Bushido 6 This and That

By Masa Fukui Apr 5, 2005
TOKYO, April 3 – Alright, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. Here I am back in PRIDE Bushido. Did ya’ll enjoy the show? I did. There’s a full Bushido 6 write up posted right here written by my twin brother-in-law Akira Fujimoto.

Now, what I’m doing in this column? Am I here just to say “hi” to Tony and Marcus, who always send me E-mails about my stories? The answer is “no.” Because Akira Fujimoto is not good at the Japanese Language, I’ll go over something he missed from backstage of “Path of Samurai” No. 6.

I have big respect for all the fighters. Big, big respect. Because without fighters, this sport won’t grow. Without fighters, we wouldn’t have this job. Without fighters, we don’t—or at least I don’t—have any other sports I can put my passion in. And all the other reasons.

But at the same time, I can be disappointed and you can be disappointed by fighters. That’s part of this sport. Let’s look at the result of Sunday’s show. As a 100-percent pure Japanese, I must say I was disappointed by this result. Seven Japanese fighters competed today in 10 fights. And only one Japanese fighter won. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I lost the respect, I’m just sad that most of Japanese fighters lost after all of their effort.

Even though I don’t know several Japanese fighters well, I cheer for them because that’s something that comes out from your heart naturally. Well, my brain thinks differently, so I don’t lose any money. But, yeah, my heart is not in the same shoes as my brain.

After the show, I found out I was not the only the person who was disappointed. President of Dream stage Entertainment, Mr. Sakakibara, was right there with me. In his post-show interview, he mentioned that he’s sorry for today’s outcome. He didn’t use the word “disappointed,” but he did say he had “pity” and a sorrow sort of expression about Japanese fighters.

Yet, at the same time, he was happy about Ikuhisa Minowa’s win. Or happy more likely because of the reaction the audience gave after this fight.

Why?

Bushido series has experimented to find a new concept of fight show. They tried Japan versus Brazil, Japan versus something … yes, some people say this Bushido show is like a toy box of an MMA show. But today, Ikuhisa Minowa’s performance and reaction from the audience predicted what I heard at this interview.

“We will have Bushido show in May 22 and also in July as a showcase opportunity for the light-weight fighter,” Sakakibara said. “Then, we will finally start the long-awaited 73-kg/83-kg division tournament this fall. In this tournament, eight fighters will be competing in each division, and from now on this Bushido show will mainly feature fighters from those two weight classes.”

Wow, that’s exciting. My disappointment suddenly flew away from my heart and I got so excited about what I’m hearing. Then one journalist asked, “Bushido has been featuring Japan versus Brazil, Japanese fighter versus Chute Boxe … etc. Now why did DSE decide that Bushido pick up only light-weight fighter?”

Mr. Sakakibara answered right away, almost like he knew that question would be popped from the media. “Like today’s fight, lighter-weight fighters such as Ikuhisa Minowa, Ryo Chonan, Takanori Gomi are getting more tension among fight fan in this country. Heavyweight matches are not necessary for Bushido series any more. Well, we still think about putting one middleweight or heavyweight fight in each Bushido series. But the main event will be lighter-weight fight. We’ve been talking to TV production about this new concept, and they agreed that we’re ready to start off this concept. So we set this new idea on next Bushido show on May 22nd.”

Good, after all of these years, Dream Stage Entertainment secured a new concept and earned tension from the fight fans. This is a little bit of a revolutionary move in this business, isn’t that?

I like lighter-weight fights a lot. And I know PRIDE can select and bring the best fighter from the world. Who’s coming? Will Lil’ Evil get a chance to showcase his skill again in PRIDE? How about Yves Edwards? Hermes Franca? My favorite Josh Thomson. If UFC doesn’t put any energy to promote in lightweight division, Bushido will.

Yeah Bushido will put the “light” in lightweight fighter’s hope. Boy, I can’t wait until May. If you take a look at the card of PRIDE GP 2005, You can’t help dreaming about this Bushido tournament line up. If I borrow the sentence from Mr. Dana White to express future Bushido series, I’d say “That’ll be dynamite.” Oh Boy, I’m on the roller coaster of imagination for this 73-kg/83-kg tournament. … Somebody stop me.

OK, I spitted out about GP, so I’ll continue a little bit about PRIDE GP 2005. Dream Stage Entertainment announced GP opening round card two days after Bushido.

