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PRIDE Bushido 11 ‘Survival’ – Preview and Analysis

By Al Yu | June 1, 2006

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By Al Yu


Event Date: 06.04.06
Fight Card:

* Welterweight Tournament Match

Jason Black (19-1-1) vs Eoh Won Jin (1-1-1)

Jason Black is a Miletich trained fighter and a veteran of many MMA organizations including the WFA and Extreme Challenge. Black recently suffered his first professional loss when his elbow was dislocated in a fight against UFC veteran Shonie Carter. Black holds wins over John Alessio, Keith Wisniewski and Ivan Menjivar. Eoh Won Jin is a wrestler representing Korea. Jin is coming off of a KO loss to PRIDE Bushido veteran Seichi Ikemoto. This will be the PRIDE debut for both fighters.

It could be a very tough fight for Jason Black as there is a contrast of styles here. Jin is a wrestler who is transitioning into MMA. His most notable accomplishment is fighting DEEP Champion Jutaro Nakao to a draw. Black brings a very well-rounded game with good striking and submissions. Jin is very inexperienced when compared Black’s record and that may play a factor in the fight. Jin can throw a hard punch but he hasn’t shown the ability to finish, which is something he will learn through experience. This fight has the potential to be pretty boring as Jin will probably go for takedown after takedown. I can see the referee standing the fight up multiple times. Once on their feet, Black will take advantage of his striking and finish Jin in the first.

Prediction: Jason Black TKO Eoh Won Jin RD1

Murilo Bustamante (12-5-1) vs Amar Suloev (20-5)

Murilo Bustamante is a former UFC middleweight champion and a veteran of PRIDE. At Shockwave 2005, Murilo lost a close decision to Dan Henderson for the vacant PRIDE welterweight belt. Amar Suloev is a veteran of PRIDE and the UFC. He is coming off of a submission loss to Paulo Filho at Bushido 6. Suloev holds wins over Andrei Semenov, Din Thomas and Dean Lister.

Bustamante is trying to rebound from his loss and Suloev will be a formidable opponent in his quest to be the only fighter to hold a championship title in both the UFC and PRIDE. It’s no secret that Suloev is dangerous on his feet. Bustamante is good with his hands too and has a boxing background. I felt Murilo handled himself well when he stood with Dan Henderson. However, Suloev is a much better striker than Dan and has power in both of his hands.

This is not going to be an easy fight for either fighter. Suloev needs let his hands fly and intelligently use his sprawl and clinch takedown defense. Murilo needs to be very aggressive just like his teammate Paulo Filho and go for the takedown. Look for Murilo close in on Suloev and setup his superior ground game from the clinch. Murilo may struggle to get Suloev down and will probably absorb some punishment. Once the fight hits the mat, Bustamante will submit Suloev by armbar and move on to the next round.

Prediction: Murilo Bustamante submits Amar Suloev RD1

Paulo Filho (11-0) vs Gregory Bouchelaghem (5-2)

Paulo Filho is a member of Brazilian Top Team and a PRIDE veteran. At Bushido 10, Filho spoiled Murilo ‘Ninja’ Rua’s welterweight debut by earning a decision over the Chute Boxe fighter. Gregory Bouchelaghem is a veteran of Cage Warriors. He is coming off of a loss to another member of Brazilian Top Team, Roan Carneiro. Bouchelaghem holds wins over Mark Weir and Andrei Semenov. The Frenchman is a late replacement for Filho’s original opponent, Yoon Dong Sik, who is out due to injury. This will be Bouchelaghem’s PRIDE debut.

