Scout Report by Wrestlingscout
Pride 15 - Raging Rumble Overview
I don't know if there is a more reliable promotion in the world than Pride. WWF used to always jump on Boxing pay-per-views that were around $50 dollars and had a mediocre undercard and an either boring or short mainevent. Such is the advantage of the worked shoot. I've seen my share of mediocre UFCs, but I think I've seen more good ones. Pride though is able to combine pro wrestling spectacle with solid NHB fighting. The matchmaking is excellent and though the casual fan may not like the show top to bottom, it has something for everyone.
Brandon asked me to do a little rundown of the upcoming PPV (August 11), before the actual show (July 29). I believe if you are an MMA fan, because there is no TV, you've got to hype shows yourself. Hopefully I can bring together the information and excitement, so that you too will want to see Pride 15.
Note - I stared my picks to win.
Gary Goodridge vs. Rodrigo Nogueira* - Goodridge is the replacement for Mark Coleman, who would've been defending his Pride Grand Prix Championship. He had a surprising victory over Valentijn Overeem and has an 8-11 record between UFC and Pride. Like Tank Abbott, Goodridge has lost to the best and he has a tall order in this Brazilian. Nogueira is coming off winning RINGS' 2001 King of Kings tournament in which he beat Overeem in the finals. Goodridge's size edge will help, but if Nogueria can take him down it may be over quickly.
Heath Herring vs. Mark Kerr* - This is a comeback fight of sort for both men. Herring suffered a loss at the hands of Vitor Belfort at the last Pride show and Kerr has been struggling with his past few big matches. Both men are wrestlers, who now crosstrain, Kerr's the better wrestler, but Herring has a better striking background. Herring must keep Kerr at bay with kicks than try and wait for a good opportunity to shoot on him. If Kerr's training right, the two-time UFC tournament winner should be able to get in as close as he wants and put away the Texas Crazy Horse. This is a win both men need as big decision losses to Belfort and Igor Vovchanchyn respectively have set them back.
Valentijn Overeem* vs. Assuerio Silva - After a stunning loss at Pride 14, Overeem has got to come out of the blocks. He, like Tsuyoshi Kohasaka before him, has to show RINGS' fighters are the real deal. Silva is relatively unknown Brazilian, who is in a win-win situation. A loss to Overeem would not be a huge shocker, but if he wins he can make a name for himself. I think Overeem underestimated his last opponent, Gary Goodridge, this time he should remedy that error.
Ebenezer Fontes Braga vs. Daijiro Matsui* - I like Matsui a lot, he has that pro wrestling flavor that everyone loves about Sakuraba. He's coming off a big win over Jose "Pele" Landi at the last Pride show, which was exciting as Matsui seemed unstoppable. He countered armbars with Alexander Otsuka-like slams and in the end got the decision. I've only ever seen Braga once, in an impressive victory over Jeremy Horn at Ultimate Brazil. But I think Matsui wants to be a top star for Pride in the near future and defeating Braga, despite his poor Pride record is another good step.
Igor Vovchanchyn* vs. Masaki Satake - Satake is one of the best karate practitioners in MMA today, but he is really unproven in Pride. He has done poorly in shoots and gone 1-2 against the likes of Murakami, Ogawa, and Yasuda. Vovchanchyn is one of the top fighters in the world and probably the top striker. At the last show, he took fellow kickboxer Gilbert Yvel and choked him out in just under 2 minutes. Satake is no Yvel and I think Vovchanchyn will have an easy night.
Kazushi Sakuraba* vs. Quinton Jackson - The big return for Sakuraba, possibly the top Mixed Martial Artists in the world. Though Jackson is not the caliber of Sak, he has an interesting story. The exciting martial artist had a strange approach, similar to Sakuraba, but found himself homeless. Now for reasons unknown to me he's the man meeting the top star of Pride in his return bout. I have a feeling Jackson maybe the "Hurricane" McNeely of the MMA world.
Shungo Oyama vs. Wallid Ismail* - Probably a much less anticipated match then it was a few weeks ago, now that Ismail is replacing Renzo Gracie. He is an IVC veteran and has beaten capable opponents, while Oyama lost to Vanderlei Silva at the last UFC. The judo champ and Jiu-Jitsu star may have a decent match, but I'm don't hold high expectations.
Ryan Gracie* vs. Tokimitsu Ishizawa (Kendo Ka Shin) - Their first fight was both men's first in MMA. For Ryan it was a fast win; for Ishizawa it was a hard loss. Though the Gracie bad boy was put down by Sakuraba shortly after, he remains a credit to the Family. Ishizawa returned to New Japan in Riki Choshu's doghouse, though he did well for being a pro wrestler against a top Gracie. He countered Ryan's double leg with a guillotine choke attempt, but stood up and was barraged with many good punches. Although it may be longer, I look for another Ryan Gracie win.
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