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Emelianenko Fedor vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

Guest TheShawshankRudotion

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Guest TheShawshankRudotion

Gee Loss, you sure do know how to kill a great conversation starter ;)


I don't know if this qualifies, but fuck it, I love this match...


Emelianenko Fedor vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (PRIDE SHOCKWAVE 31.12.04)


The Scene


It?s New Years Eve. PRIDE?s biggest show of the year. Nogiuera vs. Fedor is the main event. A lot is on the line: PRIDE?s Heavyweight title was around both mens waist; the PRIDE Heavyweight Grand Prix champion was undecided after August?s controversial finals; but most of all, the winner of this fight would be the best fighter in the world. There is 6 years worth of history, and 2 years directly with Fedor and Nog here. It is so important to know the history between the two, because this fight was generally overlooked and said to be ?underwhelming? by those who saw it at the time. I would compare this to Misawa/Kawada in terms of depth of story, perhaps even more. It is one of the greatest feuds in MMA history, and has produced 2 of the greatest matches in MMA history. It is a beautiful story so it is going to be long, I hope I do it justice, and I hope you enjoy it. I will post the background first, and then the actual review of the fight.


(For those unfamiliar with PRIDE rules - 3 Rounds. The first round is 10 minutes. The second and third round are 5 minutes. There are two divisions: The Heavyweight (205+) and Middleweight (205-). There are no elbows allowed, you are not allowed to hold the ropes, there is no eye gouging, shots to the spine, fishhooking, small joint manipulation... you can kick or knee someone when they are down, which is the biggest differentiation from UFC rules. The ref will stand the fighters up if they are on the ground either because they are too close to the ropes or there is not enough action. The ref will give a yellow card to the fighter which doesn't cause enough action, action includes going for submissions, striking, etc. This means that 10% of the purse is gone. It also means points are taken away. If the fight goes to a decision, judges will score the fight based on a number of factors, the main one is "Did he try to finish the fight". The UFC does a 1- point must, round by round, system similar to boxing, PRIDE judges the fight on a whole.)


Part I:


The Beginning


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PRIDE 16. September 24th, 2001. For the first time in his career, Mark Coleman taps out.


I've seen their first match at PRIDE 25: Body Blow at least a dozen times. It's probably closer to 2 dozen. To that point, Noguiera was undoubtedly the best heavyweight fighter in the world. He had defeated all-comers. He debuted at PRIDE 15 against Gary Goodridge and submitted him with a triangle choke. At PRIDE 16 he, again with the triangle, submitted Grand Prix champion Mark "The Hammer" Coleman (pic).


At PRIDE 17, he defeated Heath Herring via decision to become the first ever PRIDE Heavyweight champion, in what many consider to be one of the best MMA fights in history. He defeated giant Semmy Schilt and Enson Inoue with his triangle choke, which turned Enson's head purple and put him to sleep. He even tapped out (with an armbar) Dan Henderson, who had never been tapped out before and had also been the only previous loss on Nogs record (Decision, RINGS). That fight was also a fantastic bout that tends to get overlooked.


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PRIDE Shockwave. August 28, 2002. Noguiera shows the bitter with the sweet. His face is battered and bruised, but his will ends up stronger than the beast.


The match which perhaps stands out most in Nogs HOF career is his fight against Bob "The Beast" Sapp. This made Nog a legend. Sapp was a football player who had, with a little bit of training from Josh Barnett, Matt Hume and Mo Smith, run roughshod over perennial tomato cans Yamamoto and Tamura. He was also 6'5 and 350 and could crush an apple in his hand. Their fight started off with the infamous POWERDRIVER, which was a ganso-bomb like headdrop that Sapp delivered to Nog after Nog tried to a shoot-in takedown. Noguiera should have been dead. And throughout the 10 minutes of the first round, that sentiment became even more prevalent as Nog took blow after blow after blow from the colossal Sapp. However, in typical Noguiera fashion, nearing the end of the second round, he was able to tired Sapp out, turn him over, and secure a cross-armbar for the tap and the win (pic).


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PRIDE 23. November 24th, 2002. Noguiera taps out Semmy Schilt with his ubiquitous triangle choke


Why am I giving this history lesson? Simple. These fights established 2 things: (1)Noguiera can take a beating and comeback and (2)tap you out with his triangle choke (pic) or armbar.



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PRIDE 21. June 23rd, 2002. In Fedors debut, he used Semmys height to his advantage when it came to making takedowns.


Emelianeko Fedor was a member of the Russian Top Team. It should be noted that Noguiera had faced -and beat- 4 other Russian Top Team members. It's a layer to the story that people don't play-up, but I think it's important. His first PRIDE fight was against Semmy Schilt (pic, above). It was an unimpressive win to the untrained eye and Fedor had said it was his least favourite performance. His next fight was much more explosive, where he absolutely mauled Heath Herring to the point where the refs stopped it after a full round.



Why am I giving this history lesson? Simple. These fights established 2 things: (1)Fedor has the ability to completely take a fighter out of his game and (2)he can pound the life out of you.


You can see how these two men relate to each other. The questions leading up to this fight were: Can Fedor punish Noguiera enough to win, or can Noguiera withstand the punishment and tap out Fedor? At the time, I believed the latter. At the time, the majority of MMA fans believed the latter. At the time, nobody else was thinking about the first thing Fedor established in those two fights...


The Herring win got Fedor the title shot. It was supposed to be at PRIDE 24, but Fedor could not compete. From PRIDE?s official website?


Note Regarding Emelianenko Fedor's Participation in PRIDE 24:


Emelianenko Fedor competed in Panama for 3 days in the Sambo World Championships, Combat Sambo Division tournament and won all 5 of his matches to become the champion. However, after the tournament, he had problems with his right leg and it was suspected that there might be a problem with the tendons. A doctor's evaluation ruled out tendon damage but the injury will still require 3 weeks to heal and prevents Fedor from fighting this year. Accordingly, Fedor will not be able to fight in his scheduled December 23 title bout against the Heavyweight Champion, Antonio Nogueira. Dan Henderson has agreed to step in and fight Nogueira in a non-title match.

