PRIDE Grand Prix 2004: Critical Countdown

Semmy Schilt vs. Sergei Kharitonov

Jun 18, 2004
Semmy “High Tower” Schilt vs. Sergei Kharitonov

SEMMY SCHILT: Dutch freestyle fighter; 4th Degree black belt in Ashihara Karate; certified Pancrase Hybrid Wrestling instructor, three-time King of Pancrase; RINGS veteran; It’s Showtime veteran, Too Hot To Handle veteran; Inoki Bom-Be-Ye veteran; K-1 veteran (3-0-0); trains under coach Corr Hammers and with Gilbert Yvel, Heath Herring, Valentijn Overeem, Alistair Overeem, Remco Pardoel among others and members of the Team Golden Glory; with a record of 24-13-1 in MMA making his 7th appearance (4-2-0) in the ring of the PFC.

HISTORY: Semmy began training in karate at the age of 8. He competed in karate tournaments in his native Holland as well as Germany, Japan, Russia and England. After several years on the bare handed full contact karate circuit, Schilt decided to try his hand at more open rules fighting and in 1998 he became a professional freestyle fighter. Semmy has been competing on the Pancrase circuit since 1996 and fought exclusively for them until 1999. He fought in Holland against future teammate Gilbert Yvel in a RINGS Holland event and again in 2000 against Yoshihisa Yamamoto. After that he fought another bout in Holland for the It’s Showtime promotion and quickly branched out to the UFC and Pride. After fighting in two bouts for the UFC (he beat Pete Williams and lost to Josh Barnett), Schilt made the move to fighting in Japan. He has competed in Pride since late 2001 and beaten all of his opponents save Nogueira and Emelianenko. The submission win over Gan McGee at Pride Elimination 2004 show earned him a spot in the second round of the tournament.

Schilt/Gilbert Yvel: This was a fabulous fight from RINGS Holland. Semmy fought Pancrase style employing open hand strikes and Gilbert wore NHB gloves so he could punch. Yvel attacked at the bell, jumping in with a right hook and tagging Schilt with lefts and rights that forced the giant to the canvas in the first 10 seconds of the bout. Semmy was given a standing eight count and when they resumed, he grabbed Gilbert around the head in a Thai clinch and landed knees to the body. Gilbert answered back with looping punches until Semmy fell to the ground with Yvel in mount. They traded strikes on the mat but neither seemed to be an effective grappler. A restart from the center saw both fighters connecting in a stand-up exchange. Semmy’s open-handed fighting style seemed to work fine and he won some of the exchanges with Gilbert late in the round. They tumbled to the floor with Semmy in the top position and applying a keylock but the quick stand-ups of RINGS forced the action back to the feet. After a few hard shots from Gilbert, Semmy brought it back down and applied a forearm choke but again there was a stand up. Schilt stood up and had a bleeding gash near his right eye. They go back to the ground and Semmy applies a Kimura arm lock but again they are rushed to their feet. Every time they hit the canvas, Semmy looks for a submission. The second five-minute round begins with Schilt tying Yvel up and delivering knees to the body. Semmy pulls them to the ground and Yvel lands in side mount but quickly moves to mount and gouges Schilt’s eye. The ref stands them allows the bout to continue. Schilt lands a solid kick and controlled the action until they fell to the mat again. At this point Semmy’s right eye is closed and Gilbert looks exhausted but there is no give in either fighter. They continue the vicious cycle of pounding each other until they collide and hit the mat to be stood up again. In a wild sequence, Yvel punches Schilt eight or nine times unanswered and Semmy looks very weary when he stands. He’s given a standing eight but he’s wobbling the entire time and the ref finally calls a halt to the bout. This was likely Yvel’s greatest performance.

Schilt/Josh Barnett: Josh and Semmy have met twice. Barnett went right for the takedown before Schilt could get into his game and went to side mount. Eventually Barnett moves to knee on stomach and changes sides of the body while just missing an armbar. Barnett continues to strike from knee on stomach and works his way to mount. Semmy is just hanging on and avoiding damage. Josh sits in a high mount and strikes down at Semmy but somewhere along the way Barnett was cut open on the head and he is bleeding all over from atop Schilt’s chest. Barnett rolls to armbar but the arm slips free and Schilt puts him guard. Josh simply regroups and seizes left arm for another armbar attempt. Semmy stacks Josh’s weight and Barnett cannot seem to get the leverage to finish. With just 40 seconds left in the opening round Barnett shifts his weight in the opposite direction and brings Schilt to the mat to tap out. The rematch was fought on New Year’s Eve in the Inoki Bom-Be-Ye promotion and Semmy was submitted again by Barnett late in the second round.

