSSOW -Kharitonov’s Russian-propaganda-like intro video absolutely rules. It’s totally out of the 20s. About two minutes into the fight, Russow jumps on a takedown opportunity and assumes side control, turns it into a full mount, back mount, and then fights for position. A “USA” chant starts up. Kharitonov locks in an armbar from his back. Russow taps out, then immediately claims that he didn’t tap. Russow is getting CANNED by the announcers for being a poor sport, arguing that he didn’t tap out. And now the video replays clearly show that he did tap. Interesting.
Winner: Kharitonov (submission)
MAURICIO SHOGUN RUA vs. ALISTAIR OVEREEM -This is a rematch. Rua won their first fight in 2005. Rua knocks out Overeem with a sudden hammer blow on the ground.
Winner: Rua (KO)
TAKANORI GOMI vs. NICK DIAZ -Diaz screws up with an armbar attempt. Gomi is smothering Diaz like a blanket, battering him with punches. Diaz again tries for an armbar, but Gomi craftly maneuvers his way out. Gomi drops Diaz with a great shot, pounces on the stunned Diaz with some punishing blows, but Diaz is just trying to survive now. The American crowd is really being Gomi, chanting his name loudly. Gomi is just barely missing with some vicious uppercuts. Both guys are trading blows, and Gomi looks stunned on his feet now. Can’t tell if Gomi is really hurt or just play possum. It’s almost as if Gomi is just letting Diaz hit him. They are hammering away on each other nonstop!! FANTASTIC ROUND!! Gomi looks to be completely out of it right now – what a huge 180-degrees turn-around for Diaz!
The second round is about to start and the crowd hasn’t stopped cheering since about two minutes left in the first round. Diaz is battering Gomi! Crowd chanting for Diaz now. Diaz is cut open near both eyes and has been checked by the doctors. He’s okay to fight more, but Diaz is now on a mission to end this, just in case the cuts worsen. Gomi takes down Diaz and appears ready to ground-and-pound Diaz… but Diaz locks in a submission triangle choke from the bottom. Gomi taps out - INCREDIBLE!! Diaz pulls off a major upset! Yet another great fight. Gomi is regarded as one of the best welterweight fighters in the world right now, and Diaz finally gets some accolades after years of controversial losses. Damn. This show rocks, and that match is among my all-time favorites now. Diaz just beat the world by tapping out Gomi. The UFC said he could never do what he just did. Again, damn. There hasn’t been a single fight on this card that’s been anything less than stellar.
Winner: Diaz (submission)
PRIDE MIDDLEWEIGHT TITLE WANDERLEI SILVA (champion) vs. DAN HENDERSON -During the intros for this, they really pushed how Silva wants Chuck Liddell, the UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion, and how "Pride is superior to UFC." Seriously. Silva actually said those exact words, followed by a vow that he’s staying in Pride. This came off as a not-so-subtle challenge to Liddell. Meanwhile, Henderson is hyped up as the “ideal American hero.” The pre-match hype has been done very well. And with both fighters in the ring, everyone stands for the playing of the American and Brazilian national anthems – with plenty of cutaway shots to the celebrities in the Las Vegas crowd. Again, Harrison Ford gets the biggest ovation. Silva looks ready to actually murder someone tonight. His jugular vein apparently is trying to jump out of his neck – sick stuff.
Henderson slips on the mat, possibly due to his taped ankles, and Silva blankets him with some LnP. Referee stands them both up and gives them a warning to be more active. Some tangling up in the corner, trading blows. Silva has a small cut over his right eyebrow. Henderson throws a few bombs which catch Silva off-guard, and he’s now backpeddling away from Henderson. With 10 seconds left, Henderson heads to the wrong corner and Silva lands a solid punch, rocking Hendo. Round ends in the nick of time for Henderson.
Round two starts with some stand-up knees to the head by Henderson, who takes down Silva until they’re re-set in the middle of the ring with Hendo on top. Silva’s cut is starting to slowly open up a little due to some GnP from Hendo. Tried to pass into full mount but retreats back to guard. The round ends with Henderson dropping some good shots on Silva from the guard and avoiding an armbar attempt by Silva. Henderson is three rounds away from becoming Pride FC’s first competitor to win and hold two belts in two different weight classes at the same time.
