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PRIDE Bushido 10 – Preview and Analysis

By Al Yu | March 29, 2006

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By Al Yu

4/2 Tokyo, Ariake Colosseum card line-up.

Yves Edwards (28-10-1) vs Seichi Ikemoto (11-11-4)

Prior to losing a close decision to Joachim Hansen at PRIDE Bushido 9, Yves Edwards was on a seven fight winning streak, defeating Josh Thompson, Hermes Franca (2x), and Dokonjonosuke Mishima along the way. Most recently at UFC 58, Edwards was submitted by Mark Hominick in a fight that not many expected Hominick to win. Seichi Ikemoto is a Shooto and DEEP veteran. He recently lost a decision to DEEP Champion Jutaro Nakao. Ikemoto is making his PRIDE debut.

Yves is looking to rebound from his shocking loss. I’m surprised that he would want to take a fight on short notice after a defeat but I guess he’s eager to get back into the ring. This fight is going to be very entertaining. Ikemoto has been more aggressive lately and likes to mix things up with his kicks and strikes. He is coming down in weight to face Edwards and will have a small reach advantage. There should be some good exchanges between these two. Edwards has been in many more battles against much better competition and that will be the key factor here. Yves is going to have the advantage in striking and he should be comfortable if the fight were to go to the ground. Ikemoto wants to make a good first impression and will try to take advantage of Edward’s mental state after a loss. However, Ikemoto has never fought anyone close to the caliber of Edwards. Watch for Yves to use his experience and superior striking to get back on the win column.

Prediction: Yves Edwards TKO Seichi Ikemoto RD1

Mitsuhiro Ishida (10-2-1) vs Paul Rodriguez (8-5-2)

Mitsuhiro Ishida is the current Shooto Pacific Welterweight Champion and teammate of Tatsuya Kawajiri. He won the title last February when he defeated Kenichiro Togashi. Paul Rodriguez is a former Gracie Barra fighter and recently joined American Top Team. He has fought in many MMA organizations including the UFC and Shooto. Last year in his Pancrase debut, he fought Koji Oishi to a draw. This will be the PRIDE debut for both fighters.

Paul Rodriguez brings a solid all-around game. His strength would definitely be his ground game. Ishida has fought better ground fighters than Rodriguez in the past and has never been submitted in his career. Look for Ishida to use his strong takedowns to bring the fight to the ground. From there, he will avoid submission attempts and outwork Rodriguez to take a decision victory.

Prediction: Mitsuhiro Ishida decisions Paul Rodriguez

Jens Pulver (19-6-1) vs Masakazu Imanari (9-4-1)

Jens ‘Little Evil’ Pulver is a former UFC Lightweight Champion and a veteran of PRIDE. Pulver holds wins over Caol Uno, BJ Penn and Dennis Hallman. At Bushido 9, Pulver was stopped by Hayato ‘Mach’ Sakurai. Masakazu Imanari is the current DEEP Featherweight Champion and has made two appearances in Bushido. He recently became DEEP’s first ever Featherweight Champion by submitting Mike Brown and Yoshiro Maeda in a featherweight tournament. At his last Bushido appearance, he was the recipient of a knee to the head from Joachim Hansen, ending the fight in the first round.

Pulver is one of the ‘scrappiest’ fighters I have ever seen. He is almost always smaller than his opponents and is usually the first to dictate the action. This time around he’s going to face someone who usually weighs less than him. Masakazu Imanari is a very unorthodox fighter with some deadly ankle/foot submissions. I haven’t seen too many fighters willing to ‘flop’ to the mat in hopes of securing a heel hook. This fight is going to be difficult for Pulver as he’s never faced an opponent as unorthodox as Imanari. Only two of Pulver’s six losses have come by submission. However, both were by ankle/foot submissions (heel hook and toe hold to be exact). This will be the upset of the night as Imanari’s style is made to frustrate Pulver. Imanari’s reluctancy to trade will result in Jens getting too close and succumbing to his opponent’s ground strategy. Pulver will have to go back to the drawing board after tapping out to a heel hook.

Prediction: Masakazu Imanari submits Jens Pulver RD1

Denis Kang (19-7-1) vs Mark Weir (17-9)

Denis Kang is a coming off of an injury that prevented him from competing in the Bushido tournament. This American Top Team fighter made a successful comeback at AFC 14 where he choked out Ron Fields. In his last PRIDE appearance, Kang defeated the tough Andrei Semenov. Since leaving the UFC, Mark Weir has made his new home at the England-based Cage Rage and is the Cage Rage British Middleweight Champion. He is currently on a three fight winning streak and recently finished Akira Shoji at Cage Rage 14. This will be Weir’s PRIDE debut.

