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Pride 18: Cold Fury 2 review
by Scott Newman (MMA)
Posted on February 23, 2007, 8:26 AM

Note: if you're reading this on Oratory Sports, my apologies for a lot of missing reviews as of late after problems with the script. I'll be posting them in bulk in the upcoming days.

Pride 18: Cold Fury 2

Fukuoka, Japan

-Your hosts are Stephen Quadros and Bas Rutten. We get a bizarre opening segment too, with a Christmas theme, and Quinton Jackson, Guy Mezger, Alex Andrade and Semmy Schilt cutting a promo about ‘mojo’. Huh? Maybe the Austin Powers movie was out at this period, who knows.

-Into the arena for the bizarre opening ceremony, with the Pride ring girls disrobing while the ring announcer’s face rants and raves from inside a large orb hanging in the ring, which goes on to explode. I’ll never be able to get used to this kind of stuff.

Daijiro Matsui vs Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson

Jackson was just picking up steam in Japan at this stage, having beaten a couple of guys following his loss to Sakuraba. Matsui on the other hand was coming off two consecutive losses, and I’m thinking Rampage was expected to steamroll him.

They begin and go right into a clinch...where Rampage lands a knee to the groin. Matsui folds quickly, and after a moment or so they stop the fight there. Boo!

Now, on the DVD I have they cut quickly to the next fight without announcing an official decision, but for some reason, rather than calling it a no-contest as they usually do with low blows, Rampage was disqualified in this one and Matsui was awarded the win. I’m not sure why that was the decision – it clearly wasn’t an intentional foul, and it’s not like Pride hadn’t called no-contests before (see Yvel-Silva). Pretty disgusting officiating from Pride I think, and I believe Rampage was pretty angry about it too as really it’s a pointless blemish on his record.

Alex Stiebling vs Allan Goes

Pride judge and AMC Pankration coach Matt Hume joins us on commentary for the next couple of fights, hoping to explain a little more about Pride’s judging criteria. This was Stiebling’s debut in the promotion following his IVC tournament win that saw him defeat four Brazilian fighters in one night. Goes on the other hand was coming back after the devastating KO loss to Mark Coleman that he suffered at Pride 13.

Round 1 begins, and Goes gets a quick takedown to Stiebling’s guard. He passes into half-guard with little trouble, and lands some chopping punches to the body, before taking the full mount. Goes gets an arm triangle from the mounted position, and it looks for a second like Stiebling is in trouble, but as Goes hops over to the side to close the hold out, Alex turns into it and wriggles free, back to guard! Goes works to pass the guard again, as Stiebling tries to defend. He gets to half-guard though, and then passes to the side and gets a kimura locked on. It looks deep and for a second it appears that Stiebling’s tapped, but it’s a false alarm and somehow Alex wriggles free again, and this time transitions right into a kneebar attempt! Goes quickly pulls out of that though, and ends up back in Stiebling’s guard. He passes into half-guard, and lands some rights, and Stiebling escapes to his feet for a second, only for Goes to take him right back down. Little happens for the remainder of the round, with Goes patiently working inside Stiebling’s guard.

Into the 2nd, and they exchange to a clinch early, before breaking off. Goes shoots in for a takedown, but Alex sprawls, and gets on top in half-guard momentarily. Goes reverses and tries a single leg again, but this time Stiebling sprawls out and lands a few knees to the head, before dropping into Goes’s guard. Things slow down here, as Stiebling lies in the guard chopping away with punches, but then Goes gets an armbar from the bottom. He rolls into it, but Alex steps over nicely, and manages to spin his way free back into Allan’s guard. Stiebling stands and kicks at his legs, before the ref calls Goes back up, and Stiebling avoids another takedown attempt, getting top position again and standing to avoid an upkick attempt to end the round. Goes looks tired going back to his corner.

Goes shoots to open the third round, then tries to pull guard, but Stiebling sprawls and then spins out to a front facelock, where he lands a knee to the head. He drops into the guard, but then decides to stand, and with Goes in the butt-scoot position, he lands a couple of kicks to the legs and then a stomp to the head! Goes suddenly looks in trouble, and Stiebling goes into side mount and drops a flurry of BIG KNEES to the head, and punches, and the ref stops it there, about 47 seconds in.

Good win for Stiebling there in his first Pride appearance; he basically out-cardio’d Goes as Allan had all the offense in the first round, then most of it in the 2nd too, but was exhausted by the third while Stiebling was still thriving. Some ill submission escapes from him, too.

