Well Pride’s last two events have set in stone who the top three heavyweights are in that promotion, in order even: Fedor Emelianenko, Mirko Cro Cop, and Josh Barnett.
Now the big question: Who is going to fight Fedor next?
Both Fedor and Barnett are scheduled to fight at Pride’s show on or around New Year’s Eve. It doesn’t have a name as of yet but I’m willing to bet that Pride will go ahead and use Shockwave just as in previous years.
Cro Cop defeated Barnett at Final Conflict Absolute 2006 in September. That would make him the shoe-in to fight Fedor, right?
The thing is Cro Cop lost to Fedor last year and this fact creates a dilemma. Should Pride give Cro Cop another shot just one year later or should Barnett be given the chance even though he lost to Cro Cop last month?
To make matters even more confusing, Fedor announced at a post-fight press conference for Pride’s most recent event, The Real Deal, that he wants Barnett as his next opponent.
Barnett is interested in the opportunity:
Josh said, “Cool. I’m glad that he nominated me. Honestly, I think he understands the game out there. There’s not really all that many people left for him to fight, but I’m sure he’s understood for at least some time now that fighting me would be a really big match up for him.”
“For me, basically what it all comes down to is how training goes…and this year has been, uh…something else so far, but if I feel good, I’ll do it,” said Barnett.
Barnett has expressed wanting to take on Fedor in the past and it looks like right now is the closest that the two have ever been to actually possibly fighting. It’s going to be interesting to see the decision that Pride makes this month concerning the fight.
If the promotion decides to have Cro Cop take on Fedor, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira could be the obvious choice of opponent for Barnett…
Pride held yet another press conference yesterday discussing details about their upcoming US debut in October…
We already learned about the announcements of Josh Barnett-Pawel Nastula and Mark Hunt-Eric Esch yesterday. Dream Stage CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara stated that some more fights will be named later this week and the rest of the card will be revealed at the end of the month.
It’s interesting to note that because the event is taking place in Nevada, the rules will be similar to those that the UFC uses with a couple of changes. The fight will obviously take place in a ring rather than the UFC’s famed octagon. As it pertains to striking, there will be no elbows to the head permitted while on the ground. Kicking or kneeing of a downed opponent will be illegal as well despite that it is usually allowed in Pride events.
No shoes or Gi’s are allowed to be worn. The fights will be three five-minutes rounds instead of Pride’s usual one ten minute round followed by two five-minute rounds. The event will be four hours long and will be broadcast on PPV and the web.
Even more interesting then those announcements is the fact that Sakakibara was willing to talk about Silva-Liddell and the current status of the possible matchup. ..
“Speaking on behalf of Pride, we are ready anytime. Also, Wanderlei is ready. We just need the doctor’s confirmation regarding his injury from last week. We are still waiting for the UFC’s response. Mirko even said that if Wanderlei is not ready to fight in November, he would fight in his place. In some interviews, Mr. Dana White stated that this fight won’t happen. However, speaking from Pride’s side, we are ready.”
Hey, that’s not what Dana said!
I really don’t know which side to believe. I want to side with Dana and the UFC seeing how Pride has screwed over other promotions before by pulling crap like this whole saga. I wonder what he will have to say about this.
Even though Dana already said that Silva shouldn’t get a shot at Chuck Liddell because he was destroyed by Mirko Cro Cop, there is still room for things to happen. Dana’s right - Silva shouldn’t get Chuck after that massacre.
But if what Dana said at UFC 61 is true - They were supposed to have Wanderlei for three fights - Why don’t they have Wanderlei face someone else, like Babalu or Forrest for example. This way Tito can get his title shot and providing Chuck and Wanderlei both win, they can meet after that.
I’m such a genius…
Pride Fighting Championships has announced that Josh Barnett will face Pawel Nastula and Mark Hunt will face “Butterbean” Eric Esch.
Barnett was last seen in the ring earlier this month in the Open Weight Grand Prix where he lost to Mirko Cro Cop in the finals after he defeated Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira earlier in the evening. Pawel Nastula is coming off of a loss to “Cyborg” at PRIDE - Final Conflict Absolute.
Heavy handed strikers Eric Esch and Mark Hunt will face off in what should prove to be a slugfest. I doubt this fight will hit the canvas.
“I’ll be there for sure. I still don’t know whom I’m going to fight with. I’m going back to the USA and to training this next Friday,” said Barnett. About the opponent, it’s all rumours: “I guess they’ll put someone from UFC and you know that the level there is not so great. If a guy like Aleksander Emelianenko would go fight at UFC, he would become champion in no time at all.”
MMA Weekly had the chance to sit down with Josh Barnett after a training session in Los Angeles to ask him about his upcoming fight with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira…
Barnett said, ” Basically, we’re both adept at the ground game, however, I believe that the difference isn’t so much our techniques or skill sets even… he’s much more methodic and slow-paced and he likes to work a more jiu-jitsu based attack where as my grappling base comes from catch-wrestling…catch-wrestling also is a very aggressive style, [it] doesn’t really believe in laying back and trying to wait for opportunities to present themselves, you make your opportunities, you force your opponents to do what you want them to do.”
He commented on Nogueira saying,”...he can take inordinate amounts of punishment and just stay in the fight which can be very difficult for a guy who’s trying to sprint… he can take so much punishment, so much damage, he can still just hang in there.” But he is looking for a decisive win and not leaving it in the hands of the judges. “I don’t want it to go the distance…I’m looking to finish him.”
Yesterday Pride Fighting Championships held a press conference at the Fox Sports Grill in Irvine, California. The press conference featured the announcement of two fights along with the announcement of a many other fighters set to participate in the event.
The two fights that were announced were Mark Coleman versus Pride heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua against Coleman’s teammate Kevin “The Monster” Randleman.
In an unexpected turn of events Pride officials called upon former undisputed heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson. Apparently Tyson and the Japanese promotion have come to some sort of agreement which will feature Tyson fighting in some sort of exhibition match in the future.
Finally it was announced that Pride superstars Josh Barnett, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, Phil Baroni, Kazuyuki Fujita, Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva will participate on the October 21st card.
Dream Stage Entertainment has announced the match-ups set to take place in the semi-finals of the Pride Open Weight Grand Prix.
Wanderlei Silva vs. Mirko Cro Cop
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Josh Barnett