Fedor was seen as sort-of a coward for not taking the fight. That he was afraid of Noguiera. That he would lose like his teammates, that he wasn?t good enough. They did eventually fight, it happened 3 months later?


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PRIDE 25: Body Blow, March 16, 2003


The atmosphere was electric and the night itself was magical. Melodramatic? Sure. But PRIDE 25 is one of my favourite all-time events and from top-to-bottom it was filled with great fighters. Commentators Stephen Quadros and Bas Rutten were peaking on that night, the best announcing I have ever heard for any event - mma or otherwise. "It's like, if you're a band, and you're headlining, and the band before you just blew the roof off... you are going to want to come out and do even better." The PRIDE set was at its usual greatness - a cylindrical screen that raised up and the fighters came out from under it, walked an elevated rampway that declined to steps which lead to the floor. I explain this only because it gave the fight an epic feel.


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Looks more like a gym teacher, than a fighter.


Fedor came out first, "Enae Volare Mezzo" by ERA as his music. He was calm, stoic, emotionless. His eyes as cold as ice. A simple shirt and trackpants (pic, above). Then Noguiera. "No Way Out" by ZZ as his music. Wearing a silver hooded robe with the title around his waist (pic, below). Fire in his Brazilian heart. As both men waited in the ring during their national anthems, you can't help but notice their physical similarities and differences. Noguiera ?Brazilian- is bronzed, Fedor ?Russian- pale white. Noguiera with coal black eyes, Fedor with sky blue. Both with short hair, both with unimpressive physiques.


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The Gold? er.. Silver, around his waist. If I could cap his entrance theme, I would. It rockxs.


And that?s what really is the most interesting thing here: These two guys don?t look like they could kick your ass. They look like regular guys. They could be your cable repair man, your plumber, they could be chefs or teachers or doctors or anything but the worlds most dangerous fighters. In the WWE there is this belief that big muscles = better wrestlers. But could HHH take Fedor? Would Batista last 5 minutes with Noguiera? Back in the day, you could believe guys like Stan Hansen could beat your ass. Now, in the WWE system, someone like him would get laughed at. But Fedor would destroy HHH and make him cry. Batista wouldn?t last 5 seconds with Noguiera. Looks are deceiving, and Noguiera and Fedor prove that, each in their own, unique way. Noguiera with his unbreakable heart, and Fedor with his unbeatable brain.


The fight started with the two circling each other. Fedor leads in with a right hook and rushes Noguiera to the ground. Noguiera is at home here. He doesn?t want to stand-up with Fedor; he wants Fedor to play the guard game so he can apply a triangle choke for the win. It became clear early-on that Fedor wasn?t like most of his other fights. Even on the ground Fedor was able to amass tremendous strength in his punches. Shots to the ribs where audible and you couldn?t help but cringe when you heard them. Fedor rises out of the guard and takes a massive swing down to Noguieras jaw, just missing. The crowd ?aw?s? and ?oh?s?. Fedor continues his assault from within Noguiera?s guard, he is very aggressive and Noguiera struggles to keep up. Mark Coleman said that Noguiera had the greatest grip of anyone he has ever faced, in either MMA or amateur wrestling. Coleman has faced the likes Kurt Angle in amateur competition, btw. Yet Noguiera is having trouble keeping Fedor?s hands at bay. If Noguiera cannot control Fedors arms, then how can he apply the triangle choke? Or get an armbar? Or a Kimura?


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Noguiera attempts a Keylock. One of many failed attempts.


But this is Noguiera, he will not be denied. He secures a grip for a kimura. He gets Fedors arm in position for a triangle choke. But again, and again, and again Fedor is able to get out. Easily. A combination of sweat and practice, of knowing when it?s coming, allows Fedor to get out of Nog?s triangle choke like it was amateur night in a BJJ dojo. Noguiera?s triangle choke, the same one that beat Semmy Schilt, Gary Goodridge, Mark Coleman, and Enson Inoue, has been rendered useless. It?s clear, now, why Fedor said ?no? to fighting at PRIDE 24 ? it wasn?t because he was injured, it was because he wasn?t ready. Fedor trained specifically for Noguiera. I bet he trained 3 hours a day, every day, for months, getting in and out of triangle chokes. When I said originally that ?to the untrained eye? his fight with Schilt was unimpressive, when I said that Fedor has an ability to take a fighter out of his game, when I said that Fedor has an unbeatable brain. THIS IS WHAT I MEAN. Fedor trains opponent-specific. With Schilt, Fedor timed his opponents movements perfectly and every time Schilt stepped in to strike, Fedor was able to take him down. Every time Nogiuera raised his hips up, Fedor was able to slip out of the triangle.


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Fedor redefined ?ground and pound?


And he made Nog pay for every single attempt. After every submission, Fedor hit Noguiera HARD. ?It?s like he?s teaching Noguiera a lesson?. Fedor?s style of punching was unique to MMA. He?d hit from his shoulders, he?d use his hips, and he?d turn his knuckles in-ward. This combination made for some very hard shots. And at one point in the first round, about 8 minutes in, he hit Noguiera hardest. Quadros was talking about how in Japan, PRIDE is almost a ?white collar sport?, where doctors even watch it. Fedor was rising in Noguieras guard, he brought his arm up well above the ring ropes, and then BOOM!!!! Right on the button! Noguieras head flung back and hit the mat, Fedor followed it up with more shots and the crowd went WILD! 6?5, 350lbs Bob Sapp hadn?t been able to hit Nogiuera like that, and had Noguiera been standing when hit with that punch, he?d most certainly fall to the mat.