Schilt/Pete Williams: At UFC 31 Schilt fought Lion’s Den fighter Pete Williams. Schilt pushed Williams into the side of the cage with his jabbing front kick. Williams knew it wasn’t where he wanted to be and he took Semmy down. From his back Schilt grabbed Williams’ wrists and completely controlled him for half the round. Pete eventually got the mount but he could not break away from Semmy’s limbs and strike effectively. Williams started to find his range late in the round but he couldn’t it done in the first. The second round began with another solid front kick from Semmy. Pete tried to lock up again and go for the takedown but Semmy was able to push him off and graze his head with a sharp left hook. A leg kick got Pete’s attention and the follow-up left front kick to the midsection and left jab to the face put Williams on the canvas. Williams stood up, took a leg kick and dove in for another takedown but Schilt gave him a knee to the body and started attacking him with short punches to the kidneys. They grappled but another front kick-left jab combo forced Pete to shoot again. Semmy almost kicked Pete in the face while he was on the mat but he pulled it back and when Williams stood up, he ate three left hooks and a front kick that had him rocked on the octagon floor. Semmy wins by TKO in the second round.

Schilt/Yuki Kondo: Can you believe these two met four times in Pancrase? Kondo won the first three meetings by decision (which says a lot about Kondo) and Schilt finally won a bout by submission (rear-choke) when they last met in ’99. He also won his 1st King of Pancrase title against Kondo.

Schilt/Fedor Emelianenko: Semmy went the distance with Fedor. Emelianenko was able to bring Schilt to the mat via throw which was impressive. Schilt was able to hang tough and even make Fedor bleed but the Ukrainian machine dominated throughout and won a unanimous decision.

Schilt/Rodrigo Nogueira: Semmy avoids the initial takedown and is able to sprawl and lock up Nogueira standing. Rodrigo falls to guard but Semmy is able to punch out and stand back up. A left front kick from Schilt is caught and Nogueira struggles to go to his back but this time Semmy lands in full mount. Schilt quickly stands and misses a kick to the face before they resume on the feet. The giant Dutchman throws a knee but it is partially blocked and Nogueira rushes toward him, pushing him to the mat. Nogueira slows the pace in Semmy’s guard. They restart in the center of the ring with Nogueira in side mount. Rodrigo strikes effectively and Semmy tries to roll but he cannot shake him. From the full mount, Nogueira strikes repeatedly and rolls him to inside his guard. From there it was textbook Nogueira as he applies a triangle choke for the win late in the first round.

Schilt/Gan McGee: They exchange punches and McGee gets a double-leg takedown landing in side mount. He moves to mount and begins to pound on Schilt. Semmy bucks his hips but he cannot move Gan. They stay grounded for several minutes and blood begins to drip from McGee’s nose. Gan nearly sinks a side choke but Semmy pushes his way through and gains full guard. Schilt punches from the mat and misses with a roundhouse leg kick from the canvas. The Dutchman gets open guard again. He stands to knee McGee in the face and sinks an armbar for the win.

Also worthy of note: Schilt battled Ryushi Yanagisawa (loss/submission), Guy Mezger (loss/decision, win/KO), Masa Funaki (loss/submission, loss/decision, win/KO), Minoru Suzuki (loss/decision), Yoshiki Takahashi (win/TKO, win/TKO, win/TKO), Jason Godsey (win/TKO), Ikuhisa Minowa (win/decision), Yoshihisa Yamamoto (win/TKO), Bob Schrijber (win/submission), Akira Shoji (win/strikes), Masaaki Satake (win/KO) and Yoshishiro Takayama (win/KO).

STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES: Semmy is a striker. His long reach coupled with his karate background gives him excellent tools to keep the fight standing. Schilt doesn’t need to pull someone’s head down to knee them in the face. He also has a front kick from hell. As for weaknesses, Schilt has poor takedown defense and can be brought to the mat with limited effort. He’s no submission machine either with just half a dozen submission wins on his 20-plus win record.