Henderson controls the first minute of the third round, Silva starts to come back, but Hendo lands a pretty spinning backhand punch. With a beautiful left hook, Henderson KNOCKS OUT Silva! Silva was laid-out COMPLETELY unconscious on his back like a starfish!! Confetti falls from the ceiling, and pandemonium is running wild over the crowd. Henderson appears to be crying tears of joy, and the crowd is chanting “USA.” As Silva is helped to the back, Henderson is awarded a big trophy and finally announced the new Pride Middleweight Champion.
Winner and new Middleweight Champion: Dan Henderson (KO)
Jesus Christ. If I didn't see this myself, I'd be frustrated tomorrow afternoon and asking myself when the fake results were going to stop propogating. When James Lee choked out Wiuff in 39 seconds, I said "wow, what an upset." Then the next fight Sukoudjou knocked out Little Nog, and I was convinced I was in Bizzarro World. Then the main event...Jesus Christ. Really, that's all I can say.
I love Pride's presentation, but absolutely agree with you on the audio feed during the pre-fight promos.
Boy, that arena was nowhere near filled. Good crowd, though, and what a great, great show. If this is the last Pride show (in the US or period), I'll be very sad. Whether it's Fishman, Zuffa, or whomever, I hope somebody can buy this company out and make something of it. I realize that their presentation isn't for everyone, but I love everything Pride does. LOVE IT.
LINE OF THE NIGHT Sakurai's only line shown during the video package for his fight with Danzig, in-between clips of Danzig rambling: "I'd love to knock out an American in America."
Great, great card, and man was I ever wrong about Henderson. "Out of his depth" I believe I said. Congrats on a stunning performance.
Top to bottom, what an exciting card -- probably the best of the last few years, and certainly the best north american card I've seen. It's a pity Pride can't seem to get their footing over here. Two strong MMA presences would be great for the sport AND the fighters.
I wonder -- where does Pride go from here with Henderson? He's a two-division champion reportedly on medical suspension because a broken hand. That means it could be a year or more before he can defend one of those belts. Does he vacate one? Which one? Does Wandi get a rematch?
Tons of questions.
Anyway, best moment of the night for me -- and likely shared by a lot of people -- Diaz's shocking domination and finish of Gomi. Gogoplata? Who'd have guessed that one?
I can't stand the guy, hate his attitude, but man does he put up an exciting fight. Can't wait to see him back in the ring or the octagon, I don't care which. So cheers to Nick Diaz for being an absolute, unadulterated asshole who won't back down from anybody. I hate you Diaz, keep up the good work.
Originally posted by Big BadAnd, now the downside....Nick Diaz reportedly tested positive for steroids.
Source? That's intriguing, because he just tested positive for marijuana as well. But all of this is a moot point anyway, as it happened in Nevada. He's already suspended for 6 months by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for suffering a broken orbital bone in the fight with Gomi. The penalty for testing + for a drug test is 6 months, which in Nevada, the suspensions are together, not one after the other. So his injury cancels any drug test penalty - luckily for him.
Diaz didn't test positive for steroids as Big Bad stated -- it was just marijuana. In Nevada that's still a punishable offense. The steroid test results are in and all fighters passed.
What is interesting to me in this is that Diaz initially refused to give a urine sample -- suggesting he absolutely knew he'd come up positive for pot (I won't insinuate anything else, as anything else is just speculation). Pride officials spoke to him, and he ended up giving the test.
Suggesting that he figured hell, might as well fight -- worst that could happen is he'd win, test positive, and they'd change the result to a no contest.
Which could very well happen, though it seems unlikely.
Although I guess the worst that could have happened would have been Gomi murdering him dead in the middle of the ring, but Diaz proved he had some pretty massive balls in that fight -- kudos to him for it.
If the fight result is changed to an NC it will be unfortunate, but Diaz's career will have been revitalized by the fight regardless.
Yup, but there's no punishment in reality. Like mentioned earlier, he's already suspended for 6 months due to his injury. So a 6-month suspension for using pot won't affect him. Works out quite nicely for him, but it now makes him a target and puts all eyes on him for all rounds of testing in the future, as well it should.
Still, if it takes Nick Diaz being on pot in order to put on a fight of the year, then I say let him do it every time... and hopefully nothing bad happens. :P
I can understand Couture's retirement--he'd been at it for a decade, he was fighting over 40 during the biggest youth explosion in the sport, he had just been outright knocked out for the first time in his career, he was going through a divorce, etc.