Pride Shockwave 2 Preview

Yuki Kondo vs. Dan Henderson

Dec 28, 2004
KONDO: Yuki Kondo is a 2nd Dan in Shorinji Kempo Karate with a 43-14-5 record in MMA and trains with Masakatsu Funaki, the founder of the Pancrase organization and a multi-time King of Pancrase. Kondo became the third light-heavyweight King of Pancrase by knocking out Pride veteran Sanae Kikuta. Yuki is the number-one contender for Josh Barnett’s open weight King of Pancrase title. He also won the 1996 Neo Blood Tournament, became the fifth King of Pancrase in 1997 and the eighth King of Pancrase in 1999. Kondo was a fan of Jackie Chan films growing up and thought the fighting looked like fun. His opinion changed immediately and he says fighting has only become “fun” recently.

Kondo began fighting professionally in 1996 and has battled many well-known fighters, including Frank Shamrock (won by KO), Pete Williams, Guy Mezger (1-2), Semmy Schilt (3-1), Paulo Filho, Josh Barnett and even mentor Masakatsu Funaki (1-2). In the UFC, Kondo faced Vladimir Matyushenko, Alexander Dantas and faced Tito Ortiz for the light-heavyweight title in Japan.

Yuki was the first Japanese fighter to beat Sanae Kikuta, knocking him out six months after they had fought to a draw. He has continued to fight in Pancrase this year, going 3-0 with wins over Steve Heath, Shannon Ritch and Chute Boxer fighter Evangelista Santos. Kondo bloodied Brazilian Top Team leader Mario Sperry in his Pride debut and was knocked out in his return bout against Wanderlei Silva at the Pride Final Conflict show.

HENDERSON: Wrestler Dan Henderson is 15-3 in MMA and trains with current UFC light-heavyweight champion Randy Couture, Matt Lindland, Evan Tanner, Chael Sonnen and the rest of Team Quest. Dan is the UFC 17 lightweight tournament champion, the 1999 RINGS King of Kings tournament champion and an Abu Dhabi veteran.

Dan began his MMA career at the Brazil Open Fight in ’97 where he beat Carlson Gracie Sr. fighter Crezio de Souza and Hammer House wrestler Eric Smith to win the lightweight tournament. He won the UFC 17 lightweight tournament beating Allan Goes and Carlos Newton by decision. He continued to perform well in the RINGS KoK 1999 Tournament and scored wins over Hiromitsu Kanehara, Gilbert Yvel and interim PFC heavyweight champion Rodrigo Nogueira in the semis. Dan faced UFC veteran Renato Sobral in the final and won a decision to capture the first King of Kings tournament title.

He debuted at Pride 12 against Wanderlei Silva in one of Silva’s most difficult bouts. Dan returned to Pride 13 and was the first to ever knockout a Gracie in MMA competition when he KO’d Renzo Gracie. At Pride 14 Dan stopped Akira Shoji and took a decision win over Murilo Rua at Pride 17. A bout with Ricardo Arona at Pride 20 saw Dan lose for just the second time. A rematch with the larger Rodrigo Nogueira at Pride 24 gave Dan the only back-to-back losses in his MMA career.

Henderson jumped back on top with back-to-back KO victories over Shungo Oyama at Pride 25 and (albeit controversial) over Murilo Bustamante at the Pride Final Conflict show. At Pride 28, Dan slammed Kazuhiro Nakamura to force the injury stoppage early in the first round.

MY PICK: Henderson. Even with all of the fireworks on this card, this could be the fight of the night. Both of these men will fight anyone of any size, but right now Dan is in a zone and a win here should firmly plant his name on the very short list of contenders for Silva’s title. Kondo knew what he was in for, picking Henderson over Mauricio Rua or Murilo Rua. I wanted to see Henderson-Sakuraba before Sak retires, but this is a better career move. Henderson by TKO in the second round.

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