Chute Boxe-Hammer House Rivalry Reaches Boiling Point

Barnett, Alistair and Sergei

By Jason Nowe Feb 26, 2006
Kazuhiro Nakamura (Pictures) came out like lightning and seemed to have no fear to stand and trade punches in his fight with former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett (Pictures). Both guys landed some good shots and Barnett’s strikes looked much better this time then they did in his fight with “Cro Cop.”

On the ground Barnett went for an ankle lock attempt, only to have Nakamura follow suit. The Japanese fighter later got side control, but the Barnett reversed into half guard before taking Nakamura’s back. From here Barnett sank in a rear-naked choke for the tapout victory at the 8:10 mark of the first.

Russian Top Team member Sergei Kharitonov (Pictures) never really got a chance to get into his fight with “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (Pictures). Almost right from the opening bell Overeem scored a takedown after a brief exchange, getting to side-control.

From here Overeem never looked back, firing elbows to the body, knees to the head and forearms to the face. The Dutch fighter later scored the mount, which Kharitonov twisted to escape, only to have Overeem end up back in side-control to repeat the beating.

With Kharitonov eating a lot of knees and not mounting any kind of offense, the referee stop the fight at 5:13 of round one.

Upon getting up from the canvas, Kharitonov gripped his right arm to immobilize his obviously damaged shoulder. The tough Russian went to the hospital after the fight for X-rays. His trainer came out to the interview space afterwards and stated that Kharitonov suffered a shoulder injury within the first minute of the fight, but refused to give up.

With the injury to “Shogun” two of PRIDE’s top heavyweight contenders will most likely be out of the Open weight Grand Prix.

In a fight between two venerable masters of MMA, “Zen Master” Mario Sperry (Pictures) took on Tsuyoshi Kohsaka (Pictures) with the expectation of a real ground war, but this didn’t materialize. Instead pretty much all of the action was took place on the feet. Both guys came out striking and Sperry landed a hard right hand that sent Kohsaka reeling back.

During a heated exchange of punches, Kohsaka caught the Brazilian Top Team fighter with a big right hand of his own, which sent Sperry to the canvas. Kohsaka followed up with a few punches on the ground until the referee stepped in and stopped this battle at the 1:20 mark of the first.

In an interesting side note, the same time that Kohsaka was in the ring fighting his wife was giving birth to their baby boy. Talk about dedication, giving up witnessing the birth of your child to fight in PRIDE.

Another match-up where a ground war was anticipated, Cro Cop Squad gym member Fabricio Werdum (Pictures) and 2003 Abu Dhabi Grappling champion Jon Olav Einemo took the ring. But as with the Kohsaka-Sperry fight the grappling never really materialized.

Werdum’s striking was impressive throughout the bout, as he charged forward and linked punches together like a 19-year-old Vitor Belfort (Pictures). He also used his knees very effectively, landing several to Einemo’s head and body. Werdum looked much sharper in this match-up than he did in his last fight with Sergei Kharitonov (Pictures).

While Einemo hung in there, it seemed like all he was really doing was reacting to what Werdum threw at him. Later in his post-fight interview Einemo stated that for reasons unbeknownst to him, he just didn’t have any energy. The fight went the distance and Werdum took the unanimous decision.

In a big mismatch in experience, Dong Sik Yoon (Pictures), with only two MMA fights on his record (both losses in PRIDE), faced off against Quinton Jackson (Pictures), a fighter who has had some epic battles with fighters the likes of Wanderlei Silva (Pictures), Ricardo Arona (Pictures) and Chuck Liddell (Pictures).

Few people gave Yoon much of a chance against Jackson, but to the Korean’s credit he hung in quite well with a much more experienced fighter. Yoon scored several judo trips, mounted Jackson twice and had at least two strong armbar attempts.

“Rampage,” however, really dominated the striking in this one, scoring with knees on the ground and raining down punches from the guard and half guard. Yoon took a lot of damage at the hands of Jackson but surprisingly managed to weather the storm. The fight went the distance and Jackson was awarded the unanimous victory.

Pedro Rizzo (Pictures)’s troubles continue in PRIDE. After a disappointing performance against Sergei Kharitonov (Pictures) in his last outing in a PRIDE ring, the former UFC heavyweight champion faced off against Red Devil member Roman Zentsov (Pictures).

As Rizzo came in with a right leg low kick, Zentsov countered with a perfectly timed left hook that sent the Brazilian crashing to the mat 25 seconds after the opening bell.
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