PRIDE CHALLENGE MATCHES HELD IN TOKYO
07/28/2006

The 14th PRIDE CHALLENGE was held on July 23rd at PRIDE's "Dreamers" dojo in Tokyo with a total of 21 fights.


Previous PRIDE CHALLENGE events have allowed competitors to choose whether to compete in matches where striking to the face is allowed or disallowed. However, from this event forward, all of the CHALLENGE matches will allow for strikes to the face as a result of the increasing skill level that has been seen in each of the past events. Possibly as a result of this rule change, the first two fights ended in knockouts and there were several bouts in the first half that included intense striking battles. One freelance fighter, 肇章 Hirara, had to fight in two matches due to one competitor failing to show and used his rapid-fire punches born from his boxing backbone to excite the fans gathered at the venue.
In the second half, the style of fights shifted from striking to technical grappling, resulting in a string of submission via joint-locks. Shigeyasu Baba, a PRIDE CHALLENGE regular went on to achieve his fifth straight victory. The venue was encompassed by a Brazilian atmosphere due to the strong contingent of Japanese-Brazilian "INFIGHT" fighters that compete in each event. The Brazilians cheered loudly as fellow INFIGHT member, Andre Nishino, showed off his impressive submission skills that earned him the MVP award for this event.
DEEP Promoter and BUSHIDO Public Relations Director Shigeru Saeki watched the fights and rated the fighters highly, "There were a lot of fighters and they were interesting to watch. There were highly skilled fighters and even fighters past 30 that still slugged it out. I really thought they were amazing. There were several fighters that could become professionals and there were two fighters that I would like to see in DEEP soon."

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