Hyper-caffeinated Pride Open-weight GP Finals Play by Play

Right, so I might not have mentioned this on the blog before, but I’m very into my MMA (mixed martial Arts or ‘fighting’, for the lay people out there). And Pride FC (Fighting Championship, as opposed to Football Club) has just, like literally this morning, had a big show.

The Open-weight Grand Prix (OWGP) is essentially a live Streetfighter II, where fighters from around the world, and of different shapes and sizes, get together to brawl in tournament format. The winner gets the chance to fight current Pride Heavyweight champion Fyodor Emelianenko. Or M. Bison, for the purposes of this analogy.

Anyway, as I have access to a live, though temperamental (so expect a lot of buffering and glitching, which is no real big deal), internet feed, I decided to do play-by-play commentary for people on some message boards.

Now, as this was on in Japan, I had to get up at 6 in the morning. Combine that with my being an idiot and waking up early yesterday, thinking it was then, and I am knackered. So, this post consists of the thoughts of a sleep deprived man who slowly gets more articulate as the coffees kick in.

I thought it might make for (semi-)interesting stream of consciousness writing, at least. In the words of the mighty Radiohead, I might be wrong. Anyway, here goes (be prepared for lunacy and random MMA terminology):

1. Yousuke Nishijima vs. Evangelista Santos

Didn’t see the end of Nishijima-Cyborg, for some reason. I think that was when I was making the coffee. If it’s any consolation the coffee turned out nice. Cyborg threw some nice knees in the clinch early. I’m not used to watching MMA at 6AM. Cyborg apparently won with a choke.

2. PRIDE GP 2006 Semi-Final: Vanderlei Silva vs. Mirko Filipovic

Silva-Mirko was pretty good and pretty bad. Mirko came out to WILD BOYS by Duran Duran, which amused me no end. Silva came out smiling. Anyway.

WAND aggressive to start, but Mirko fires back. CroCop really grabs the fight by the reins and has WAND in trouble. Knocks him down, WAND pulls guard after some Aleks E-killer GnP. Blood check for Silva. Eyes look bad, as does nose. They let him fight. Tough couple of mins for him.

Restart on ground, WAND decent guard, stood up, yellow card to Silva. He doesn’t look like he’s gonna last long and a Left High Kick seals the deal. Sad but pretty predictable in hindsight. WAND was proper knocked out.

3. PRIDE GP 2006 Semi-Final: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Josh Barnett

My connection sucks so this keeps cutting out. Missed the first few mins of Nog-Josh due to writing up this rubbish, but Josh got an early takedown and Nog ended up on top. Impressive, and nearly as impressive was Josh just throwing him off. They end up on the ground again, with Nog on top again, trying for stuff.

Within the last minute, Nog goes for a cross armbreaker. A juji-gatame, right? Am I right folks? But Josh gets himself over Nog and pulls out. Looks to get Nog’s back, but bell rings.

ROUND 2! To the ground quickly, with Josh on top (he’s not on fire though. Nor is Alan. That was for the old punk rock dudes). Nogueira gets on top after lots of purple blocks hit the screen. Maybe that’s his special move, post anaconda choke. Tries for some ground and pound. Josh tries to get up, but Nog sorta gets his back. It’s more like his side though. Josh goes for a leg dealy. That one where you hold onto the back of the ankle and try hyperextending the knee. Nog initially grabs Josh’s leg, but lets go. Last half-minute. Man, he’s cranking on it, and the ref breaks them up. I fear it was a tap, but it was just time running out.


1 Nog
2 Josh

3… JOSH~!

Damn. I’d rather have seen Nog-Mirko II than this final…

4. PRIDE GP 2006 Reserve: Sergei Kharitonov vs. Aleksander (brother of champ) Emelianenko

Aleks now in the ring. Man I never get used to the size of his head. Sergei with the best music yet, til it goes Eurohouse. I thought he could be the Pride version of Ignashov, but apparently not. He doesn’t drink enough for that anywway.

