|NAKAMURA-BUSTAMANTE CARD ANNOUNCEMENT
A press conference was held at the Dream Stage Entertainment office on August 4 to announce an additional match to the August 15 PRIDE GP 2004 Final Round card. Starting off an already historic card will be Kazuhiro Nakamura vs. Murilo Bustamante in the first match.
Nakamura and Bustamante will kick off the record-breaking show. Additional tickets for the PRIDE GP 2004 Final Round sold out within 30 minutes and PPV/Closed Circuit viewers in Japan alone will total more than 200,000.
"The first match has a crucial role", Pride General Director, Nobuhiko Takada, explained. "It has to set the fans at the Saitama Super Arena on fire. We wondered who we could trust with this task." Their worries were solved with a single phone call from Hidehiko Yoshida.
"Yoshida has a lot of expectations for Kazu", DSE President, Nobuyuki Sakakibara, explained about his conversation with Yoshida. "He's also eager. We gave him the main event at BUSHIDO and he had a close match with Rogerio Nogueira, a top-class fighter. However, the Kazu we saw then was not the Kazu we were hoping for. The Kazu we expected wasn't the ?? don't want to lose' Kazu. It was the ?? don't care if I lose. I'm going in to win' Kazu. Unfortunately, we weren't able to see that. This is the discussion we had and we both decided that we must strike while the iron is hot. Now is the time to remold Kazu."
"We want to put so much pressure on Kazu that he will nearly shake with fear and have him clear his name that he dirtied when he didn't live up to expectations in BUSHIDO." Takada challenged Nakamura, who was also present at the press conference. "This is a fight with your opponent and a fight with the fans. It's also a fight with the other cards."
After hearing this, Nakamura said, "I fought in the recent BUSHIDO because I wanted to fight in next year's Middleweight Grand Prix. I didn't produce results and I felt like I wasn't strong enough yet. I hope everyone will again look forward to my fight. I plan on putting my life on the line. There is no fight besides this one. I'm putting everything on this fight."
"I know he's a strong fighter, one of the top in MMA. I want to have an intense battle with him, for the fans, not a technical one", Nakamura evaluated Bustamante. "I was so disappointed in my fight with Rogerio. I've been training continuously since then so I'm ready to fight now. This is the biggest PRIDE event of the year. I'll be nervous and aggressive, just like it was my debut fight."
"If you can beat Bustamante, that will greatly increase your chances of being one of the probable 16 fighters in next year's Middleweight Grand Prix," Sakakibara responded, giving Nakamura a last chance. This one match will determine whether he is qualified to fight in the Middleweight Grand Prix.
"Yoshida told me that I have to go back and regain the trust that I lost." Nakamura continued on his training, "I'm training in judo, my base, concentrating on ground fighting, just as I did for my first fight."
Reserve Fighter Priority
Kevin Randleman and Ron Waterman will fight for the reserve position. The reserve priority for the Grand Prix will be decided as follows:
(Ex. Fighter "A" cannot continue in the next match)
1. Fighter "B" that lost to fighter "A" in their previous match.
2. The winner of the reserve match.
3. Fighter "C" that lost to fighter "B" in their previous match.
4. The loser of the reserve match.
In the case that both fighters advancing to the final round are unable to continue, the losers of the semi-final round will take their place in the final round.
Murilo Bustamante (Brazilian Top Team)
Kazuhiro Nakamura (Yoshida Dojo)
2nd Match - PRIDE GP 2004 Semi-finals
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (Brazilian Top Team)
Sergei Kharitonov (Russian Top Team)
3rd Match - PRIDE GP 2004 Semi-finals
Naoya Ogawa (Hussle)
Fedor Emelianenko (Red Devil)
4th Match - PRIDE GP Reserve Match
Kevin Randleman (Hammer House)
Ron Waterman (Team Impact)
Mirko Filipovic (Team Cro Cop)
Alexander Emelianenko (Red Devil)
Wanderlei Silva (Chute Boxe Academy)
Yuki Kondo (Pancrase-ism)
Main Event - PRIDE GP 2004 Final Match
2nd Match Winner
3rd Match Winner