PRIDE CHALLENGE MATCHES HELD IN TOKYO
11/26/2006

PRIDE Challenge 16 was held on November 26th at the PRIDE Dreamers Dojo in Takeshiba, Tokyo. The event was exciting with 24 matches, many of which were extremely aggressive.

"This event had many fights that were the most interesting out of all the previous Challenge events," commented Daisuke Noguchi, the Challenge Director and PRIDE referee. Although PRIDE Challenge is a venue for amateur fighters to gain experience and work their way to the professional level, there were many aggressive fights in this event and was definitely worth watching.

Competitors were given the option of allowing or disallowing punching to the face when standing in previous Challenge events. However, the rules were changed two events prior, allowing punching to the face when standing in all fights. Although the action was a little slow in the previous event, fighters in the 16th PRIDE Challenge showed both the technique and emotion necessary to fight in mixed martial arts.

"I haven't fought in a year because of an injury, so I was very motivated to win and fought as hard as I could. I'm really happy that I won the MVP award," Hiroshi Masabuchi, the 16th PRIDE Challenge MVP, accurately summed up this event. If you have the techniques and are out to win, the fight will be exciting no matter what happens.

Shigeru Saeki, DEEP Promoter and BUSHIDO Public Relations Director spoke about the meaning of PRIDE Challenge, "These are amateur rules, with no pounding and the fighters have to wear head gear and leg protectors. Even so, the technical level of the fighters that win here is very high. I believe that by fighting continuously in PRIDE Challenge, fighters will develop the skills necessary to be a professional fighter. There is an instinct that cannot be developed in training. You have to actually fight to learn it. In fact, after 16 PRIDE Challenge events, there are former PRIDE Challenge fighters now competing in several professional events. Of course, being active in PRIDE Challenge doesn't necessary mean that you can compete at the top pro-level events such as PRIDE but I want provide opportunities to those fighters that build a record at the amateur level."

Saeki also announced that he made an offer to four fighters from this PRIDE Challenge to compete in the December 9th clubDEEP Tokyo Future King Tournament. The day that a PRIDE Challenge veteran stands in the PRIDE ring must not be far away.