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Pride: Shockwave 2006 review
by Scott Newman (MMA)
Posted on June 26, 2009, 4:09 PM

Pride: Shockwave 2006

Saitama, Japan

-Your hosts are Robby Mikowski and Frank Trigg. No Mauro? I never really liked the guy but it sounds weird without him, just as it sounded weird in the first few shows without Stephen Quadros I guess. They run down the card from the top, concentrating on Fedor-Hunt for the HW Title, and Gomi-Ishida...which is apparently a non-title fight. Why? I cannot believe Pride didn’t learn from the Gomi-Aurelio debacle in that one.

-Into the arena for the parade of fighters, made a bit more memorable (in the wrong sense) for Nobuhiko Takada banging a large drum while wearing a thong/diaper combo. Really.

Shinya Aoki vs Joachim Hansen

Original plan had been to match Aoki with Gilbert Melendez here in the fight that should’ve been on Bushido 12, but plans changed and we ended up with Aoki-Hansen and Melendez-Kawajiri and who am I to complain about those matches? While Aoki had looked very slick in his Pride appearances thus far, he hadn’t really fought anyone the calibre of Hansen and I figured Joachim’s aggressive style, particularly in the striking department, would prove to be too much for the tights-wearing Japanese star. Fight is under Bushido rules (one ten-minute round, one five-minute round). Aoki looks insanely camp here, sporting a pair of rainbow-patterned tights. And Hansen is sporting hair and a goatee, which just looks wrong when you’re so used to him clean shaven with a bald head.

Bell sounds and Hansen stalks out of his corner, but slips to his back on the first low kick he throws. Aoki gets on top in the guard and passes quickly to half-guard. Nice sweep from Hansen to get to his feet, but Aoki puts him down quickly again. Good job from Hansen to prevent a guard pass, and he works a closed guard as Aoki drops some punches down. Aoki stands and passes into half-guard again, but Hansen reverses and avoids a tight armbar attempt to slip free into Aoki’s guard. Aoki immediately goes into rubber guard and looks to lock up Hansen’s shoulder, and from there he locks up a gogoplata. Announcers don’t even realize it’s a submission attempt, but Aoki has it locked in and Hansen taps out there!

Wow, really shocking stuff here. First off I mean, Hansen is no slouch on the ground by any means, he’s actually a hell of a grappler and the only guy to tap him before was Shaolin Ribeiro, who is like pound-for-pound one of the best grapplers in MMA. Aoki pretty much tooled Hansen as soon as he got full guard here, which is insane. Add into that the fact that this was the first time the gogoplata had been used as a submission on the big stage (which is probably why the announcers, who aren’t big submission guys themselves, didn’t realize it was there) and this was a huge result. I think the only time I’d seen the gogoplata attempted before was by BJ Penn against GSP in their first fight, and there it was wildly unsuccessful. This was the fight that really put Aoki over the top as an elite-level guy at Lightweight and he’s gone on to more success since.

Shogun Rua vs Kazuhiro Nakamura

Bit of an underwhelming fight for Shogun on the biggest show of the year, although that might be a little unfair on Nakamura who was always a solid mid-level guy at this point in his career and was on a three-fight win streak. Still, Shogun had looked awesome since returning to action following his dislocated elbow, seemingly not losing a step in wins over Cyrille Diabate and Kevin Randleman, and everyone firmly expected him to dismantle Nakamura in this one. Nakamura’s also sporting the same tape on the back of his neck that Alistair Overeem had in the Lil’ Nog fight at Critical Countdown 2006.

