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PRIDE Total Elimination Absolute 2006 – Preview and Analysis

By Al Yu | May 1, 2006

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By Al Yu

TEA 2006

Total Elmination Absolute introduction – “Risk for Success? Absolutely.”

Full 5/5 PRIDE Osaka Dome card.


Roman Zentsov (11-10) vs Gilbert Yvel (27-10-1)

Roman Zentsov is a teammate of PRIDE Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko. He has fought in M-1 and 2Hot2Handle events throughout most of his career. In his PRIDE debut at Final Conflict 2005, Zentsov was submitted by Fabricio Werdum. Recently at PRIDE 31, Zentsov shocked many fans by throwing only one left hook to knock out Pedro Rizzo. Gilbert Yvel is a PRIDE veteran and is part of Golden Glory, also home to Alistair Overeem. He has faced top level competition throughout his career and holds wins over Gary Goodridge, Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, and Valentijn Overeem (2x). In his last PRIDE appearance, Yvel was submitted by Ikuhisa Minowa. Gilbert is coming off of a submission victory over Valentijn Overeem. This match-up will be a non-tournament fight.

I’m not sure why DSE is giving Yvel another chance in PRIDE, he’s compiled a record of one win, six losses and one no contest. One would question why Gilbert is still even allowed to compete anymore after being disqualified for knocking out the referee at Fight Festival 12. Yvel has faced excellent opposition but has not been very successful in defeating those opponents. The ‘Hurricane’ is deadly on his feet, having 22 victories by knockout, cuts or stoppage. However, his biggest weakness is his lack of offense once he’s been taken down. Ever outspoken, Yvel has whined in the past about his opponents not wanting to stand and trade with him. He needs to stop his bickering and worry about working on his takedown defense. Zentsov is coming off of the biggest win of his career after barely breaking a sweat against Pedro Rizzo. Roman has powerful hands and has a solid wrestling base. He has been prone to submissions in the past but Yvel isn’t known for his submission skills. Gilbert is more than capable of securing an armbar but I think he’ll be worried about not giving up too much ground positioning with failed submission attempts. Zentsov would be foolish to stand with Yvel for too long. Look for Roman to take Yvel down at the first opportunity he gets and work his ground-n-pound. After two rounds of punishment, the referee will stop the fight and Fedor will once again enter the ring to congratulate his teammate.

Prediction: Roman Zentsov TKO Gilbert Yvel RD2


Alistair Overeem (23-6) vs Fabricio Werdum (7-1-1)

Alistair Overeem is a Golden Glory kick boxer who holds wins over Vitor Belfort and Igor Vovchanchyn. The ‘Demolition Man’ proved he belongs in the heavyweight division by stopping top ten ranked heavyweight Sergei Kharitonov with strikes at PRIDE 31. Fabricio Werdum is best known for being Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipovic’s BJJ coach. He is 3-1 in PRIDE and is coming off of a decision over ADCC Champion Jon Olav Einemo at PRIDE 31.

Physically, these two match up very well. With his last two fights, Werdum showed improvement in his striking. However, all the training in the world won’t stop Overeem from out striking Werdum on their feet. When Werdum fought Sergei Kharitonov, it was apparent that he couldn’t stand with the Russian as he chose to invite Sergei in from the ground during the later rounds. Not only does Overeem possess striking skills that are better than Kharitonov’s, he will also bring in his other favorite arsenal – his knees. In the past, Overeem has had a problem with conditioning. Part of the reason may have been due to cutting weight to make the middleweight limit. Similar to PRIDE 31, I don’t expect Overeem to cut any weight.

Overeem is better on the ground than most people give him credit for. Though he lost his fight against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, he lasted three rounds with a BJJ practitioner who, in my opinion, is better on the ground in MMA than Werdum. Overeem has never been submitted in his professional career and I don’t see Werdum being the first to do it. This will be a very competitive fight and I feel that aggressiveness will be the deciding factor for the victor. Alistair will pursue Werdum on their feet and I expect to see a lot of clinching and ground fighting by both fighters. In the end, I say Alistair Overeem by a close decision.

