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PRIDE: Bushido 13 - Welterweight Grand Prix Semi-Finals & Lightweight Title

By Robert Rousseau,
On November 5th, PRIDE: Bushido 13, will air live on Pay Per View from Japan's Yokohoma Arena. In short, this is an event that has MMA fans salivating. Here are five reasons why.

1. The Welterweight Grand Prix Semi- Finals and Finals will play out there.

2. PRIDE Lightweight Champion, Takanori Gomi, is set to defend his title against the only man to beat him in a PRIDE match, Marcus Aurelio.

3. Viewers will get a glimpse of soon- to- be MMA superstar, Gilbert Melendez.

4. There's the possibility that Denis Kang could meet Paulo Filho in the Grand Prix final.

5. A pro wrestler named Mike Barton is on the card (better known as Bart Gunn).

How's that for enticement? Even better, this is a PRIDE event, and that always means more action than any five- point teaser could possibly give. So, for the whole scoop in preview format, read on.

Welterweight Grand Prix Semifinals

Denis Kang (25-7-1) vs. Akihiro Gono (26-11-7)

Kang- Excellent striking. takedowns/ takedown defense, and cardio. Further, his submission skills are top- notch (he's finished 15 via submission). That's right, Kang is as good as they come (he hasn't lost in 19 fights). On top of it all, he tends to finish fights (23 of his 25 wins have come via stoppage).

Gono- A crafty veteran that is very good at everything but not great at anything. Most of Gono's 26 wins have come via decision.

Prediction- Anyone that can submit Amar Suloev in the first round (the Boogeyman, Dean Lister, couldn't even take him down) and knockout Murilo Rua in 15 seconds, is the real deal. Gono is very good, but Kang could be the best in the world.

Kang via first round submission.

Kazuo Misaki (17-6-2) vs. Paulo Filho (13-0)

Misaki- A very tough fighter with excellent technical striking skills, good submission skills, and a big heart. Misaki is one tough hombre as his recent win against Dan Henderson would seem to attest to.

Filho- According to Mario Sperry, Filho may be the best athlete to ever come out of Brazilian Top Team. In short, his takedowns and ground control skills are ridiculous good, and his submissions are strong from the top position. Filho's stand up is a weakness, but that only matters if you're able to shirk his takedowns.

Prediction- Misaki is tough, but Filho is likely to bring him to the mat. Once there, Misaki will be controlled.

Filho via decision.

Grand Prix Reserve Bout

Hector Lombard (5-1) vs. Gegard Mousasi (13-2-1)

Lombard- Excellent takedowns, ground control, and athleticism. Lombard tends to come out strong, but if you can weather that initial storm, you'll have a chance.

Mousasi- A powerful striker with nine career TKO's. Though he has four career submissions, his weakness is clearly on the ground.

Prediction- Can Lombard get Mousasi to the mat and keep him there for the majority of the fight? That's the question.

Lombard via decision.

Grand Prix Final

If it all goes as predicted, Kang may have an easier semifinal bout than Filho, which will benefit him. In addition, he's the more complete fighter. With all that being said, it's hard to bet against Filho.

The only prediction here is a great fight.

Lightweight Title

Takanori Gomi (25-3) vs. Marcus Aurelio (14-3)

Gomi- The best stand up fighter in the division. He has unbelievable reflexes, a very good jaw, and outstanding power (nine of his last 12 opponents have been stopped). However, he lost a non- title bout to Aurelio back on 4/2/06 when his usually stout takedown defense failed him (Gomi lost via first round submission). Along with this, Gomi's ground game is a relative weakness.

Aurelio- Aurelio is an excellent jiu- jitsu practitioner with nine submission wins. Further, he's a decent stand up fighter that's never been stopped.

Prediction- If Aurelio gets Gomi to the mat for any length of time, the champion is going to have problems. Still, Gomi is probably as motivated for this fight as any in recent memory. He wants revenge against the only man to beat him in a PRIDE contest.

Gomi via decision.

Other fights of note.

Shinya Aoki (7-2) vs. Gilbert Melendez (11-0)

Melendez is absolutely ferocious on the attack and with the ground and pound. Further, he's a very strong athlete with a jiu- jitsu pedigree. Aoki is decent, but that won't be enough.

Melendez via first round TKO.

Murilo Bustamante (12-6-1) vs. Yoon Dong Sik (0-3)

Bustamante can beat you standing up or on the ground. Sik, a judo master making his debut in a lighter weight class, still hasn't won an MMA match (even if he continues to visibly improve each time out). Sik could surprise (he fought very well against Rampage earlier this year), but Bustamante is just too well- rounded.

Bustamante via decision.

Ikuhiso "The Punk" Minowa (34-24-8) vs. Mike Barton

Minowa is tough, always comes to fight in shape, and has a wide array of leg locks. Barton doesn't seem to have any truly valuable MMA experience. What does it all translate to?

Minowa via first round submission.

Mitsuhiro Ishida (13-2-1) vs. David Bieldkheden (10-4)

Ishida may not have the stuff to finish most of his fights, but his takedowns and cardio are flat out ridiculous. If Aurelio couldn't submit him, it's unlikely that Bielkheden (5 submission victories) can.

Ishida wins via decision.

Sanae Kikuta (25-6-3) vs. Jean Francois Lenogue (8-5-2)

Four of Lenogue's losses have come via submission; Kikuta has 14 submission victories.

Kikuta via first round submission.

Yoshiro Maeda (19-3-1) vs. Joe Pearson (14-7-1)

A classic striker versus grappler match. Expect the Miletich Fighting System's grappler to win.

Pearson via second round submission.

Well, that's it MMA fans. Remember, they're going to strap them up on November 5th. Be there or be square!

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