Paulo Filho is being picked by many as an early favorite to win the entire welterweight tournament. He dominated ‘Ninja’ Rua with his superior strength and takedowns. Gregory Bouchelaghem is a talented Frenchman and is well-versed in submissions. In his last fight against Roan Carneiro, Gregory was unable to stop the takedowns but was very active from the bottom. Bouchelaghem’s debut won’t be an easy one as he is pitted against arguably the best takedown artist in the welterweight division. Filho will be able take the fight to the mat with ease. Once on the ground, Bouchelaghem should be competent enough to avoid Filho’s submission attempts. This fight could be very similar to Filho’s last fight against Murilo Rua. Superior takedowns and top control will earn Paulo a spot in the next round of the tournament.

Prediction: Paulo Filho decisions Gregory Bouchelaghem

Ryo Chonan (11-6) vs Joey Villasenor (21-3)

Ryo Chonan is a DEEP and PRIDE veteran. After back to back losses to Phil Baroni and Dan Henderson in Bushido, Ryo rebounded with a TKO victory over Ryuta Sakurai. Joey Villasenor is the current King of the Cage middleweight champion. The ‘Dream Smasher’ recently earned a decision over Yuya Shirai at DEEP 24th Impact and is on a fifteen fight winning streak.

It’s good to see Villasenor finally make his debut in a major organization. Joey is a well-rounded fighter with heavy hands and trains with the guys at Jackson’s Submission Fighting. His recent decision over Yuya Shirai seemed lackluster and didn’t show the potential he has. In a recent interview, Joey stated that jetlag was one of the main reasons why he didn’t fight like his normal self. Ryo Chonan will be a good test for Villasenor and arguably his toughest opponent to date.

Although Chonan hasn’t looked his best of late, he’s still a dangerous fighter and is capable of pulling off a slick submission. Chonan has been training with PRIDE welterweight champion Dan Henderson and the guys at Team Quest. According to Henderson, he was impressed with how much Chonan learned in such a short time. Regardless of his new training, Baroni and Henderson have exposed Chonan’s chin and that’s something that can’t be improved. Chonan’s style may prove to be difficult for Villasenor but Joey’s striking power will be the deciding factor in this fight. I feel that this will be a very competitive match-up and could be the most entertaining fight of the evening. After avoiding Chonan’s many submissions attempts, Villasenor will finish Ryo in the first with strikes.

Prediction: Joey Villasenor TKO Ryo Chonan RD1

Makoto Takimoto (2-2) vs Gegard Mousasi (12-1-1)

Makoto Takimoto is a Judo Olympic gold medalist and has made four appearances in PRIDE. He trains with Hidehiko Yoshida and is coming off of a loss to Sinae Kikuta at Shockwave 2005. Gegard Mousasi is a striker from Armenia and has made two appearances in DEEP. He is coming off of a victory over Hidetada Irie at DEEP 24th Impact. This will be Mousasi’s PRIDE debut.

I have never been impressed by Takimoto and his recent performances have not changed my opinion of him. He is a great Judoka but hasn’t shown much progress in his MMA skills. He did display good submission defense in his loss to Sinae Kikuta but his offensive skills are still lacking. Mousasi is a very good striker and will have a reach advantage. I feel that Gegard’s submission skills are underrated. Mousasi’s takedowns seemed amateurish so I think he’ll want to keep this fight standing and try to avoid the clinch. Takimoto has a suspect chin and Mousasi will prove to be the most difficult striker he has faced. I foresee Takimoto taking the fight to the ground but his tentativeness will force the referee to stand the two fighters back up. On their feet, Mousasi will use his superior striking skills and reach advantage to finish Takimoto in the first round.

Prediction: Gegard Mousasi TKO Makoto Takimoto RD1

Mitsuhiro Ishida (11-2-1) vs Marcus Aurelio (14-2)

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. At Bushido 10, Ishida made a successful debut by submitting Paul Rodriguez. Marcus ‘Maximus’ Aurelio is a BJJ practitioner and trains with American Top Team. Aurelio is a PRIDE and ZST veteran and holds wins over Masakazu Imanari and Remigijus Morkevicius. At Bushido 10, Aurelio pulled off arguably the biggest upset of 2006 by submitting PRIDE lightweight champion Takanori Gomi in a non-title fight.