Round One begins and Shogun comes right out with a flying kick and then a heavy leg kick. Nakamura throws some punches, but Shogun shoots in and looks to trip the judoka down. Nakamura blocks it and they exchange knees from inside, before the ref breaks them up. High kick misses for Shogun and he drives Nakamura into the corner and goes for a takedown. Nakamura defends and they break off for a moment before Shogun clinches again. Knees land for Shogun and then they break off, where Nakamura counters a low kick with a decent right hand. Good body kick from Shogun and then he avoids a little flurry and hits a nice takedown into side mount. He looks for an arm triangle choke, but can’t lock it up correctly and ends up stepping over to full mount. Nakamura gives his back though and then escapes to his feet. Shogun drives him into the corner of the ring and then lands a jumping switch kick (!) as they break. Back to the clinch and Shogun eats a knee as he drops for a takedown. Takedown from Shogun to half-guard and he quickly passes to side control, nice work. Nakamura again escapes to his feet though, and then they exchange short flurries with neither landing clean. Short uppercut lands for Nakamura but he finds himself tripped down again and Shogun looks to pass the half-guard. Again Nakamura pops up into the clinch. Ref breaks them off and Shogun lands a right hand back into the clinch, where he knees the gut. Takedown follows again and he mounts this time, landing some punches. He goes for the arm triangle again and slides out to the side, but he can’t finish it so he goes back to the mount. Nakamura gives his back and Shogun gets both hooks in, then locks up the choke with one arm, but he can’t quite close it off and Nakamura works his neck free. Nakamura manages to roll, but winds up mounted again, only to roll him over and reverse. Shogun reverses *that* though with a leg scissor and misses a stomp, before taking the back again. He can’t hold position though and Nakamura ends up turning into the guard, where he stands over Shogun and tries to deliver a shot from the top as the round ends.

Into the 2nd and both men slip early. Nakamura lands a right but Shogun gets a bodylock and forces him into the corner again. Beautiful judo trip from Nakamura puts Shogun on his back for a moment, and then the Japanese fighter lands a couple of knees as Shogun turtles up. He escapes to his feet though and they exchange some strikes into the clinch again. Ref breaks them off and Shogun looks tired to me, but he manages to counter some strikes with an outside trip to side mount. Couple of punches land for Shogun and then Nakamura rolls, but takes a soccer kick before Shogun misses a stomp en route to getting back on top. The Brazilian works to mount again but he does little with the position. Nakamura gives his back again but Shogun still can’t seal the deal and the round ends with Nakamura turning into Shogun’s guard.

Third and final round now, and Nakamura comes out swinging, but Shogun blocks them and clinches, forcing Nakamura into the corner again. Ref separates them and Shogun catches a kick and puts Nakamura on his back in half-guard again. Full mount follows for Shogun before Nakamura gives his back again and tries to get to his feet. Shogun keeps him down, but then as he tries to advance position Nakamura pops up to his feet once more. Trip from Shogun puts him down again in guard though. Shogun stands and tries the flying stomp, which clips Nakamura’s head, but it allows the Japanese fighter to reverse into Shogun’s guard and then stand back up. Bodylock takedown from Nakamura now but he chooses to let him up again, and now Shogun takes Nakamura down to half-guard. He passes to side mount, where he lands a couple of knee strikes and then gets knee on belly to land some punches. Nakamura rolls but almost eats a stomp, and then Shogun gets back into mount but again he does little with it. He stands and misses a big stomp, and the fight ends with Nakamura flurrying on the Brazilian as he covers up.

Easy decision for Shogun and the judges agree, giving him the unanimous decision. Fight wasn’t great though as Shogun didn’t look anywhere near as explosive as he seemed in previous Pride fights, particularly on the feet, and on the ground while he owned Nakamura positionally he didn’t really come close to finishing. Surprisingly dull fight for Rua’s usual high standards.

Gilbert Melendez vs Tatsuya Kawajiri

As I mentioned earlier, despite Melendez-Aoki being cancelled nobody was complaining about a fight like this, as Kawajiri was a proven top-ten contender and was easily Melendez’s toughest fight to date on paper. Really interesting clash in terms of styles too as they’re very similar, power-punching wrestlers who put on a sick pace. Like Hansen-Aoki this one’s under Bushido rules too.

