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Monday, May 31, 2004

The Road To The Championship Continues…critical Countdown 2004

From Dream Stage Entertainment:

Pride FC logo

LOS ANGELES, California – The four match ups for the second round of the sixteen-man heavyweight tournament, CRITICAL COUNTDOWN 2004, have been announced. The event will take place on June 20th, 2004 from the Saitama Super Arena in Japan and is scheduled to debut on North American pay per view on same day delay.

At TOTAL ELIMINATION 2004 in April, sixteen fighters started, now eight remain!

Fight Card:

Fedor Emelianenko vs. Kevin "The Monster" Randleman
Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira vs. "The Texas Crazy Horse" Heath Herring
Paulo Cesar "Giant" Silva vs. Naoya Ogawa
Semmy Schilt vs. Sergei Kharitonov

Several more non-tournament matches will be announced soon.
Fight Card Subject to Change.

In the first announced match for the second round of the tournament, reigning PRIDE FC heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko will take on former UFC heavyweight champion Kevin "The Monster" Randleman. Emelianenko is one of the hardest hitters in the sport, but besides his heavy hands, he is also technically versed in submissions (he was the 1997 Russian National Judo & Sambo Champion, the 1997 European Sambo Champion and placed first in the 2002 World Sambo Championships in the heavyweight division). In the first round of the tournament, Emelianenko eliminated 2000 Grand Prix champion Mark "The Hammer" Coleman with a lightning quick arm bar from the guard. Now he is set to take on Coleman’s top student and teammate, Kevin Randleman! "The Monster" was a state-wrestling champion in high school and also wrestled for Ohio State University where he was a three-time All-American and two time national champion. Randleman is coming off of one of the biggest upsets in mixed martial arts history after his KO victory over the seemingly invincible Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic during the first round. With Coleman in his corner, Randleman is looking to eliminate another of the tournament favorites in Fedor Emelianenko.

In the second bout, PRIDE FC interim heavyweight champion, Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira will take on Heath Herring of Texas. A member of the Brazilian Top Team, Nogueira is one of the finest practitioners of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in the world. Whether on the ground or standing toe to toe, "Minotauro" can mix it up, peppering his opponents with quick jabs and knees from the clinch. In the first round of the tournament, Nogueira eliminated a very game opponent in Japan’s Hirotaka Yokoi. Fighting out of Holland and representing Team Golden Glory, "The Texas Crazy Horse" Heath Herring brings with him a well-balanced arsenal of submissions, strikes, and wrestling. Always a top contender in the heavyweight division, Herring eliminated Japanese fighter Yoshiki Takahashi via KO during the first round of the tournament. Now Herring moves on to possible redemption, as his match with Nogueira is not only to advance in the tournament but also a long-awaited rematch! These two previously met in the ring in 2001 at PRIDE FC: CHAMPIONSHIP CHAOS in which Nogueira won via decision in one of the most action-packed heavyweight bouts in PRIDE FC history.

In the third bout, Giant Silva will go head to head with Japanese star Naoya Ogawa. At 7’5" and 528 lbs, Paulo Silva Cesar, better known as "Giant Silva," is one of the most imposing physical specimens ever to compete in mixed martial arts. With his incredible strength and reach advantage, he constantly poses match-up problems for his opponents. In the first round of the tournament, Silva was very impressive, submitting Sumo wrestler Henry "Sentoryu" Miller. The 6’4", 253-pound Ogawa is a silver medallist in Judo (at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games) and brings in a mixed martial arts record of 6-0. In the first round of the tournament, Ogawa eliminated K-1 striker Stefan Leko by choke.

In the final tournament bout of the night, Russia’s Sergei Kharitonov will face Dutchman Semmy Schilt. Kharitonov hails from Moscow, Russia and this undefeated fighter (8-0) has quietly made his presence felt in mixed martial arts; in his two PRIDE FC appearances he was impressive, armbarring both of his opponents (Jason Nobunaga and L.A. Giant). In the first round of the tournament, Kharitonov completely dismantled the dangerous Murilo "Ninja" Rua via KO. The pride of Holland, the nearly seven-foot tall Semmy Schilt is an expert kick boxer who uses his reach advantage to cause havoc in mixed martial arts. Schilt is devastating on his feet, often using a massive barrage of punches, kicks, and knees to overwhelm his opponents. Thus far during his career, this Golden Glory team member has won the titles of Hokutoki DaiDoyuko Champion and King of Pancrase. In the first round of the tournament, Schilt dispatched "Big" Gan McGee via arm bar.