Aurelio’s confidence should be soaring after defeating the best lightweight fighter in the world. Now considered PRIDE’s ‘unofficial’ lightweight champion by many, Aurelio is pitted against another tough competitor in Ishida. Mitsuhiro is a very good wrestler with great takedowns. Aurelio has a strong submission game and is more than comfortable fighting from his back. A good Brazilian BJJ practitioner could be Ishida’s weakness as he has been defeated by Vitor ‘Shaolin’ Ribeiro. The ability to finish the fight will be the deciding factor for the victor. Ishida will no doubt take the fight to the ground but I believe Aurelio’s multiple submission attempts will earn him a decision in what could be a very close fight.

Prediction: Marcus Aurelio decisions Mitsuhiro Ishida

Tatsuya Kawajiri (16-3-2) vs Charles Bennett (14-12-2)

Tatsuya Kawajiri is a PRIDE veteran and the current Shooto lightweight champion. In a highly anticipated fight, Kawajiri was submitted by Takanori Gomi during the opening round of the inaugural Bushido lightweight tournament. Kawajiri’s last Shooto appearance against Joachim Hansen ended quickly when he was kicked in the groin, resulting in Hansen’s disqualification. Charles ‘Krazy Horse’ Bennett is a King of the Cage and PRIDE veteran. Always entertaining in and out of the ring, Bennett will be making his fifth appearance in PRIDE. ‘Krazy Horse’ is looking to rebound from back to back losses.

This is an interesting yet potentially entertaining match-up. Next to Takanori Gomi, Kawajiri will probably be the toughest fighter Bennett has yet to face. With his past fights, ‘Krazy Horse’ has shown to be susceptible to submissions. Though Kawajiri is more than capable of pulling off a submission, he will use his physical strength and ground-n-pound against Bennett. On their feet, I would have to give the edge to Bennett. ‘Krazy Horse’ may stop a few takedown attempts but eventually he will succumb to Kawajiri’s strength. After a dominating first round, Kawajiri will finish Bennett with strikes in the second.

Prediction: Tatsuya Kawajiri TKO Charles Bennett RD2

Hayato Sakurai (27-7-2) vs Olaf Alfonso (5-4)

Hayato ‘Mach’ Sakurai has fought in many organizations including Shoot, UFC, DEEP and PRIDE. 2005 sparked a comeback for the popular Japanese fighter as he defeated Jens Pulver and Joachim Hansen to advance to the finals of PRIDE’s inaugural lightweight tournament. Sakurai faced Takanori Gomi in the finals but was unfortunately stopped by strikes. Olaf Alfonso is a long time veteran of the WEC, having fought his entire career for the organization. Though he may not have the best professional record, Olaf does come to fight and is a fan favorite. Alfonso is coming off of a devastating knock out loss to ‘Razor’ Rob McCullough. This will be Alfonso’s PRIDE debut.

This is a good tune-up fight for Sakurai. Win or lose, Olaf Alfonso is a fighter who likes to make things entertaining. Alfonso has never faced a fighter the caliber of Sakurai and I think DSE signed him to represent a sacrificial lamb. The odds are greatly against Olaf and with good reason. Can we say low kicks? Sakurai gets back into the win column with a first round dismantling of Alfonso.

Prediction: Hayato Sakurai TKO Olaf Alfonso RD1

Akihiro Gono (24-11-7) vs Hector Lombard (5-0)

Akihiro Gono is a veteran of Pancrase, Shooto and PRIDE. At last year’s inaugural welterweight tournament, Gono made it to the semi-finals where he was stopped by Dan Henderson. Gono rebounded with a win over Dae Won Kim at Bushido 10. Gono holds wins over Ivan Salaverry, Daniel Acacio and Crosley Gracie. Hector Lombard is a seven time Cuban Judo champion and a Cuban representative in the 2000 Olympics. He has mainly fought in Australia and will be making his PRIDE debut. Lombard holds a win over Daiju Takase.