First round gets underway and they trade punches into a clinch right away. They break off and Kawajiri stuns him with a right hand in another exchange, wobbling El Nino. Gilbert comes right back though, landing a right hand of his own that wobbles Kawajiri! They continue to trade punches, just throwing down with no fear, and another right hand lands for Kawajiri and knocks Melendez down! He looks for a takedown, but Kawajiri uses a front facelock to defend, landing some knees to the head as they come back to their feet in the clinch. Ref calls time to check a cut on Kawajiri’s cheek, and Melendez gets a yellow card for apparently grabbing the ropes. They restart and Melendez drops him to a knee with a right hand, then follows with a good flying knee into the clinch. Kawajiri looks for the takedown but Melendez shows some sick balance to defend, until Kawajiri finally manages to muscle him down. Gilbert works to his feet immediately and now looks for a takedown of his own from the clinch. He can’t get Kawajiri down, and the ref breaks them up. They exchange another series of punches into the clinch, and then Melendez shoves him into the corner and shoots for a takedown after another trade. Kawajiri uses the corner of the ring to defend and they continue to muscle for position, and then Melendez finally reverses a takedown and puts Kawajiri on his back. Kawajiri works back to his feet instantly though and they break off. Gilbert goes for another takedown and this time transitions onto Kawajiri’s back, getting both hooks in to control him. Kawajiri turns into him though, and then stands, getting a takedown of his own where he lands some punches from above. Gil looks to get up, but ends up in a front headlock and Kawajiri lands a couple of knees. Melendez manages to reverse position though, turning Kawajiri over with the former Shooto champ still holding onto Gilbert’s head. Gilbert puts Kawajiri on his back, and then pops his head free as Kawajiri gets full guard. Kawajiri works to his feet and takes a knee to the midsection, and then the ref separates them.

Punching exchange follows again and this time Melendez gets the better of it, landing the cleaner punches before getting another takedown. Ref break them up with Kawajiri seated against the ropes and restarts them standing. Another exchange leads them to a brief clinch, but Melendez stuns Kawajiri with a right hand that causes Kawajiri to drop and get a takedown. Melendez shifts his weight and tries to go for a toehold, but Kawajiri pulls out of that and gets on top in the guard. Gilbert tries to scramble to his feet and gives his back, but as Kawajiri sinks the hooks in Melendez grabs his head and pulls him over the top. They clinch again but the ref breaks them up and with a minute to go they throw some more punches out with neither landing clean, and the round ends there. Hell of an opening round.

Final round, and they trade off into the clinch again. Melendez blocks a trip and breaks with a right, and they continue to exchange punches, with Kawajiri throwing more power shots to Melendez’s straight shots. Exchange continues with both men taking their fair share of blows, and then Kawajiri tackles him down, but Gilbert quickly reverses to his feet. They trade again and now Melendez takes Kawajiri down, appearing to be the fresher man at this stage. They work back up quickly again, and now the exchange is on again, these dudes are SWINGING. Big left from Kawajiri into the clinch but the ref breaks them off. Both men land clean shots in a shootout now, snapping one another’s head back but neither guy goes down and with less than a minute to go they’re still exchanging. Takedown is stuffed by Kawajiri. Big knee lands for Gilbert to the midsection as they continue, and the fight finally ends with a clinch.

To the judges and I have NO idea how I’d score that one. Under Pride rules I’d have it as a draw maybe. All three judges give it to Gilbert Melendez though, and he gets the win by unanimous decision. Very close fight that could’ve gone either way, but hey, Melendez was slightly more energetic so that’s maybe why they gave him the nod. Awesome action from start to finish although all the up and down stuff got tiring to watch after a while! One of the best Lightweight fights of the year.

Kazuyuki Fujita vs Eldari Kurtanidze

Georgian wrestler Kurtanidze had won Olympic bronze medals in the 1996 and 2000 Olympics, but I genuinely have no idea what brought him into MMA as he was already 34 at this point. The last Olympic wrestler to fight Fujita (Karam Gaber Ibrahim, who had one of the most incredible physiques in athletics) had been brutally knocked out and the odds on the same happening again were pretty large. Kurtanidze is wearing a full wrestling singlet here, which I can’t remember anyone doing before, even guys like Coleman and Henderson in the early days of MMA. Fujita looks bigger slightly but Kurtanidze’s arms are like tree trunks.