A minute later, Noguiera was able to turn Fedor over! FINALLY! Nogiuera was in an advantageous position. However, before Nogiuera could mount any significant offense, Fedor was able to sweep HIM and get back on top. The round closed-out with Noguiera losing hope. The next two rounds were much of the same ? Fedor avoids Noguieras submissions and hits Nogiuera hard in return. Noguiera wasn?t able to adapt to Fedor?s strategy ? he was figured out, he was out trained and out matched. When the fight was over, Fedor was the new champion.


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The Judges decision hasn?t even been made, and Noguiera knows he was beaten.


The king of the mountain was replaced, the MMA world was irrevocably changed. Fedor reflected a new breed of fighter, the prototype for the next generation ? one not fully realized, even today. By that I mean, for 10 years MMA was about styles. It was a paper-rock-scissors scenario where one style beat another, and another style beat that one. With Fedor, however, it became more cerebral. It became about strategy. Noguiera uses his jiu-jitsu to beat his opponents, Cro Cop uses his striking, and Fedor uses his brain. For different fighters Fedor has different ways of beating them. All fighters have weaknesses and he exploits them. Nobody thinks like Fedor in MMA, and that?s why he cannot be beaten.


(Next: The Aftermath)


(Note: His name is Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro"Nogueira, I usually spell it "Noguiera", because it's easier to type that way and I refuse to change it.)

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Gee Loss, you sure do know how to kill a great conversation starter ;)

It's my specialty.




And yes, the PRIDE match counts, as long as it answers the question "What are you watching?" and it's some sort of pro wrestling, which Dave Meltzer swears that it is. Great review.


I'll be honest and say I want to get into PRIDE/MMA/shoot style/whatever-word-best-describes-all-that-stuff, but I'm terrified of it.

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Guest TheShawshankRudotion

Part II:


The Aftermath


The next few months were very different for Fedor and Nogiuera. Fedor faced Kazuyuki Fujita at PRIDE 26 and showed two weaknesses. (1)He underestimated his opponent, (2)He got rocked. Fujita clubbed Fedor standing and Fedor did ?the fish dance?. The fight could have been over, but Fedor recovered quickly and tapped Fujita out with a vicious rear naked choke. That moment of weakness still haunts Fedor to this day, but I look at it as a strength. Fedor took a shot that would have put down most fighters, and was able to recover and adapt and he ended it. It was a trial-by-fire and Fedor survived. But most see it as ?Fedor has crappy stand up? and ?Fedor can?t take a shot?. He showed that he learned from the experience when he fought Gary Goodridge at PRIDE Total Elimination 2003. There was no underestimating, there was no playing around, Fedor went it right away and started pounding on Big Daddy and wouldn?t let up (Goodridge ?a K-1 vet- tends to cover up until his opponent stops striking, Fedor knew this). After about 1 or 2 minutes of this, the ref stopped the fight.


Noguiera, on the other hand, did not recover so well. Against Ricco Rodriguez he looked slow and unmotivated. He won, but many thought Ricco was robbed and deserved to win. It was the lowest point of his career. I, personally, was questioning if he had lost it. He didn?t want it any more. A man can take only so much punishment, had Noguiera hit his limit?


Meanwhile, Mirko ?Cro Cop? Filipovic had been rising up the ranks. He destroyed Heath Herring at PRIDE 26 and against Igor Vovchanchyn, he landed a high kick that will forever be relived in highlight reels. At the end of that fight, the camera showed Fedor at ringside. He looked worried. Fedor says it was because Igor was his friend and that he was concerned for his friends wellbeing, but others will say it?s because Fedor was scared of Cro Cop. Those people had more fuel added to their speculation when Fedor refused to fight Cro Cop at the Final Conflict show in November. Fedor said it was because he broke his thumb in his fight against Goodridge, but many say it was Fedor ducking the Croatian kickboxer. Like the PRIDE 24 fight with Noguiera, I think it?s because Fedor doesn?t think he is ready for Cro Cop. But he will be (THAT is a discussion for another day :) )


Someone did accept Cro Cop?s challenge though, and that was Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera. Their fight occurred November 11th, 2003, it was a FOTYC on what I think is the greatest show in MMA history (PRIDE produced 3(!!!) amazing cards that year). Since Fedor refused to defend his title, PRIDE decided to make the winner of this fight the Interim Heavyweight Champion, where a unification bout would be made for their February show.


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PRIDE Final Conflict 2003. Noguiera gets back on top, beating Cro Cop after Fedor refused the challenge.


The fight was one of the most brutal and beautiful things you?d ever see. The story was similar to Nogiuera/Sapp, where Noguiera took a beating and came back to win with an armbar. However, this was slightly different. Against Sapp, Noguiera was on top of his game. That story was about the champion being tested. This story was about the fallen rising back to the top. Cro Cop hit Noguiera with punches that shattered Bob Sapps face. He hit Nog with kicks that broke Heath Herrings ribs. He hit Nog with a highkick that knocked out Igor Vochanchyn. Randy Couture said it was one of the most amazing beatings he had ever seen. Cro Cop was slowly killing him. Noguiera was unable to compete standing up, and had trouble taking Filipovic down. The first time he successfully got the kickboxer to the ground, Mirko was able to get back up. The end of the first round was eerily similar to the end of the first round against Fedor. However, Noguiera was able to get Cro Cop down again, had him mounted, and when Filipovic tried to turn and escape Nog grabbed his arm and had him tapping (pic). The crowd erupted. The Brazilian Top Team went crazy. Noguiera jumped up, ran around the ring with his arms pumping, and fell to his back and screamed. The champ was back.


