by Ken Pishna
PRIDE BUSHIDO TOURNAMENT RESULTS
WELTERWEIGHT ALTERNATE BOUT:
Paulo Filho quickly dispatched with Ryuta Sakurai with an arm-popping Arm Bar just 3:49 into the first round.
WELTERWEIGHT QUARTERFINAL 1:
Akihiro Gono showed the world that he is for real, winning a close fight with Chute Boxe fighter Daniel Acacio. The fight was almost entirely on the feet and Gono did enough to win a Unanimous Decision.
WELTERWEIGHT QUARTERFINAL 2:
Dan Henderson wasted no time with Ryo Chonan. Only 0:22 into the first round, Henderson floored Chonan with a huge right hand and then followed that up with a couple more for good measure while Chonan was on his back on the ground before the referee could step in to stop the fight.
WELTERWEIGHT QUARTERFINAL 3:
For Ikuhisa “The Punk” Minowa, the second time was a charm. In his rematch with Phil Baroni, Minowa didn’t make it an exciting fight, but he learned from the first go around and was able to take Baroni down several times and control positioning to earn a Unanimous Decision.
WELTERWEIGHT QUARTERFINAL 4:
Finally returning to his more natural weight of 183 pounds, 39-year old Murilo Bustamante looked ten years younger as he traded shots with Pride rookie Masanori Suda before taking him to the ground and slickly submitting him with an Arm Bar 3:20 after the opening bell.
LIGHTWEIGHT ALTERNATE BOUT:
Early in the first round, Dokonjonosuke Mishima started going for submissions on Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett. But Bennett struck back, literally, rocking Mishima with a solid upper cut and then attempting a guillotine choke of his own. In the end, it was Mishima that was able to land an ankle lock, sort of a modified version of a heel hook that had Bennett tapping out 4:04 into the round.
LIGHTWEIGT QUARTERFINAL 1:
In his first bout at 160 pounds, Hayato “Mach” Sakurai debuted in impressive fashion. From the opening bell, he took the fight to Jens Pulver, landing brutal leg kicks and getting the better of the punch exchanges early on. Pulver fought back, hurting Sakurai a couple of times with well-timed punches before Sakurai finally dropped him with a knee to the head and finishing with a barrage of Hammer Fists. Sakurai won by a TKO ref stoppage 8:56 into the first.
LIGHTWEIGHT QUARTERFINAL 2:
This was one of the most highly anticipated fights of the night. But when all was said and done, Yves Edwards and Joachim Hansen ended up fighting a very technical battle trading strikes and working for position on the ground. Hansen attempted to work his ground and pound game, while Yves looked for the submission. After two rounds and a strong edge in takedowns, Hansen walked away with a Split Decision.
LIGHTWEIGHT QUARTERFINAL 3:
In a battle between the two highest ranked lightweight fighters in the world, Takanori Gomi clearly made his case to be considered the top dog. In a stunning fight that saw both fighters exchanging and recovering from some tremendous strikes, Gomi continually did more damage to Tatsuya Kawajiri than he received before finishing him off with a rear naked choke at 7:42 of round 1.
LIGHTWEIGHT QUARTERFINAL 4:
Continuing his reputation as a ferocious fighter, Luiz Azeredo knocked out Naoyuki Kotani with a big right hand, a kick to the face, and a couple knees to the head… all in just 11 seconds!
WELTERWEIGHT SEMI-FINAL 1:
Looking very impressive at the lighter 183-pound limit, Dan Henderson continued winning as he dominated Akihiro Gono for 7:58 with his boxing skills before knocking him out.
WELTERWEIGHT SEMI-FINAL 2:
Continuing to peel away the years, Murilo Bustamante traded strikes with Ikuhisa Minowa and attempted several submissions before finally finding a way to win late into the first round. At the 9:51 mark, Bustamante kicked Minowa in the face, dropping him to the mat, and then followed up with several more soccer-style kicks to the head for the TKO.
LIGHTWEIGHT SEMI-FINAL 1:
In an amazing fight that saw a tremendous amount of back and forth action, Hayato Sakurai continued to resurrect his career as he edged out a very exciting fight with Joachim Hansen. Sakurai was a little quicker on the feet and landed some very nice throws to earn a Unanimous Decision and a berth in the final.
LGIHTWEIGHT SEMI-FINAL 2:
What a way to finish the night! Luiz Azeredo gave Takanori Gomi everything he could handle. Hurting Gomi several times over the two round fight, it was still Azeredo that more often felt the sting of Gomi’s devastating strikes. It was Gomi that stood with his hand raised in the end for a Unanimous Decision following another extremely exciting fight.
THE FINALS AT SHOCKWAVE
After a tremendous show with tournaments in two new weight classes, we’ll have to wait three months for the final of each class, but it should be well worth the wait. The new welterweight champion will be crowned and the lightweights will finally get the respect they so rightly deserve at Shockwave on New Year’s Eve.
In the welterweight (183-pound) division, Murilo Bustamante will finally get the rematch that he has longed for with Dan Henderson. Both fighters are getting on in years, so it’s quite appropriate that they will meet to decide the championship and show the young bucks how it’s done.
The first two rounds of the lightweight tournament were nothing shy of spectacular. And DSE/Pride has to be beaming at the thought of finally having an all-Japan final in one of their tournaments, guaranteeing that they will finally crown a Japanese champion. Hayato Sakurai may have been the surprise of the tournament, but he will definitely test Takanori Gomi’s claim to number one when they meet.