Two non-tournament bouts have been announced for PRIDE FIGHTING'S next event, CRITICAL COUNTDOWN 2005. In the first, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira of the Brazilian Top Team will take on Poland's 1996 Judo Olympic gold-medallist, Pawel Nastula. In the second bout Russia's Sergei Kharitonov takes on veteran heavyweight, Pedro "The Rock" Rizzo of Brazil.




PRIDE's former heavyweight champion, Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira is a fighter who needs no introduction. A finalist in the 2004 heavyweight Grand Prix, "Minotauro" is the total package, coupling outstanding Jiu Jitsu skills with a solid boxing background. Nogueira has been in legendary matches with the likes of Bob Sapp, Fedor Emelianenko, Heath Herring, and Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic. His opponent will be the legendary Judoka, Pawel Nastula. The 1995 and 1997 Judo World Champion and 1996 gold medallist at the Olympic games in Atlanta, Nastula brings his legendary Judo skills to the PRIDE ring to compete against the world's elite mixed martial artists.

In the second bout, Russia's Sergei Kharitonov will take on UFC veteran, Pedro "The Rock" Rizzo. Kharitonov is one of PRIDE's toughest heavyweights, boasting wins over Choi Mu Bae, Semmy Schilt, and Murilo "Ninja" Rua. Kharitonov reached the semi-finals of the 2004 heavyweight grand Prix. Pedro "The Rock" Rizzo will be making his PRIDE debut, but he is no stranger to mixed martial arts. This Brazilian striker trains under Marco Ruas and has career wins over Ricco Rodriguez, Tra Telligman, Andrei Arlovski, and Mark Coleman. Kharitonov versus Rizzo ... which of these heavy-hitting strikers will be left standing?

In addition to these matches, there is the second round of the Grand Prix tournament. Defending tournament champion, Wanderlei Silva, reached the second round of the tournament after a hard-fought split decision victory over Hidehiko Yoshida. Yoshida's prot??g??, Kazuhiro Nakamura, considered an underdog by many in the first round, advanced by defeating American Kevin Randleman by unanimous decision. Japanese fighter, Kazushi Sakuraba, advanced via a thirty-eight second first round KO of Korean judoka Yoon Dong Sik. Ricardo Arona advanced after winning a unanimous decision over Dean Lister. Chute Boxe's rising star, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, reached the second round by knocking out 2003 tournament finalist, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, in the first round. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira of the Brazilian Top Team advanced by submitting Team Quest's Dan Henderson via armbar. Igor Vovchanchyn advanced by winning a unanimous decision over Japanese Yuki Kondo. Golden Glory fighter Alistair Overeem advanced by submitting UFC tournament representative Vitor Belfort via guillotine.

PRIDE FIGHTING'S 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix Tournament spans three events ... TOTAL ELIMINATION (opening round), CRITICAL COUNTDOWN (Second Round) and FINAL CONFLICT (Semi-Finals and Finals). The date for FINAL CONFLICT will be announced soon.

Tournament Matches:

Fight Card
Wanderlei Silva (Brazil)
Kazuhiro Nakamura (Japan)
Kazushi Sakuraba (Japan)
Ricardo Arona (Brazil)
Mauricio Rua (Brazil)
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (Brazil)
Igor Vovchanchyn (Ukraine)
Alistair Overeem (Holland)



Additional non-tournament match ups to be announced soon.
(Participants and Matches Subject to Change)

CRITICAL COUNTDOWN 2005 premieres on North American pay per view via iNDEMAND, DIRECTV, DISH NETWORK, UrbanXtra, TVN1, VU!, and Viewer's Choice Canada on July 1st at 10:00pm EST, 7:00pm PST (including a countdown show at 9:30pm EST, 6:30pm PST). For additional replay times, please contact your pay per view provider or

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