The February fight did not happen. Fedor (and his brother Aleksander Emelianenko) had switched teams during the previous few months, from the Russian Top Team to the Red Devil Fight Club and had fought at Inoki?s New Years Bom Ba Ye show against Yuji Nagata (whom he destroyed) - in direct competition against PRIDE?s Shockwave event. There was also management and contract problems, mainly dealing with Mirko Cro Cop (they had the same manager, or something like that). Eventually things were straightened up, and Fedor had a chance to fight both Nogiuera AND Mirko Cro Cop. He just had to enter the PRIDE HEAVYWEIGHT GRAND PRIX to do so.


The brackets were set up like this:


Group A

Sergei Kharitonov vs. Murillo ?Ninja? Rua

Semmy Shilt vs. Gan McGee

Heath Herring vs. Yoshiki Takahashi

Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera vs. Hirotaka Yokoi


Group B

Kevin Randleman vs. Mirko Cro Cop Filipovic

Emelianenko Fedor vs. Mark Coleman

Naoya Ogawa vs. Stephan Leko

Giant Silva vs. Sentoryu


This means that if Fedor won, and Cro Cop won, they would face each other in the quarter finals. Noguiera and Fedor were positioned at the opposite ends of the brackets, which means they could only meet in the finals. The tournament was polarized ? it had some of the best fighters in the world competing in it, and it had some of the worst. The first round had its share of surprises, and not all of the favourites won.


Cro Cop vs. Randleman


It was the upset of the year. Not only did Kevin Randleman, a fighter whose mental game was unable to match his potential and physical ability, beat Mirko Filipovic, but he KNOCKED HIM OUT in the process. The fight began with Randleman rushing Cro Cop to the corner and pressing up against him. He didn?t try for a takedown, he just pressed against him. The referee told them to break and that?s when it happened ? Mirko went for a low kick and Randleman leaned in and hit a picture-perfect right hook that sent Cro Cop collapsing to the mat. ?The Monster? pounced and quickly finished his opponent with hammer-blows on the ground. Cro Cop would not advance to face the winner of Coleman/Fedor.


Emelianenko vs. Coleman


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PRIDE Critical Countdown. GP Opening Round. April 24th, 2004. Fedor submits Coleman for only the second time in his career.


It was built as ?the student vs. the teacher?. Though Coleman had not trained Fedor, the Russian fighter still advanced the style Coleman ?created? in the early UFC?s. It was also the current champion vs. the previous Grand Prix champion (Coleman had won the 2000 open weight Grand Prix). This would be Fedor?s biggest challenge since his PRIDE 25 fight. No other fighter he had faced to that point had the ability and credentials to take him down. Coleman could, and did. The vibe in the air that night after Cro Cop got knocked out was that anything could happen, and the Hammer House (which Coleman and Randleman was a part of) was coming back. So when Coleman got that initial takedown, Fedor fans (like myself) got worried quick. Fedor was able to position himself over into the corner and broke the cardinal rule of MMA and gave his back to the American wrestler. More worry. (?Oh crap, Oh crap, Oh shit!?) But Fedor knew Coleman couldn?t submit him, and was able to free himself from the Hammers clutches. Coleman pressed and was finally able to get Fedor on his back, in prime position for his classic Ground and Pound. Mark posted his arm in order to position himself to land some blows from Fedors guard, the second he did Fedor grabbed Colemans other arm, turned his hips, raised his legs, and pivoted around and secured an armbar. Coleman had no choice but to tap out (?Yes, Yes, Yes, fucking YES!?) Fedor managed to tap Coleman out quicker than BJJ master Noguiera. A picture perfect armbar from a guy who was known for pounding his opponents? face into mush.


Noguiera vs. Yokoi


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PRIDE Critical Countdown. GP Opening Round. April 24th, 2004. Nogiuera debuts the Anaconda Choke against Hirotaka Yokoi.


For the first round of this fight, Yokoi appeared to be a 2004 version of Heath Herring. He was competitive with Noguiera and managed to survive Noguiera?s stand-up and ground game. His performance in this fight made him. In the second round, however, Noguiera pulled a new trick out of his bag. To that point, his two finishers were the triangle choke and the straight-arm bar. They served him well, but they were ineffective against Fedor because Fedor trained against them, and his primary finisher ?the triangle choke- was more of a defensive maneuver. He needed something that couldn?t be escaped when locked-on. Enter Anaconda Choke (Pic). Like the triangle choke, it is a defensive move. The opponent shoots in, Noguiera blocks and captures an arm and moves it across his opponents neck. Like a side-choke, Noguiera would use his opponents arm as the choke and his own arms to put pressure on that choking arm; cept with the anaconda choke he did it upside down, which meant a different sort of leverage and made it harder for the opponent to escape. The MMA world was shocked, and everyone was asking about the new move. BJJ Dojos across the world had guys putting each other in the position to see how exactly it worked. The message was sent: Noguiera came into the tournament prepared to take on Fedor.


The next round featured the following:


Noguiera vs. Herring

Kharitonov vs. Schilt

Randleman vs. Fedor

Ogawa vs. Giant Silva


Nogiuera vs. Herring


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PRIDE Total Elimination 2004. GP Quarter Finals. June 20th, 2004. Noguiera uses the anaconda choke for the second time.


Herring had gone the distance with Noguiera 3 years earlier due to slick submission defense. Much like Fedor, whatever Noguiera tried, Herring was able to escape. Not this time. 30 seconds into the 2nd round, Noguiera caught Herring with the Anaconda choke. He was 2 for 2 with that move in the tournament. In wrestling terms, it was his burning hammer. It was his Tiger Driver 91. A move he used when all others failed. A move that got the job done (pic).


Fedor vs. Randleman


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PRIDE Total Elimination 2004. GP Quarter Finals. June 20th, 2004. Kevin Randleman drops Fedor on his head.


