2005 was a banner year for the sport of Mixed Martial Arts and PRIDE FC helped spread MMA across the globe. Pride Fighting Championship is arguably the biggest organization in MMA and boasts some of the best fighters from around the planet. For their 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix, Total Elimination 2005, PRIDE FC put together a downright amazing card. Could it possibly live up to the hype?
On April 23rd, 2005 at the Osaka dome in Japan, 16 of the worlds best Middleweight fighters (183-205lbs) convened for the first round of a three round MMA tournament, Total Elimination 2005. Some of the biggest names in Mixed Martial Arts from around the globe participating in this event included Wanderlei Silva, Quinton Jackson, Vitor Belfort, Kevin Randleman, Hidehiko Yoshida, Kazushi Sakaraba, Dan Henderson and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. PRIDE FC is known for their amazingly well produced shows and this one doesn't disappoint. The opening ceremony/parade of fighters was toned down compared to some of PRIDE's other events, but is yet still remarkable. The fight commentator's for Total Elimination 2005 are none other than Bas Rutten and Mauro Ranallo, two of the best in the business. Bas Rutten is not only one of the mostly knowledgeable MMA experts on the planet, but a natural born entertainer that adds a unique voice to the events he covers. Now onto the fights!
PRIDE FC uses very similar rules compared to UFC and other MMA events except for the following:
- Fights take place in a 23 x 23 foot ring
- Each fight is 3 rounds, 10 minutes for the first and 5 minuts for the 2nd and 3rd
- Kicks and knees to a downed opponent are allowed
- No elbows to the head and face
- Fights are scored in their entirety, not by each round
- Yellow Cards will be giving to fighters for stalling at a cost of 10% of their purse. The 3rd card results in a disqualification
For more information on PRIDE FC regarding rules, fighters, events, visit
***SPOILER ALERT*** DO NOT read the rest of this section unless you want to know the winner of each match.
- Kevin Randleman vs Kazuhiro Nakamura: Everyone pretty much expected Randleman to come out wild and reckless like many of his previous PRIDE fights, but that wasn't the case. This wasn't the same fighter that dropped Cro-Cop with a massive left and almost slammed Fedor through the canvas. "The Monster" seemed much more cautious and focused against Nakumura while really trying to stick to his game plan. Nakumura had different plans and ended up having a break out performance during the fight. Not only wouldn't he let Randleman produce much offense, but he delivered some of his own. By the end of the Third Round, Nakumura proved to be the more aggressive fighter with strikes and submission attempts earning a well deserved Unanimous Decision.
- Dean Lister vs Ricardo Arona: On paper, this fight looked to deliver some amazing action on the ground as both Lister and Arona are World Class grapplers. While there ended up being so decent exchanges on the mat, both fighters seemed to nullify each other's skills and the end result was somewhat unsatisfying. What made the difference in this fight was Arona's stand up skill, which proved to be far superior to Lister's. By the end of the Third Round, Lister easily looked the worse of the two fighters. Arona is awarded with a Unanimous Decision after a somewhat lackluster fight.
- Igor Vovchanchyn vs Yuki Kondo: Igor Vovchanchyn is a PRIDE veteran of 7 year's and recently made the drop down from Heavyweight to Middleweight. His opponent, Yuki Kondo is the current Pancrase Light Heavyweight Champ, but has somewhat struggled since coming over to PRIDE. Kondo's troubles continue in this fight as Igor totally dominates Kondo both on the feet and on the ground. While many thought this fight would be a standup battle, most of the action takes place on the ground with Igor attempting submissions and delivering plenty of ground and pound. To Kondo's credit, somehow he survives to the end of the Third Round and Igor takes the third consecutive Unanimous Decision of the night.
- Vitor Belfort vs Alistair Overeem: This fight looked to be another standup war as both Vitor and Alistair are well known for being great strikers. But like many of the fights during Total Elimination 2005, expect the unexpected. Alistar looked crisp on his feet with good Muay Thai knees, kicks and punches, but for some reason kept taking Belfort to the canvas. There both seemed to stall often despite Belfort's black belt in BJJ. Belfort didn't look particular good on his feet or the ground and once Overeem decided to stay on his feet, he dropped Vitor to the canvas with a knee/punch combination. Seeing that Belfort was hurt, Overeem goes for the kill and secures a victory by guillotine choke, 9 minutes and 36 seconds into the First Round.
