Bushido 6: Fedor Avenges Only Loss, Lister Advances to GP

By Akira Fujimoto Apr 3, 2005
Life is full of firsts—your first car, your first girlfriend, the first time that you tap somebody out. Ahh the memories. Well today, dear readers, is my first (and hopefully not my last) article for Sherdog.com.

My good friend and training partner, Masa Fukui, asked me if I’d like to write a piece for the site. Opportunities like this don’t come along everyday, so of course I jumped at the chance. And what an event for my first time out: Bushido 6.

To celebrate this historic event, Masa and I thought it best if we go out for a few drinks in Tokyo’s Shibuya district the night before. A few drinks quickly turned into an avalanche. The Guinness flowed freely and needless to say I don’t remember coming home.

Waking up with a smashing hang-over is nothing new to me in Tokyo, but on this day I’ve got a job to do, and we here at Sherdog always get the story, no matter what pains we have to endure. So I hit my favorite Indian restaurant, grab an energy drink, and Masa and I are off to Yokohama for a day of guaranteed violence.

With our incredibly cheesy press passes in hand (come on DSE, surely you can do better), Masa and I check out the pressroom and the interview area. Eventually we meet up with the third member of our Sherdog team for this day, Stephen Martinez, and continue to explore the area and seek out the best place to get shots of the event.

As you may or may not know, right now is cherry blossom season in Japan. This fact is not lost on the PRIDE’s set designers, with large cherry trees and Taito drums adorning the stage. Very cool looking to say the least. At first I was thinking that DSE was going to lose their shirt on this one in terms of attendance, but with about 10 minutes to go until the first fight, the crowds started flooding in. The top sections of the area were closed off, but it was a packed house with PRIDE claiming 14,121 in attendance.

I settled into my seat, the lights dimmed and the show began. The opening ceremony was just like being at a rock concert—lights, flames, loud music. The whole production just looked like the embodiment of evil, so much so that it had a little kid a few rows in front of me in tears clutching to his parents. Then cherry blossoms rained down from the ceiling above the stage, the fighters were announced, and we’re off to the races.

The first match of the evening featured Takahiro Oba against Dennis Kang. Oba is the hometown favorite. The fighters come out and the match begins. Kang was pretty dominant throughout the course of this fight, taking mount three times on his opponent. However, Oba was able to work some nice reversals. Kang eventually finished Oba off with a textbook armbar from the mount in the first round. Nicely done, a good fight to start the show.

Next up is a semifinal tournament match to determine who will get a spot in the Middleweight Grand Prix, Amar Suloev versus Paulo Filho. Suloev comes to the ring in his trademark suit, suspenders and top hat. Filho has the Zen Master, Mario Sperry, in his corner.

The fight starts and Filho is trying for the takedown, not an easy task when you’re against the great takedown defense of Suloev. Eventually Filho gets a leg and Suloev gets a warning for grabbing the ropes to prevent the takedown. The match restarts and this time Filho is successful in his takedown attempt. Filho works to mount, Suloev works to a reversal only to fall into a beautiful armbar from Filho. Two fights and two textbook finishes, excellent. Filho proceeds to the finals.

Next is the other semifinal tournament match, Dean Lister against Akira Shoji. The crowd really reacted when Shoji came down to the ring. The fight starts and Lister goes for a takedown, however this backfires and he ends up on his back, were he would remain for much of the fight. As the two wrestle around with Shoji stuck in Lister’s guard, the American’s legs creep up and he gets Shoji in a triangle. Shoji tries to shake him off but to no avail, and is forced to tapout.

Basic moves such as armbars and triangles seem to be the rule of the night so far. Shoji is visibly disappointed with this outcome. Lister moves on to the final to meet Filho.

Daisuke Nakamura versus Marcus Aurelio is next on the list. Aurelio gets Nakamura’s back fairly early and basically spends most of the first round there, working for a choke and peppering Nakamura with punches from behind that he can’t see coming. Nakamura tries to get out of this precarious position but he seems to be trapped no matter what he does. Aurelio tries for an armbar but the round ends.

Much of the same happens in the second round with Aurelio taking his opponent’s back. Nakamura rallied towards the end of the round and had a good kneebar attempt, but it was too little, too late, and Aurelio gets the unanimous decision.

Next up we have the Battle of Brazil, Top Team’s Luis Buscape against Chute Boxe’s Luiz Azoredo. This was an important fight, as the winner would take on the red-hot Takanori Gomi. Both fighters looked pumped and ready for what would surely be a technical battle.

After a pretty intense stare down the match starts and Buscape comes charging out for the takedown. Azoredo works from his back and goes for a nice armbar attempt. This is what a great MMA fight looks like, both fighters constantly moving around, making transitions, reversals and submission attempts. Buscape was all over Azoredo in terms of wrestling, but Azoredo had more attempts at submissions. This exciting match-up went the distance and was fairly balanced throughout. I remember thinking that I’d hate to be a judge on this one. Chute Boxe wins the battle of Brazil on this night with Azoredo getting a split decision. This was definitely the best fight of the event.