Prediction: Alistair Overeem decisions Fabricio Werdum


Mark Hunt (4-1) vs Tsuyoshi Kohsaka (19-10-1)

Mark Hunt is a former K-1 Grand Prix champion who made his MMA debut at PRIDE Critical Countdown 2004, losing to Hidehiko Yoshida. Since then, he’s won four straight fights that included defeating Dan Bobish, handing Wanderlei Silva his very first loss in PRIDE, and winning a decision over Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipovic. At PRIDE 31, Hunt scored a TKO victory over debuting Yousuke Nishijima. Tsuyoshi Kohsaka is a UFC and RINGS veteran and is also a former King of Pancrase. ‘TK’ is the only fighter to hold a victory over Fedor Emelianenko, a fight that ended because of a cut. Kohsaka earned his entry into the tournament by stopping Brazilian Top Team leader Mario Sperry at PRIDE 31. Nearing the twilight of his career, Kohsaka has stated that win or lose, he will retire after the tournament.

Hunt is arguably the hardest puncher in the heavyweight division and definitely has the best chin in all of MMA. I highly doubt Kohsaka could stop Hunt with strikes. Kohsaka’s strengths lie in his ground game, particularly his submission defense. If ‘TK’ can get the fight to the mat early, Hunt could be in trouble. In my opinion, Kohsaka’s submission skills are superior to that of Hidehiko Yoshida. ‘TK’ looked good in his victory over Mario Sperry. A good submission fighter may be Hunt’s Achilles’ heel but I think what wins the fight for Mark is father time. If this fight would have happened during Kohsaka’s prime, I’d definitely pick ‘TK’ to win by submission. ‘TK’ is a Judoka so he is quite capable of taking Hunt down from a clinch. However, Kohsaka’s reflexes aren’t what they used to be and I feel that he’ll have a hard time trying to take the stronger Hunt down. I hope Tsuyoshi doesn’t let his striking performance against Sperry mislead him into thinking he can trade with Hunt. The inventor of the ‘atomic butt drop’ will batter Kohsaka into round two and finish the veteran off with strikes. ‘TK’ will retire a proud fighter and will continue to be an important figure in the MMA world.

Prediction: Mark Hunt TKO Tsuyoshi Kohsaka RD2

BarnettA. Emelianenko

Josh Barnett (16-3) vs Aleksander Emelianenko (8-1)

Josh Barnett is a former UFC Heavyweight Champion and a former King of Pancrase. Barnett used to wrestle for the New Japan Pro Wrestling organization but is now concentrating on his MMA career. At PRIDE 31, he submitted former training partner Kazuhiro Nakamura. Aleksander Emelianenko is the younger brother of PRIDE Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko. Just like his accomplished brother, Aleksander is also a Sambo practitioner and is a two-time world Sambo champion. At Shockwave 2005, he submitted Olympic Gold Judoka Pawel Nastula.

I’m really looking forward to this match-up and I’m glad DSE has made it happen. Aleksander looked sloppy in his last fight against Nastula. At one point, he was in danger of being armbarred. Though he looked to be in great shape, he was pretty winded after the fight was over. Aleksander may have been trying too hard to dispatch of Nastula early with strikes. It will be interesting to see if Aleksander can handle the constant pressure of Barnett coming at him for three full rounds. Emelianenko hasn’t fought past two rounds in his entire professional career so this will be a good test of his conditioning. Even though Barnett doesn’t always look like he is in the best physical shape, he always had the discipline and ability to last through an entire fight.

Aleksander is a very good striker, a string of three fights lasting under a total of a minute makes a big statement about his abilities. In my opinion, Aleksander has heavier hands than his brother Fedor and Mirko Filipovic. Both fighters have shown to have good chins, only being stopped once in their careers. Look for Barnett to attempt to smother Emelianenko’s strikes with clinches and countless knees. Both fighters are very good on the ground and are well versed in submissions. Josh Barnett will be the most experienced ground fighter Aleksander has yet to face but I’m confident he’ll be ready for anything Barnett has to offer. Hopefully Aleksander has been working on his conditioning and clinch defense. A win for Emelianenko moves him up in the top ten heavyweight rankings while a win for Barnett gets him one step closer to a title shot. After three very competitive rounds, I feel that Aleksander will win a close decision.