- Dan Henderson vs Antonio Rogerio Nogueira: Easily one of the most anticipated fights of the night, this fight delivered while it lasted. Henderson and Little Nog (whose twin brother fights as a HW in PRIDE) exchange both on the feet and on the ground. It's not long before this fight turns into a wild one with both fighters swinging for the fences. By about halfway into the First Round, Henderson looks somewhat gassed and begins to struggle. Known for his excellent skill in Brazilian Jui-jitsu, Nogueira waits for Henderson to make a mistake and capitalizes on it when it presents itself. 8 minutes and 5 seconds in the First Round, Nogueira ends the fight with a textbook armbar.
- Kazushi Sakuraba vs Yoon Don Sik: Kazushi "The Gracie Hunter" Sakuraba is known for his legendary wins over four different members of the Gracie family and is considered an MMA legend in Japan. Yoon Don Sik on the other hand is a legendary figure in Judo, having beaten 4 Olympic Gold Medalists despite never making it to the Olympics. Unfortunately for Yoon Don Sik, MMA is much more than just Judo and during his first MMA fight he finds out the hard way. Just 30 seconds into the fight, Sakuraba lands a combination that drops Yoon Don Sik to the canvas and after several undefended lefts to the head, the fight is stopped at a mere 38 seconds in the First Round.
- Mauricio Rua vs Quinton Jackson: Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is easily one of the most charismatic and likeable fighters in the world of MMA. Coming off a mediocre split decision win over Murllo Rua (Mauricio's brother), Rampage is looking to redeem himself after coming of two disappointing fights. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua on the hand is looking to revenge his brother loss against Jackson. Right away it's apparent that Rampage doesn't look very sharp as Shogun quickly takes control of the fight. Mauricio delivers great classic Chute Boxe style Muay Thai knees and before long one of them breaks Quinton's ribs. Jackson continues to fight despite being in pain, but Mauricio Rua keeps pouring it on until 4 minutes and 47 seconds into the round when the referee calls the fight.
- Wanderlei Silva vs Hidehiko Yoshida: A rematch of epic proportions (from the 2003 Middleweight Tournament) pits one of the biggest names in MMA, Wanderlei "The Axe Murderer" Silva vs Judo Olympic Silver Gold Medalist Hidehiko Yoshida. Both fighters are hugely popular in PRIDE, but being Japanese Yoshida has the home crowd in his corner. Yoshida ends up surprising a lot of people by coming out and taking Wanderlei out of his game. By the end of the First Round, Yoshida delivered some decent offense against Wandy without sustaining much damage. During the second round, Wandy turns it up a notch and controls much of the round on the ground. Utilizing his Olympic caliber Judo skills, Yoshida manages to neutralize much of the high octane offense that Wanderlei is known for. In the Third Round, both fighters stay on their feet for much of the round and that is Wanderlei's world. After some great leg kicks and a few good punches by Wandy, both fighters go to the ground. In a last ditch effort, Yoshida tries to pull off a few submission to no avail. The fight goes to the judges and Wanderlei Silva gets the win in a Split Decision.
Video: PRIDE FC Total Elimination 2005 is presented in it's original broadcast format of 1.33:1. PRIDE FC is known for their stellar production values and it shows on this DVD. Video quality overall is very good and delivers good detail and accurate colors. To cover their events, PRIDE uses many different cameras, some of which don't' produce as good image quality of others (especially the Ref Cam).
Sound: The sole Dolby Digital 2.0 track provides what you'd expect from a well produced MMA event. The audio mix is excellent as it balances the action in the ring as well as the fight commentary.
Extras: The first disc includes a few informative text and photo based extras. Included are "Fighter Photo Gallery", "Ring Girl Photo Gallery", "PRIDE FC Rules", "Fighter Bios", "Fight Glossary" and "Event Poster and Program". "On the 2nd disc we have about 6 minutes of "Fighter Entrance Highlights". This is worth a look as it's edited very well combining not only fighter entrances, but actual highlights of the fights. Next is a "Tournament Preview" which last around 10 minutes. It's basically a promotional piece for the event that hypes up the tournament. Here we get the best extra on the disc, almost an hour of "Uncut Pre-Fight Interviews". 10 fighters contribute to this feature including highly entertaining interviews with Quinton Jackson and Kevin Randleman. Then there's the all too short minute of "PRIDE Girls". This is a montage featuring the lovely PRIDE ring girls from Total Elimination 2005. To finish things off, there's a 30 second "Even Commercial" and a 10 minute featurette "What is Pride FC?" which covers the history, rules and philosophy of PRIDE FC.
I must say, I was somewhat disappointed after PRIDE FC Total Elimination 2005 came to a close. I expected many of these great matchups to be more exciting and entertaining. And let's face it, nobody likes to see half of the fights of a MMA event to go to decision. On the other hand, these results set up some interesting fights for the second round of the Middleweight tournament, Critical Countdown 2005. In the end Total Elimination 2005 was far from the worst PRIDE FC event, but it was miles away from the best.