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"PRIDE 19 - Bad Blood" Review

1. Tom Erickson vs. Tim "Obake" Catalfo - Pretty fast fight with Erickson not even going toe-to-toe with the smaller and older Catalfo. Instead "Big Cat" used a hard slam and dominated on the ground and got a mean-looking choke on from behind, putting it in the bag. My prediction was accurate with an Erickson win late in the first.
Rating: **1/2

2. Wallid Ismail vs. Alex Steibling - They cut to the third round due to time constrants and things look interesting. Steibling looks really good with interesting strikes and groundwork. A tired and bloody Ismail struggles in Steibling's guard, until the final round ends. Steibling wins by decision, funky hair and all and again my decision is dead on.
Rating: n/a

3. Carlos Newton vs. Jose "Pele" Landi - An awesome fight with each man showing their strengths fully. Newton struggles to get Pele down, but finally does and the excitement begins. Landi, always game, makes some great escapes and then delivers some hard shots. Newton some how gets him down and locks an armbar and gets the tapout. Pele displays his lack of sportmanship, while Newton cuts a promo in Japanese. Again my prediction was just right with Pele fending off Newton's matwork, until he can no longer.
Rating: ****1/2

4. "Ice Cold" Igor Vovchanchyn vs. "Texas Crazy Horse" Heath Herring - Quickly goes to the mat care of Herring, which surprised me. Igor is bloodied, but makes his escape, then the Russian gets a few takedowns and mounts. Back up, more see-saw fighting and back to the mat. Herring goes for a kimura, Igor rolls free, Herring goes for a high mount, Igor forces a standup and then gets the back, Herring escapes... a great first round! The second round is a rest round with Vovchanchyn on top and chipping away with punches with little action. The third round, sees Herring on top and actually drops an illegal headbutt. They restart it, but as often happens, they go back to the same position. Igor is bloodied and his left side is bruised as the round comes to Herring looks in better shape. A really even one, but Vovchanchyn is more dinged up, thus Herring wins via unanimous decision. I was wrong on this one and saw a totally different fight than what I expected, but agreed with the decision.
Rating: ***1/2

5. Antonio "Minotauro" Noguiera vs. Enson Inoue - After being put on 2 year probation for stuff I won't get into, Inoue looks to get a huge win here. Noguiera uses a butt-scoot unsuccessfully early. Inoue is caught in an entangled kimura, but impressive brutes out, then gets a mount and punches away. Noguiera reverses it and puts Inoue through Submissions 101, Inoue really shows his escape skills. Finally the champ locks on his signature Triangle Chokehold and Inoue goes out. I picked the Noguiera, though I thought Inoue could take it the distance, he choose to give us an exciting fight.
Rating: ****1/4

6. "The Axe Murderer" Vanderlei Silva vs. Kiyoshi Tamura - Hot crowd for this one as Tamura is a mega-star from the defunct RINGS. Silva gets the takedown and works over Tamura, whose nose is bloodied horribly. Tamura escapes and shows some quick movement, but is taken down and beaten on some more with "bunches of punches." The first round ends and Tamura looks horribly. They start #2 exchanging kicks, before Silva gets him down, sustaining a cut along the way. Back standing, Silva tags him on the chin and sends him down. Tamura's fighting spirit was displayed well, the Middleweight champ is just unstoppable though. I called this one and am 5-1 thus far.
Rating: **3/4

7. Don Frye vs. Ken Shamrock - A big money main event with some nice pro-wrestling hype and this is a career match for both men. They just go to the clinch and it's a boxing match for the most part. Frye's shots are significantly stronger and Shamrock seems stumped on what to do. He finally rolls and grabs a foot. Frye fights it off and its an interesting ground fight as the clock counts down. Shamrock appears to have damaged Frye's leg somehow. They go back to the clinch, Shamrock looking really gassed and Frye not really doing much. The third round will be the tell-tale round apparently. They tease the clinch again, Frye steps back though and they start swinging. Shamrock goes down and Frye pounces, but appears too tired to finish him off. Finally Shamrock shows a burst of energy and gets on top, dropping backwards, looking for a leglock. Frye slips out partially and then they both grab anklelocks and it's a nail-biter til the buzzer. They are both totally blown up, but embrace to a huge pop as the decision is pending. Judge 1 - Don, Judge 2 - Ken, Judge 3 - Don! Don Frye wins a close match that NEEDS a rematch. Shamrock hugs his girlfriend(?) Alicia (the former Ryan Shamrock) and heads to the back. Frye apologizes for things he said, for not training harder and says he thinks his ankle's broken. Good fight, sayonara.
Rating: ***1/2

I would regard this as one of the best Pride FCs I have seen. Surprisingly this did not do huge business, it was an excellent show though and a great way to kick off 2002. Considering the worst match was so because it was one-sided and wasn't bad at all. The match average was an awesome 3.5 and considering they only showed part of Steibling-Ismail and cut out Matsui-Gracie may be a good thing. This show had a good length and the fights were good-to-excellent, certainly a must for an MMA fan.

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