Stephen Quadros Previews Pride Bushido 7!

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PRIDE Bushido: Volume 7
May 22, 2005
Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, Japan

By Stephen Quadros, "The Fight Professor"

This version of the budding PRIDE Bushido series clearly showcases the best of that organization's fighters who compete below the limit of 205 pounds. But upon deeper analysis this card also features some real characters.

Takanori Gomi

Luiz Azeredo

Gomi - Image 2 Chute Boxe fighter Luiz Azeredo (Curitiba, Brazil) is going to present a serious challenge to the rising fame of anime-come-to-life Takanori Gomi. Since being pounded and choked out in October 2003 by BJ Penn at Rumble On The Rock in Hawaii, Gomi has put together 5 straight victories, most notably stopping former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver, Charles Bennett and Ralph Gracie. So one thing Gomi has going for him is momentum. But one thing that all Chute Boxe representatives have in common is motivation and there is additional drive/pressure for Luiz to avenge the TKO defeat his stable mate Jadson Costa suffered at the hands of Gomi in February of last year. In my opinion Azeredo is a better fighter than Costa is and will use his team's trademark, destructive aggression, to set things right. I feel this is an excellent match up for many reasons, most notably for the fact that to me Azeredo has the potential to derail the Gomi train.

One question lurks however: will they make Azeredo shrink down to 155 pounds (his normal fighting weight is 170 pounds)? If Luiz is forced to drop down to that category then Gomi should be able to win. But if they do dance at 170, Azeredo will have a solid shot at doing what his teammates Wanderlei Silva and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua do: clinch and knee. And everyone knows how effective the knee attack of Chute Boxe fighters is. I honestly do not favor one fighter over the other in this match. But I do predict it will be the kind of fight that will deliver loads of entertainment and solid MMA technique.
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Phil Baroni

  Ikuhisa Minowa

Baroni - Image 4 In many ways acid tongued UFC veteran Phil "The New York Badass" Baroni will be facing an almost mirror image of himself when he steps in with former Pancrase fighter Ikuhisa Minowa. Nicknamed "The Punk", probably more for his attitude than any resemblance to Johnny Rotten, Minowa is clearly every bit as feisty emotionally as Baroni is. And we all know how much Phil can lobby bombs of the verbal persuasion before the match even begins. One can almost expect this conflict to start the second these two fireplugs see each other around the hotel or at the press conference. With Baroni and Minowa there seems to be a gray area between the subjects of promoting a fight and reality. One could almost go so far as to say that both these gents are "method" fighters. And that's why we talk about them and cannot wait for them to lock horns. This is such a logical, perfect and potentially hilarious match (unintentionally of course). Baroni has knockout power in his punches for sure. But then so did Gilbert Yvel and Stephan Leko when they tried their luck against "The Punk" and both were submitted in record time with a toehold and a heel hook respectively.

One note on Minowa's courage: this man had a height and weight disadvantage when he was thrown in with both Wanderlei Silva and Quinton Jackson in his first two matches in PRIDE. But what really inspired me about Minowa's guts was the mullet haircut he displayed with so much pride throughout most of his career. THAT took balls. Since he cut his hair short it seemingly has had the reverse Samson effect on him in that he has won all his fights since. But I secretly yearn for the return of his most treasured marking, the mullet.

My call on the fight? Minowa by submission.
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Ryo "The Piranha" Chonan

