A press conference was held on 9/16 to announced 6 matchups for the upcoming 10/14 PRIDE BUSHIDO 5 event to be held in Osaka Castle Hall. The card is stacked with matches that are guaranteed to be exciting, and will be headed my Takanori Gomi.
Takanori Gomi, the lightweight ace, will fight in the main event in the last BUSHIDO of this year. Gomi has won all 3 of his BUSHIDO fights by knockout and has the best record in BUSHIDO so far.
"This time, we've decided to refrain from using big names like Silva and Mirko", explained DSE President, Nobuyuki Sakakibara. "I want to have a Light-Welterweight Grand Prix tournament next year, running from Spring to Autumn. This fight will allow these fighters to gain the attention of fans of their weight class and to see if they can get the world's attention. I want them to have a clear understanding of how many fans are willing to come out and see them."
This is a big gamble for DSE. Even Sakakibara admitted that this is a difficult venture as a promoter. However, they cannot simply rely on the strength of already famous fighters in order to keep BUSHIDO alive. BUSHIDO has to be built up on its own merits, with its own style of excitement and appeal. For that reason, they've decided to draw crowds using fighters other than heavy and middleweights.
The matchmaking for this BUSHIDO has been further improved. BUHIDO Director and DEEP Representative, Saeki, is confident in the matchups for BUSHIDO 5. "We put together fights, centering on strikers, where there will be a high probability of knockouts. I'm confident that the fights will be exciting. The fighters should all work hard to show that they deserve to be in the Grand Prix next year. To put it clearly, slow ground fights are boring. I expect quick, exciting fights from the light and middleweights."
The announced card is definitely not boring. Namekawa VS Shogun looks to be a head-to-head, striking war. Sentoryu's opponent, Mal, is also a striker. Chonan VS Newton will be an exciting match, pitting a ground wizard against a solid striker and Mach VS Gracie will be high-level battle.
The main even will be Takanori Gomi VS the Crazy Horse, Charles Bennett. "Gomi understands what the BUSHIDO concept is about", Sakakibara said. "We are betting it all on him. That's how much we believe in him." Gomi, in response, promised an exciting bout, "It's an honor for me to fight in the main event. I don't think the Japanese fighters have done well in BUSHIDO yet so I want to make sure that this time, all the fans go home satisfied."
Gomi didn't seem affected by the pressure of fighting in the main event, "Every time I fight, I always devote myself to making the fans happy. This will be a test of myself, to see if I can fight in the main event as I always do. I think this is an important fight for me, as a professional. I will be in my best condition for the fight".
"I hope to provide a place in the New Year's Eve show for the young fighters that perform well this time." Sakakibara continued, "I don't have a certain number of fighters in mind. Everyone has a chance. The judging criterion is simply whether the fans want to see them or not. If he can put on a fight equal to the middle and heavyweights, it wouldn't bother me if Gomi fights in the main event. Every fighter in this BUSHIDO should be aiming for a spot on the New Year's Eve card."
It looks like Sakakibara has decided to reward and motivate the fighters this time, considering that they were pressured before BUSHIDO 4 with the possibility of the BUSHIDO series disappearing, depending on their performance. Who will be able to excite the Osaka fans and earn a spot on the New Year's Eve card? Who will prove that they should be in next year's Light and Welterweight Grand Prix? For these young warriors, there is a lot riding on next month's BUSHIDO.
Excluding the Minowa VS Ueyama fight, this BUSHIDO will have a Japan Team VS The World theme. The remaining 2 fights will be announced in the very near future. According to Sakakibara, "One Japanese fighter will be from Pancrase. The 2nd fight will probably be a middle or heavyweight match."
I was unhappy that I lost to Giant Silva in April and so I've worked on my conditioning and studied a lot. I've trained hard and my condition is much better than before. I will beat him down and I will win. I don't have any impression of my opponent. I'm just going to win.
I'll get in the ring as if my life is on the line. I want people to think it's a battle to the death. My opponent, Shogun, is young and never stops striking, but I want to be the "Shogun" of Osaka Castle. It will be an amazing fight.
I can't forgive myself for losing my last 2 matches. I think fighters like that shouldn't be out there so I'm going to win this time. Newton has respect for Japanese martial arts and he once said in a magazine that "bushido" is about finding death. So, I'm going to kill him! Newton is internationally famous and he's well rounded but I'm going to make him into a stepping-stone for me.
Hayato "Mach" Sakurai
The Gracies are experts at boring fights with no striking, where they just flop around on the ground. Crosley seems to be aggressive and good at striking so I'm excited. He's supposed to be the best striker among the Gracies but he is a Gracie so he may still fight a boring fight. I think this is a holy war to defend BUSHIDO. If he fights like a Gracie, I'm going to be a suicide bomber.