PRIDE confirmed to Sherdog.com that the fight that I reported yesterday would be the most likely to happen, is official. I made a post yesterday that Nick Diaz would most likely be fighting Takanori Gomi in his PRIDE debut at PRIDE 33 “the Second Coming” on Feb 24th. According to an article by Sherdog.com, PRIDE has announced four more fights for the card. Among the fights reported by the Sherdog staff are; Nick Diaz vs. Takanori Gomi, Mac Danzig vs. Hayato “mach” Sakurai, Kazuo Misaki vs. Frank “twinkle toes” Trigg, and Kazuhiro Nakamura vs. Travis Wiuff.
One of the most exciting match-ups in a long time is Nick Diaz and Takanori Gomi. This has fight of the year written all over it. This fight alone makes the $40 Pay Per View worth it to me and I have a feeling that a lot of diehard fans feel the same way. I reported yesterday that a fight between Mac Danzig and Hayato Sakurai had been confirmed by Mac Danzig to mmawekly.com. After hearing this news I figured the most likely scenario would be for Diaz to fight Gomi since he just signed a deal with PRIDE and he was scheduled to fight on the Feb 24th card. Putting Diaz against Gomi is a great move by PRIDE because Diaz has a lot of fans and is widely recognized in America where PRIDE has had a lot of trouble gaining popularity. PRIDE has acknowledged that without succeding in America, PRIDE will not be able to last. Signing Diaz was a good move in their quest. The Diaz Gomi fight is a win win for PRIDE; there aren’t that many famous Japanese fighters in America so if Gomi wins then he beat a famous and formidable opponent in the American fans eyes and it will help boost the fame of Gomi as well as PRIDE. If Diaz wins then it sets up a high profile title fight down the road that will definitely be a huge draw in America which is a main objective of PRIDE. Also PRIDE wants Diaz to have a good showing seeing as they just signed him and they would like him to have a good run. Either way, we are in for one hell of a fight come Feb 24th.
The Mac Danzig and Hayato Sakurai match-up should be a good one. Sakurai is the mmaweekly #2 ranked lightweight in the world and he always puts on a good show. Danzig had a 12 fight win streak going until he lost his KOTC title to Clay French last week. Sakurai has won 6 of his last 7 fights with his one loss to Takanori Gomi at PRIDE Shockwave 2005. Both of these fighters are very well rounded and match up very well together.
I’m sure a lot of people are happy that Frank Trigg is making his return to the PRIDE ring for the first time in 7 years, because that means he won’t be the color commentator for the event. I personally don’t have a problem with him color commentating, but he takes a lot of heat in the forums and a lot of people complain about him showing favortism among other things. Trigg will be fighting Kazuo Misaki. “Twinkle toes” last fight was against cult icon Jason “Mayhem” Miller Dec 1st 2006. “Mayhem” was the ICON middleweight champion going into the fight and he lost to Trigg by TKO half way through the 2nd round. Trigg will be defending his new belt for ICON some time in the next few months. Misaki, who is making his US debut, has a very impressive resume that includes wins against Dan Henderson, Denis Kang, Phil Baroni, and Akira Shoji, all within the last year. I see Misaki taking this one relatively easy but you can never count “twinkle toes” out. I made that mistake in his last fight against “Mayhem” Miller.
The last fight announced was Kazuhiro Nakamura vs. Travis Wiuff. Nakamura is coming off of a unanimous decision loss to “Shogun” Rua at PRIDE Shockwave last month. Travis Wiuff, who is under contract with the IFL, won his last outing against Jason Guida. This match is not as high profile as the other three that were announced, but should be entertaining none the less.
Overall the PRIDE 33 card is really starting to take shape. There are still a few more fights to finalize, but PRIDE is doing a lot better than usual with announcing their fights early. PRIDE is notorious for waiting until a few days before the event takes place to announce the majority of the fights to take place. Here is the card so far courtesy of mmaweekly.com:
-Wanderlei Silva (#3 Light Heavyweight in the World)* vs. Dan Henderson (#6 Middleweight)* [fight at 205 pounds]
-Takanori Gomi (#1 Lightweight)* vs. Nick Diaz (#9 Welterweight)* [fight at 160 pounds]
-Hayato Sakurai (#2 Lightweight)* vs. Mac Danzig
-Kazuo Misaki (#4 Middleweight)* vs. Frank Trigg
-Kazuhiro Nakamura (#9 Light Heavyweight)* vs. Travis Wiuff
-Ricardo Arona (#4 Light Heavyweight)* vs. TBA
-Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (#5 Light Heavyweight)* vs. TBA
-Kazuyuki Fujita vs. TBA
-Cung Le vs. TBA
-Wes Sims vs. TBA
Be sure to check back to MMAlowdown.com very often. I will be posting an interview with a fighter who will be fighting on the UFC 67 card on Feb. 3rd within the next few days. I also will be conducting a few more very interesting interviews in the next few weeks. Big things are happening at MMAlowdown.com and I want you guys to come for the ride.