Dream Stage Entertainment held a press conference in their Tokyo office on July 18th to announce match-ups for their upcoming PRIDE BUSHIDO 12 PRIDE Welterweight Grand Prix 2006 Second Round event, to be held on August 26th at the Nagoya Rainbow Hall. These four cards are non-compromising and fitting of BUSHIDO's theme of ability-first.

Dream Stage Entertainment CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara returned from the United States the previous day and appeared at the press conference with a tanned face. "I expect that the August Welterweight Grand Prix, held in the middle of Japan's summer, will create an even greater heat," Sakakibara said, giving the fans a summer present of an exciting Welterweight Grand Prix.

"Japanese fighters did well in the Opening Round. We considered pairing Japanese fighters up so some would remain (in the Final Round) but in the end, we decided that it would be better to have them take out the tough foreign fighters and work their way up to the Finals and hopefully, having a Japanese vs. Japanese bout in the Final Round," Sakakibara continued, announcing four cards that were un-compromising and perfectly fit BUSHIDO's them of ability-first.

BUSHIDO Public Relations Director Shigeru Saeki continued, evaluating Gono's Opening Round bout as "so-so". Saeki continued, "All of the remaining eight fighters have tough opponents. It's possible with these matchups that all of the Japanese fighters may be eliminated. I think these match-making is perfect for our ability-first concept."

"The Japanese Welterweight fighters fought hard in the Opening Round. I think Ishida and Mach had a particularly strong impact," Saeki said. "I heard that from the reporters, too. The question is now how hard will they work in Nagoya to make sure Japanese fighters are still in the Grand Prix at the end. The single Lightweight matches are also all-star matchups. I hope the Welterweight fights will be able to keep up."

Also attending the press conference were Ryo Chonan, who will face Paulo Filho, a strong candidate for the Championship, and Akihiro Gono, who will face the fierce 21 year old, Gegard Mousasi. Kazuo Misaki, who will face PRIDE Welterweight Champion Dan Henderson, was no present, though. Misaki is currently training in secret in the US for his fight against Henderson and plans on returning to Japan in mid-August.

Below are messages from the fighters.

Dan Henderson: I'm looking forward to my rematch with Misaki. He never gives up and he's a tough opponent. Even so, I think he disrespected me the last time.
I thought the he always want to fight straight up but if he will do anything to win, then I've got something for him, too.
There's no more mister nice guy this time. I don't care if he doesn't think I'm a nice guy. This time, I will definitely knock Misaki out.

Kazuo Misaki: I've been training hard for this fight with Dan Henderson. In our last fight, it felt like Dan was a wall that I am able to climb. In fact, it reassured me that what I have done this far was correct. I'm sure that Dan doesn't feel that he was at his full potential the last time. However, this time, he will know for certain that my abilities are better than his. I will win.

Fireworks are already exploding in both camps! Although it's only been four months since their previous match, Sakakibara said that the reason for this quick rematch is "the last fight was very good in terms of content and (Misaki) was the first Japanese fighter that made me feel he could actually beat Dan Henderson. We put it together because the promoter and the fans wanted to see them fight one more time." As Sakakibara said, Japanese fighters such as Akira Shoji, Shungo Oyama, Yuki Kondo, Ryo Chonan and Akihiro Gono have challenged Dan Henderson but they have all met with defeat. Misaki, however, gave Henderson the most trouble of all of them.
Henderson is the real American athlete and the current Welterweight Champion. Will Misaki be the Japanese fighter to take him out?

The single Lightweight matches are scheduled to be announced early next week. Saeki said, full of confidence, "To put it simply, they are all stars! There will be some several big-name newcomers." With comeback fights also being considered, the total number of fights in this BUSHIDO could exceed ten.