Pride FC 34: Kamikaze – The Final Showdown of a Legendary MMA Promotion

Pride FC 34: Kamikaze, held on April 8, 2007, at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, marked the end of an era. This was the last Pride show promoted by Dream Stage Entertainment before the sale of the company, marking a significant moment in the history of mixed martial arts (MMA).

The event was initially expected to feature Wanderlei Silva and Mauricio Rua, two of the biggest names in the sport. However, due to various reasons, neither fighter ended up appearing. Silva was unable to participate due to a medical suspension received from the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Despite negotiations, the suspension was not lifted in time for the event.

In the absence of Silva and Rua, the event showcased several mid-level fighters. Gilbert Yvel was originally slated to fight Bazigit Atajev, but Atajev had to withdraw due to an internal disease. Instead, Yvel faced Akira Shoji, defeating him in the first round by technical knockout.

The event was not without its surprises. Prior to Pride 34, Nobuyuki Sakakibara, the president of Pride FC, teased a “surprise announcement” which turned out to be a guest appearance by Kazushi Sakuraba, a legendary figure in the sport who had left Pride nearly a year prior to join rival promotion HERO’S. Kiyoshi Tamura joined Sakakibara in the ring, hinting at a potential matchup in a future Pride event.

The main event of the evening was a heavyweight bout between Jeff Monson and Kazuyuki Fujita. Monson emerged victorious, submitting Fujita with a rear-naked choke in the first round. Other notable fights included James Thompson defeating Don Frye by TKO in the first round, and Shinya Aoki submitting Brian Lo-A-Njoe with an armbar in the first round.

Pride 34: Kamikaze was a fitting end to the Pride FC era, showcasing the intense competition and unexpected twists that had made the promotion a beloved institution in the world of MMA. Despite the absence of some of the sport’s biggest stars, the fighters on the card delivered a memorable night of action, providing a fitting farewell to one of the premier fight organizations in MMA history.

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