Round One begins and Kurtanidze has one of the worst punching stances I’ve ever seen, left hand extended, right hand by his shoulder with his chin straight up in the air. Oh God. The Georgian tries to clinch but Fujita is having none of that and breaks, and narrowly misses a right haymaker. Odd front kick lands for Kurtanidze, but Fujita defends a takedown attempt. Very little happens as Fujita looks to be setting up for the home run hit, while Kurtanidze, his stance still like a turn-of-the-century (as in 1900’s) boxer, tries to close the distance and clinch. The Georgian manages to clinch, but eats some uppercuts inside that drop him face-first, and Fujita quickly pounds away for the stoppage. Replay shows Kurtanidze tapped as he hit the deck.

Absolutely pointless, yet funny squash, up there with the very classic Pride freakshow fights like Tamura vs. Makhmud and Zuluzinho vs. Sentoryu. I mean, it was a waste of two minutes, but in a way it was hilarious you know? The fact that Kurtanidze came out with the stance he did had me cracking up.

Takanori Gomi vs Mitsuhiro Ishida

Unbelievable. After making a complete mess of the Lightweight title picture in 2006 thanks to Gomi’s loss to Marcus Aurelio and Aurelio’s subsequent loss to Ishida, things looked to be finally settled here, as Gomi had avenged the Aurelio loss while Ishida had rolled through a further two opponents post-Aurelio...except like the first Gomi-Aurelio fight this is non-title. Why not just give Ishida the title shot as opposed to risking the champ losing again and still holding onto his belt? Ridiculous decision that still doesn’t make sense. It was a difficult fight to pick coming in, as while Ishida had looked fantastic in all of his Pride bouts and Gomi had been horribly lacklustre in the second Aurelio fight, Gomi still had a size advantage and far more power in his strikes.

First round begins and Gomi refuses a touch of gloves. Couple of kicks miss for Ishida as Gomi hangs his hands way low, clearly not respecting Ishida’s striking ability. Suddenly Gomi CRACKS him with a left-right that knocks Ishida silly and sends him down to the canvas! Ishida recovers quickly and looks to take Gomi down, but his shot is way off and Gomi sprawls to avoid it and gets on top in Ishida’s guard, where he opens up with WILD HAMMERFISTS! Ishida looks in trouble and begins to cover up as Gomi SMASHES him, standing and delivering a BIG SOCCER KICK before continuing to punch away for the TKO! God damn!

I was expecting a close fight there but instead we got the return of Gomi in Demon Mode as he just came out like a house on fire and beat the hell out of poor Ishida, who never stood a chance. This was 2005 Gomi and when he comes in like that there aren’t many guys in the world who stand a chance against him. Awesome performance from the Fireball Kid to erase any doubts about him during this period. And hey, I guess the non-title factor didn’t matter in the end!

James Thompson vs Hidehiko Yoshida

Hey, what would a Pride NYE show be without an odd Hidehiko Yoshida fight? In this case he was against cult favourite, the British brawler James Thompson, more famous for his bizarre “gong and dash” tactic than his actual achievements in MMA. Despite Thompson having a HUGE size advantage over the legendary judoka I expected Yoshida to capitalize on the huge holes in the Mega Punk’s ground game and tap him out early on. No gi for Yoshida surprisingly.

Bell sounds and it’s GONG AND DASH TIME as Thompson comes charging out with a flying knee! Yoshida grabs hold of him and looks for the takedown, and they clinch along the ropes before Yoshida hits a beautiful judo trip to side control. He looks for an armbar and it looks tight, but Thompson lands a hammer fist and pulls free. Yoshida goes for a kneebar and then switches to an Achilles lock attempt, but Thompson looks okay and sits up to land some punches. Yoshida attempts to tighten it up and it looks like he’s got it, but then Thompson explodes free and comes to his feet. Big right hand from Yoshida lands though and he follows with a BIG FLURRY that has Thompson rocked badly! Thompson survives and manages to clinch, and then tries a judo throw of his own, but like that was ever going to work, and sure enough he ends up on his back. He gets up, but Yoshida nails him with another right hand and then they TRADE OFF WILDLY with Yoshida STILL landing the better punches!