Murilo Ninja vs Alex Andrade

Andrade is the Lion’s Den guy who got disqualified for kicking with shoes on in one of the older UFCs, the only time I’ve ever seen him prior to this if I recall correctly. I think he looked in far better shape back then, too – not to say he’s looking horrible here or anything. Ninja though was being tipped as one of the top prospects in Pride at this point, coming off his slaughter of Matsui and a close, controversial decision loss to Dan Henderson.

Round 1 begins with Andrade swinging his way into securing a bodylock. He can’t get the takedown though and the referee quickly breaks them up. Ninja comes forward swinging off the restart, and gets into a clinch, tripping Andrade down into side mount. He tries to take the back, but Andrade stands, so Ninja gets a BIG GERMAN SUPLEX back down to the mat! Andrade tries to stand again, but Ninja goes for the suplex once more, only this time Andrade grabs the ropes to avoid, garnering a warning from the ref. Andrade drops for a spinning kimura ala Sakuraba, but Ninja manages to spin free to guard. Andrade grinds away from the top, but Ninja stays active from the bottom, not giving him a chance to work any major ground-and-pound, and so they come back up to their feet. Back into a clinch, and Ninja gets a trip takedown to Andrade’s guard. Andrade keeps the guard tight, and the action slows down a bit, although Ninja lands some good shots to the body. Ninja begins to land better shots as the round goes on, marking Andrade up quite badly around the nose and eyes, and then he tries a neck crank to attempt to open the guard. Eventually he abandons it, and goes back to just peppering Andrade’s body and face with punches. Ninja stands and misses a stomp attempt, but then drops to side mount and lands a quick flurry of knees to end the first round. Easily Ninja’s round there.

Andrade comes out looking to box, but Ninja looks too quick for him and lands some knees into a clinch. More knees to the body land, before the ref breaks them up. Ninja NAILS him with a left high kick off the restart, Andrade deflecting it a bit with his arm, but the Brazilian follows with some big knees to the body from a plum clinch. Andrade manages to get to an over/under, but Ninja trips him down to side mount and lands a nasty knee to the face. Andrade turtles up, and Ninja lands some more knees, before standing back up. Andrade joins him and Ninja lands a knee into the clinch, and gets another takedown to guard, where he continues to work Andrade over with punches until the round ends. Andrade’s face looks pretty much a mess at this point.

Third and final round, and Andrade ends up on his back quickly after a missed low kick, and Ninja batters him from the top with punches until the ref stands them up once it slows down a bit. Andrade gets the yellow card for stalling from the bottom, and they restart with Ninja landing a left high kick, some hard, straight punches, and then some nasty knees into a clinch. More knees to the body land, before the ref breaks them up, and off the restart Ninja lands a LEFT FLYING KNEE!~! Andrade looks rocked, and Ninja gets a single leg to half-guard and passes right into side mount, causing Andrade to turtle up. Ninja nails him with some knees, then stands and lands a soccer kick, before Andrade manages to get back up into a clinch. Ninja takes him right back down to guard though, and keeps landing punches, pounding away to the body and head until the fight comes to an end.

Judges give Ninja the unanimous decision, and really it was a total shutout, as Andrade had one piece of offense (the kimura attempt) and outside of that it was all Ninja, who just battered the guy from pillar to post for the full twenty minutes practically, despite being unable to stop him. Impressive showing from the Chute Boxe fighter.

Yoshihisa Yamamoto vs Jan Nortje

Yamamoto is just one of those Japanese fighters that I have no interest in ever seeing fight; I mean, the guy’s most meaningful win is a fluke over a washed up Mark Kerr. At 3-8 here, he had no business being in the ring, frankly. His opponent here is Jan ‘Giant’ Nortje, a South African kickboxer who’s 6’10”, 310lbs. For some reason – maybe to do with the fact that both of these guys suck? – this is five 3-minute rounds. Sigh.

They get underway, and Yamamoto presses, but gets dropped by a short left from the Giant. Yamamoto goes to his back, but Nortje calls him back up, and sure enough he gets up and then gets a single leg takedown. Nortje holds a loose guillotine, but Yamamoto pops out easily and gets into side mount, and from there it’s textbook straight armbar, wham, over.

Next fight please, moving on....

Igor Vovchanchyn vs Valentijn Overeem

Both men were coming off submission losses coming into this one, Overeem losing to an Assuerio Silva heel hook, and Vovchanchyn to a Mario Sperry arm triangle. Announcers mention that Overeem’s claimed he wants to stand with Igor here, which does not sound like the best idea at all to me.

