by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
It’s been an extremely successful year for the Pride Fighting Championships. Starting off with the deepest field ever for their Middleweight Grand Prix, Pride continued to top itself with Welterweight and Lightweight GPs and the most anticipated heavyweight match ever between Fedor Emelianenko and Mirko Cro Cop.

With only one live show remaining at year’s end, Pride has decided to release their second “best of” style show to help fill the time between Pride 30 and Shockwave 2005 with the debut of Hardcore Submissions Vol. 1 this upcoming Friday, December 9th.

To discuss the compilation of some of the best submissions in Pride’s history, MMA Weekly spoke to Pride commentator Mauro Ranallo, who summed up the show by saying, “As everyone knows we had a very successful Hardcore Knockouts Vol. 1. It showed some of the best, hard-hitting knockouts in Pride history. So now with the advent of Hardcore Submissions Vol. 1 that’s exactly what the fans are going to see, the best of the sweeter science of MMA that is sometimes misunderstood.”

As for what fans can expect from the PPV, Ranallo replied, “They’ll see artists paint masterpieces on a different sort of canvas, fighters like Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, probably the best submission fighter in the heavyweight division, exhibit BJJ at its best. If your remember the Ryo Chonan’s scissors takedown into a heel hook submission on Anderson Silva, you’ll see things like that, Takanori Gomi showing his submission skills, any of the most memorable submissions in Pride’s history you’ll see in a nicely produced two hour show.”

Mauro continued, “It will be along the lines of the Knockouts show, sometimes the entire fight depending on how long it is, sometimes just the lead-up to the submission itself, I think the best way to describe it is a fast-paced two hours chalked full of submissions. Bas and I did the cut-ins in Japan and we didn’t have to do many of them so it’s going to move quite quickly.”

When it comes to the ground game, people still sometimes misunderstand what is going on. So not only is Hardcore Submissions Vol. 1 going to be a showcase for some of the best ground action around, it is also going to be used as an educational tool to help fans better understand that aspect of the fight game.

“I think it is paramount to showcase the ground game,” said Ranallo. “I really do believe that without the ground game we would just be doing kickboxing with smaller gloves. There are other promotions that concentrate on that, but MMA is the entire spectrum rolled into one. Anyone that wants to have any kind of chance of success needs to be well-rounded and know the ground game. Bas Rutten, the greatest purveyor of information of the sport itself, being a former fighter, trainer and current commentator of Pride, took one of the Pride judges and filmed submissions and takedowns leading into submissions, reversals, everything for this show. He put it in his own incomparable style and it comes across very well.”

Ranallo further commented, “In Japan it’s a very knowledgeable audience that knows the nuances of the ground game, but in North America while it’s still growing, it still gets misunderstood. The ground game is a mental chess match and you need time to set up your movements, sometimes it’s not instantaneous and people need to understand that. The more we showcase this the fans will understand and their appreciation will grow greatly.”

This month looks to be a very busy one for Pride and it will only get better for the fans as the New Year approaches. And that’s a fact that Mauro reiterated when he said, “Definitely in December there’s a lot of treats for Pride FC fans, on Friday, December 9th Hardcore Submissions Vol. 1 will debut and if you’re a fan of the ground game you will be in awe. For the fans that may be on the fence about the ground game I say do yourself a favor and check it out, you will become a fan. These guys are the best in the world and they will prove it on Hardcore Submissions Vol. 1.”

Ranallo concluded, “I hope fans continue to support the sport of MMA and Pride FC, the only true global MMA organization. There’s Shockwave 2005 on December 31st, premiering in early January on PPV, which I believe will be the biggest show in Pride’s history. It’s going to be a great way to kick off the New Year, and again I appreciate everyone that’s supported Bas and I, we’re looking forward to a banner year in 2006.”