Flashback Friday: Pride 14: Clash of the Titans

Continuing their 2001 schedule, Pride FC returned with “Clash of the Titans.” The show featured a headlining bout which saw Kazuyuki Fujita fight pro wrestler making his MMA Yoshihiro Takayama.

The card did not feature the promotion’s major star Kazushi Sakuraba, as he lost to Wanderlei Silva on the show before.

From the Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan, here’s how Pride 14 went down on May 27th, 2001.

The show started with an opening ceremony that included a big sphere above the ring that had a projection of a face talking.

On this show, all matches followed the new format Pride was using. This format saw the first round last 10 minutes, with the two following rounds being five minutes each.

A Successful Debut For ‘Elvis’

Antonio “Elvis” Schembri made his MMA debut to start the show, stopping Johil de Oliveira with an armbar on the ground.

Schembri struggled with getting a takedown early, however once he did he was dominant on the ground.

Oliveira fought once more in Pride after this, losing to Daiju Takase at “Pride The Best Vol. 1.”

Play-by-play for Schembri versus Oliveira.

Matsui Breaks Losing Streak

Getting back in the win column, Daijiro Matsui got a scorecard victory over Pele. Going all 20 minutes, Matsui earned a unanimous decision win.

Matsui versus Pele play-by-play.

UFC Talent Liddell Gets Knockout Win

Making a crossover from the UFC to Pride FC, Chuck Liddell floored Guy Mezger with a right hook to win via knockout in the second round. The win came after a close second round of action which saw Mezger earn a knockdown near the end.

Liddell had fought in the UFC five times before this matchup, heading back to the American promotion after this appearance.

The loss broke the streak of wins in Pride that Mezger held, both being stoppage victories.

Liddell versus Mezger play-by-play.

Goodridge Gets Win

Returning to Pride, Gary Goodridge stopped Valentijn Overeem with knees to the head. The quick win for Goodridge ruined the welcoming party for Overeem, who was making his promotional debut.

On the ground, Goodridge landed knees after escaping a kimura attempt that Overeem tried from the bottom.

While Goodridge had more experience in Pride FC, Overeem came into this fight with a larger MMA record.

Goodridge versus Overeem play-by-play.

Belfort Wins Close Decision

A scorecard fight went in favour of Vitor Belfort over Heath Herring. The fight weighed heavily on takedowns, with most of the fight happening on the ground.

The fight broke the four-fight winning streak that Herring had heading into this show.

Since there was a weight disparity of 22 pounds, Belfort was allowed to opt for grounded kicks and knees to the head to not be allowed in this fight. Herring wore shoes for this fight.

Belfort versus Herring play-by-play.

Fireworks Sees ‘Hendo’ Prevail

Coming back from his first win in Pride, Dan Henderson picked up another by stopping Akira Shoji in the third round. The firefight that went into the third round ended after Henderson landed multiple knees to the head.

Henderson picked up his second win in a row in Pride, moving his promotional record to 2-1.

Henderson versus Shoji play-by-play.

Silva Gets Quick Stoppage

“The Axe Murderer” Wanderlei Silva scratched another name off of a list, stopping Shungo Oyama in under a minute. Charging forward with punches, the Brazilian kept swinging until the referee had seen enough.

Although the referee had seen enough, the crowd seemingly didn’t as they sounded upset with the fast stoppage.

With the win, Silva extended his winning streak to three in a row.

Silva versus Oyama play-by-play.

Vovchan-choke

In a rare circumstance, Igor Vovchanchyn earned a quick rear naked choke victory against Gilbert Yvel. The win came in the second minute of battle.

The win moved Vovchanchyn back into the win column after a previous loss in Pride broke his streak of wins.

Vovchanchyn versus Yvel play-by-play.

Fujita Defeats Debuting Pro Wrestler Takayama

Main eventing the card, Kazuyuki Fujita put on a war against pro wrestler Yoshihiro Takayama, who was making his MMA debut. The win came via an arm triangle choke which rendered Takayama unconcious.

Takayama endured the first round, stopping some takedowns and taking lots of strikes.

Both fighters wore shoes for this battle.

Fujita versus Takayama play-by-play.

UFC’s Turn

The next show on the 2001 timeline saw UFC head to East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA for “Showdown in the Meadowlands.” Headlining the card was Tito Ortiz putting his UFC Light Heavyweight championship on the line against Elvis Sinosic.

Pride’s next event was Pride 15 “Raging Rumble,” which included the return of Kazushi Sakuraba, facing Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, who made his Pride FC debut.

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