   Nino "Elvis" Schembri

Chonan - Image 6 Move over Godzilla, here comes "The Piranha" versus "Elvis". That's right ladies and gentlemen, Elvis is alive and well and living inside the body of Brazilian jiu-jitsu stylist Nino Schembri. It is true that Nino has joined the ever-growing roster of competitors now repping Chute Boxe, obviously in an effort to improve his striking game. But it may be too much new information for him to effectively assimilate at this juncture when the going gets rough inside the ring. If/when that happens he will revert back to what his legacy is, submission wrestling (AKA jiu-jitsu). And that is what he should do because he realistically does not have a chance to win a kickboxing match against Chonan. I feel Ryo has the edge in this fight because he has defeated better opposition (Anderson Silva, Carlos Newton) and he has the hometown advantage. He is also willing to do something/anything crazy to win, like he did when he caught Silva in that flying heel hook. Nino would very likely submit "The Piranha" in a straight grappling match. But when you add strikes, it evens thing up quite a bit. Ryo Chonan will take this one by unanimous decision. Schembri - Image 7
Charles "Krazy Horse" Bennett

  Yoshiro Maeda

Bennet - Image 8 Bennett can flip out with the best of them, both literally (check any highlight reel from his appearances in King of The Cage) and figuratively. Seemingly patterned after the "old" Quinton "Rampage" Jackson character, Charles may finally have that PRIDE match that showcases his "thug as Zen" style. But since Bennett has been choked out 4 times and kimuraed once, there is always the possibility that he could be tapping. Yoshira Maeda is dangerous more on his feet than on the mat. But even though he has an impressive 13-0-1 record I would wonder if he will chose to stand and duke it out with "Krazy Horse". I'm thinking he won't. Charles has good speed and power in his punches so the smart game plan for the Japanese fighter would be to sweep him off his feet in order to absorb as little percussive damage as possible. I'm calling Maeda by submission in a safe fight or possibly winning a brawl by decision. Maeda - Image 9
Dokonjonsuke Mishima

   Yves Edwards

Mishima - Image 10 When I commentate on fights I am a stickler for pronouncing fighters' names correctly. And Dokonjonosuke Mishima would indeed present a challenge. Mishima has a lot of fights under his belt. But even though a record of 16-3-2 (thank you Sherdog Fight Finder) looks impressive on the surface, upon closer review he doesn't really have a win over anyone of note. His losses however are against known fighters: both Takanori Gomi and Din Thomas stopped him with strikes and Ralph Gracie decisioned him. Former UFC fighter Yves "The Uncrowned King" Edwards has quite a bit more experience and some big wins over Josh Thomson (KO) and Hermes Franca (twice by decision). Edwards will take this one easy, most likely by decision. Edwards - Image 11
Akihiro Gono

 Crosley Gracie

Gono - Image 12 Akihiro Gono is as tough as they come and will be a true test for the 2-0 Crosley Gracie. With a record of 21-10-7 Gono has wins over guys like UFC hot dog Ivan Salaverry (KO by spinning back kick), Chute Boxe mauler Nilson de Castro (twice) and Luta Livre standout Flavio Moura (decision). Talk about a trial by fire for Gracie! And Gono walks with an air of confidence that borders on cocksureness. That and almost 40 MMA fights under his belt could be intimidating for Gracie. If it weren't for the fact that Gono took this fight on short notice my head would tell me Crosley is in over his head. But if Gracie pulls off the win, especially by submission, then people will really take notice.
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Tomomi Taisho Iwama 

 Jens Pulver

Iwama - Image 14 Tomomi Iwama is tough. But former UFC lightweight champion Jens "Lil' Evil" Pulver is tougher. Pulver by knockout. Pulver - Image 15
Tatsuya Kawajiri 


Kawajiri - Image 16 I can honestly say that this fight is a mismatch. As much mystique as TBA has I can state with absolute impunity that he hasn't fought anyone. But this match will go on as proposed and TBA will not go the distance with Kawajiri. Hahaha, But seriously folks, anyone who weighs 155 pounds and takes a fight on short notice with Tatsuya Kawajiri is going to lose. But the significance of having him on the show is this: because he decisioned Yves Edwards and TKO'd Vitor "Shaolin" Ribeiro, he is most definitely on a collision course with Takanori Gomi to settle who is the best fighter in Japan, and possibly the world, at the lightweight limit. TBA - Image 17