Recently joining Yoshida Dojo, Lombard is a very strong Judoka. Hector is versed in submissions and has powerful hands. His striking still needs refining as he tends to loop his punches a little. Though he does possess strong physical attributes, he lacks in experience and has had questionable opposition. Akihiro Gono is a very experienced fighter and will be Lombard’s toughest test. At first I favored Gono to win this fight but I have since changed my mind. I feel that Lombard’s aggressive style will be problematic for the experienced veteran. Gono has a decent chin but I think Lombard has the speed and power to stop him in the first round.

Prediction: Hector Lombard TKO Akihiro Gono RD1

Denis Kang (21-7-1) vs Murilo Rua (11-6-1)

Denis Kang is an American Top Team fighter and is currently on a sixteen fight winning streak. At Bushido 10, Kang forced tough striker Mark Weir to submit with knee strikes. In his last fight at Spirit Martial Challenge, it only took twelve seconds for Kang to dispatch of Albert Basconcelles. Murilo ‘Ninja’ Rua is the older brother of the current PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix Champion Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua. At PRIDE 30, the Chute Boxe fighter submitted Murad Chunkaiev with a heel hook. Most recently, Rua dropped a decision to Paulo Filho in his welterweight debut.

Easily the most anticipated fight for me. I’m a fan of both fighters and this has the potential to be the fight of the year. Kang has been dominant of late and his winning streak is making a big statement. Rua is looking to rebound from a poor showing against Paulo Filho. Both guys are good strikers and well-versed in submissions. I’d have to give the striking edge to Rua because of his versatility. Kang is a strong welterweight and he showed some of his wrestling abilities in his win over Mark Weir. The winner of this fight will be the one who has the better conditioning. I don’t think Rua’s conditioning has adjusted to welterweight yet while Kang is in his natural weight class. After two exciting rounds, Denis Kang will take a close decision.

Prediction: Denis Kang decisions Murilo Rua

Kazuo Misaki (15-6-2) vs Phil Baroni (9-6)

Kazuo Misaki is a Pancrase veteran and has made three appearances in Bushido. At DEEP 23rd Impact, Misaki submitted PRIDE veteran Akira Shoji. Most recently, Misaki lost a decision to Dan Henderson at Bushido 10. Phil Baroni is a UFC and Bushido veteran. At Bushido 10, the ‘New York Bad Ass’ made quick work of Yuki Kondo, scoring what is considered to be the biggest victory of his career.

Even in defeat, Misaki impressed a lot of people. He aggressively took the fight to Henderson but came up short. Misaki was hurt by some of Dan’s powerful right hand punches and that seemed to be the deciding factor of his loss. Every time I pick a Japanese fighter to beat Phil, he has proven me wrong (the exception would be Baroni vs Minowa 2). Misaki is well-rounded and has the tools to defeat Baroni. So why am I choosing Phil to win? Baroni will win because of his powerful hands. Ever since he signed with PRIDE, Baroni has shown more discipline and patience with each fight. He has made it very apparent that no one can stand and trade punches with him for too long. If Misaki has done his homework, he will take the fight immediately to the ground and control Baroni from the top. However, if he chooses to stand like he did against Henderson, it’s going to be a short night for Misaki. I don’t think Misaki can submit Baroni because I feel Phil’s submission defense is underrated. When Baroni was submitted by Pete Sell in the UFC, exhaustion played a big part. I do foresee Misaki taking the fight to the mat a few times. When the opportunity presents itself, Baroni will knock out Misaki in the first round.

Prediction: Phil Baroni KO Kazuo Misaki RD1

Topics: Al Yu, All Topics, MMA, PRIDE | 1 Comment » | Permalink | Trackback |

One Response to “PRIDE Bushido 11 ‘Survival’ – Preview and Analysis”

  1. whaledog says:

    I take it that Sakurai has recovered from the broken orbital bone?


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