Champion Versus Champion; Gold Medallists Clash At Pride Fighting’s Shockwave!
From Dream Stage Entertainment:
CHAMPION VERSUS CHAMPION; GOLD MEDALLISTS CLASH AT PRIDE FIGHTING’S SHOCKWAVE!
TOKYO, Japan – The two main events for PRIDE FIGHTING’S New Year’s Eve spectacular, SHOCKWAVE, have been announced. In the first bout, the highly anticipated rematch … for the title of undisputed heavyweight Grand Prix Champion of 2004, Fedor Emelianenko versus Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. In the second bout, for the first time in mixed martial arts history and under mixed martial arts rules, it will be Olympic gold medallist versus Olympic gold medallist as Japan’s Hidehiko Yoshida (1992 Judo Olympic gold medallist) takes on Rulon Gardner of the United States (2000 Greco Roman Wrestling Olympic gold medallist). Also on the card, Japanese hero Kazushi Sakuraba will face a yet to be named opponent.
SHOCKWAVE will take place from the Saitama Super Arena in Japan and is scheduled to debut on North American pay per view via iNDEMAND, DIRECTV, DISH Network, and TVN on Sunday, January 2nd, 2005 at 9:00pm EST, 6:00pm PST.
The first main event match pits champion versus champion as reigning PRIDE FIGHTING heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko goes up against PRIDE FIGHTING’S interim heavyweight champion, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. This rivalry began at PRIDE 25 BODY BLOW back on March 16, 2003 when Fedor ended the championship reign of Nogueira, taking the heavyweight title via unanimous decision. With Fedor suffering a hand injury in 2003, a rematch was not possible, so Nogueira was matched against Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic for the title of interim heavyweight champion. In a historical bout, Nogueira overcame a disastrous first round to submit the Croatian sensation in round two via armbar. But despite the impressive victory, fans still longed to see "Minotauro" face Fedor. Both champions participated in the 16-man heavyweight Grand Prix tournament of 2004 and the inevitable happened … each man reached the finals. With the scenario set, this bout was supposed to prove which man would have the right to be called PRIDE FIGHTING’S top heavyweight. Instead, the match was stopped early in the first round due to a very bad cut suffered by Fedor. To the protest of Nogueira, the bout was declared a no-contest and neither man was declared Grand Prix champion. Now at SHOCKWAVE, the highly anticipated rematch … for the title of undisputed heavyweight Grand Prix Champion of 2004, it will be Fedor Emelianenko versus Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
In the second main event, for the first time in mixed martial arts history and under mixed martial arts rules, it will be Olympic gold medallist versus Olympic gold medallist as Japan’s Hidehiko Yoshida (1992 Judo Olympic gold medallist) takes on Rulon Gardner of the United States (2000 Greco Roman Wrestling Olympic gold medallist). Hidehiko Yoshida is a legend in the word of Judo. This Japanese star has successfully competed in the Judo World Championships and the Olympics, capturing the gold medal in the 1992 Barcelona Games (he won all six of his matches by ippon). Upon his retirement from the sport, Yoshida was intent on proving the effectiveness of Judo within mixed martial arts. Thus far he has been successful, as he has garnered wins against Don Frye, Masaaki Satake, Kiyoshi Tamura, and Mark Hunt. Just as Yoshida is a legend in the Judo world, so is Rulon Gardner in the world of Greco Roman Wrestling. A native of Wyoming, Gardner’s amateur wrestling career contains an impressive list of accomplishments: in 2001 he was the Greco Roman world champion, he is a three-time American National Champion (1995, 1997, 2001), and at the Olympics in Sydney in 2000, he did the unthinkable, winning the gold medal by defeating Russian Aleksander Karelin, himself a three-time gold medallist and unbeaten in competition for 13 years. Gardner competed once again in the Olympics in 2004 and successfully captured a bronze medal in Athens and then announced his retirement from the sport. With his place in wrestling history secure, Gardner now looks to display his skills in the arena of mixed martial arts. So which style will prove superior … Judo or Greco Roman Wrestling?
Fedor Emelianenko (Russia) vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (Brazil)
Hidehiko Yoshida (Japan) vs. Rulon Gardner (USA)
Fight card subject to change.