Monday, March 12, 2007


By Loretta Hunt

Thierry Rameau Sokoudjou (3-1) has agreed to face Ricardo Arona (13-4) at April 8’s PRIDE 34 “Kamikaze,” scheduled for the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, according to a source close to the Cameroon native’s Team Quest camp.

The 2001 U.S. Open Judo Champion stunned audiences with a 23-second dismantling of the heavily more seasoned Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (12-3) at Feb. 24’s PRIDE 33 in Las Vegas. The underestimated Sokoudjou was tagged as a +1600 underdog on betting lines that night.

Sokoudjou is a pupil of recent double title-holder Dan Henderson, who captured the PRIDE Middleweight (under 205 lbs) title from Wanderlei Silva on the same night. Henderson will corner Sokoudjou in his second bid as unlikely underdog.


Speaking of Dan Henderson, PRIDE’s winningest champion is on the move these days, filling his time as his broken hand heals for the next four to five months. “Hendo” will corner recent Team Quest acquisition Jason “Mayhem” Miller in his comeback bout against Team Wolfpack’s Hector Urbina at Icon’s March 31 event in Hawaii.

Then the world traveler will be heading off to Japan a week before April 8’s event to attend Japanese fighter Ryo Chonan’s wedding. Henderson first met the Japanese middleweight in the PRIDE Bushido ring in Sept. 2005 with a KO punch. A friendship blossomed out of their mutual love of competition, and Chonan has visited Henderson’s Temecula, Calif. homebase numerous times since. Chonan is also rumored as a consideration for Henderson’s imminent IFL team in 2008.

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