Tuesday, March 20, 2007


The 17th installment of PRIDE CHALLENGE took place on Sunday, March 11th at the PRIDE dojo "Dreamers" located in Takeshiba, Tokyo. The event featured a total of 24 matches. Although in comparison to previous events many of the fights ended by decision, CHALLENGE Director and referee, Daisuke Noguchi, reflected back on the event stating that "it proves that the level of the event as a whole is rising."

Looking back to all previous PRIDE CHALLENGE events, one can say that it was an aggressive amateur event with many KO's and ippon (submissions). There are good and bad sides to that. For instance, technical elements were missing from many of the matches where one of either fighters would fall to the ground because they exchanged fists unguarded. In other words, there were many matches, in which he who struck first would win.

However, settlements by decision were more frequently seen at this event than KOs and ippon (submissions). Although fans who only see the results may think that the "fighters must have lost their aggressiveness," CHALLENGE Director and PRIDE referee, Daisuke Noguchi, commented that "the level of the event as a whole is rising."

Despite that fact that loud shouts and cheers from the spectators weren't heard at the event, there were certainly many matches that featured moves exemplary of MMA, such as the punch to tackle, takedown, positioning, and submission combination of moves. According to Director Noguchi, this is a sign of the evolution of PRIDE CHALLENGE.

"I think that abilities began to contend with each other, because the fighter's skill level rose overall. There were many good matches even if they ended by decision. Those who fight with force alone have decreased, and matches without the technical component are becoming rare. Every fighter demonstrated striking and grappling moves, and there are a growing number of those who are capable of fighting comprehensively." (Noguchi)

PRIDE CHALLENGE has certainly climbed the ranks as an amateur event.

What can then be done to advance to an even higher level?

"I wanted to see them move a step forward and take an offensive position," DEEP Promote Shigeru Saeki commented.

"You shouldn't fight in a defensive manner. You have to combat with the courage to win. Since every fighter now is capable of fighting comprehensively, I want for them to work on improving their own individual weapons. The goal of PRIDE CHALLENGE is to become an event where such fighters assemble, and I hope to foster such fighters at PRIDE CHALLENGE," Director Noguchi stated.

The first step of the growth process has come to an end. High expectations can be placed upon further evolution of PRIDE CHALLENGE.


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