Totally brutal. They start out throwing down and Aleks with advantage. Sergei has to hug him. They go to ground, Sergei on top not doing too much. Lots of purple, buffering and pixellation. Long and short of it is they ended up back on the feet (looking at Khaz’s face he wasn’t relishing that), and it’s cool stuff. Back onto ground, and Aleks is in control, with SK in all fours, a la Tim Sylvia-Andrei Arlovski II. Punches, then an insane knee that smashes Sergei’s face in. He’s out cold, but ref is sleeping on the job. More punches, two big knees and finally it gets stopped. Jebus.

Also, it’s light now, which is a relief. You know the summer’s over when you wake up in the morning and it’s bloody dark. What a jip. Clip of Aleks killing Morais, which is prolly my cue to make another coffee. God I need a cuppajoe.

5. Lee Tae Hyun vs. Ricardo Morais

Hyun’s theme tune sounds like Linkin Park to begin with. Then it goes house, and then horns break out and it goes really freaky. That’s the best thing about this match. Toughman contest, I start writing something about Boris in the Music folder and I see Hyun looking hurt with concerned people around him. It gets stopped and he’s not protesting. Whatevs. Also the girls in these ads are well cute.

6. Kazuhiro Nakamura vs. Yoshihiro Nakao

Best theme tune ever. We start with the Thunderbirds countdown and then it goes into BATTLE WITHOUT HONOUR OR HUMANITY from ‘Kill Bill vol. 1’. I want Nakao to win this. Nakamura counters with some 60s sounding pop and dancing blue penguins with Santa hats. I’m scared. Good thing this coffee rules. ‘Arabica moulu’ apparently.

Into the second round. Sorry, Kaznak is probably the best fighter in the world that I can’t be arsed watching.

Wow, yeah. I think that fight just got automatically repressed. It went the distance anyway. God I can’t wait for Aronareem. Oh shit, non-tourney. Third round it is, then. Hmm, for some reason my internet went weird. Nakamura gets the Unanimous Decision and crowd is shitting on something. Maybe they like Nakao. He was fiery, I’ll give him that. Also, Battle Without Honour Or Humanity.

Intermission is fun. Some fighters have got in the ring for some laughs. Lightweight champion Takanori Gomi is such a cool bastard. Akihiro Gono, on the other hand, is laughing at his own jokes while wearing his red afro wig. What a butt face.

7. Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua vs. Cyrille Diabate

Sweet, fight time is back. This’ll be Diabate then. TEAM BOON! Did the graphic call him ‘The Shake’? If so, The American Athlete has some competition… And now it’s goddamn Shogun. First few seconds of theme tune put me in mind of LFO (not the boy band) with the squelches. Proceedings hurtle downhill as sub-sub-sub-KoxBox trance comes on. Screaming Woman tells us that HE’S BA-ACK! Excellent; I’d have hated for it to be a swerve and some ‘lost me smile’ promo to commence. Sounded better than when Goldberg did it, at least. And it’s The Snake. This should be punchy.

Staredown, and Diabate looks like the lankiest man in existence. Shogun with a quick takedown renders my theory most lame. Back up, then quickly back down. Rua on top. Still no fire, but that would have made for a surreal Jeff Lee Pierce song title. Shogun from mount to side control. Cyrille back up and the pink pixellation. Good shots from Sho and they’re back down. Kidney elbow. Full mount. In other news, I am fully awake now. GnP attempt. Shogun to his feet, kicks, stompstompstomp. Shogun really putting out a fire, but it’s a penalty kick that really wins this. Another stomp and Diabate is off for an early shower.

Shogun apparently is back.

8. Ricardo Arona vs. Alistair Overeem

Top notch. I think this is Metallica doing ‘Stone Cold Crazy’ on the video package and Arona has such pretty eyes. But can he win my heart from Overeem? Bloody hell. Overeem with the Eurohouse rubbish intro tune. Do I not like that. At least he has the excuse of being Dutch. Arona wins Round 0 with some entertaining Brazilian RnB-esque stuff.

