by Ivan Trembow – MMAWeekly.com
Dream Stage Entertainment has officially announced the quarter-final match-ups for Pride Bushido’s 183-pound Grand Prix. Dan Henderson will take on Kazuo Misaki, Paulo Filho will face Ryo Chonan, Denis Kang will go up against Amar Suloev, and Akihiro Gono will face Gegard Mousasi on the August 26th card at Nagoya Rainbow Hall in Japan. Also, to participate in the show will be Takanori Gomi and Ikuhisa Minowa.
Dan Henderson won the eight-man Pride Grand Prix for 183-pound fighters in 2005, as he defeated Ryo Chonan and Akihiro Gono in the first two rounds of the tournament before winning an extremely close split decision over Murilo Bustamante in the finals. In Henderson’s most recent fight, a non-tournament bout in April of this year, he defeated Kazuo Misaki by unanimous decision, but Misaki looked much better in the fight than most expected. Henderson received a bye in the first round of this tournament due to injury, thus advancing to the final eight of this year’s tournament.
After losing to Henderson in April, Kazuo Misaki was the biggest underdog in the entire tournament when he faced Phil Baroni in the first round of the Bushido Grand Prix in June. However, Misaki defied the odds and won a fairly one-sided fight against Baroni by unanimous decision. Misaki will now get the opportunity to avenge his prior loss to Henderson.
Paulo Filho is one of the favorites to win the tournament, and he is still undefeated in his MMA career with a record of 12-0. Filho holds submission wins over Amar Suloev, Ryuta Sakurai, and Akira Shoji, as well as decision wins over Yuki Kondo and Ikuhisa Minowa. Most recently, Filho defeated Murilo “Ninja” Rua by unanimous decision in April of this year, and followed that up with an extremely one-sided decision victory over Gregory Bouchelaghem in the first round of this year’s Bushido Grand Prix in June.
Filho’s opponent will be Ryo Chonan, who was not expected to be able to compete in the next round of the tournament. Chonan defeated Joey Villasenor by decision in the first round of the tournament, but Chonan suffered a broken orbital bone in the process. Chonan defeated Anderson Silva by submission in December 2004, and he has gone 2-0 since his knockout loss at the hands of Dan Henderson in last year’s tournament.
In a battle of two fighters who were underdogs in the first round of the tournament, Denis Kang will face Amar Suloev. Kang has not lost in his last 18 fights and has looked extremely impressive in his last two Pride fights, as he defeated Mark Weir by submission and subsequently knocked out Murilo “Ninja” Rua in just 15 seconds.
Kang’s opponent, Amar Suloev, pulled off a big upset when he defeated 2005 Grand Prix finalist Murilo Bustamante in a clear-cut unanimous decision in the first round of this year’s Bushido Grand Prix. Suloev is now 2-1 in his Pride career, with victories over Bustamante and Dean Lister, and a submission loss to Paulo Filho.
The final quarter-final match-up will pit Akihiro Gono up against Gegard Mousasi. Gono scored a big upset in last year’s 183-pound Grand Prix when he defeated highly regarded Daniel Acacio by unanimous decision, but then he got knocked out by Dan Henderson in the next round of the tournament. In the first round of this year’s 183-pound Grand Prix, Gono was effective in turning the tables on explosive Cuban fighter Hector Lombard, who looked amazing in the first minute or so of the fight, but couldn’t keep up with Gono for the entire bout duration.
After defeating Lombard by unanimous decision, Gono will now face another explosive fighter in Gegard Mousasi, who entered this year’s Grand Prix with an MMA record of 12-1-1, but very little name recognition. Mousasi looked impressive in his Pride debut against Olympic Gold Medalist Makoto Takimoto in June, but will be facing a much tougher test against Gono.
The quarter-finals of Pride Bushido’s 183-pound Grand Prix will take place in Japan on Saturday, August 26th, which is the same date as UFC 62. Dream Stage Entertainment president Nobuyuki Sakakibara recently said at a press briefing in Japan that instead of airing on pay-per-view in the United States, the August 26th Bushido event will air on Fox Sports Net, and the expected air date is Sunday, August 27th.