They continue to openly trade before the ref calls time to replace Yoshida’s mouthpiece, and off the restart they clinch and Yoshida throws him again down to side mount. Yoshida works for a kimura and has it fully locked in, locking his legs around the head for good measure, but Thompson manages to flip over to alleviate some of the pressure. He’s still in deep trouble though as Yoshida continues to crank on the kimura, but he ends up slipping and Thompson charges with a double leg attempt that Yoshida blocks. Another mad trade follows, with Thompson landing a right haymaker that drops the judo legend! Thompson follows up with a stomp, but Yoshida goes for the ankle lock, and now we end up with a bizarre duelling leglock spot that can’t be good for Thompson. He ends up releasing it and then Yoshida gets on top, trying to avoid a crawling single leg from the Mega Punk. Ankle pick causes Yoshida to slip towards the ring ropes and then Thompson SHOVES HIM THROUGH HEADFIRST! HA, that looked like a crude Royal Rumble spot or something. Ref calls time to get Yoshida back into the ring and he doesn’t look in good condition to me. They finally restart and Thompson wades in with a left hook, and follows with some sloppy, wild haymakers that have Yoshida stunned bad. The Brit throws in the knees too, but Yoshida somehow answers back! Thompson takes over again though, landing punch after punch, knee after knee, but somehow Yoshida WILL NOT GO DOWN! Thompson looks EXHAUSTED now but keeps on throwing, landing knees and punches and finally Yoshida crashes to the ground. Thompson takes a moment to follow up as Yoshida’s fallen through the ropes again, and the ref stops it to move a seemingly unconscious Yoshida to the center of the ring. They need to stop this NOW before Yoshida dies. Seriously. Instead the ref restarts the fight with Thompson in side mount, and he steps over to mount and slugs away for the stoppage. Post-fight Yoshida looks hurt badly, while Thompson himself collapses out of sheer exhaustion.

First off, the finish was sickening as Yoshida was clearly done when he went down – if not before that! – and yet the ref dragged him back into the ring to let Thompson hurt him further. Absolutely disgusting. The fight though, despite being sloppy as hell, one of the most sloppy fights I’ve ever seen in fact, was unbelievably entertaining to watch. Most of the time I don’t like this sort of stuff, but these guys went to WAR, throwing huge strikes at one another and even going for submissions, and the heart Yoshida showed to remain standing under the barrage from Thompson late on was incredible. I wouldn’t call it a classic or a FOTYC or anything like that but man was that fun. Well, until Yoshida nearly died that is.

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs Josh Barnett

This was of course a rematch of probably the best heavyweight fight of the year between the two at Final Conflict Absolute back in September, an incredibly close fight that saw Barnett win a split decision. Although I was stoked to see them fight again, burnout had to be a concern for Barnett at this stage in 2006, as he’d already fought six times earlier in the year, five of which were pretty tough fights against top-level heavyweights, and he hadn’t exactly looked fresh in his October fight with Pawel Nastula. Nogueira meanwhile hadn’t fought since the first Barnett fight and had seen a pretty easy year by his ridiculous standards in terms of damage. For this reason I was taking Nogueira, but I expected another razor-close fight.