Here’s some of the line up:

Dean Lister versus Ricardo Arona. It’s cynical isn’t it? These two phenomenal fighters are supposed to fight in a super-fight in ADCC 2005. But instead of fighting on a big, flat mat, they’ll face off in the PRIDE ring with not only grappling technique but also punch and kick. Again, That’ll be a dynamite.

All MMA fans’ favorite Kazushi Sakuraba will be back in PRIDE ring. In the latest Gong magazine, Sakuraba said he wanted to fight Kiyoshi Tamura. But his role’s gonna be shaking off the Korean judo specialist Yoon Don Sik from the tournament. Now is Sakuraba’s role PRIDE’s gatekeeper? I thought his role is something else. It’s kind of sad for me that Saku is fighting a newcomer to MMA. Don’t you feel so?

Anyway, let’s look at other fights. Yuki Kondo against Igor Vovchanchyn sounds very interesting to me. Striker against striker. But I think Igor’s hands are a tiny bit quicker than that of Kondo. Let’s see if Kondo can achieve the revenge for his Pancrase mentor Yoshiki Takahashi, who was recently knocked out by Igor. Somehow, this card reminds me Yuki Kondo versus Vladimir Matyushenko. But maybe it’s only me. I know, I’m a naturally doped.

While his master Yoshida is facing one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, PRIDE middleweight champion Wanderlei Silva, Kazu Nakamura is facing the “Monster” Kevin Randleman.

By the way, where’s the Gracie?

UFC representative Vitor Belfort fights against flying Dutchman Alistair Overeem. Dan Henderson faces Rogerio Nogueira. And another American, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, is about to explode his powerful skill against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. This card sounds 10 times better than the last PRIDE Middleweight GP.

Let’s get back to Bushido 6. There’s another thing I was impressed from the Bushido show— Aleksander Emelianenko’s quick hands. You can say Ricardo Morais messed up in the first few seconds of the fight, but Aleksander’s hands stuck out for me much more than Ricardo’s mistake. Damn, Aleksander’s punches were very explosive.

After a couple more tune-up fights for Aleksander, I want to see him fight against Tim Sylvia. I wasn’t a fan of Aleksander at all to be honest with you. But he’s got the same punch-speed as his big brother Fedor. I just realized that these two not only share icy-cold eyes but also the DNA of a fighter.

Talking about Fedor, what’s up with him? Nobody can submit him. We’ve seen him fight quite a lot now. But it seems like it’s almost impossible to catch or grab his arm or shoulder. Excellent grapplers like Rodrigo Nogueira or TK tried to grab Fedor’s arm. But every time they almost trapped him for an armbar or whatever, Fedor just slips out like an eel from your hand.

What is the secret? Is that because of his “non-muscular” body? If you replay how Fedor’s arm slips out from TK’s trap, you can see his thick skin is helping his arm to slip out the trap. Also, a big factor is that he sweats a lot. So, if nobody can submit him, how he can be beat? Stand-up game? If so, who will it be?

Again Mr. Sakakibara announced that Fedor versus Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic will happen in June or August. Unfortunately, Fedor’s finger injury is reported, so it depends on how his finger heals.

“We want to make it happen as soon as possible as a promoter,” Mr. Sakakibara announced. Great. Finally. Finally. Finally it’s on, fellas!

OK, I think that’s all for now. Are there any other outstanding performances? Actually, yes. The costume of those ring girls! It says “Tata Young” across the ring girl’s chest. Right logo on right spot. Ten points for the designer.

Time to shut up. The next few weeks will be great for MMA fans. The Ultimate Fighter Finale. Then UFC 52 the following weekend. After UFC 52 weekend, there’s the PRIDE GP opening round. Stephen Martinez and I will travel down to Osaka and we’ll report for the “never satisfied” MMA fans only on Sherdog.com. There’ll be pictures, videos and stories up hour by hour. So keep your eyes on where you are.

Ja-ne (See ya’).

P.S. Does anybody know a good place to eat in Osaka? My partner Stephen “The Latin” Martinez likes to eat delicious Octopus Balls (tako-yaki). So do I. Let me know if you know good tako-yaki shop around Osaka Dome! I’m gonna eat them till I die. Because that what Osaka is all about.
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