NEW BOUTS FOR BUSHIDO SURVIVAL
07/26/2006

A press conference was held on July 24th at PRIDE's "Dreamers" gym in Tokyo to announce additional cards and confirmed fighters for the joint PRIDE BUSHIDO 12 and PRIDE Welterweight Grand Prix Second Round event, to be held on August 26th at Nagoya's Rainbow Hall. Dream Stage Entertainment CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara declared that PRIDE would introduce these fighters to the MMA world with confidence.


The newly announced all-star Japanese lineup is Takanori Gomi, Hayato "Mach" Sakurai, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Mitsuhiro Ishida, Nobuhiro Obiya, Shinya Aoki and Hatsu Hioki. These Japanese fighters will take on some of the strongest fighters in the world. Both Dream Stage Entertainment CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara and BUSHIDO Public Relations Director Shigeru Saeki were very confident as they announced this luxurious, lineup of all-star Japanese fighters that, in terms of quality, rivals the recently announced Welterweight Grand Prix card.
"We've gathered samurai to give the last real man's fight of summer vacation," Sakakibara began the conference. "These fighters are more than strong enough to compete in PRIDE. These fighters have amassed such records that their abilities are guaranteed. Since this even will close out the summer vacation, the Champion has also decided to make his comeback. I want to turn this into an event where we can gain strength from these battling young Japanese men as they reach for their dreams. I know they are only half-way there but even though I'm over 40 already, I also want to do my best and work with them to create an event of dreams."

"We've also gathered first-class foreign fighters to take to face the Japanese fighters. A new movement is forming in the Lightweight Division. Of course, there are the familiar names like Yves Edwards, Joachim Hansen and Jens Pulver but if you look at the UFC, you will see that there are even newer fighters entering MMA. We're going to show the Japanese fans what the world standard is and show the world where the real top-level Lightweights are. Watch these seven samurai closely. I'm confident in sending these seven out into the world," Sakakibara said, declaring that the Lightweight Division world war has now entered a new era.

"It's raining outside but let's don't let that stop us," BUSHIDO Public Relations Director Shigeru Saeki added. "Honestly, although these are Lightweight fighters gathered here today, they are such a strong group that it makes me worried about the Welterweight Division. I'm confident that BUSHIDO has the greatest Lightweight Division in the world!"

Saeki added, "Hioki is the TKO World Champion in Canada. Obiya is a DEEP Champion. Aoki is a SHOOTO World Champion. Everyone has a belt. They are young and motivated, and they will all be after Gomi's head. He will probably say that they are still too young but I believe that they will give us a showing strong enough to get Gomi motivated. Gilbert Melendez will also be here. This Lightweight Division is amazing."

Saeki continued on, saying that they acquired all of the fighters that they wanted and the Lightweight Division is going to become cruel as it enters an even more severe age. Fans can't afford to take their eyes off of these Lightweight wars.

According to Sakakibara, Gomi, Mach and Ishida will also face tough foreign opponents, although their cards haven't been finalized yet. "There will be Japanese newcomers and foreign fighters that are not yet well known in Japan so I definitely want everyone to watch the August 26th BUSHIDO. The card will basically be set up as Japanese fighters VS foreign fighters. The foreign fighters will also be top athletes. Although the Lightweight Division is being thrown into chaos as everyone, including the foreign fighters, are out to overthrow Gomi, we are operating under the philosophy of ability-first, where fighters will be required to prove their strength on the battlefield."
The August 26th BUSHIDO will serve as the first step in choosing 16 fighters from around the world to compete in the Lightweight Grand Prix scheduled for next year. Fights from around the world will have to rely on their abilities along as they compete in this fierce competition to reach the top of the Welterweight Division.

Regarding the newcomers, Sakakibara said, "I don't think their goal is simply to climb into the BUSHIDO ring. What results will they produce from now on? What kind of fighting spirit will they show us? In order to become popular and have the fans take notice, they must show something more than just winning and losing."

Japan won't be the only place paying attention to this event. On the following day, August 27th, the event will also air across the United States in a prime-time two-hour block on FOX Sports. Sakakibara said, "The block is just two hours so some fights will have to be edited or cut. This will be a big promotion for us in advance of our Las Vegas event in October but the question is what kind of fights will the fighters show us?"