First round gets started and they exchange some early punches, Barnett landing the better shots, a right hand and another right to the body. They clinch up and muscle for position and exchange short strikes inside before the ref breaks them. Pair of heavy overhand rights land for Barnett but Nogueira clinches. They break off quickly and Barnett lands a beautiful right to the body. Nogueira presses the action but a telegraphed takedown attempt gets blocked. Couple of leg kicks land for Nog. They exchange some straight punches and then clinch again before breaking off. Into the clinch again and they exchange some knees and uppercuts before breaking once more. Nice right hand-leg kick combo lands for Nogueira and they clinch again, and this time Barnett puts his head between Nogueira’s legs and lifts him up, dropping him with a northern lights bomb! Barnett gets a front headlock and lands knees with Nogueira stuck in a seated position, and then he ends up holding the Brazilian in a cradle. Nogueira manages to push off and get to a butterfly guard, but he takes a stomp from Barnett before suddenly hitting a sweep! Unbelievable recovery from Nog as usual. He gets into half-guard and lands with some punches, holding Barnett’s head with his left so he can aim the right hand to land cleanly. Nogueira continues to control Barnett with the half-guard, but with seconds to go Barnett flips over and escapes to his feet, and they separate as the bell sounds. Good opening round.

Second round and Nogueira lands with a combo and finishes with a knee. Takedown attempt from Nogueira but Barnett blocks it well into a clinch. They exchange knees and it looks like Nog lands one low, and the ref calls time. Barnett is sporting a bloody nose now. They restart, exchanging some punches, and now Nogueira looks like the cleaner striker. Knee lands inside for Nog but Barnett shakes his head at him. Punching exchange follows and now Barnett begins to land again, hitting him with some clean right hands that don’t seem to faze the Brazilian. They clinch and Nogueira gets his back and trips him down, but Barnett reverses into top position and lands some hammer fists from the guard. Barnett stands over the guard and looks to pass, but Nogueira uses the opportunity to explode back to his feet. Ref calls time to clean the blood off Barnett’s face, and then they restart where Nog clocks him with a one-two. Stiff jabs land for Nogueira and he follows with a hard knee to the face. Another knee lands and Barnett is looking tired now, but still fires back. Big knee to the gut from Nogueira and he follows with another to the head. Barnett shoots, but Nogueira blocks it and breaks free, and he ends the round with a right hand as Barnett’s beginning to drop his hands due to exhaustion.

Third and final round now, and Barnett lands with a couple of early right hands. Combo from Nogueira answers as he’s pressing the action now, stalking Barnett. Striking exchange continues and both men are landing their fair share now. Nogueira begins to take over, landing a flurry along with a couple of knees, and then he tackles Barnett to the ground but finds himself caught in a guillotine. Barnett really squeezes on it and Nog looks in trouble for a moment, but refuses to give up and manages to work his way free! Nogueira begins to work from the top, peppering Barnett with punches and hammer fists. Barnett stays active from his back and tries a high guard, but Nogueira flips him over and tries to take the back. Barnett escapes to his feet with Nogueira holding a bodylock, but Barnett tries the Karo Parisyan rolling kimura. Nogueira slips out of it on the way down and gets top position again, avoiding a couple of triangle attempts before the fight comes to an end.

That was another close fight between the two that could go either way. I think I’d go for Nogueira this time though as Barnett started brightly but seemed to fade later on, while Nogueira got stronger throughout the fight, particularly in the striking department. Indeed, the judges score it as a unanimous decision for Nogueira. The burnout definitely hit Barnett here I think, as he was exhausted by the end of the first round and never picked up the same pace he started with. Fight was good, if not excellent, and was one of the better heavyweight fights you’ll see, although it never matched the greatness of their first encounter.

Pride World Heavyweight Title: Fedor Emelianenko vs Mark Hunt

Original plan would’ve seen a rematch between Fedor and Mirko Cro Cop after Cro Cop won the Openweight GP, but Mirko jumped ship to the UFC instead and so iron-jawed kickboxer Hunt, coming off his first loss in some time at the hands of Josh Barnett, stepped in and took the title shot instead. Despite Hunt’s chin and striking prowess, the obvious result here was Fedor by submission, taking advantage of Hunt’s weak ground game. Pre-fight Hunt admits Fedor is “the shit”, but thinks he has a weak chin and he can capitalize on that. Hunt hasn’t bleached his hair here and he’s grown a goatee, making him look like a chubbier version of Jake the Muss from Once Were Warriors. And hell, he fights like Jake too!