Randleman was riding high off his upset win, and early on in this fight, it appeared that he repeated the upset. He rushed in on Fedor, was able to get Emelianenko?s back, and picked him up Rather than doing a Rampage-esque slam, he jumped up and turned Fedor in mid-air and dropped him on his head. It was a 1.0 on the Sappdriver scale and Fedor?s neck should have been broken. Randleman thought so too, and hesitated. Fedor was able to turn the tables ?and Randleman- over and secured a kimura armbar less than a minute after getting driven down into the mat. There was a question on whether Fedor could take punishment, it was answered in this match. It was becoming apparent that Fedor was filling into the role of Worlds Best Fighter. People still didn?t see him in the same way they saw Noguiera in the role, but fight-by-fight Fedor was winning people over. The next event would include the semi-finals and finals of the Grand Prix tournament and the possibility of Fedor facing Noguiera.


The semis were set up like this:


Noguiera vs. Kharitonov

Fedor vs. Ogawa


Noguiera vs. Kharitonov


Sergei Kharitonov was an undefeated fighter out of the Russian Top Team. He was impressive in his fights against Rua and Schilt, but those were not top caliber fighters. As a member of the RTT, he helped Fedor train for Noguiera in their first match and was privy to Fedors strategy in said fight. He was similar to Fedor in that he had heavy-hands and could deliver knock-out shots. Against Schilt he took some strong punches and kept on fighting. And against Rua he just went balls out and struck the Chute Boxe fighter down stupid. He was also someone who wouldn?t shoot in for the takedown and leave himself prone for the anaconda choke. The fight was the FOTN and was one of my FOTY. The guys stood and traded, there was take downs, there was submission attempts, there was shifts in action? there was everything. For 15 minutes (the semi?s went for only 2 rounds), they went at it, and in the end Noguiera won by decision. It was a tough fight, but he succeeded.


Fedor vs. Ogawa


Ogawa was the top fighter in PRIDE. Not in skill, but in popularity. Ratings were at his highest when he fought, hence PRIDE?s desire to keep him in the tournament as long as possible. He was an undefeated fighter, he was a Olympic Silver medalist, and he went through Leko and Silva very quickly. Sure, his 7 past wins were against guys who wouldn?t be considered top 20 fighters? or top 30 fighters? but you can?t really hold that against him because that?s the way he was booked. Maybe he was a skilled fighter and had some tricks nobody had seen. He was a medalist in Judo, which was one of Fedors specialties, and surely Ogawa was more capable in that regard? naah? Fedor tapped him in under a minute. 3 fights in the tournament, 3 submission wins.


With Fedor and Noguiera advancing to the finals, it was the rematch that everyone wanted. They had different paths, with Noguiera going 15 minutes and Fedor going 1, to the finals. Would this factor in?


Fedor vs. Noguiera


Ever since Fedor won the Heavyweight title, there was still the question of could he beat Noguiera again. He won that fight convincingly, there should have been no question about it, but there was. With Noguiera, all it takes is one mistake and it?s over. Law of Averages states that the longer the fight goes, the greater the chance of a mistake happens, which is what this fight presented?more time. This time, Noguiera had the opportunity to adjust his strategy and it showed. His performance was much better in this fight; he still stayed on the ground, but he was much more aggressive. In their first fight he wasn?t able to keep up with Fedor, in this fight he not only kept up but he dictated the pace and was able to keep Fedor busy. This was important because if Fedor was busy with Noguieras hands, he wouldn?t be focused on smashing Noguieras face. Noguiera was able to ?solve? Fedor, at least for the 4 minutes the fight lasted.


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PRIDE Final Conflict. GP Finals. August 15th, 2004. Fight ruled a draw due to a cut sustained on a heatbut.


Fedor?s biggest weakness is his skin. He cuts easily and that?s how the only loss from his career was incurred (an illegal elbow in the opening seconds by TK in RINGS). And when his head collided with Noguiera, the corner of his eye was split open and the fight was stopped. Since the cut was done unintentionally and not due to punishment, the fight was declared a draw ? much to Noguiera?s dismay. Noguiera had complained afterwards that he deserved to win, and a lot of people took him to task for it since a win in this situation wouldn?t really mean that Nog was the better fighter. IMO, Noguiera was angry because Fedor knew Nogs new strategy and would adjust his accordingly, which means in the rematch he wouldn?t have that advantage.


So not only was the Heavyweight Championship in dispute, but the Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion was as well. Since Fedors cut was a deep one, he needed a few months to recover. This leads us up to New Years Eve and FINALLY, the fight.


(Up next: The Fight)

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Guest TheShawshankRudotion

Ok! After that sleep-inducing Ultimate Fighter I need something to cheer me up!




Ok, right away I'm pissed off because the American broadcast didn't show either fighters whompass entrances. Fuck Millen, he has single-handedly decreased the value of PRIDE PPV's after taking the reigns at PRIDE 26. The pre-fight package was pretty bad too, because they have a deep history and all they could do was say "the title is IN DISPUTE!!!".... and they NEVER say the foreign fighters' full names. As if the regular PPV viewer couldn't possibly remember TWO foreign names. I think my venting is over...


Fighters go face-to-face in the middle of the ring as the ref goes over the rules. Mauro Ranallo goes over the stats of each fighter. Noguiera is looking in the best shape of his life - slim and trim, more muscle definition. Fedor looks bloated. That's why Fedor Rules.


The fight begins...


Bas: What, what do you think -by the way- when the referee touches their forehead, what is he looking for?


Couture: Uuuh, Vaseline.


Bas: Oh....


Bas: Cause it looks like he's blessing them, almost.




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Fedor STOMPS Noguiera?! He never did that in their previous fights!


Fedor leads in with a hard low kick to the knee. Fedor leads in with a left hook, he and Noguiera grab each other with Noguiera looking to get a thai-clinch, but Fedor switches position and is able to hiptoss Noguiera down. Fedor immediately stands up while Noguiera's on his back. Fedor throws a check low kick. Fedor DOES A LEAPING STOMP, but his foot misses Nogs head. Fedor, still standing, does a Wanderlei Silva-style stomp which gets a piece of Noguiera. Nog grabs ahold of Fedors leg, Fedor spins out of it and Noguiera gets back up. A minute of the fight has gone by.


