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By Zach Arnold | April 7, 2007

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Event review: Observer | Sherdog | MMA On Tap

Post any thoughts you have on the show here.

By far (to me), the most interesting theme of this show is how DSE is trying to put this show over as a tribute to Nobuyuki Sakakibara. Yesterday at the Japanese press conference, Akira Shoji said he was fighting for “bara-chan” (Sakakibara). Frank Trigg (on the US broadcast) mentioned that Don Frye came to fight at PRIDE 34 in honor of DSE and Mr. Sakakibara.

The lead announcer kept lumping Frank Trigg in with Mark Coleman and Kevin Randleman as three legends of MMA and three legends of PRIDE.

  1. Yoshihiro Nakao defeated Edson Drago in R1 by submission.
  2. Butterbean defeated Zuluzinho in R1 by submission.
  3. Makoto Takimoto defeated Zelg Galesic in R1 by submission.
  4. Gilbert Yvel defeated Akira Shoji in R1 by TKO at the 3’46 mark (strikes on the ground).
  5. James Thompson defeated Don Frye in R1 by referee stoppage (strikes). Frye, at this point, had the most babyface heat out of any of the fighters on the card. Frye told the fans he was sorry for what happened tonight and that it would never happen again. It wasn’t all of his fault, but that big bastard (Thompson) had something to do with it. He won fair and square, no excuses. “Sakakibara-san, thank you very much for inviting me here. I am sorry I let you down like I did the rest of Japan and USA.” “The only people happy on the planet now are Britain”. Sakakibara-san, thank you very much for putting on this event. PRIDE is a great fight league and the best show on earth.

    During intermission, we saw a Nobuyuki Sakakibara video package and Kevin Randleman saying that PRIDE is better than “WWF” and UFC. Randleman then told he viewers that if they go to the bathroom during the Fujita/Monson fight, they can still return and see these guys fighting. Randleman finished his statements (as he got cut off) by thanking the Fertittas for “bringing us in” and also thanking Jerry Millen. Frank Trigg is now discussing what will happen to all of the PRIDE employees now that DSE’s ownership is coming to an end. This is surreal. I think this says it all.

    Nobuhiko Takada and Nobuyuki Sakakibara came into the ring. Photos here. Kiyoshi Tamura and Kazushi Sakuraba came out as Sakakibara’s “big surprise.” Sakuraba came out in his white & orange tiger mask. Tamura talked a lot. Sakakibara thanked the fans. This looked like a funeral ceremony. Lenne Hardt screamed “PRIDE FOREVER!” on the house microphone.

  6. We see a Shin’ya Aoki video package showing him going to Shizuoka in a car. They show comments from his 53-year old father (who seems to be quite the character). A video package for Brian Lo-A-Njoe in which he is labeled the “Dynamite Kid” of Holland. Aoki is shown crying backstage after his win over Joachim Hansen on the Man Festival 2006 show.

    Shin’ya Aoki defeated Brian Lo-A-Njoe in R1 in 93 seconds with arm scissors (or armbar, pick your terminology).

  7. Sokoudjou is called as “champion of the jungle” in a video package. Sokoudjou is playing along with the gimmick as being a jungle fighter. He’s being labeled a lion. Ricardo Arona is being labeled as a “Brazilian tiger.” This is the battle of the Jungle fighters. Arona is shown talking about his jungle training. Ricardo Arona’s strengths as listed on the PRIDE chyron graphic – determination, intelligence, and strategy.

    Sokoudjou defeated Ricardo Arona in early R1 by KO. That was a quick stoppage by the referee. On replay, it looked fine to stop the fight (two punches and then a soccer kick).

  8. Video footage from the March 27th Roppongi Hills Arena press conference is shown. They are putting over the MMA World Series concept now, leading into a video package for Jeff Monson and Kazuyuki Fujita. Monson came out to absolutely no crowd heat. Fujita came to the ring with the PRIDE theme song, wearing a PRIDE t-shirt. Sakakibara joined the Japanese commentary booth to talk about the Monson/Fujita fight.

    Jeff Monson defeated Kazuyuki Fujita in R1 with a choke sleeper hold.