Prediction: Aleksander Emelianenko decisions Josh Barnett


Kazuyuki Fujita (12-4) vs James Thompson (12-2)

Kazuyuki Fujita wrestled for New Japan Pro Wrestling. He made his MMA debut at the first PRIDE Grand Prix in 2000. ‘Iron Head’ stunned many fans when he handed former UFC Heavyweight Champion Mark Kerr his first professional loss. At PRIDE 26, Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko took a right hook from Fujita that had him dazed and wobbly on his feet. Unfortunately for Fujita, he was unable to finish the champion and later succumbed to a rear naked choke. After many PRIDE appearances, Fujita moved on to fight for K-1. At K-1 Premium Dynamite 2004, Fujita knocked out highly regarded Olympic Gold wrestler Karam Ibrahim. James ‘Colossus’ Thompson is an Ultimate Combat veteran and has made four PRIDE appearances. At Shockwave 2005, Thompson stopped Paulo Cesar Silva with strikes. Thompson is looking to prove that he is a legitimate heavyweight contender.

This is a good tune-up fight for the returning Fujita. There is clearly a clash of styles here and it’s advantageous for Fujita. Thompson really brings nothing to the ring but height and brute strength. He has beaten weak opposition and was stopped when he faced a credible opponent. I’ll give him one thing though, he does come to fight. Thompson won’t be able to prevent the takedowns by the Japanese wrestler and I doubt he’ll be able to knock Fujita out. If Thompson comes out charging after the bell sounds like he normally does, he may have trouble getting back up after Fujita takes him down for some quality ground-n-pound. One thing about Fujita that some people might overlook is his right hook. Not only can he wrestle but he can throw a hard punch too. ‘Colossus’ hasn’t shown to have a good chin and a clean shot from Fujita could drop him just like Aleksander Emelianenko did. Ring rust might play a factor against Fujita as he hasn’t fought since the end of 2004. However, he has been keeping in shape from his pro wrestling gig so I think he’ll be ready for this fight. Kazuyuki Fujita will finish James Thompson in the first round. Thompson will have to go back to the drawing board…and maybe watch some more DVDs.

Prediction: Kazuyuki Fujita TKO James Thompson RD1


Mirko Filipovic (17-4-2) vs Ikuhisa Minowa (32-23-8)

Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipovic is a PRIDE veteran and a former K-1 kick boxer. Considered by many to be one of the top three heavyweights in MMA today, Mirko is a deadly striker who has knocked out many opponents with his powerful left high kick. In 2005, Mirko went 3-2, losing decisions to PRIDE Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko and most recently to former K-1 rival Mark Hunt. Mirko is looking to get back on track in his quest for the Grand Prix title. Ikuhisa ‘The Punk’ Minowa is a Pancrase and PRIDE veteran. Recently, he earned a TKO victory over Paulo Cesar Silva at Bushido 10. Known for his willingness to fight anyone, Minowa is very popular among the Japanese fans.

After a busy 2005, Mirko starts the New Year with a seemingly easy first round. I’m not sure why DSE has matched Mirko with ‘The Punk’ but it may turn out to be a very entertaining match. Minowa is always a threat with his heel/ankle submissions so hopefully Mirko has been working on his submission defense and reflexes. Mirko is recovering from a foot injury so I expect Minowa to try and expose it. If Minowa somehow manages to defeat ‘Cro Cop’, it would go down as one of the biggest MMA upsets in history. However, that’s not likely to happen. Look for Mirko to keep the fight standing and stuff all of Minowa’s heel/ankle submission attempts with his world famous sprawl and counter strikes. When Minowa is least expecting it, a large tree trunk that resembles Mirko’s left leg will land on the side of his head, rendering him unconscious. Maybe Minowa should bring back the mullet for good luck?

Prediction: Mirko Filipovic KO Ikuhisa Minowa RD1


Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (26-3-1) vs Zuluzinho (2-1)

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is a former PRIDE heavyweight champion, a title he held until he was dethroned by Fedor Emelianenko at PRIDE 25. Nogueira is easily considered to be the best submission fighter at heavyweight in MMA today and is consistently ranked as one of the top three heavyweights in the world. Zuluzinho is the son of the mythically famed fighter Rei Zulu. Prior to making his debut at PRIDE 30, Zulu claimed to have had won 37 fights, all by knockout. At Shockwave 2005, Zulu was stopped by Fedor Emelianenko in a mere 26 seconds. The fight was a non-title match.