I do PBP here because Fedor didn't do ANYTHING like this in their previous fights. In the first fight his game plan was to work the guard: Avoid submissions, Pound Noguiera. The second fight was much of the same, but Noguiera was able to resist and was much more active. Fedor has changed his strategy, he is much more wild. Fedor's hands are all over the place. He waves them up and down and it is throwing Noguiera off. Fedor leads in with a big right hook and then dives in for a successful takedown and then soccer kicks Noguiera. Right here is perfect evidence of how MMA has evolved, and how Fedor is the posterchild for the evolution of the fight game.


Ref stands Noguiera back up and we're only 2 minutes into the fight. Fedor with, what Couture calls a savate kick, which was a low front kick to the knee of Noguiera. Fedor then does a nice left mid kick to the liver of Noguiera. To put this in perspective: Fedor is a Judo and Sambo national champion. This is what he primarily studies. He also has trained heavily in Boxing and has great punching power. As of this point in the match, he has thrown more KICKS than punches or takedowns. There is such a synergy to his fights, a free flow of on style to another.


Fedor leads in with a straight right and then grabs Noguiera and throws him down AGAIN. Bas is in awe. Randy admires his technique and strategy. Couture uses the same style of "lead in with a punch, go for a takedown".


Nog is able to finally get under some of Fedors punches and tries for a takedown but Fedor switches his hips and is able to turn and get on top of Noguiera. Randy is impressed with his takedown defense. Fedor is in Nogs guard and Nog gets some good (albeit non threatening) punches on Fedor. The fight begins to mirror their first one as Fedor positions Nog towards the corner and keeps his head low and his hands moving. Ref moves them to the middle. Nog opens his guard to try and get better positioning but Fedor takes that opportunity to get out and stands up.


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Nog buttscoots towards Fedor and starts to kick at the Russians knees with his heels. OUCH! I think that is the most painful move in the world, but I guess it isn?t cause Fedor no sells it. Couture comments on Fedors activity and Mauro notes that it is not typical to see him like that. Bas notes that Fedor has changed his strategy and that ?This is not the Fedor we normally see?. Mauro says that Fedor is out-smarting Noguiera. Bas says that Noguiera said he had a new strategy, Mauro says it isn?t working, and Bas says he (Nog) isn?t adapting to the new Fedor (Well, he says ?Igor?, meaning Igor Vovchanchyn, who looks kinda like Fedor, which Bas notes and then follows up by saying all Russians look a like).


Fedor with a right lowkick which Nog caught and countered with a right straight which found its mark. Great counter. Fedor looks wobbly for a second but finds his legs quickly. Fedor gets a bit of a nosebleed from it. Noguiera isn?t a naturally strong puncher, though his technique is very good especially for a BJJ expert. Fedor rushes in and throws Nog down and we?re 5 minutes in.


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Emelianenko with a straight jab that connects and then manages to bob and weave out of Nogiueras counters. Great head control. Noguiera throws a right low kick at the same time Fedor throws a right cross and gets ROCKED by the punch as Fedor catches the kick and throws Nog to the mat. Got that? Mauro goes nuts. Nog looks stunned. Couture: ?I think Cro Cop even flinched?. At 6.30 in the first round. Fedor. MURDERIZES. Noguiera with a right. OH. MY. GOD. The sound of the punch, the way his head just snapped back. JESUS. Noguiera is FUCKED. They clinch for a brief moment, break, and Nogiuera is clearly dizzy. He tries for a takedown but it?s half-hearted cause he?s still out of it. Nogs nose is bleeding. Fedor sees that Nog is fucked and throws a body shot, because he can. Couture: ?Fedor is showing no respect to Nogiueras punching ability?. And it?s true. Couture notes that Fedor is keeping his hands at his waist. 3 minutes left and Fedor lands ANOTHER right that sends Nogs head back. Bas: ?How much can you TAKE? Those?.. Punches?


A small punching exchange with Fedor throwing a right but landing a left to the body. Bas marks out of the LIVAR SHOT~! Fedor avoids Nogs punches by leaning back and moving his head. He can afford to do that against Nog, he can?t against Cro Cop. A NOTH ER RIGHT. GOOD GOD! This is getting brutal. Middle kick to the body (Liver~!) Bas: ?Uh oh, a few more?? and then goes on to say if Fedor can?t KO Nog, that a few more shots to the body (would put Nog down). Couture is amazed by the amount of punishment Nog can take, and Mauro ponders whether or not that will affect him later on in life. I think about it too, and I almost fucking cry because there is no way he?ll be able to get through his career without a ton of brain damage.


A minute left and Nog back Fedor into a corner and shoots in for a takedown, Fedor turns away from the corner, Nog follows and is able to successfully get Fedor down. Bas reveals that Nogs new strategy was to do this very thing: Take Fedor Down. Nog works some punches in Fedors half guard but Fedor brilliantly rolls his head with the punches and doesn?t take much punishment. Noguiera holds on for a sec, slips out into full mount and Fedor turns over at the same time and pushes him off. The bell rings and Randy notes that Nog could have had an armbar there. Randy goes over Fedors strategy of constant movement and never staying in one place so Nog could take him down, and he?s right on the money.


The replay shows how badly Fedor is beating Noguiera. Some of the shots in slow motion are beautiful in their brutality,


Couture: ?Wow, that?s about as big of a right hand as you are going to see in this sport?


Bas (laughing in amazement) ?And he took like 4 or 5 of them!?


Randy and Bas are awesome together here.


Couture: Let?s see what adjustments Noguiera can make here and see if he can get the advantage.