HOW HE CAN BEAT KHARITONOV: On the feet. Semmy has shown great kickboxing skills and he has a reach few can compete with. If Semmy can land a big front kick and pepper Kharitonov with strikes, he could KO the Russian fighter standing.

SERGEI KHARITONOV: Russian wrestler and sambo practitioner; Scandinavian NHB Championships veteran; Tournament of Real Men veteran; Yalta’s Brilliant veteran; trains with Volk Han, Mikhail Illoukhine, Bazigit Atajev and the rest of the Russian Top Team as well as Fedor and Aleksander Emelianenko from the Red Devil Fight Club; with a record of 10-0-1 in MMA, making his 4th appearance (3-0-0) in the ring of the PFC.

HISTORY: Like most Russian fighters, Kharitonov has military training that provided him with the foundation to take it to the next level and compete in MMA. He had fought in three professional MMA events prior to his appearance in Pride Bushido. Two of these events were tournaments and he’s done very well. His only loss was in 1998 at the Scandinavian NHB Championships where he was stopped with strikes. He competed two years later in the Yalta’s Brilliant 2000 tournament in the Ukraine and won three bouts. His most recent competition before Pride Bushido was his complete destruction of his opponents in the Tournament of Real Men 8. Sergei’s combined fight time for both bouts was under two minutes. He is undefeated in Pride competition at 3-0 and is a dark horse to win the 2004 Pride Grand Prix tournament.

Kharitonov/Jason Nobunaga: Nobunaga came out kicking the legs hard. Kharitonov answered with a left straight punch to the head and a single leg takedown. From the mat they fight with Sergei in side mount and Jason attempting a guillotine choke from the bottom. Sergei turns Jason to his side and delivers sharp punches to the face. Nobunaga gets to his knees and they stand to clinch. The fighters trade punches inside and Kharitonov executes another hard slamming takedown. With Sergei in Jason’s full guard they trade punches to the face. Sergei moves from sidemount to mount and delivers strikes to Jason’s face. Nobunaga is not defending well from the bottom and Kharitonov shows his hand by feigning an armbar and then sitting back to do more punishment. Moments later Nobunaga turns to his side and Kharitonov isolates the arm allowing him to secure the armbar for the win.

Kharitonov/Cory “LA Giant” Peterson: Kharitonov had little trouble dispatching this new giant. Peterson got in a few punches for his effort but was manhandled and submitted via armbar less than two minutes into the first round.

Kharitonov/Murilo Rua: “Ninja” looked heavy and out of shape but this was possibly the best bout of the opening round. There was no feeling out period here as Rua came out kicking and Khartonov showed his heavy hands, tagging the Brazilian fighter repeatedly. Sergei is hit with a left that bloodies his face but he quickly fires back with a straight left of his own. Murilo’s punches look sloppy and Sergei is putting combinations together. They clinch in a struggle for a takedown. Sergei wins and drops Murilo to the mat and nearly mounts but Rua keeps him at bay. Back on the feet they trade strikes. Sergei’s movements look crisp and his strikes to the body are punishing. The Russian takes over, beating the Brazilian fighter to the punch and picking apart his defense. Kharitononv catches Rua with a right hook to the head and finishes him with a left uppercut.

STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES: Sergei is good on the ground and at bringing people to the ground. He had solid takedowns against Nobunaga and seems fairly knowledgeable of submissions. His training partners are a definite advantage as well. With the Emelianenko brothers working his striking, grappling and submissions, Sergei is in superior hands to improve his game. A possible weakness is not having faced stellar competition other than a bloated Murilo Rua.

HOW HE CAN BEAT SCHILT: By submission. Sergei has shown he can take and deliver some punishing strikes but Schilt has a ridiculous reach. Kharitonov will be able to take Semmy down without issue, likely choke out the giant and move on in the tournament.

MY PICK: Kharitonov. This could be the most exciting second round fight we see. I have liked Kharitonov since he came into Pride. He has shown serious toughness for a man who had not fought anything close to this level of competition prior to the April 2004 bout with Murilo Rua. I feel it will be Kharitonov by submission in the first round.
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