Round 1 gets underway, and Igor decks him with a left quickly; so much for wanting to stand with him. Overeem comes back up quickly though, and gets into a clinch, where Vovchanchyn grabs a standing guillotine. Overeem counters with a beautiful, uranage-esque slam down to the ground, where he takes side mount. Overeem stands, and then for some reason decides to drop back into the guard. Huh? Why give up a better position? Anyway, Igor ties him up, so Overeem drops back for a heel hook, but Vovchanchyn rolls into it nicely and gets free. He ends up on top in side mount, and then mounts, and lands a couple of punches, but Overeem rolls and reverses into top position in Vovchanchyn’s guard. Igor ties him up again, so Overeem stands and seems to be looking to grab a leg for a leglock, dropping a couple of punches for good measure, but he leaves his own leg hanging too close to Igor, and Vovchanchyn pulls him down right into a heel hook for the tapout!

Whoa, big surprise there – Quadros even stated a few moments beforehand that there was very little chance of Igor ever attempting a leglock on Overeem, and then wham, there you go. Really slick finish for Vovchanchyn that pretty much came out of nowhere.

Jeremy Horn vs Akira Shoji

This was Horn’s first appearance in Pride after he left the UFC following his upset loss to Elvis Sinosic, and he was presented with perennial fan favourite Shoji for his first bout.

Shoji charges right out into a clinch to open, and Horn pulls guard. Not much happens from here, as Horn stays active with his hips from the bottom, giving no real submission attempts, but not allowing Shoji to do much at all. Shoji avoids a triangle choke, and they come back up into a clinch for a second before Shoji trips him back to guard. Horn looks for a triangle, but doesn’t outright attempt it and nothing at all happens for a long time, although Horn is by far the more active from the guard. Horn gets a nice sweep attempt, but Shoji manages to retain top position, and we get more of the same to end the round, no real strikes or damage done, just positional stuff.

They exchange some punches to open the 2nd, and Horn lands a nice left high kick, but when they go into the clinch Horn pulls guard again. Not much happens again, this is becoming a real snoozer, and sure enough the ref calls them up and shows both guys the yellow card. Horn lands a glancing combo off the restart, so Shoji tries a takedown, but Horn stuffs it and lands a knee down into Shoji’s half-guard. Horn passes to side mount, and then takes full mount, but reconsiders and drops back to side mount instead. He looks to be setting something up, but we can’t tell whether it’s an armbar or a kimura, until he mounts again and now it’s clear he’s looking for the armbar. Horn goes for it, but Shoji manages to slip free, and the round ends there.

Horn opens the third with a good low kick, and they go into the clinch, where Shoji gets a trip takedown. Horn tries a sweep as soon as they go down, but Shoji avoids and goes into Horn’s guard. Horn tries a kimura from the bottom, then abandons it and instead gets a nice sweep to half-guard. Shoji rolls as Horn passes, so Horn lands a knee from the front facelock position and drops to side mount. Horn tries a keylock, and then mounts, landing some punches before taking Shoji’s back with a body triangle. Shoji defends the rear naked choke, but Horn just lands a flurry of hard backfists from behind as the fight comes to a conclusion.

Horn takes the unanimous decision from the judges, but boy that was a snoozer for the most part. I never understood the ‘boring’ label on Horn before really, but this was a real stinker from him – although most of that was down to Shoji who basically provided absolutely nothing in the way of offense outside of a couple of takedowns, and seemed content to lay in Horn’s guard doing nothing for the most part. Horrid fight.

Wanderlei Silva vs Alexander Otsuka

Yeah, this should be good. No idea why they decided to give Otsuka a shot at Silva outside of the fact that he’s Japanese really. Silva was just beginning his reign as Pride Middleweight Champion, winning the title in a second match against Kazushi Sakuraba on the previous show, although naturally this isn’t a title fight. Announcers are expecting a one-sided slaughter, saying this does nothing for Silva either way really, and I agree.