Bas says that Noguiera should start off right away and take Fedor down and Couture replies with ?He has to catch Fedor taking a forward step in order to take him down?. Nog tries for a takedown but Fedor sprawls and avoids it. Couture is impressed with Fedors takedown defense and talks how he has gone from a GnP fighter to someone who uses submissions.


Fedor moves around the ring as if he is taunting Noguiera. He is bouncing around, and at one point early on in the second round be jumps side to side with his head out. God this is insulting. They get in close for a second and throw, Fedor backs off and then keeps the distance with a front kick. Bas theorizes why Fedor has his hands at his waist. He believes it?s to lure Nog in for all head shots, so Fedor can just concentrate on dodging head shots. 2 minutes in and Nog tries for another takedown, Fedor blocks and tries for a knee. Nog falls back and pulls guard. Mauro and Randy go over Fedors strategy of stick and move ?He does a great job of keeping the tempo of the fight?.


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Fedor dodges a Noguiera left.


Ok, 2.30 into the 2nd round. WATCH THIS SEQUENCE. Look at the awareness of Fedor. He starts to be more aggressive in Nogs guard, throws more punches. Nog takes advantage of this and tries for a triangle and Fedor easily escapes from it. Nog tries to throw punches from the guard and look at Fedors head movement here. Like a snake. Doesn?t get touched at all. Fedor tries for some more heavy shots on the ground. Noguiera tries for another triangle but Fedor escapes and decides he wants to keep it standing. The trio talk about how frustrating it must be for Noguiera. Fedor with a quick takedown and this must be confusing for Nog. Another triangle attempt, Fedor avoids, stands up.


Couture throws in another advantage of Fedor keeping his hands at waist-level. ?It?s gotta be a lil disconcerning to have those punches come from down at the waist. You?re not used to seeing them come from down there.? Nogs face looks horrible. ?A nice long jab coming from Fedors waist. *Nog shoots in and Fedor blocks* and that puts it in nice position to block the takedown? Bas: ?Yep.. OH! That?s probably it!? God I love Randy Couture in a purely homosexual kinda way.


DEAR JESUS. The round is about over, Nog falls to his back, Fedor moves to his side and then lands 3 or 4 SICK hammer blows. Nog pulls up and grabs Fedors legs and the bell rings. Mauro talks about how Fedor has been able to do what ever he wants. Couture says don?t count Nog out and references the Cro Cop fight. Bas says that Cro Cop got confident in his takedown defense and broke his concentration and that Fedor wouldn?t. Couture notes that Nog hasn?t been able to catch up with Fedor and also says that Fedor has an answer for anything Nog tries.


Fedor enters the 3rd round very strong and gets the takedown and works aggressively in the guard. The ref puts them in the middle. Some really fun ground stuff here, very hard to describe. Fedor says ?fuck this? and goes back standing. Nog lands a nice jab and Fedor is unaffected. Tries to shoot in but Fedor twists and lands in guard. God damn Jesus. Right now I am watching the best fighter who has ever lived. Period.


Fedor looks a little sluggish now. He has been constantly moving for well over 15 minutes and has taken it down about 5%. Nog sees this and tries to rush him, Fedor moves away, they clinch, before Nog can Fedor throws a knee. Punching combo into a takedown, side positioning, stands up, lays into the guard. Nog twists and turns his body, reachs under Fedors leg, so I am guessing an armbar attempt, but stops cause Fedor is punching him. Kimura attempt, Fedor powers out. This is some nice ground action. Much different from the Koscheck/Leben crap that was on The Ultimate Fighter.


One Minute Left.


Watch Fedor here. Watch the head control. Look at how many punches he is landing. This is digusting. The pace is really picking up in the last stage of this fight. They exchange knees. Nog lands a one two combination. Fedor looks tired. Nog gets a body lock but the bell rings. He raises his hands in Victory and I wonder what fight was he watching. Then I remember all the head shots he took and understand.


Amazingly enough Fedor looks the worse for wear here. Possibly a broken nose, a black eye, and a bruise above his right eye on his forehead. He gets the UD and Nog looks dejected. Fedor raises Nogs hand and gives him the thumbs up, streamers fall from the sky, Fedor is being declared the undisputed heavyweight and 2004 grand prix champion. Fedors wife is crying. She?s kinda hot.


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December 31st, 2004. Emelianenko Fedor: Undisputed PRIDE Heavyweight Champion. 2004 PRIDE Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion. In other words, Worlds Best Fighter.

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Guest TheShawshankRudotion

I'll finish this insane sequence of posts with what I probably should have done in the first place, but I feel that I had to post what I did to properly explain the rating I will give this fight.


This fight went exactly the same way their first fight did, but it was the total opposite. Rather than keeping the fight on the ground and taking Nog out of his game, Fedor kept the fight standing and took Nog out of his game. Each was unique. This is one of Fedors biggest strengths, and it is something most fighters don't properly understand. Most people think that if a wrestler takes a striker down, that's taking a fighter out of his game. If those fighters were amateurs, sure. But at the level that Fedor and Nog are at, it goes way beyond that. This more had to do with pacing and counter punching and setting up shots. Fedor is the chessmaster, as he'd sacrifice a punch to get a takedown. He fights thinking 2 or 3 steps ahead of his opponent, and is so fucking good that he can work well from any position.


He was incredibly successful in two particular areas of the fight (1)Taking down Noguiera at will, (2)Taking Noguieras head off with punches. But these were just means to an end, as Fedor knew he couldn't knock out or submit Noguiera; so his goal was to rack up the points for a decision-win. Fedor is a brilliant fighter. In every round of the grand prix he disposed of his opponents in under 3 minutes. With Randleman and Coleman it was because he had to. With Ogawa he had to as well, but not because Ogawa was a threat; he just had to save energy to fight later on in the night. With Noguiera, finishing the fight was never an option, so why try? This means he wasn't insanely aggressive when it came to striking, but rather he picked his spots. He didn't try to follow up on his takedowns, or try to advance his position when in Nogs guard. Instead he stalled. He moved his hands around and bounced up and down which meant Nog couldn't time his take downs properly or land a lot of punches and combinations. He kept his hands at his waist, which blocked the takedowns and allowed him to create space. He used kicks to not only do damage, but to -again- create space.