Next we have what should have been a great fight, Daiju Takase against Chute Boxes Daniel Acacio. I’ve been impressed by Takase’s recent fights, but he must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed on this day, because he didn’t look sharp at all and appeared to be gassed halfway through the first round. He would shoot and end up on his back. This is where Acacio was able to really capitalize and land some very effective stomps to Takase’s head. Acacio was also out-striking Takase on his feet.

This was a mauling, plain and simple. Acacio was all over Takase like a bad rash. Eventually Takase’s corner threw in the towel in the second round. I hope Takase can come back from this disappointing performance.

Knockout of the night (and perhaps of the year) award goes to the man with the scariest, most warped tattoos in all of MMA, Aleksander Emelianenko. On the receiving end of this was Ricardo Morais. Both of these guys are huge, so you just knew that this thing couldn’t last long. For such a big man, Aleksander moves incredibly gracefully on his feet and has amazingly fast hands.

The fight starts, both fighters throw some fast, vicious bombs. Then Aleksander just unleashes with a lightening-fast flurry of pinpoint-accurate punches, which put the lights out on Morais. This was a truly vicious knockout; it still sends chills up and down my spine when I think about it. The fight lasted 15 seconds.

I saw Morais’ post-fight interview, now I can’t speak any Brazilian but he sounded like he was still punch drunk. Later during his brother’s interview I saw Aleksander watching with a bag of ice on his right hand and a tattoo magazine in the other. You just beat the tar out of somebody and your already thinking about your next tattoo. Wicked.

After bearing witness to the slaughter that was Emelianenko-Morais, I proceeded to make my way down to the interview area to meet up with my Sherdog-mates. This is where I stayed for the rest of the night, trying to listen to interviews and watch the fights on a little TV monitor at the same time.

The great thing about being backstage is that you get to see things close up that the general public don’t, in this case I’m talking about the lovely and nubile PRIDE ring girls. Unfortunately readers I was not able to get any phone numbers, better luck next time. But I’m here to report the fights, not hit on the ring girls, so let’s talk about the next on the card, Bustamante versus Ryuta Sakurai.

This one turned out to be quite the slugfest rather than a technical submission battle that I was expecting. Both fighters threw a lot of punches, but they both ate a lot as well. As I said before I was trying also to listen to an interview backstage while this was happening, so I could only catch it out of the corner of my eye. Towards the end Bustamante had mounted Ryuta and was raining down punches. Bustamante got the decision. I saw both of them backstage after the fight and Bustamante was definitely the least scathed of the two. Ryuta was sporting a swollen right eye and had ice on it.

Next up, Ikuhisa Minowa versus Gilbert Yvel. The crowd erupted when Minowa entered the ring. The fight starts and Minowa shoots in for the takedown. After a bit of a scramble both fighters end up going for a leg submission. It’s now a battle of attrition. Who can last the longest? Who can find the right configuration of his opponent’s leg to force him to tap? Eventually it was Minowa who found the “sweet spot” on Yvel’s leg first and got the victory.

Minowa got a good reception when he came to the interview area and seemed to be in good spirits, even sharing a laugh with some of the reporters.

Dean Lister versus Paulo Filho was supposed to happen on this night, but it didn’t materialize due to the fact that Filho had broken a bone in his foot during his previous fight with Amar Suloev. This means that Dean Lister has now claimed a spot for the Middleweight Grand Prix. In his interview, Lister said he was disappointed for not getting to fight Filho. He further stated that he didn’t get injured and that he’s going to train hard to put on a good show in the Grand Prix.

And finally we get to the main event of the evening, Tsuyoshi Kohsaka versus Fedor Emelianenko. Kohsaka comes out first with a sword in his hand to the delight of the crowd. Then enters the calm, cool, poker-faced Fedor. The fight starts and Kohsaka goes for a takedown, however he gets reversed by Fedor and starts getting pelted by punches on the ground. Kohsaka then receives a nasty cut above his left eye from a Fedor head stomp. The fight is stopped and the doctors check the cut.

It looked bad, but Kohsaka continues on. Fedor pretty much mauled Kohsaka for the entire first round, and the fight had to be stopped many time to clean the blood off from Kohsaka’s face. To his credit Kohsaka did hang in there with perhaps the most dangerous heavyweight on the planet right now, and even made a few leg submission attempts.

But in the end Fedor was just too much and Kohsaka could not come out for the second round. Kohsaka did not turn up for a post-fight interview but I did see Fedor. He had a good-sized scrape on his forehead but other than that was now worse for wear.
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