PRIDE BUSHIDO 10 CARD
03/09/2006

A press conference was held at the Dream Stage Entertainment office in Tokyo on March 7th with PRIDE General Director Nobuhiko Takada, Takanori Gomi, Kazuo Misaki and Masakazu Imanari present. Fights on the April 2nd PRIDE BUSHIDO 10 card, to be held at Ariake Coliseum, were announced and Takada commented on the match-ups.

"This looks to become a gathering of distinguished fighters. This lineup lacks nothing compared to PRIDE 31. In fact, it looks like it will become an even heavier lineup," PRIDE General Director Nobuhiko Takada opened the press conference filled with confidence. According to Takada, the plan is to have 10 fights, 3 of which will were announced today.


PRIDE GP 2005 Light Heavyweight Champion
Takanori Gomi (Japan/Kiguchi Dojo Wrestling)
VS
Marcus Aurelio (Brazil/American Top Team)

PRIDE GP 2005 Welterweight Champion
Dan Henderson (America/Team Quest)
VS
Kazuo Misaki (Japan/GRABAKA)

Masakazu Imanari (Japan/Team Roken)
VS
Jens Pulver (America/Team Extreme)

 

 

According to Takada, the most difficult point was finding Gomi's opponent. "We should have had this card confirmed 10 days earlier but honestly, there weren't many people that wanted to fight him. Although there are supposed to be fighters in his weight class throughout the world that are after Takanori Gomi's head, there aren't many fighters with enough courage to stand up and say let me fight him.' We were finally able to come up with 3 names yesterday and decided on Marcus today."
Takada then unrolled a poster for the April 2nd Ariake event, emphasizing how difficult it was to find an opponent for Gomi, "The words [translated from Japanese] You can run and you can hide but I'm still going to take you down' were from Gomi. The words [translated from Japanese] Champion Gomi goes into action but can find no challengers' are a message from DSE. Honestly, that's the truth but somehow we've made it to today."

Although Marcus Aurelio was singled out to fight, Takada explained that DSE made a request along with their fight offer. "As you know, Marcus is a very good fighter on the ground and has a strong record. However, we're giving him a chance against Gomi, the Champion, in this bout so we expect him to come ready to fight, and to win. So, we told him not to bother coming here with a ground plan of stalling and working for a decision. We won't tell him to fight on standing but we've requested that he make it clear in his fight that he came here to win and we expect a very scary, very aggressive fighting style."
"This is a battle between two guys on the brink, in many sense," Takada said of the Imanari-Pulver fight. "Imanari has become the DEEP Champion but he lost to Hansen but KO in BUSHIDO. Pulver has lost by KO to Gomi and Mach. They are both top fighters but I expect that the will fight as if this is their last chance."
According to Takada, Henderson said that he would fight anyone, Japanese or foreigner, and if there were no challengers, asked to be in the Open Weight Grand Prix. Misaki immediately answered the call and raised his hand.

"Misaki continues to evolve. He won over Shoji in the last DEEP with a choke and to stand up to fight Dan Henderson is a testament to the state of his mind and body. I'm extremely interested in this fight. If he wins here, we can set up a title match next. He's one of the best prospects in this weight class so I expect a lot from him," Takada said, cheering on Misaki.
"BUSHIDO has come this far because of the high level of all the fighters, not just these three. Gomi, however, is particularly responsible for this and I don't think anyone would argue about that. He has given us the best results in order to show himself to the world and as a result, BUSHIDO has shined. So, I want the other fights to give us their greatest performances using everything that they've spent their lives learning and send the fans home thinking BUSHIDO was exciting'. Think of yourself and fight for yourself. That's all," Takada continued.
Gomi took both the MVP and the Best Bout awards last year. As a result, Takada said, Middleweight and Heavyweight fighters are very aware of Gomi. To make Gomi's excitement even more accessible to the public, Takada heatedly explained that it has become necessary to broadcast BUSHIDO during golden time on TV [aka "prime time" 7:00pm~10:00pm], and that they are working on making that a reality.

"We're working on it now, little by little. We wanted to show off these Light Middleweight fighters led by Gomi, and their accomplishments, from a year ago. It feels a little late now. We are working with all our strength behinds the scenes to put these guys in a good time zone on terrestrial TV as soon as possible. We haven't given up. If possible, we'd like to start from April 2nd because so far, that's the only place where we've lost."
The level of the fighters and the contents of the fights have reached their peak. The task now is to increase the awareness of the fighters among the general fans. In 2006, PRIDE BUSHIDO will begin its climb towards an even higher peak.