The schedule for the tournament is as follows:

PRIDE FC 16-Man Heavyweight Tournament

June 20, 2004
Saitama Super Arena
(Second Round)

August 15, 2004
Saitama Super Arena
(Semi-Finals and Finals)

PRIDE FC: CRITICAL COUNTDOWN 2004 will premiere on North American pay per view through iNDEMAND, DIRECTV, DISH NETWORK, UrbanXtra, TVN1, Bell Express Vu, and Viewer’s Choice Canada on Sunday, June 20th, 2004. The premiere time is 9:00pm EST, 6:00pm PST and the count down show is at 8:30pm EST, 5:30pm PST. For additional replay times, please contact your pay per view provider.

Participants and fight card are subject to change.

From the event’s promoter:

Super Brawl 36:
Big fight for Vitale, return of tourney

Falaniko Vitale
Niko Vitale

      HONOLULU, Hawaii — For Niko Vitale, his time in the spotlight was far too short.
      After shocking the world with a win over Matt Lindland in his UFC debut, the victory and his abilities seemed to be forgotten when he lost to Lindland in his UFC rematch six months later.
      Even an impressive win over former UFC champion Dave Menne didn’t get the telephone ringing with offers from the bigger events.
      However, on Friday, June 18, Vitale hopes to open some eyes in Japan when he faces Yushin Okami, a two-time Pride winner with an 8-1 record, in the main event of Super Brawl 36.
      "This is the kind of opponent who is very respected in Japan," promoter T.Jay Thompson said of Okami. "I feel very fortunate to get him to come here and give Vitale a chance to show what he can do. Of course, an impressive win by Vitale should open some doors for him."
      Vitale has a 17-3 record and has been one of the most consistent of a large group of successful Hawaiian fighters. His record includes nine victories in his last 10 fights, with the lone loss coming to Lindland.
      In addition to Vitale-Okami main event, the Super Brawl/Extreme Challenge tournament returns… this time with some of the nation’s top up-and-coming 155-pounders.
      Competing in the event are:

  • Bart Palaszewski of Chicago… a student of Jeff Curran, Palaszewski has a record of 8-3, but has won eight in a row.
  • Roger Huerta of Minneapolis… a student of Dave Menne, Huerta has a 9-0-1 record and a solid college wrestling background.
  • Justin James of Omaha, Neb… an explosive fighter who has a 6-4 record and the abilty to end fights quickly.
  • Ryan Schultz of Gresham, Or… a member of Team Quest with a 6-2 record that includes a recent win over UFC veteran Gil Castillo.
  • Harris Sarmiento of Honolulu… member of 808 Fight Factory with a 10-7 record. Has won 7 of his last 8 bouts.
  • Kolo Koka of Honolulu… a member of Grappling Unlimited with an 8-5 record. A solid 170-pounder who recently made the move to 155.
  • Dain Agbayani of Honolulu… trained with 808 Fight Factory and sports a 4-4 record.
  • Mike Aina of Hilo… a member of BJ Penn’s MMA with a 1-0 record. A bit of a dark horse in the tournament, but comes with Penn’s recommendation.

Also on the card will be the comeback of 808 Fight Factory coach Kai Kamaka. He will face Tony Espitia who also trains on Hilo.

Niko Vitale 17-3, Grappling Unlimited/808 Fight Factory
Vitale is coming off an impressive victory over former UFC Champion Dave Menne. Although he still has his sights set on the UFC, a win over Okami could easily land him in one of the biggest events in Japan.


Yushin Okami 8-1 Wajyutsu, Tokyo Japan
Okami is 2-0 in Pride events, including the last Bushido, and has a strong ground and pound style. Look for him to fight Niko’s aggressive style with more aggression.

posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
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