PRIDE Grand Prix 2004: Critical Countdown

Naoya Ogawa vs. Paulo Cesar Silva

Jun 18, 2004
Naoya Ogawa vs. Paulo Cesar “Giant” Silva

NAOYA OGAWA: Japanese professional wrestler; judo stylist; 1987 World Cup Judo Champion (Open category); 1992 silver medallist in the Barcelona Olympic Games; with a record of 6-0-0 in MMA making his 4th (3-0-0) appearance in the PFC.

HISTORY: Ogawa began studying judo while in high school, winning many tournaments and became the youngest person to ever win the World Judo Championships in 1987. He graduated from Meiji University in 1990 and joined the Japan Horse Racing Association in April of that year. He won the silver medal for judo at the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992. Naoya remained with the JRA until 1997. That same year he decided he wanted to go into professional wrestling and began training with Kanji “Antonio” Inoki and the Original Tiger Mask, Satoru Sayama. Inoki and Sayama took him under their wing and Ogawa made his pro debut as a last-minute replacement for Ken Shamrock, beating IWGP Heavyweight Champion Shinya Hashimoto in a non-title bout. Ogawa would also take part in Inoki’s debut UFO show and TKO’d Don “The Predator” Frye. In 1999 Ogawa and Dan “The Beast” Severn battled in a UFO/NWA crossover match for the NWA Heavyweight Championship title with Ogawa defeating Severn and winning the title by choke sleeper in just under eight minutes. Naoya continues to do professional wrestling and has faced many more notable names including Bill Goldberg and “The Predator” Sylvester Terkay. He is recognized as the first of Inoki’s three protégés to be groomed in his image, the other two being Kazuyuki Fujita and Ryoto “Lyoto” Machida.

Ogawa/Gary Goodridge: Ogawa met Goodridge in his PFC debut at Pride 6. Gary came out from the bell and tagged Ogawa with numerous right hands. He threw uppercuts, hooks, all of the heavy artillery and Ogawa was taking it. He was bleeding but he was taking it. Then Ogawa lands a solid left hand that visibly stuns Goodridge and the pair twists into the ropes and on to the mat. Ogawa quickly works for a keylock but Goodridge is too strong and eventually rolls the pair over putting Gary in Naoya’s guard. Ogawa applies various submissions from his back but cannot sink anything. With blood streaming form his mouth Goodridge stands up to strike and in a bizarre moment attempts a knee bar. Ogawa escapes to side mount and goes back to the keylock. It fails but they stay on the mat and Goodridge is exhausted. Ogawa punches Goodridge in the face at will and eventually seizes Gary’s back. Goodridge rolls to all fours with Ogawa on his back. When Gary rolls to his back, Naoya obtains full mount and pounds down strikes. Ogawa stays in mount and pounds Goodridge for the rest of the round. Early in the second Ogawa seems apprehensive to strike with Goodridge, even cowering away, but when he had the chance to bring it to the mat, he did just that. After softening the arm up in the first round, Ogawa went back and attacked the tender right arm of Goodridge for the keylock win.

Ogawa/Masaaki Satake: The big stare down between these two at Pride 11 was one of the few highlights to a nearly awful event. Satake came out a little wild and was connecting but not solidly. Ogawa did not react well to being punched in the head and Satake seemed in control early. The strike and retreat tactics of Ogawa were no match for the crisp combinations of Satake. The overhand right punch of Satake seemed to haunt Ogawa and he was never able to combat the tactic. Ogawa would come in to try and finish Satake but his plans were derailed regularly by a combination of strikes. On the same note, Satake never put together a strong enough attack to finish Ogawa even when he had him in trouble. The fighters traded strikes in the center of the ring for the majority of the first round and it came off like some contrived sparring exhibition. Satake would begin leg kicking very late in the round and Ogawa was forced to turn up his striking and close the distance in order to preserve his shooting ability for later in the fight. Masaaki easily controlled the first round. In the second round, Satake comes out firing leg kicks and seems to have frustrated Ogawa and it forces him to shoot. On the mat Ogawa gets side mount and works away at the left arm for a keylock. He takes full mount and reigns down punches. Ogawa maneuvers his way from mount to rear mount and works in the rear-naked choke for the win.

Ogawa/Stefan Leko: Leko lands a low left kick and Ogawa answers with a left hand that puts Stefan, a K-1 standout, on the canvas. Ogawa moves from side mount to mount and rains down strikes. A failed armbar attempt sees Ogawa brought to the mat but he regains side control and Leko looks lost. Ogawa moves to mount And finally gets a rear-naked choke for the win.

STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES: Ogawa has a judo background and is always looking for the submission on the mat. He has shown the patience to attack a limb and go back to it later after it is already been weakened. He may have a chin but it is difficult to gage thus far. He also has a pro wrestling move he likes to use called the STO (Space Tornado Ogawa). I don’t know what it is but chances are he won’t be able to pull it off in a real fight. His major weakness is his stand-up game. He actually runs and looks the other way when being attacked. Sometimes he’ll try to stand and exchange but more often than not, he’ll either go for the takedown or wind up taking punishment.

HOW HE CAN BEAT SILVA: By submission. It is not inconceivable that Ogawa would somehow bring Silva to the mat and choke him out.

PEDRO CESAR SILVA: Brazilian professional wrestler; 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona competitor (basketball); has recently been training in the U.S. to learn submissions and study Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu; with a 2-1-0 record in MMA making his 4th appearance (2-1-0) in the PFC.

HISTORY: Pedro Silva began playing basketball as a youth in Brazil and represented the Brazilian National Team at the 1992 Olympics. Although reported as being 7-foot-7 and 525 to 625 pounds by the Japanese media, he admits he is 7-foot-2 and right around 400lbs. In 1998 he was offered a contract by World Wrestling Federation (now WWE). He began as a member of “The Oddities,” which was a group of strange-looking and -acting wrestlers and stayed with the organization until 1999. From there he traveled to Mexico to compete in the CMLL and work on his lucha livre wrestling skills. In 2001, Team 2000 leader Masahiro Chono brought Silva and Giant Singh to Japan to wrestle in New Japan Pro Wrestling as “Club 7” (as they were both in the seven-foot range). They would compete and win “handicap matches," where the two of them would face three or more wrestlers and Silva could pin two men at one time. Silva had a falling out with Singh in 2002, wrestling and beating his former partner that same year. He continued to wrestle in Japan and Mexico and stayed in good standing with Antonio Inoki. Silva and Inoki “fought” on his ’01 Inoki Bom Be Ye New Year’s Eve show. He currently lives in New Jersey and is looking to train submissions in New York. His submission victory over Henry “Sentoryu” Miller at the Total Elimination show earned him a spot in the second round of the tournament.

Silva/Heath Herring: This was part of the Pride edition of the Japan 2003 New Years Eve “Let’s Bring Out The Freaks!” celebration. They should’ve at least given Heath a slingshot or something. Silva is simply gigantic. However, like the giants in most storybooks, he cannot move. Heath was forced to resort to racing in, kicking Silva in the legs, and racing out of reach. With Silva’s pro wrestling background, he wasn’t really familiar with hot to actually fight so his best offensive maneuver was to catch Herring on the top of the head with “strikes.” A kick from Heath was caught early in round three and both fighters went to the mat. Herring avoided a “submission” from the giant (more like a big sloppy hug) and took Silva’s back to apply a rear-choke for the win.

Silva/Henry Miller: From the bell, Sumo wrestler “Sentoryu” Miller ducks a punch and goes for a takedown but he cannot get Silva’s leg off the ground. He finally gets the takedown and Silva goes to guard. “Giant” Silva has an unusual advantage in that his limbs are so long, he can strike effectively from his back. Miller attacks the body with punches and is able to pass guard with limited effort. Silva secures an arm for a submission but cannot find the leverage to secure it. He works the arm lock and eventually turns his hips enough to tap out Miller with a Kimura four minutes into the first round.

STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES: Silva’s strength is his physical strength. He’s a gigantic man and could probably KO someone if he landed a solid strike on them. With his extensive reach, he can throw good strikes from his back and is not easily taken down. As for weaknesses, he has two MMA fights to his credit. He knows little about submissions, and as a professional wrestler he isn’t used to throwing or receiving real kicks and punches. His new training partners and real life experience will help him grow into an actual MMA fighter.

HOW HE CAN BEAT OGAWA: Use his reach and keep the bout standing. If he really hauled off and tagged Ogawa, he’d KO him. Ogawa isn’t used to real fighting either and he’ll likely be easy prey for someone who is really trying to take him out.

MY PICK: Ogawa. Both fighters having a professional wrestling background and a known relationship outside the ring. I feel it will be Ogawa by submission in the first round.
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