Pride Results Are In!
Pride Results Are In!
By Aaron Crecy
Battle On Broadway Plays Out In Times Square
By Loretta Hunt
The night started off with a bang, as promoters Louis Neglia and Ray Longo brought their popular Long Island fight show to New York’s Crowne Plaza Hotel in Times Square, New York. Battle On Broadway began with a devastating knockout at twenty seconds into the first match, one of six Muay Thai fights that night, and this seemed to set the pace for things to come. Around 800 fans (many standing room only) turned out to catch some of the action, and although the final matches crept into the morning hours, it would have been hard to catch many of them leaving their seats early. Also included on the card this evening were American kickboxing bouts, two freestyle mixed martials arts exhibition matches, as well as a women’s Muay Thai battle that electrified the crowd. Here are the results:
Muay Thai Bout
Muay Thai Bout
Freestyle Mixed Martial Arts Exhibition
Muay Thai Bout
NYS Muay Thai Championship
Pro Lightweight Bout
Pro Battle of Champions
Women’s Muay Thai Bout
Muay Thai Bout
Freestyle Mixed Martial Arts Exhibition
Pro Battle Of The Champions
Pro USKBA Lightweight World Championship
Look for full coverage of the event in the March issue of FCF
Pride 19 Pre-fight notes & pictures:
Bad Blood Ready to Spill
Tokyo — On paper, Pride 19 has the ingredients to be the most entertaining card in the event’s brief history. That’s because Bad Blood boasts elements of tension, intrigue, melodrama and, well, bad blood.
Despite the staged press conference altercation — another of which took place in Japan on Friday evening — the marquee fight between Don Frye and Ken Shamrock pits two aged showmen who are not eager to share a fading spotlight. There is also the return of fan favorite Enson Inoue, a proven warrior who appears to be hopelessly overmatched versus heavyweight titleholder Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira [pictured]. Then, Rodrigo Gracie comes in as somewhat of an enigma, having achieved success in Abu Dhabi but remaining relatively unproved in mixed martial arts. In Daijiro Matsui, the young Gracie faces a game competitor, but one who has endured a lion’s share of beatings of late.
Of course, the formidable card also includes several other main event-worthy match-ups such as Jose "Pele" Landi-Jons and Carlos Newton, Heath Herring versus Igor Vovchanchyn and Tom Erikson against Tim Catalfo. And then there is the fearsome Vanderlei Silva, Pride’s reigning middleweight champion taking on yet another overmatched Japanese in Kiyoshi Tamura. Bad, good or indifferent, blood is sure to spill this evening at Pride 19!
News and Notes:
Originally published in the February 2002 issue of FCF:
Pride 19 Preview:
Bad Blood Draws Near
Frye, Shamrock headline Pride 19; heavyweight laden card also features Nogueira vs. Inoue, Vovchanchyn vs. Herring, Erikson vs. Catalfo; Silva to defend title against Tamura; Newton, Pele to finally meet.
By Aaron Crecy
It has been nearly a decade in the making, a dream match-up for which old school mixed martial arts fans once clamored. Thus, Pride 19 promises to be met with considerable interest as Done Frye takes on Ken Shamrock in the main event on February 24, 2002. Past their prime? Perhaps — but it remains a captivating pairing nonetheless, one that should have taken place in the mid-nineties, yet one that elicits considerable excitement today.
That the battle-hardened veterans will headline a card that features a middleweight title fight and the reigning Pride heavyweight belt holder is a testament to their enduring popularity in Japan and worldwide. After all, most every MMA fan can recall the 36-year-old Frye’s gutsy victory over David "Tank" Abbott in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s 1996 Ultimate Ultimate. Nor will many soon forget Shamrock’s UFC battles versus no holds barred legends such as Royce Gracie and Dan Severn.
"The UFC and all these other organizations have failed to realize that people still remember the original fighters," asserted Shamrock, who will turn 38 in early February. "They’re trying to bring in new faces and trying to build new names without building them off the old names — and that’s the way most things happen. The UFC is a good example of that — they brought in Tito Ortiz, who had never really beaten anybody. They’re trying to build the name of someone who has been beaten by Frank Shamrock, who has been beaten by Guy [Mezger], but really has never faced a Royce Gracie or a Mark Coleman or a Dan Severn or a Ken Shamrock. I think Pride has the right idea."