Round 1 and Silva counters a low kick with a straight right to open, before Otsuka shoots in for a takedown attempt. He muscles Wanderlei back into the corner, but nothing happens from there and the ref calls the break. They press into a clinch, and muscle for position again with little action, before the ref breaks them for a second time. Silva rushes into another clinch off the restart, and gets a takedown to half-guard, before mounting pretty easily. Otsuka rolls, and then dodges a soccer kick and does well to get to his feet. Silva lands a low kick, and Otsuka shoots, but Silva sprawls and Otsuka pulls guard. He takes some punches, and then a soccer kick to the head as Silva stands. Wanderlei kicks to the legs, and then Otsuka gets called to his feet. They trade some wild punches off the restart with neither really landing cleanly, but Otsuka goes down anyway and Silva gets a front facelock and lands a knee. Silva stands and throws the soccer kick again, but Otsuka scrambles to his feet and grabs a clinch. Silva breaks off, landing a left before sprawling to avoid a takedown, and he ends up on top in mount instead. Otsuka gives his back, and Silva lands some more punches and looks for a rear naked choke, before standing and narrowly missing another soccer kick. More kicks to the legs, and a couple more soccer kick attempts finish the round. Surprisingly slow for a Silva fight actually.

A brief exchange opens the 2nd, and then they go into a clinch, but nothing happens from there really and the ref calls the break. Silva lands a combo into the clinch off the restart, and then lands a good knee to the head before the ref breaks them back up. Otsuka ends up on his back off a shoddy dropkick attempt, and Silva kicks the legs, but misses a leaping stomp attempt as Otsuka pushes him away with his legs. Otsuka gets called back up, and finally Silva hurts him with a left kick to the body. Silva closes in, but Otsuka manages to get a takedown to guard, passing into north/south to end the round! Never thought I’d see Otsuka make it this far, that’s for sure.

Third and final round, and Silva lands a combination into the clinch, where he gets a takedown to side mount. He stands up, but Otsuka avoids another soccer kick before the official calls him back to his feet. Silva comes forward with a couple of hard right hands into a clinch, and then lands a VICIOUS knee to the face, and as Otsuka comes up it’s clear he’s cut bad. The ref steps in, and it looks like a badly broken nose, and sure enough the doctors call the fight there.

Surprising one, that was. I expected Silva to just whitewash Otsuka but for some reason he had a really flat showing and Otsuka was able to hang in there without sustaining any major damage until the broken nose that actually ended the fight. Don’t know whether Silva was injured or sick or something coming in, but he didn’t look anywhere near as explosive as he normally does and it turned into a very slow fight by his standards.

Semmy Schilt vs Yoshihiro Takayama

And it’s a bizarre freakshow main event, with famed pro-wrestler Takayama – who took a serious beating from Kazuyuki Fujita in his only other MMA fight – taking on giant Dutch kickboxer Schilt. No clue whether this was the originally planned main here or something they just chucked together at the last minute, but the crowd are hot for it at least.

Schilt opens with a front kick as Takayama tries to touch gloves, and this seems to anger the Japanese as he swings some crazy punches into a clinch. Schilt lands some punches from the inside, and Takayama tries a throw, but botches it badly and ends up on his back, mounted. Takayama somehow manages to turn Schilt over onto his back, where the Dutchman gets full guard, and he immediately goes for a triangle/armbar combination. Takayama manages to pull out and stand, and Semmy gets called back up by the referee. They press forward, and Schilt uses the front kick to keep his range, avoiding Takayama’s swings with ease. Takayama keeps bringing it, but Schilt lands a hard left, and follows with a pair of stiff left jabs to drop him for the knockout.

Pretty fun match for a freakshow deal; although Takayama would go on to have an even more famous fight with Don Frye on a later show. Schilt looked good here despite the very questionable competition, though. Not really a great main event, but not something I’d outright complain about like Sakuraba-Arsene or anything.

-We end with a highlight reel of the night’s action.

Final Thoughts....

Definitely not the best showing from Pride. Card on paper wasn’t that bad I guess, but the lack of Henderson/Nogueira/Sakuraba/Herring, etc, really showed, as the whole show lacked the marquee fights that Pride was putting together during this period, and no fight here really shone like some of the fights on the other shows at the time. Ninja’s fight wasn’t bad – although he’s had far better ones – and Stiebling/Goes was fun for what it was, as was the main event, but there’s nothing to really go out of your way to see on this one. Unless you’re a heavy collector or you’re picking it up as part of a multi-disc deal, recommendation to avoid.

Coming Soon....

Pride: Total Elimination 2005, Critical Countdown 2005, Final Conflict 2005.
UFC: 64, 65 and 66.
Cage Rage: 19.
WEC: 10 and 11.
WFA: 1, 2 and 3.
King of the Cage: 15, 18, 21, 23, 29, 30, 32, 33, 36, 42 and 48.
Best of Shooto 2003 vols. 1 & 2.

Until next time,

Scott Newman:

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