by Damon Martin
IS THOMPSON THE NEXT BIG THING?
Pride has put on some of the best fights in the world over the past few years. Fedor vs. Nogueria. Nogueria vs. Herring. Silva vs. Jackson. The list goes on and on. But what Pride also loves to do is put on matches that people scratch their heads about constantly wondering how a fight gets booked. Usually it pits some form of a fighter, be it former sumo wrestler, pro wrestler or “martial arts” veteran in a mixed martial arts bout that is usually referred to by fans as a “freak show” match. James Thompson vs. Alexandru Lungu is just that type of fight.
James “The Colossus” Thompson made a very memorable debut in Pride when he came out “Bob Sapp” style, charging across the ring towards his opponent, Aleksander Emelianenko, who stood calmly as his opponent rumbled forward. The result was a knockout by Emelianenko over Thompson about :10 seconds later.
Thompson, who is a veteran of both Pride and Cage Rage in England, has potential to be a good fighter in the future, but as of yet has not faced off against enough talent to show that he has what it takes to reach the next level. Standing 6’5″ tall, Thompson possesses very powerful hands and usually has a solid reach advantage over his opponents.
His opponent, Alexandru Lungu, is a Pride and mixed martial arts first timer, who stands 6’1″ tall and weighs in at a robust 368lbs is a former Judo and wrestling champion from Romania. Judging by his size, Lungu brings back memories of early UFC fans to fighter Scott Ferrozzo, and the Romanian will have his hands full in a fight where the entrances may last longer than the actual bout.
If Lungu is able to take the fight to the ground, his overwhelming girth may very well neutralize Thompson’s overall mixed martial arts experience, but it will be interesting to see if he can do so. Thompson on the other hand will be looking for the KO from the very offset of this fight.
It’s doubtful, if for no other reason than Lungu’s size which will lead to a lack of endurance, that this fight will even sniff the second round, but stranger things have happened. Look for Thompson to swing heavy and swing hard and get a knockout win in this fight and then wait to see if Pride will book him a more legitimate opponent next time out.