This is the write-up for Pride FC 12 Cold Fury, which took place in the Saitama Super Arena in Japan on December 9th, 2000.
Stephen Quadros and Bas Rutten were the announcers and Eddie Bravo conducted the backstage interviews.
Because this event took place close to Christmas, the Pride Girls came out in Santa Claus outfits and then tore them off as they were each introduced.
The first match was ended early in the first round when Guy Mezger nailed Alexander Otsuka with the right.
Akira Shoji versus Ricardo Almeida was next. Both men showed very good ground games, which was to be expected. In round 2, Almeida got a yellowcard for a knee to Shoji's groin. Shoji was bleeding a lot from his nose and Almeida was delivering some brutal leg kicks. Almeida won the decision.
The next fight was Enson Inoue and Heath Herring. Before the match began, Herring took a hit from his inhaler and I immediately remembered how he had to back out of the fight with Cain Valesquez because of asthma issues. Herring almost got the keylock but then got into side control and began kneeing Inoue's head for the win.
Johil De Oliveira versus Carlos Newton was next. A lot of maneuvering took place on the ground in the first round. I was impressed with a sweep Newton completed from the butterfly guard, but both fighters got stood up and got yellowcards for their lack of aggression. In the end, Newton won the decision.
Wanderlei Silva and Dan Henderson were next. Randy Couture was in Hendo's corner. Silva dropped Henderson with a nice combination but the referee stood them back up after a few moments of inaction. Henderson hit Silva with his right and showed some good ground 'n pound. Back on the feet, Wandy knocks Henderson down with a flurry and we get to see some classic Wanderlei brutality; he lands some hits from the "rape choke" position then stands up and gets some head stomps. In round 2, Hendo showed his adeptness in the clinch, but Silva would usually be able to get Henderson on his back and kick at him, waiting for Henderson to try and get up. Silva typically won the exchanges on the feet and also won the unanimous decision.
Next up was Kazuyuki Fujita versus Gilbert Yvel. Don Frye was in Fujita's corner and Alistair Overeem was in Yvel's. Fujita was working for side control in the beginning of the match with Yvel trying to resist. Fujita was preoccupied with attempting the kimura and didn't really strike effectively from the top position. Round 2 showed Yvel actually sprawl but still got taken down. During this portion of the match, Quadros asks Bas if he can coin the phrase "lay and pray" as this seemed to be Fujita's game plan. The referee stood them up and Yvel landed a couple really hard knees but Fujita seemed unfazed. Quadros then commented that doctors have actually said that Fujita's bones are unusually thick, including his skull. Fujita won the decision.
Ricco Rodriguez versus John Marsh came next. Takada was in Rodriguez's corner, since Ricco was training in Takada's gym. Round 1 was pretty uneventful. In round 2, Marsh showed some strong stand up but Rodriguez got the take down and tried to deliver some knees from the North/South position, but didn't really inflict any damage. Rodriguez got in Marsh's guard and attempted the neck crank a number of times and each time Marsh would open his guard to relieve the pressure, but Rodriguez wouldn't pass. Ricco won the decision.
Igor Volchanchyn against Mark Kerr was next, and I was excited to watch this match because I just watched the "Smashing Machine" documentary on Kerr a couple days ago after reading a number of articles last week mentioning it. After a takedown, Kerr would lay in Volchanchyn's guard and the referee would stand them up. Bas sounded really disappointed in Kerr, just like he did in the documentary. The crowd began to boo extremely loudly. Bas mentioned how he thinks that if you get a takedown, but don't do anything with it, it should count against you since he believes it shows you are trying to stall or are afraid to engage in stand-up exchanges. Volchanchyn knocked Kerr down and had Kerr in the turtle position and began delivering blows. Kerr grabbed Igor's arm and attempted a kimura but had no position at all and ended up in Volchanchyn's guard. Kerr got side control but didn't do anything from there. The judges ruled it a draw and the fight went into overtime. Volchanchyn rocked Kerr during a brief moment of stand-up but most of the round looked much like the previous two rounds and the judges gave the decision to Volchanchyn.
The final match was Kazushi Sakuraba versus Ryan Gracie. Gracie had a right shoulder injury so there would only be one, ten minute round. Sakuraba dominated pretty much the entire fight. He had Gracie in a nasty neck crank at one point, but Ryan survived. From an awkward position on top, Sakuraba began to spank Gracie, in a classic Sakuraba moment. Sakuraba won the decision and his fourth victory against a Gracie.
This event ended the year 2000 for Pride, and what a good year it was.