I hope everyone had a good New Year's, I know I did.
Pride FC 13 Collision Course was the first Pride event of 2001 and took place on March 25 in the Saitama Super Arena. Here is my write up.
Right off the bat, we get Stephen Quadros over-enthusiastically throwing some punches into the camera with Bas Rutten following suit, only with less vim and vigor than The Fight Professor.
Pride 13 marked the beginning of a new rule set to be used in the fights. There would now be three rounds, the first is ten minutes, the second and third are now five minutes long. Also, knees to the head while the receiving fighter is face-down are now allowed.
The first match of the night ended very quickly when Vitor Belfort submitted Bobby Southworth with a rear naked choke.
In the next fight, Guy Mezger was scheduled to fight Enson Inoue. After Pride 12 however, Enson retired, so his brother Egan would take his place against Mezger. In the prefight interview, Egan seemed like a really cool guy. When asked who his dream fight would be, he jokingly responded, "Pee Wee Herman". After being introduced to such an affable person, I was pretty upset when Mezger knocked him out in the first round. Oh well.
Heath Herring versus Denis Sobolev was the next match. Bas interviewed Herring before the fight and you could tell he was excited to talk to Heath since they both had the same trainer in Holland. Herring quickly got Sobolev, the Russian Army MMA Champion at the time, into side control and finished the fight with a key lock, but not before Quadros cracked an Ivan Drago joke. While I'm not a huge Heath Herring fan now, he was an absolute beast in these early Pride fights.
The next fight was Dan Henderson against Renzo Gracie. Before the fight, Gracie was telling a story backstage about how he once choked his daughter's boyfriend. Renzo talks about it in the seventh paragraph of this interview from HDNet.
It was a very funny story, probably an exaggeration, but still very funny. Randy Couture was in Henderson's corner for this fight. As predicted, Gracie shot in frequently, but Hendo had a great sprawl. Gracie got knocked out so fast, no one knew what happened. Quadros and Bas thought he knocked himself out against the mat under Dan's sprawl, but it was Hendo's infamous right hand that actually did the damage.
When discussing his upcoming fight with Mark Coleman, Allan Goes discussed how he is a middleweight and Coleman is a heavyweight, but that Goes was not intimidated. I was immediately skeptical. Belfort was in Goes' corner and Gary Goodridge and Jeremy Horn were in Coleman's. Coleman looked huge for this fight. Coleman gets Goes down on the ground fast and while Goes was face-down, begins delivering brutal knees to the head, that were now legal under the new Pride rules. Goes was knocked out instantly. This was where the insanity began, though. As Coleman stands up and raises his arms, he turns his back to Goes who is just coming to. Goes doesn't know what happened and attacks Coleman. Coleman looks absolutely pissed and it took a lot of guys to separate the two. Once they both realized what happened, they hugged it out.
Masaaki Satake versus Tadao Yasuda was next and this fight pretty much sucked, in my opinion. This was the professional wrestler Yasuda's MMA debut. The three rounds of this fight consisted of Yasuda charging into Satake, who would just get pushed into the corner. Yasuda would desperately try for a take-down and Satake would simply stand in the corner and resist. Yasuda won the split decision.
Next was the much anticipated match between Tracy Telligman versus Igor Volchanchyn. Volchanchyn was scheduled to fight Ken Shamrock but Shamrock was injured, so fellow Lion's Den fighter, Telligman, took Shamrock's place against the Ukrainian. Mezger and Shamrock were in Telligman's corner. Much to my surprise, UFC Middleweight Tito Ortiz appeared and presented bouquets to both fighters. Ortiz looked really young and skinny to me. Telligman won the decision. His stand-up was too much for Volchanchyn that night and Igor found himself on his back, fighting to survive.
The last fight of this Pride was one that I have heard a lot about but had never seen. It was Kazushi Sakuraba versus Wanderlei Silva. Again, Tito gave both fighters some flowers and even gave Sakuraba a peck on the check, to Sakuraba's delight. This light-heartedness ended quickly, as this was an intensely violent fight. Silva won most of the wild exchanges but Sakuraba nailed Silva with a good right. Wanderlei knocked Sakuraba down with some brutal punches and ended the fight with some scary knees and soccer kicks. This was the brutality that made Silva famous. Watch this fight if you get a chance. You can't help but feel sorry for Sakuraba, who was left a bloody mess. This video shows the whole fight, the music is a little obnoxious though.
I'll try to start doing these write-ups with my former frequency again. Oh.. and what's the deal with Spike's Best of Pride Series?!?! I start doing these write-ups and now Spike is just going to show them on television. So much for my niche on BloodyElbow...