We’re underway, and Hunt presses forward, looking to land his left hook while Fedor remains calm, waiting for his opportunity. Good leg kick from Hunt but Fedor wades in with some hooks and then clinches, getting a takedown directly into full mount. Hunt looks in trouble as Fedor goes for an armbar, but he slips off and Hunt escapes into Fedor’s guard. Fedor goes for the armbar from the bottom and looks to extend it out ala the first Mark Coleman fight. Hunt looks in trouble now as Fedor gets it fully locked, but Hunt somehow steps over Fedor to escape and pops his arm free! Did not expect that! Hunt ends up on top in side mount, surprisingly enough, where he grinds his forearm into the champion’s face. Fedor tries to work back to guard, but Hunt does a tremendous job of staying on top in control. Fedor rolls to attempt a reversal, but Hunt lands a punch from behind and the ref calls time for the strike to the back of the head. Fedor has a bloody nose now. They restart standing and Hunt comes forward swinging hooks, but doesn’t land clean and Fedor ducks for a takedown before throwing an uppercut into the clinch. Fedor tries a throw, but Hunt reverses on the way down and gets side control again! Hunt actually goes for a keylock (!) and it looks sunk for a second, but Fedor pops out. Hunt goes for it again and the crowd are going WILD now, and my jaw is basically on the floor. Fedor looks calm as hell though and Hunt ends up letting it go. Hunt steps over to full mount now, incredible stuff, but Fedor rolls and escapes out the back door. Body kick lands for the Russian but a left hook misses, and then Hunt reverses a throw with a whizzer and escapes to his feet. They break the clinch and Fedor lands a combo and clinches, before getting a trip takedown to half-guard. Fedor controls him from the top and then slowly works into a far-side kimura, locking it up, and Hunt looks in trouble as Fedor twists it up and hops into side mount, forcing Hunt to grimace and then tap out.

Awesome fight; I never expected Hunt to put up a fight like that, particularly on the ground, and yet Hunt controlled and dominated portions of the fight, getting into side mount and even coming close to a submission on the Russian, which is insane as Hunt was known beforehand for having practically zero ground game. Still, Fedor fought out and in the end caught the kickboxer, and once he sunk the kimura in it was over. People criticised Fedor for this performance and to be sure, it wasn’t exactly convincing, but like in soccer, the best champions can win when they’re not playing (or fighting, in this case) well, and Fedor Emelianenko is a prime example of that. Great main event to end the show.

-Show ends with the fighters all joining each other in the ring. Awesome sportsmanship and an excellent ending.

Final Thoughts....

While the last two Shockwave shows I reviewed (2004 and 2005) were good, I always felt they were a bit bloated due to having too many fights, a number of which tended to be throwaway stuff or freakshows (did anyone need to see Bennett-Kaneko, or Gracie-Anjoh for example?), but that wasn’t the case with Shockwave 2006, as we got a slimmed down show with all of the fights being meaningful and mostly featuring top-level fighters. Card was good on paper but in execution it was awesome, with great fights between Melendez and Kawajiri, Barnett and Nogueira, and Fedor and Hunt being the best of the bunch. Throw in cool finishes in the Aoki and Gomi fights, a hell of a brawl in Yoshida-Thompson, and a hilarious squash in the Fujita fight, and you’ve got my favourite Shockwave of the lot, even if it didn’t *feel* quite as huge as the previous two. Highly recommended.

Best Fight: Melendez-Kawajiri
Worst Fight: Shogun-Nakamura

Overall Rating: ****1/2

Coming Soon....

UFC: 94-99, Fight Nights 17-18, and TUF VIII Finale.
Pride: 31.
WEC: 38-41.
Elite XC: Uprising, Renegade, Street Certified and Unfinished Business.
K1 Hero’s: Final Battle 2007
King of the Cage: 23, 29, 30, 32, 33, 36, 42, 48, 52, and 58.

Until next time,

Scott Newman:

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