"It’s a hell of a compliment for both Shamrock and I," said Frye. "I hope Vanderlei [Silva] doesn’t take it the wrong way. I think this is the best card that Pride has put together and it might even be the best card in mixed martial arts ever."
But while the two men are both steeped in MMA history and even served as tag team partners during a pro-wrestling match at the Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye on New Year’s Eve 2000, Frye and Shamrock they share what has been described as a mutual dislike for one another — making Bad Blood an appropriate theme for Pride 19.
"Ken’s never treated me with any respect," explained Frye. "Every time I’ve seen him at the UFC he’s been arrogant toward me — toward everybody. And even after I won a couple UFCs, he was still arrogant to me. Then, he said a bunch of bad things about Dan Gable that I thought were highly inappropriate. So, he pissed me off."
While Shamrock is a bit more tight-lipped in his account of the long-running feud, he does acknowledge that this fight has been a long time coming.
"Don is one of the few [pre-Zuffa UFC] I haven’t fought," explains Shamrock. "I would have fought Don in the Ultimate Ultimate, but I broke my hand in the process of beating Brian Johnston. I would have fought Tank next and then I would have faced Don in the finals."
Frye brings a near flawless MMA record into the match-up, with two UFC tournament titles and a loss in the finals of a third to Mark Coleman. And while Shamrock never won a UFC tournament championship, he is a former King of Pancrase and boasts a 25-7-2 record with victories over the likes of Bas Rutten, Masakatsu Funaki, Dan Severn, Brian Johnston and draws with Oleg Taktarov and Royce Gracie.
After demolishing Alexander Otsuka in his return to MMA in May 2000, Shamrock experienced a setback when he asked his corner to throw in the towel late in the first round of a subsequent fight with Kazuyuki Fujita, though he was exhibiting solid standup and was seemingly in complete control.
"My body just ran into a brick," Shamrock recalled. "I started seeing fuzzy things, white things. I just couldn’t focus and my lungs wouldn’t catch any breath. I felt like I was having a heart attack, but in fact, I don’t know what it was. I still don’t know to this day. I went and got checked out and everything was fine."
This time, Shamrock plans to make an altogether different exit from the ring. "I didn’t get the opportunity to train like I needed to for that fight," he said. "I had never felt out of shape before, so I was always able to go in and do what I needed to do. There were a lot of personal problems, but now I have my life back in order."
"I hate it when people call us ‘legends of the sport’ and ‘pioneers of the sport,’" admitted Frye. "It makes me feel old when I hear that."
When asked to explain the secret behind his extraordinary longevity, Frye claims that it is nothing other than good fortune. "Randy Couture is a phenomenal athlete — always has been. Bas Rutten is a fantastic athlete, too. Me, I’m just lucky. I’m held together with tape and glue," he said.
Neither fighter is lacking for confidence entering Pride 19, and both claim that the other to be an ideal opponent.
"It’ll be the best $30 you’ve ever spent in your life — I guarantee you," stated Frye. "I think that I have an advantage over Shamrock when I’m standing up. His strength is definitely on the ground, so it’s going to be a hell of a battle down there."
"I have one more fight left on my contract after I beat up Ken," stated Frye. "I plan on getting a shot at [Antonio Rodrigo] Nogueira’s [heavyweight title] belt. I think that the winner of this fight should be the number one contender."
"Don’t get me wrong," Shamrock cautioned, "I don’t mind having a belt, but I’m not looking right now for a belt — I’m looking to get some good fights and I think Don Frye is a good fight for me. He’s aggressive, he likes to come straight in and he likes to fight. That type of fighter I do well against. I like guys who are aggressive, guys who like to come and fight."
The two gladiators will take part in a five-city press junket in the first week of February as Pride hopes to build momentum for its first-ever same-day international pay-per-view broadcast. It’s an unusual arrangement, given that fighters typically seclude themselves in a comfortable environment in the weeks preceding a competition. Now Frye and Shamrock will face off for five consecutive days of press conferences and autograph signings.
"Hell, I’m ready for a break," said Frye. "I’m kind of tired, so five days off won’t hurt me. I guess that’s part of being in the middle of the spotlight.
"Ken Shamrock is a professional," Frye continued. "I hope we both behave ourselves like professional athletes and not like a bunch of jackasses that you see in pro boxing world."