Denis Kang is a fighter with a deceiving record. Early in his career, he suffered many losses. Since then, he’s dedicated himself and compiled a winning streak of fourteen fights. Mark Weir’s career has seen many ups and downs and has been plagued with inconsistency. It seems ‘The Wizard’ is back on track with some solid victories. Kang has shown he’s become more of a complete fighter. On their feet, Weir is going to have the advantage as his striking is his strength. Kang’s stand-up still needs refinement as he sometimes ‘paws’ his left jab and throws looping right hooks. However, Kang does have a nice straight right as Andrei Semenov found out. I can’t see Kang wanting to stand with Weir for too long. Look for Kang to take this fight to ground and wear down his opponent. From there, Weir will make a mistake and open himself to a submission via armbar or rear naked choke.

Prediction: Denis Kang submits Mark Weir RD1

Murilo Rua (11-5-1) vs Paulo Filho (10-0)

Murilo ‘Ninja’ Rua is the older brother of the current PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix Champion Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua. This Chute Boxe fighter is coming off a win over Murad Chunkaiev at PRIDE 30. Murilo will be making his welterweight debut. Paulo Filho is a BJJ practitioner and is a member of Brazilian Top Team. In his last fight, he armbarred Ryuta Sakurai in a reserve match at Bushido 9. Filho is currently undefeated as a professional fighter.

I can’t wait for this fight to happen. It’s no secret that these two don’t like each other. They have publicly discussed their dislike and will finally get to settle their grudge in the ring. Many consider Filho to be a ‘welterweight version’ of Ricardo Arona. Filho definitely has the advantage in BJJ but I feel that Rua has an underrated ground game. In his last fight, ‘Ninja’ showed some of his ground capabilities by submitting the very game Chunkaiev. It’s possible that this fight could be a mirror image of Wanderlei Silva vs Ricardo Arona 1. Rua seems to have a knack for escaping out of submissions and bad positions (with the exception of his fight against Kevin Randleman). I can’t see Filho submitting Rua. What I can see is Filho’s chin getting tested. ‘Ninja’ should prove to be the toughest striker that Filho has yet to face. If Rua has done his homework and worked on his takedown defense, Filho may have a long night ahead of him.

This will be Rua’s first fight at welterweight and he should have a size advantage over Paulo. Throughout his career, he has fought at Middleweight and even Heavyweight. Will the move down in weight affect his conditioning? We shall see soon enough. This fight should be exciting and will exhibit some good ground work. Look for ‘Ninja’ to use his superior striking and size to hand Filho his first professional MMA loss.

Prediction: Murilo Rua decisions Paulo Filho

Akihiro Gono (23-11-7) vs Kim Dae Won (2-1)

Akihiro Gono is a Pancrase, Shooto, and PRIDE Bushido veteran. He lost his PRIDE debut against Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua. Since then, he has defeated Crosley Gracie and Daniel Acacio. At Bushido 9, Gono’s welterweight title hopes ended at the hands of Dan Henderson. Kim Dae Won is a Judo practitioner from Korea. He lost his pro debut and has since earned two decisions over unheralded opponents.

The more I watch Gono, the more I’m impressed. I’ll be honest, I didn’t pick him to defeat Daniel Acacio in the Bushido tournament. He may never be considered one of the elite fighters in PRIDE but he’s definitely no journeyman either. Not much is known about Kim Dae Won other than his lack of professional experience. Both fighters share a same previous opponent in Keiichiro Yamamiya (Kim Dae Won earned a decision while Gono finished his opponent with strikes). Kim Dae Won is the physically stronger fighter but I feel he will be outmatched here. Gono has a good all around game and is the better striker. Look for Gono to wear Kim Dae Won down and finish him off with strikes in the second round.

Prediction: Akihiro Gono TKO Kim Dae Won RD2

Joachim Hansen (13-4-1) vs Luiz Azeredo (10-5)

Joachim Hansen is a Shooto and PRIDE veteran. The former Shooto Champion is coming off an unfortunate disqualification loss to Tatsuya Kawajiri when Kawajiri wasn’t able to continue after an accidental kick to the groin. At Bushido 9, Hansen earned a split decision over Yves Edwards but was unable to defeat Hayato ‘Mach’ Sakurai in the semi-finals. Luiz Azeredo is a member of the famed Chute Boxe academy. At Bushido 7, he frustrated Takanori Gomi with his aggressive style before being knocked out by the champion. Azeredo would later lose a rematch in the semi-finals of the Lightweight tournament.

Next to Rua vs Filho, this is the most anticipated fight of the night for me. If Azeredo comes at Hansen like he did against Gomi, this could be an early contender for fight of the year. Azeredo has shown he’s got a good ground game. However, I think Hansen will be ready for anything Azeredo has to offer on the ground. Fans can expect some exciting exchanges between these two title contenders. On their feet, I have to give the edge to Azeredo. Look for Azeredo to bring an arsenal of strikes while the usually calm Hansen waits for his opportunity to counter punch or go for the clinch. This should be a very competitive fight with a lot of action on and off the ground. Look for Joachim Hansen to win a close decision and move one step closer to a rematch with Takanori Gomi.

