Welcome to the first edition of "Big Daddy's Corner," pridefc.com's exclusive new series with the "Big Daddy" himself, Gary Goodridge. A pioneer in the sport of mixed martial arts and among the leaders in all-time PRIDE FC appearances, Gary Goodridge is known for his "knockout reputation" (among his victims: Don Frye, Oleg Taktarov, Valentijn Overeem, and two destructive victories over Japanese fighter Yoshiaki Yatsu). Recently retired, Goodridge now brings his insight and experience to pridefc.com ... beginning with PRIDE FC: INFERNO, "Big Daddy" will give his predictions and analysis for each PRIDE FC event. Never one to pull any punches in the ring, "Big Daddy" will not pull any punches with his comments or predictions!
Murilo "Ninja" Rua (Brazil) vs. Alexander Otsuka (Japan)
Big Daddy's Pick: Ninja is the cardio king and he's absolutely relentless in his pursuit of victory. The guy never gases. I don't think he hits as hard as he should, but he has a lot of heart and a lot of skill. The way he fights, it seems like he's fighting for food and I like that. Otsuka's a nice guy and an entertainer, but he can't hit hard enough to break wind! He couldn't hit hard if his life depended on it. Ninja's weapons are his knees and I see a lot of knees in this match. On the other hand, one thing Otsuka does have is take down skills and that's his only chance. This is either going to be Ninja by decision or a very quick referee stoppage. It could go to a decision because Otsuka has a lot of incentive. I think he's going to try his best to make this an exciting match. Otsuka is making his come back and the way he fights, he doesn't care about records. He's probably going to come out hard and try and please the crowd. But I see Ninja way ahead here by a high connection ratio.
Igor "Ice Cold" Vovchanchyn (Ukraine) vs. Dan "The Bull" Bobish (USA)
Big Daddy's Pick: Ok, I've got to say, Dan Bobish is a really nice guy. In fact, he's too nice and he shouldn't be in this sport. He doesn't have the heart to be a fighter. Dan may read this and be upset or it may even make him fight harder in this match, I don't know, but I stand by what I say. Dan is a super person, a super human being, but he doesn't have the heart to be a fighter in my opinion. Because I beat Bobish so quickly and then beat Don Frye very quickly, I think that solidified my victory against Bobish because Frye was the guy he was training with for his fight with me. Now Vovchanchyn, he's one of those hard-headed fighters who has evolved through the years. His kicks, striking, submissions, all of that has evolved and its evolved out of necessity because the competition out there is so good. I think Dan Bobish has a fear of being hurt, a fear of being KO'ed and we all know Vovchanchyn hits like a sledgehammer. So if you're Dan Bobish, or any fighter, if you have any fears, Vovchanchyn will knock them out of you. I see Vovchanchyn winning by a first round KO.
Kazuhiro Nakamura (Japan) vs. Dos Caras Jr. (Mexico)
Big Daddy's Pick: I don't know either of these fighters too well, but given what I do know, I see Nakamura by some type of submission. He was able to squeak by Daniel Gracie at Bushido and I think he has the upper hand here in a match against a wrestler like Dos Caras Jr. Dos Caras will probably go for a body lock and the take down and from there Nakamura will get the submission. I see that happening some time in the first round.
Sergei Kharitonov (Russia) vs. L.A. Giant (USA)
Big Daddy's Pick: The Giant shouldn't be here in my opinion. This is just a classic David versus Goliath match and Goliath is being led to the wolves. At 220 pounds, compared to the giant, Kharitonov is a small, dainty wolf, but still a wolf. I see the giant going down in the first round by a submission or swollen lip.
Mark Kerr (USA) vs. Norihisa Yamamoto (Japan)
Big Daddy's Pick: This is a match people have been waiting for, the return of Mark Kerr. But, Kerr has a problem with his heart and a problem with cajones. We saw the documentary; we know he had a monkey on his back, which I sincerely hope he got rid of. I don't know if Mark is fighting out of necessity to pay the bills or out of love for the sport. Kerr running into his personal problems really was too bad, as far as where he was at the time with his fight career. He was evolving with the game, he was learning, he was taking the next steps to be a complete fighter ... but he fell short. He had that monkey on his back. His opponent, Yamamoto, is one of those guys who comes to fight every time. He really surprised me against Heath Herring and I hope Mark is ready for Yamamoto. I hope we're not going to see a boring Mark Kerr fight; I don't want to see any lay and pray. Yamamoto doesn't quit, if there's a chance for him to win this, just an opening, he will take it. But, this really is a match Kerr should win. He is the better fighter and the better wrestler and he should be able to control the fight. I think this will be a win for Kerr, but it won't be a good win, it will be an ugly win. It could be a boring fight. Kerr can't trade punches and he's afraid to get hit. People want to see slugfests and KO's. I see Kerr winning by a boring decision or key lock.
Heath Herring (USA) vs. "Big" Gan McGee (USA)
Big Daddy's Pick: Neither of these two fighters has looked good in their recent matches. Heath Herring has shown openings in his fight game after people had thought he was solid all-around. The same with Gan McGee. In this match-up, Gan is the better wrestler and puncher. But Gan is also a sloppy puncher. He keeps his lead hand low, down to his waist, as if he is trying to protect his balls from a kick. Hopefully Tim Silvia KO-ing him taught him something about that. I mean, people take boxing lessons and all of a sudden they think they're Sugar Ray Leonard. All I gotta say is keep your hands up! Anyhow, my prediction here is that Gan will gas. It will be an even fight until Gan gases, then Heath will catch him with a submission. Heath is young enough and agile, I think he will catch him. This match will be about attrition. Gan doesn't have to make a weight for this fight, he doesn't have to be 260 or 265. I predict he'll come in much bigger, maybe even close to 300 and he will gas.
Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic (Croatia) vs. Ron "H20" Waterman (USA)
Big Daddy's Pick: As everyone knows, Mirko "Cro Cop" is a great striker. He's perfected his striking skills. He has great reactions and is very quick. If Waterman attempts a single or double leg take down and doesn't bring it strong, he will be in huge trouble. Cro Cop can stop those weak take downs, his whole game is built around that. Now Waterman could win this match, he really could. He could win this in under three minutes and the only way he can do that is if he's not afraid to get hit and comes in hard and body locks Cro Cop. Waterman is very, very strong. I know he looks strong when you see him, but believe me, he is even stronger than he looks. Mark Coleman has said that Waterman is the strongest person he has ever grappled with. But, Waterman can't hit, so, he does have to go for that take down and start grounding and pounding or get a keylock. Waterman better be ready because I bet at this very moment Cro Cop is working on his sprawls and working on staying away from those ropes. Either fighter can win this fight. Waterman is a good-looking guy, if he's not afraid to get hit in the face in this match, he can win. Otherwise, if he backs up or comes forward foolishly, Cro Cop will tear him apart. Waterman has to come in like a man and take Cro Cop down hard!