MACH, KAWAJIRI AND ISHIDA TO COMPETE IN BUSHIDO
07/29/2006

Additional cards 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, were announced at a July 24th press conference held at PRIDE'S "Dreamer's" gym in Tokyo. In addition to three newcomers from the next generation of fighters, the Lightweight Division's all-stars Mach, Kawajiri and Ishida will also compete!



Takanori Gomi (Japan/MMA Kiguchi Dojo Team Rascal/PRIDE Lightweight Champion)
Hayato "Mach" Sakurai (Japan/Mach Dojo)
Mitsuhiro Ishida (Japan/T-BLOOD)

▼ Lightweight Single Match
Tatsuya Kawajiri (Japan/T-BLOOD)
VS
Chris Brennan (America/Next Generation Fighting Academy)

In his last fight with Charles "Krazy Horse" Bennett, Kawajiri chose to win with a skillfully timed knee-bar rather than strikes. The "Crusher" showed the fans a new side of his fighting personality, proving that fighters capable of striking, throwing and submitting their opponents are truly the strongest. In his 2nd BUSHIDO fight of this year, Kawajiri will face Brennan, a strong grappler who had to submit one of his opponent's twice in a previous BUSHIDO match. Kawajiri has said that with no stars in the current ring, he wants to show everyone that "Tatsuya Kawajiri" is here. What kind of strikes, throws and submissions will Kawajiri be able to show when faced with the American submission specialist.

▼ Lightweight Single Match
Nobuhiro Obiya (Japan/MMA Kiguchi Dojo Team Rascal)
VS
Gilbert Melendez (America/Jake Shields Fighting Team)

Obiya, the 2nd DEEP Lightweight Champion, will finally make his PRIDE BUSHIDO debut! After standing out in 2003 as a new SHOOTO Welterweight, Obiya began training at Kiguchi Dojo. There he served as sparring partner for Takanori Gomi, who was on a long winning streak in BUSHIDO, while also creating a strong record for himself in DEEP. In February of this year, Obiya became the DEEP Lightweight Champion. Obiya's fighting style is violent, using his hip strength to unleash rapid-fire punches, and will likely appeal to many BUSHIDO fans. His opponent, Gilbert Melendez, destroyed Japanese fighters Hiroyuki Takaya, Rumina Sato and Naoya Uematsu one after another and has feverishly desired a fight in BUSHIDO. Melendez style is aggressive like Obiya's and his standing punches and destructive pounding power is extraordinary. With the current Lightweight Division being in turmoil, this match-up pitting two new brawlers will inevitably end up in an all-out striking battle.

▼ Lightweight Single Match
Shinya Aoki (Japan/Paraestra Tokyo)
VS
Jason Black (America/Militech MA)

Aoki has been nicknamed a "10th degree in flying submissions" due to his skill in applying flying arm-bars in his matches. With a backbone in judo, he has dominated All Japan competitions in jujitsu and sambo. Aoki has competed in Abu Dhabi and even won in Rickson Gracie's promotion, Budo Challenge. In MMA, Aoki currently holds the SHOOTO World Middleweight Championship title and in this age of overemphasizing striking, Aoki is an authentic grappler, churning out wins via joint-lock submissions. PRIDE fans seeing Aoki fight for the first time will no doubt be amazed by his grappling techniques. Aoki's opponent will be the "headhunter", Jason Black. Black has built a mountain of submission victories via chokes. Will Aoki destroy Black's arm or will Jason leave the ring with Aoki's head?

▼ Lightweight Single Match
Hatsu Hioki (Japan/ALIVE)
VS
Jeff Curran (America/Team Curran)

Nagoya's golden boy, Hatsu Hioki, will enter the BUSHIDO swinging in Nagoya. Hioki has been competing in mixed martial arts since he was in high school and at 23; his career is now in its eighth year. This year he became won the Featherweight Championship title from the Canadian MMA event, TKO. Hard-core MMA fans and industry insiders rate Aoki as an extraordinary fighter with strong latent abilities. He has the striking skills to put a kick-boxer to shame and his grappling techniques reflect his brown belt in jujitsu. Aoki is an all-round fighter, ready to battle standing or on the mat. His opponent, Jeff Curran, is a student of Pedro Sauer, who was a student of Rickson Gracie. Curran is also an all-round fighter with an exceptional grasp of the striking game. Putting these two fighters together makes for a bout that will be showcase the appeal of mixed martial arts.