Prediction: Joachim Hansen decisions Luiz Azeredo

Yuki Kondo (44-17-5) vs Phil Baroni (8-6)

Yuki Kondo is a UFC, PRIDE and Pancrase veteran. He is the current Light Heavyweight King of Pancrase. Kondo is coming off of a controversial ‘loss’ to Kazuhiro Nakamura at Shockwave 2005. Phil Baroni is a UFC and Bushido veteran. Picked as an underdog, he made a successful transition into PRIDE by defeating two solid opponents. At Bushido 9, ‘The New York Badass’ lost a rematch to Ikuhisa Minowa. This will be Kondo’s first fight at welterweight.

Baroni throws a hard punch, Ryo Chonan can attest to that. It would not be wise for Kondo to stand and trade with him. The best way to defeat Baroni is to take him down and neutralize his power. I think Baroni’s ground game is a little underrated. Phil possesses enough skills to keep him out of trouble on his back. However, Kondo will be the most dangerous submission fighter that Phil has yet to face. It will be interesting to see if Phil is able to defend against Kondo’s submission attempts, let alone put up much of an offense from his back. I foresee Kondo playing it safe and taking the fight to the mat and scoring a lot of points with the judges. A win will put Kondo on the contender list for Dan Henderson’s belt.

Prediction: Yuki Kondo decisions Phil Baroni

Ikuhisa Minowa (31-22-8) vs Paulo Cesar Silva (1-5)

Ikuhisa ‘The Punk’ Minowa is a Pancrase and PRIDE veteran. He is coming off a victory over Dave Legano at Cage Rage 15. Minowa holds wins over Phil Baroni, Gilbert Yvel, and Kimo. Paulo Cesar Silva made his debut in PRIDE at Shockwave 2003. He is currently on a losing streak, dropping his last four fights in a row.

Hardcore MMA fans cringe at match-ups like this. However, these ‘freak show’ mismatches are very appealing to the Japanese crowd and they’re the ones buying tickets so that is what matters. ‘Giant’ Silva will probably have a 100 pound weight advantage over Minowa. I really don’t need to go into depth here so I’ll just cut to the chase. After circling the ‘Giant’ with his superior speed, Minowa will trip Silva to the ground and finish him off with a heel hook.

Prediction: Ikuhisa Minowa submits Paulo Cesar Silva RD1

Dan Henderson (19-4) vs Kazuo Misaki (15-5-2)

Dan Henderson is the current PRIDE Welterweight Champion and the 2005 Welterweight Grand Prix Champion. He is a former UFC tournament champion and trains with Team Quest. In his last fight, Dan won a close split decision in a rematch with Murilo Bustamante at Shockwave 2005. Kazuo Misaki is a Pancrase veteran and has made two appearances in Bushido. He made his debut in DEEP recently, submitting PRIDE veteran Akira Shoji.

One word best describes this fight – ‘tune-up’. The only advantage I can see Misaki having would be in submissions. Dan is the better wrestler, the better striker and has been in the ring with much better grapplers than Misaki. I guess I can give Misaki a puncher’s chance but it’s highly unlikely he can pull off something that no one has done in Henderson’s 23 fights. Misaki has a good left jab but he sometimes ‘floats’ the punch out there, leaving him open to an overhand right. He may be a better technical puncher than Henderson but he lacks the speed and power to nullify Dan’s right hand. The Japanese fans would love to see one of their own on top of PRIDE’s Welterweight division. However, Misaki won’t be the one to achieve that. Watch for Henderson to overwhelm Misaki with his strong wrestling and powerful right hand en route to a first round TKO.

Prediction: Dan Henderson TKO Kazuo Misaki RD1

Takanori Gomi (24-2) vs Marcus Aurelio (13-2)

Takanori Gomi is the current PRIDE Lightweight Champion and the 2005 Lightweight Grand Prix Champion. The ‘Fireball Kid’ has been unstoppable in PRIDE, having never tasted defeat in ten fights. At Shockwave 2005, Gomi stopped Hayato ‘Mach’ Sakurai to become PRIDE’s first ever Japanese Lightweight Champion. Marcus ‘Maximus’ Aurelio is a BJJ practitioner and trains with American Top Team. Aurelio is a ZST veteran and holds wins over Masakazu Imanari and Remigijus Morkevicius. At Bushido 8, he earned a decision over DEEP Champion Jutaro Nakao.

Marcus Aurelio is definitely no pushover as he brings a strong ground game. Aurelio has faced a deadly striker before by the name of Remigijus Morkevicius. In that fight, Aurelio pulled guard and finished Morkevicius via triangle choke. Gomi is a much better overall fighter than Morkevicius and he will put Aurelio’s chin to the test. Marcus will try to take the fight to the ground but Gomi’s excellent striking and wrestling will keep the champion off of his back. As the fight progresses, Gomi will break down Aurelio’s defenses and finish him off with strikes late in the first round.

Prediction: Takanori Gomi TKO Marcus Aurelio RD1

Topics: Al Yu, All Topics, Japan, MMA, PRIDE | No Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |


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