To his credit, Zulu does hold a purple belt in BJJ. Now with that said…Nogueira by armbar!

Prediction: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira submits Zuluzinho RD1


Hidehiko Yoshida (6-3-1) vs Yousuke Nishijima (0-1)

Hidehiko Yoshida is an Olympic Gold medalist in Judo and a PRIDE veteran. Arguably viewed as the most popular PRIDE fighter in Japan, Yoshida has faced quality opposition throughout his career. At Shockwave 2005, Yoshida submitted fellow Judoka and pro wrestler Naoya Ogawa in a grudge match between former competitors. Yousuke Nishijima is a former Japanese boxing champion who will be making his second appearance in PRIDE. At PRIDE 31, he showed a lot heart in his loss to Mark Hunt and won over many fans and critics.

I don’t feel that Nishijima has earned a shot to be in the tournament and I’m sure there are a lot of people who agree with me. However, this fight appeals to the Japanese fans and they’re the ones who will be buying the tickets. I don’t care what kind of training Nishijima has had, his ground game pales in comparison to Yoshida’s. It’ll just be a matter of time before Yoshida gets him to the ground and submits him. I like Nishijima, he’s got a great attitude and a lot of heart. However, heart will only win him fans, not this fight.

Nishijima made a request to DSE, asking them to allow the use of regulation boxing gloves in his fight against Yoshida. DSE has approved of his special request. I’m not sure what Nishijima plans to gain by wearing gloves as they will hinder him greatly on the ground and take away his ability to break most of Yoshida’s holds.

Yousuke NishiJimmerson? Someone please send Yousuke a copy of UFC 1…

Prediction: Hidehiko Yoshida submits Yousuke Nishijima RD1

Edit: Despite multiple sites reporting the allowed use of boxing gloves, it appears that DSE did deny Nishijima’s request.

Source: and

Topics: Al Yu, All Topics, MMA, PRIDE | 6 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

6 Responses to “PRIDE Total Elimination Absolute 2006 – Preview and Analysis”

  1. justin says:

    you really think TK is gonna make it out of the 1st round?!?!?!?

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah hold on lemme catch my breath hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah LOL

  2. Al Yu says:

    It wouldn’t surprise me if TK submits Hunt.

  3. Zach Arnold says:

    Hunt is, at best, a 2-to-1 favorite over TK. This is another really strange fight to book, given that DSE 2-3 months ago was pushing the Hunt vs. Fedor storyline hard. If you want to protect Hunt, you put him in against guys he can crush or are willing to stand up and expose themselves in that fashion.

    I’m not adamantly saying that TK will win, but he’s got some decent odds in this fight.

  4. justin says:

    you must be hitting that pipe pretty hard Mr. Arnold cause tk doesn’t have a chance. KO rd.1 before the 5 minute mark. this whole card is pretty weak the only good fights will be overeem V werdum and barnett V alexander the rest of the card is practicually a JOKE, come on zuluzinho V NOG thats going to be a laughing stock and letting yvel back in the ring i can’t believe it they should put a restraining order on him to not be within a thousand feet of the ring. A JOKE it makes me laugh at DSE and realize how dumb they really are, putting that fat bastard against 2 of the 3 top guys in pride. Can i say it again? JOKE !!!LOL don’t get me wrong this could have been the best card EVER if they had done what they said they were gonna do and put these fighters in
    with all that said they just lost a PPV buy in this mma fan
    thoughts for DSE: get a good match maker this isn’t pro wrestling
    UFC just jumped up 10 fold in my stock book

  5. stephan says:

    I guess shogun is not ready to fight after the accident with coleman, fedor in second round …. wanderlei hasn’t reached an agreement with PRIDE. On the other hand I don’t think any of the top fighters would agree a difficult encounter in the first round …. you lose in the first round , you lose fans and don’t make any money

  6. Sam J says:

    While I understand why some of the fighters we were expecting are not on the card due to injuries, like Fedor and Shogun, I don’t understand why Coleman and Silva are not on it. I know there are some contract issues with Wanderlei, but a fight with Coleman seems like a license to print money. Both are big in Japan and internationally, there’s a backstory, and it would actually make sense in the whole open weight thing. I think that fight would have put this card over the top.

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