Fedor had Nog off of his game. From the very beginning. Fedor coming out and doing Silva and Sakuraba style stomps, do you think that was to score points or excite the crowd? No way. It was to throw Noguiera off. Nog was expecting for Fedor to fall into the guard as he did in their previous matches, and when he didn't it presented Nog with a problem. It gave Nog another thing to think about when he was on the ground. It also quickened the pace. Fedor switching from striking mode, to judo mode, to guard mode, back to striking mode was fantastic strategy. By keeping his distance he dictated where the fight was going, and he would change his mind on where to go every 2 minutes. Nog could not keep up. I said before, with Noguiera it's just a matter of time and Fedor didn't give him any. The second Nog went for a submission in the guard, Fedor stood up. It's like what Roddy Piper said: "Just when they think they have all the answers, I change the question". "Ok, let's stand and trade... no lets go to the ground... let's play the guard game... no, let's stand and trade... no lets go to the ground... no let's stand and trade...".


And here's the thing, there is nothing Noguiera could have done about it. Fedor was the superior puncher. Not technical in the slightest, but his unconventional style threw the very conventional Noguiera off to the point to where Fedor landed some serious leather. He threw some bombs in that fight, and anyone else would have been done for. And whenever Nog would get the advantage standing, Fedor would either take him down or back away. Nog could not take him down - he only got one take down out of maybe 15 tries. Fedor is a Judo guy, he has won national champships in that discipline. He has fantastic hip movement and can turn in mid-motion. You have to double-leg a guy like that, not use greco takedowns. The thing is, he's also a Sambo guy, he has won National titles in that sport. So if you grab at his legs, he'll be able to spin out pretty easily and then kick you in the head. He has fantastic balance too. On the ground, forgettaboutit. Again, the hip control allows him to sweep or pivot towards a submission. On top, he still drops some severe bombs. But he barely spent any time in Nogs guard. Why?


Easy. The second match. In that match, Nog started to dictate the pace. He started to Control the fight. Fedor couldn't have that. Especially not when he's going for a decision win. So Fedor tested the waters on the ground and when Nog started to take control, Fedor got up and took it back.


Noguiera is a great fighter. He was made to look like a chump by Fedor. And here's the thing. If Fedor wasn't around, Nogiuera would be EASILY the top fighter in the world. That's scary. The gap between Fedor and Nog is as big as the gap between Nog and everyone else. Randy Couture and Bas Rutten were watching Fedor IN AWE. These two men were at one point or another in their careers the best in the game, and they are in awe of Fedor.


For big bombs, great psychology, wonderful story, some fabulous takedowns, some neat exchanges on their feet and on the ground, and great pacing, this fight gets ****1/2. Easy MOTYC, one of the best I've seen. I don't give out *****, so breathe it in, cause that's very close to best match ever.

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Guest TheShawshankRudotion

You could just get DVDVR Naimarks shootcomps, probably for cheaper than a custom and have lots of variety on them. If you want a direct-from-me list of matches that would appeal to you, then I could make one (actually, I probably already hav eone). But I only really know PRIDE and UFC, so you'd be missing out on RINGS, Pancrase, ZST, Shooto, KOTC, ROTR, Superbrawl, etc. etc. etc. (the equivalency of getting a comp of WCW and WWF matches in the mid 90's, when there was AJPW, NJPW, ECW, etc. out there. But PRIDE and UFC have some of the highest quality matches, so it wouldn't be so bad ;)


It depends on what you're looking for. Historical Significant matches? Good mat work? Good striking/ko's? Combination? A good story/drama?

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I thought about picking up one or two of Naimark's comps at some point, actually, or at least referring to the match lists to get Lynch to make one for me personally, so the VQ would be as good as possible.


I'm looking for a good introduction to the style, but I'm learning that "the style" doesn't really exist -- it's several promotions and several styles and they all have their own advantages. I think what I have in mind is maybe the matches that most identify what each group is about. Is there one match or a group of matches that pretty much sums up everything PRIDE stands for and showcases the style at its best? Ditto for UFC? I'm sure there's more than one, but you probably see what I'm saying.


I asked you because I trust your opinion, and because I happen to love a man who isn't afraid to bold his text on a message board or tweak the details of Chris Masters' gay fireman gimmick.



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Guest TheShawshankRudotion



It's hard to define a style of a promotion as fighting styles in general change every few years. As fighters develop and get better, as MMA evolves, fights become different. They also are affected by the rules of a promotion, like I mentioned above PRIDE allows kicks on the ground and UFC allows elbows. PRIDE is in a ring, UFC is in a cage. This means UFC favours wrestlers like Randy Couture who will take down their opponents, run them into the fence, and drive elbows into their heads. PRIDE favours strikers a little bit more and submission artists, and you have someone like Wanderlei Silva who uses stomps a lot. The dynamics are endless, so there is no one style per se.

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Guest TheShawshankRudotion

I uploaded a highlight video I made of Nog/Fedor I. It just has action from the first round, but as I mentioned before, nothing much changes beyond that. It's just around 5mb, and I think I capture the mood pretty well.


I can also upload the full match, if anyone would like. I included all the pre-fight stuff, from the little history package, to interviews with Quadros, to Quadros and Bas talking about the fight, to the entrances (which are awesome). Watch it just for the commentary :) It's about 75 mb though, so I'll only upload it if someone wants to see it.


Here's the highlight.




And here's Pele/Newton from PRIDE 19. If you want to get into MMA, this is a perfect introduction.




Hopefully it won't go down...

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