Arona with his Silva strategy of looking slightly startled and throwing leg kicks. A minute in and he throws one that buckles Overeem’s knee and sends him down. Overem with butterfly guard. Arona passes it, natch, into sorta side control. Bit low on his body though. Al scoots into corner – not wise? Arona goes for back while throwing grounded knees. Gets the back. Well, the waist. Alistair resists the temptation to enjoy this tender moment, though the reverie is shattered by some hammer fists from behind. Arona clubbing, though not in the Dutch Eurohouse sense to which Alistair is accustomed. And… it gets stopped? Arona with his first win since this time last year, OTOH, and Al with another slightly weird loss.

Oh, he tapped. Something in his eye?

And now it’s the final. I almost don’t want this show to end – we’ll see what Josh and Mirko can acccomplish as regards the space-time continuum and my thirst for MMA entertainment. Vanderlei got proper battered.

9. PRIDE GP 2006 Final: Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipovic vs. Josh Barnett

Bloody ‘Wild Boys’. He needs something more macho. Like an anime theme tune…

Hey, CroCop coming out to Sailor Moon or something would be entertainment personified. Croatian national anthem, and I always thought the dude with black hair was his dad. Apparently not. Anthem is stately enough, I suppose, and I actually want Josh to win this. See, I want Fyodor to make his body explode into a million new year’s eve fireworks. Josh has Geraldo Rivera in his Dad role. Actually, I think it’s the cut dude from off of UFC.

Also, breakfast part 2. After the cereal, it’s the poached eggs. Sunday~! And Takada with the royal proclamations. As cool as he is, he’s no Inoki when it comes to figureheads. Nogueira relegated to spectator breaks my heart. Staredown!

CrpCop leg kicks and Josh is dying for a takedown. Josh leg kick. Grabs a Cro Leg and no TD. Punches to head and Josh not a fan. Starts his own offence but ends up on his arse. Mirko in his guard, but time out for blood.

Josh elbows from bottom. CroCop no offence. Vague attempt at a triangle goes nowhere. Maybe Josh can win via bodyscissors? Not much happening, as I fantasise about Nogueira vs. Silva. Stood up. Fast and hard short punches from Josh. Syke! They’re from Mirko. Bit of clinch, but a chest knee from Cop scares Josh off. Evil dirty boxing from Mirko and Josh goes down! Frenzied GnP with Josh rolling around in a frenzy of Babalu-inspired escaping! Josh able to pull guard and I am impressed with his courage in the face of adversity, brother. Pace understandably slows. Josh suddenly taps because of MY EYE!

Hmm, foreshadowing from the staredown? Mirko Cheats 2 Win and books himself into the role of next Fyodor victim. Should be good though. Wow, WAND can’t collect his third place ‘due to injuries’. Shogun with Big Cheque. Mirko with the biggest cheque in the world, and Josh is forced to watch the gloating. Maybe Mirko will hit him over the head with a guitar.

Josh noble in defeat; doles out props. He’s gonna train, say his prayers and eat his vitamins and fight his way back, damnit! Credit where it’s due, he hung and bung for longer than I thought after he got smacked. Shades of Liddell-Babalu from the last UFC. Show gets more surreal as they pipe in Stevie Wonder.

It’s Mirko’s birthday, apparently. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YA, HAPPY BIIIIRTHDAY! 32 today, I think he said, and it’s the happiest day of his life. Happier even than the day he filmed that iced coffee ad where he punches the coffee beans during his talk show? I beg to differ. Mirko with arm round Josh for photo op, and I can see Bizzarnett dying on the inside just a little.

This should mean we get a rematch of the Filipovic-Emelianenko title fight from a year ago. Fyodor won a reasonably comfortable (if getting punched and kicked could ever be described as such) decision, but Filipovic remains the man who is most likely to knock him out. But will it happen? EH?

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