    The PRIDE theme song played after the fight and all of the fighters returned to the ring. Butterbean hugged Jeff Monson, which was quite a site. Sakakibara shook hands and hugged all of the fighters. Wanderlei Silva, Sanae Kikuta, Akihiro Gono, and many other fighters made appearances. Dan Henderson addressed the crowd and put over the fighters along with the show. He said that the fighters tried a little harder because this was Sakakibara’s final show. Takanori Gomi then cut a short promo. Mauricio Shogun then cut a promo in Portuguese. Kazuo Misaki then cut a promo. Mark Coleman grabbed the microphone and said it was time for the old man to talk. He said it was a great 10 years and that Dream Stage is truly No. 1. He said, “Thank you, we all love you” to Sakakibara. wanderlei silva then grabbed the microphone and cut a promo. Silva said that PRIDE was the No. 1 event and he thanked Sakakibara, then bowed to him. Sakakibara then grabbed the microphone to address the crowd. He thanked everyone who helped him out, including SkyPerfect Communications and Samurai TV. Sakakibara thanked the fighters in broken English. Nobuhiko Takada then addressed the crowd. Takada closed out by putting over the next show (Lightweight GP – 5/20 Saitama Super Arena). Everyone posed for group photographs afterwards. The referees tried herding the fighters like cattle, pointing them out to wave to the fans on each of the ring and bow.

    The fighters then picked up Sakakibara and started throwing him in the air. A graphic in English displayed, “The final show under Dream Stage Entertainment” with footage of the Roppongi Hills Arena press conference meeting shown during the credits in English. Outtakes were shown including Sokoudjou watching animals mating at a zoo. In the post-show commentary, Sakakibara joined the commentating team again to reflect on PRIDE. They put over PRIDE’s Lightweight GP 2007 show on 5/20 at Saitama Super Arena. And the show closed with a graphic – 2007 Dream Stage Entertainment Inc.

Topics: All Topics, Japan, Media, MMA, PRIDE, Zach Arnold | 37 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

37 Responses to “PRIDE 34”

  1. PizzaChef says:

    So PRIDE.34 US broadcast is the same without two fights and lots of Frank Trigg. That sucks…..By the way…..ZULUINHO vs. BUTTERBEAN = FIGHT OF THE YEAR.

  2. PizzaChef says:

    Takimoto appearantly said: “i fought for Sakakibara today”

  3. 45 Huddle says:

    I just couldn’t bring myself to buying this PPV. There isn’t a fight on the card I want to see.

    I have a feeling that after the 2 years, Pride will be gone, and any fighter Zuffa can get will be under the UFC banner.

  4. Scott White says:

    That Frye-Thompson fight went way to long…

  5. Jordan Breen says:

    Watching Frye nearly get killed was something I could’ve done without. However, Drago tapping to a kesagatame almost makes up for it.

    Also, the idea of Takimoto surviving some heavy artillery (including the atomic teabagging) to derail a top prospect is hilarity. This event rules.

  6. Zack says:

    Translation on Takadas speech please 🙂

  7. PizzaChef says:

    OMFG! SAKURABA!!!!!!!!

  8. Zack says:

    UWFI revenge!!!

  9. Zach Arnold says:

    E-mail me, Pizza.

  10. Zack says:

    Someone please translate this ASAP. Holy fuckin shit.

  11. PizzaChef says:


  12. Jordan Breen says:

    Sakakibara just said that he hoped the match up between Saku and Tamura would happen in another org in the future, and Sakuraba said he would love to fight in PRIDE again sometime. Nothing that exciting.

  13. Zack says:

    Great moment regardless. Frye’s speech was awesome.

  14. PizzaChef says:

    Sweet Jesus, Buddah, Allah, Jewish God, and Xenu on a bike!!!!!!! That was a crazy knockout!!!! This guy is going to be a FORCE to wreckon with.

  15. PizzaChef says:

    I still have something to ask since it was bugging me. Is Sakuraba like….a official Chute Boxe Japan fighter now? I keep seeing the Chute Boxe logo on his merchandise now.

  16. Matt Boone says:

    Got my round-by-round report from the online Japanese live feed at:

    I’m pretty sure no one came close to covering PRIDE as good as I did, considering my condition. Anyone who reads the PBP will understand.

  17. xx2000xx says:

    “Sakakibara just said that he hoped the match up between Saku and Tamura would happen in another org in the future, and Sakuraba said he would love to fight in PRIDE again sometime. Nothing that exciting.”

    I’m reading stuff from other sites that’s 100% opposite of that. Saku is now with Pride, which is HUGE. And also, they are working to get the match setup, which would be the biggest in Japan since???

  18. Kobashi says:

    WTF! Meltzer reporting Saku back with Pride.

    this is fckued up man. how the hell did K-1 Hero’s screw that up?

  19. Steve Cash says:

    Sakuraba vs. Tamura is a few years too late, but it’ll still create a buzz. The only native vs. native fight I can think of that would rival it would be Sakuraba vs. Kid Yamamoto, or something.