"It’s going to be pretty rough," Shamrock said, "but it’s important that we can get this out and let people know that we’re back. You have to do this kind of stuff to get it done. It’s a little hard on the fighters, but I think it’s necessary to get it out there. There were people in there at the beginning such as me and Royce Gracie who helped create this mixed martial arts world. It didn’t seem for a long time that anybody really cared about who we were or what we’ve done, so I just appreciate that Pride is using me in this aspect in the United States to draw an audience. We’re not fighting for a belt, but it does mean something and it means a lot to the fans out there."
When queried about a possible rematch with Gilbert Yvel, who he defeated via disqualification in Pride 16, Frye was typically sardonic, yet serious. "It’s a definite possibility — one of those definite maybes," he said. "I’m looking forward to fighting him when I’m healthy."
Other Pride 19 match-ups include a middleweight title bout between Vanderlei Silva (18-3) and Kiyoshi Tamura (8-5), a RINGS veteran with impressive credentials. With seven victories and a No Contest in his last eight fights, Silva is in the midst of a prolific win streak. Having devoured his past four opponents via TKO — all Japanese fighters — Dream Stage Entertainment hopes that the venomous Brazilian will finally meet his match in Tamura. With wins over Renzo Gracie, Dave Menne, Jeremy Horn and Pat Miletich, this would seem to be the case. However, Tamura’s success has primarily come versus lighter fighters who lacked Silva’s strength and power. Don’t be surprised if Silva leaves the ring with his TKO streak intact.
Pride 19 will also feature several other heavyweight fights, including a non-title fight between Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (14-1-1) and Enson Inoue (11-6). Though Inoue announced his retirement after two consecutive TKO losses — to Igor Vovchanchyn in Pride 10 and Heath Herring in Pride 12 — he will once again put his warrior spirit to the test, this time versus Pride’s reigning heavyweight champion. And while Inoue originally requested a fight with Silva, Nogueira should give him more than enough of a challenge — look for a Nogueira submission once Inoue becomes fatigued.
In what could be one of the most intriguing fights on the card, Heath Herring (14-6) takes on Igor Vovchanchyn (37-4-1), who has appeared in every show — save one — since Pride 3. Though Nogueira exposed Herring’s weaknesses in the standup last November, Mario Sperry similarly exposed a hole in Vovchanchyn’s previously effective groundwork. In this match-up, Herring’s significant size and weight advantage could prove to be the difference, just so long as he is able to take the fight to the canvas. If the fight stays standing for too long, Herring could end up going to the ground alone — via knockout.
Another fight that holds the promise of an exciting conclusion is Carlos Newton (9-5) and Jose "Pele" Landi (11-6). This is a bout that might very well have taken place in the Octagon had Pele not lost to Daijiro Matsui in Pride 14, which prompted the UFC to withdraw a pending contract offer. Meanwhile, a controversial defeat that forced Newton to relinquish his UFC welterweight title to Matt Hughes in UFC 34 should provide ample motivation for the carefree Canadian. While Pele often shows flashes of brilliance — such as when he knocked out Hughes with a knee to the head in Kuwait in February 2001 — Newton should prevail behind the strength of his superior strength, technique and grappling skills.
Though there is actually a third heavyweight fight on the card, it should be nothing more than a spectacle, as Tom Erikson (8-1-1) takes on the diminutive Tim Catalfo (2-1), who is nearly a foot shorter than the six-foot five-inch leviathan — and roughly 50 pounds lighter. Surely, it is a pairing meant to entertain the live audience at Saitama Super Arena, as the David versus Goliath angle seems to fare well in Japan.
In the other fight that Pride announced before press time — the eighth and final bout was not yet confirmed — Matsui (4-8-2) will face Rodrigo Gracie (1-0). It seems like an ideal opportunity for the battered Matsui to earn a rare win, as he faces an untested Jiu-Jitsu specialist whose surname is sure to excite the crowd. Meanwhile, the Gracie family and their students have been in a bit of a funk — a win from Rodrigo could start the buzz anew. It’s a coin flip.
Whatever the results, Pride 19 represents a huge step forward for Dream Stage Entertainment and the Pride Fighting Championship. For the first time in recent memory, they have announced the majority of their fight card well in advance. In addition to providing the combatants with the advantage of training for a specific opponent, this strategy should also help generate pay-per-view interest. To that end, this event marks Dream Stage’s transition to same-day PPV broadcasts, on an expanded cable and satellite network. At the end of the day, Bad Blood may provide the transfusion Pride needs to launch a foray onto American soil in 2002.