DSE Announces PRIDE Bushido 73- and 83-kg. Grand Prix Lists

By Stephen Martinez Aug 3, 2005
TOKYO, August 4 — Dream Stage Entertainment, by word of PRIDE’s Nobuhiko Takada (pictures), announced two lists of fighters with possible names for the upcoming PRIDE Bushido lightweight and welterweight Grand Prix scheduled for Differ Ariake on September 25.

Japanese star and PRIDE Bushido “ace” Takanori Gomi (pictures) was announced as the first fighter officially included in the 73-kg. (160-lb.) lightweight tournament. This automatically leaves seven spots open in the lightweight division to accompany Gomi in the tournament intended to crown the best PRIDE Bushido fighter at that weight.

Hayato Sakurai (pictures)
Tatsuya Kawajiri (pictures)
Naoyuki Kotani (pictures)
Dokonjonosuke Mishima (pictures)
Jens Pulver (pictures)
Yves Edwards (pictures)
Ralph Gracie (pictures)
Luiz Azeredo (pictures)
Luiz Firmino (pictures)
Charles Bennett (pictures)
Joachim Hansen (pictures)

Under the same line, Takada presented to the Japanese media the official list of candidates for the 83-kg. (183-lb.) tournament.

Ryo Chonan (pictures)
Ikuhisa Minowa (pictures)
Akihiro Gono (pictures)
Kazuo Misaki (pictures)
Ryuta Sakurai (pictures)
Yasuhito Namekawa (pictures)
Akira Shoji (pictures)
Daniel Acacio (pictures)
Murilo Bustamante (pictures)
Phil Baroni (pictures)
Denis Kang (pictures)
Paulo Filho (pictures)
Yuki Kondo (pictures)

Eight fighters from the 83-kg list will comprise the welterweight tournament.

Both the lightweight and welterweight tournaments begin in Ariake, with the advancing fighters facing two bouts as part of the elimination tournament.

The finals will be held in December. Also PRIDE plans to crown the Grand Prix winners plus the new lightweight and welterweight division champions, leaving by the end of this year PRIDE with four official divisions lead by their respective champions.

The biggest surprise of the lightweight list is the exclusion of American lightweight star Josh Thomson (pictures), who made an amazing Bushido debut in July. Also other notable names missing are Brazilian fighters Marcos Aurelio and Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro. “Shaolin” is scheduled to fight Jean Silva (pictures) at Cage Rage on September 10.

The inclusion of Hayato “Mach” Sakurai, who is scheduled to fight in SHOOTO a month before the Bushido tournament, and the heavy rumor about Joachim Hansen (pictures) fighting in the same SHOOTO show gives both fighters a little over a month to get ready for the Grand Prix.

All this plus another heavily rumored SHOOTO fight with the same Hansen taking on Tatsuya Kawajiri (pictures) for the SHOOTO welterweight (154 pounds) title in December places these fighters in serious schedule conflicts for the upcoming months.

From the welterweight side the biggest surprise is the inclusion of Yuki Kondo (pictures) as a possible candidate, since there are heavy rumors about Kondo facing Vitor Belfort (pictures) in the PRIDE Final Conflict show in August. Dennis Kang is another name that jumps to mind since I clearly recall Kang telling the press backstage at PRIDE Bushido 8 about his broken hand.

Two more surprises are the inclusion of Akira Shoji (pictures) and Yasuhito Namekawa (pictures) as possible candidates. With so many good middleweights out there, one wonders why PRIDE needs to include these two on the list since they have not accomplished anything lately inside PRIDE.

Takada told the press the reason why Gomi was automatically included in the opening round is because, “Gomi has won everything, he doesn’t need to prove anything until now.”

Also The Japanese press asked Gomi who he wants to face in the tournament finals. To everyone’s surprise he said, “I want to fight with ‘Mach’ Sakurai in the tournament finals. I respect ‘Mach’ from my days at amateur in SHOOTO and I hold a good relation with ‘Mach’s’ brother so I want to fight him out of respect.”

“I want Gomi to perform strong in this tournament and follow Sakuraba’s and Yoshida’s footsteps as the new ace in PRIDE,” Takada said. To finish Takada also included this terrific statement:“Gomi's new Bushido fight starts toward the achievement of the aspired Wanderlei Silva (pictures) war later next year.”
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