Quarterfinal PRIDE Middleweight GP Bouts Announced

By Josh Gross May 12, 2005
Dream Stage Entertainment officially announced matches on Thursday featuring the eight remaining fighters headed to PRIDE’s Middleweight Grand Prix quarterfinals June 26 in Tokyo.

Talk following April’s opening stanza centered on how DSE would match the four remaining Brazilians — Wanderlei Silva, Mauricio Rua, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Ricardo Arona. With news of the official bouts it’s clear the Japanese mixed martial arts promoter was not willing to run the risk of having each move forward to August’s tournament final.

Silva, PRIDE’s middleweight champ and the only man to win the middleweight GP, continues in the role of No. 1 seed, earning a bid versus young Japanese judoka Kazuhiro Nakamura. The Chute Boxe-trained Silva decisioned Nakamura’s mentor, Hidehiko Yoshida, to advance. Nakamura, meanwhile, moved on by out-pointing American Kevin Randleman.

Possibly the most intriguing bout of the quarterfinals features Silva’s teammate, Rua, against Brazilian Top Team’s Nogueira. Both men continued to June’s card by toppling Americans: Rua stopping Quinton Jackson and Nogueira submitting Dan Henderson.

The remaining Brazilian in this equation is Arona, who grappled his way past Dean Lister. The powerful BTT fighter faces the smallest, eldest yet most dynamic man in the field, Kazushi Sakuraba, benefactor in his opening bout of a quick knockout over MMA rookie Yoon Dong Sik.

Not to be forgotten are Europeans Igor Vovchanchyn and Alistair Overeem. Though both men are known for their striking prowess, each offers a unique style. That contrast could make for a compelling mix when they step into the ring inside a packed Saitama Super Arena.

American fans must wait one week to see these fights. The pay-per-view card, which should also feature a handful of non-tournament bouts, will be shown on tape-delay since DSE chose not to compete against a WWE event that same night.

PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix Quarterfinals:

Wanderlei Silva vs. Kazuhiro Nakamura
Mauricio Rua vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Ricardo Arona vs. Kazushi Sakuraba
Igor Vovchanchyn vs. Alistair Overeem
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