  20. chis says:

    How big was the crowd

  21. Tomer Chen says:

    So, is Sokoudjou ready for his title shot against Henderson now or should he get a ‘warm up’ against Silva or Shogun first? 🙂

  22. 45 Huddle says:

    Sokudjou has exposed the Pride Light Heavyweight Division. Honestly, beyond Liddell & Rua, the division now appears to be a lot less deep then others thought.

  23. Liger05 says:

    Is Saku in Pride or what? I cant believe K-1 would have lost him already. Makes sense to see Saku at Sakibabara’s last show.

  24. Stu says:

    Is Saku in Pride or what?

  25. Stu says:

    Is Saku in Pride or what?

    I heard PRIDE lent him from FEG for one fight, DSE where trying to have it on this show but that didn’t pan out.

  26. The Gaijin says:

    Wait, let me get this straight…finding a guy who’s apparently a really hot prospect for the LHW division “exposes” it??

    Oh right – its not the UFC so it must suck.

  27. The Gaijin says:

    I guess Matt Serra really exposed the UFC WW division as well right??

    Or does that actually make the division that much better in your mind?

  28. JOSH says:

    Bought the PPV last night and it was not worth it. Tye had nooooo concept of pacing and there was just constant talking from Frank Trigg instead of trying to kill time airing some of the earlier matches. The PPV started at midnight and by 3am they only showed 3 fights!
    Honestly during the show all my friends wanted to kill Trigg and we had to mute it for most of the show that we stayed up for.

    Saku is back in PRIDE which is cool and all but I wonder how he will fit in “new” PRIDE I mean Im sure alot of people in ZUffa know thya he is pretty much broken and washed up. I think the Tamura/Saku fight will be the only money making fight for him.

    I honestly like to see Soukoudjou as a gate keeper of the LHW division in PRIDE as he traisn with Henderso/Team Quest and may not want to fight with him. BUT it would be great to see Soukoudjou vs Shogun or Wandi to see if either Chute Box could get past him to earn a shot at Hendo. I would also love to see Sokoudjou vs Jardine considering it seems Jardine doesnt have an opponent to face.

  29. David says:

    I was literally screaming at the monitor for the Frye fight to be stopped. The man had his hands down, wasn’t moving at all, but the goddamned retarded referee let it go like a minute too long because the ropes were holding Frye up, and thus he was ok. Unbelievable. I hope he doesn’t have any permanent brain damage from that fight, because he was basically a punching bag for a 280 pound man for the last minute or two of the fight.

  30. David coolshaps says:

    It really is a shame that they don’t listen to the internet and take Frank Twigg off the fucking microphone. Henderson was great, sounded a bit stony but whatever. Anyways, I think it will be interesting to find out what happens now!

    And about Sokoudjou, good idea bout the gatekeeper but… only problem, with all these upsets, you never know if hes just another fluke ya know!

  31. Liger05 says:

    Paying for these bogus PPV cards is a waste. I aint paying for the UFC 71 card in Manchester next week as the card is so poor. I’ll watch Cage Rage for free on Sky Sports and download the UFC.

  32. Rollo the Cat says:

    ” I aint paying for the UFC 71 card in Manchester next week as the card is so poor.”

    Still drunk from last night I see. Most fight fans are looking forward to that UFC 70—that is, 70 not 71–card in Manchester more than any other upcoming card. Poor it isn’t

  33. klown says:

    PRIDE refs notoriously stop fights too late. Hopefully this disappears as management transitions. I hated seeing Fry go through that at this stage in his career, very unnecessary.

  34. Overall, an entertaining card. All fast and furious fights, with lots of surprises. That about sums up why I like PRIDE. Also caught the UFC card … I’d say that I enjoyed the Pride show more.

  35. Liger05 says:

    Rollo th UFC card in Manchester to me isnt worth buying on PPV when I can watch Cage Rage on the same night for free. It will be interesting to see what numbers the UFC PPV does considering Setanta Sports and the UFC have not really advertised this PPV. Setanta have always had the problem in that they advertise PPV’s on there own channel and not really on anything else. I subscribe to setanta and even the adverts on there are not great.

  36. bigmmadog says:

    The upcoming UFC in Manchester will be free on Spike TV, so i’ll be watching CroCop kickin’ some heads!

  37. Armen says:

    PRIDE refs are often way too late in stopping a fight. Not only that, a lot of the time they are not even the ones who stop the fight! Someone ringside has had enough and they ring the bell, then the ref springs into action to “stop” the fight.

    Unbelievable why they let that go on. Isn’t the knockout enough violence to sell to people? We need beatdowns of unconscious and nearly-unconscious fighters now? It is one of the few things that has always bothered me about PRIDE events.


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