THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne
Following on from my review of Pride 5 a few days go, I’ve managed to find the time to watch the second disc in this two DVD set, Pride 6.
The first fight is a battle of the Americans as Carl Malenko takes on Egan Inoue. Round one saw both wrestlers trying to grapple, but after a while, and after a few punches, nothing much seemed to happen. The second round seemed more action packed, with Malenko on top with some good grappling action. The judges, however, couldn’t separate them, so an overtime round was called for. The shortened third round was certainly more action packed, with the advantage changing hands several times, and Malenko winning with a unanimous decision.
Next, Japan’s Dajiro Matsui went up against UFC veteran Carlos Newton. This was certainly more exciting and entertaining than the opener, with both Matsui and Newton putting in great showings, both offensively and defensively, with the first round being pretty even. The second round was pretty much the same as the first, with the advantage traded several times and the fighters showing excitement and a willingness to fight and entertain. As the judges couldn’t separate them, we saw another overtime round, and this was just as action packed as the first two, with the exchange of punches, including Newton’s stiff shot to Matsui’s jaw, proving too much, and it was this that won it for Newton, with the judges awarding him the unanimous decision. Tremendous stuff here.
Ukraine v Brazil follows, as Igor Vovchanchyn goes up against Carlos Barreto. The first round was quite a tactical round. Neither man tried to take the other off their feet, instead preferring to stand up and use jabs and punches. The second round saw an early setback for Barreto, as the referee took a point away for stalling, but he came back strongly to take Vovchanchyn down, before both men returned to the punching and kicking game. With the judges unable to separate either fighter, the bout went to the overtime round. Barreto dominated this round, taking Vovchanchyn down and going for the ground and pound. However, it came as something of a surprise to everyone when the judges awarded the win the Vovchanchyn by split decision.
An all Japanese fight next, with Hiroki Kurosawa taking on Nobuaki Kakuda in a fight under full contact karate rules. An impressive showing, with Kurosawa the busier of the two, with the fight being declared a draw after two frantic rounds.
Back to regular action next, with Akira Shoji against Guy Mezger. What looked like a pretty even first round saw both men impressing with a stand-up game, with Mezger possibly having the edge over Shoji. Shoji took Mezger down early in the second, but Mezger came back strongly and seemed to dominate until a Shoji flurry at the end. Once again the judges scored a draw, so the bout went into overtime. While Mezger looked to the punch and kicks, Shoji went for takedowns, and the judges awarded the bout to Shoji. Mezger was clearly unlucky here.
Then it’s time for the big West Indian, Gary Goodridge, to take on Naoya Ogawa. Goodridge began to unload as soon as the bell rang, but a stiff shot from Ogawa busted Goodridge’s mouth open before Ogawa’s superior grappling ability saw him dominate the rest of the round, to the point where Goodridge looked near exhaustion. The second round began in the same way as the first, but Big Daddy was just too tired and soon tapped to Ogawa’s key lock. Good stuff here from the Japanese star.
Next, Kazuski Sakuraba of Japan took on Brazil’s Ebenezer Fontes Braga. Some good action from both men here, with Braga putting up more of a fight than his fellow Brazilian Vitor Belfort did. But Sakuraba again impressed, synching in an arm lock, Braga having no choice but to tap in the first round.
The final bout of the show saw Mark Kerr take on former UWFI star Nobuhiko Takada. After scoring an upset win over Mark Coleman, Takada was looking for another American scalp, but had a tough time against Kerr. After escaping from a couple of takedowns, Kerr synched in a hammerlock. Unable to escape for a third time, Takada tapped out.
In conclusion – at a shade over three hours long, Pride 6 is somewhat longer than the previous show, but contains a great deal more action. Not one of the fights disappointed, although some of the judge’s decisions certainly did, and they left me scratching my head at times. But in all, a very good show, leaving me wanting to see more Pride action in the future.
With thanks to Gary Graham at www.wrestle-zone.co.uk for supplying a copy of this DVD. Pride 6 is part of a two disc set along with Pride 5, and can be purchased online by visiting www.fightdvd.co.uk.