Part 1: Sean Sherk vs. Ryuki Ueyama
The year was 2004. At this point, Japan’s PRIDE Fighting Championships had been putting on several events a year for over six years, and they had began a new series of shows entitled “PRIDE – Bushido.”
On Feb. 15, 2004, “PRIDE – Bushido 2″ took place at the Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. Wanderlei Silva was on his legendary win streak in PRIDE and was fighting Ikuhisa Minowa in the main event. Also fighting on the card was Shogun, Gomi, Sakurai, Cro Cop, Mario Sperry, and Yushin Okami.
Along with the some of the biggest names in PRIDE history on the card, was a 30-year-old American by the name of Sean Sherk, who was making his PRIDE debut. By this time, Sherk had already been fighting professionally for nearly five years and was on an incredible run of 21-1-1.
He had fought in a multitude of organizations, including a couple of fights in the UFC, and had amassed wins over such fighters as Karo Parisyan (twice), Manny Gamburyan, Tiki Ghosn, and Benji Radach. His lone loss had come against Matt Hughes at UFC 42 in April 2003, but he had bounced back with three straight wins prior to the Bushido 2 match-up against Ryuki Ueyama, who was also making his PRIDE debut.
Ryuki Ueyama was a 28-year-old Japanese MMA veteran coming into the fight. He had made his name in the Rings and DEEP organizations in Japan and was carrying a record of 9-6-4. Ryuki had been in the ring with such fighters as Dave Menne, Kazuo Misaki, and Hayato Sakurai.
During the fight, Sherk did what he does best. He used his wrestling to control Ryuki. He slammed Ryuki to the ground, mounted him, grounded, pounded, threw knees, and looked for submissions. Ryuki did look for a submission or two himself, but Sherk was just too strong. Somehow though, Ryuki survived.
One of the things that makes this fight interesting is that it was Sean Sherk’s one and only fight in PRIDE (and only one of two fights he ever had in Japan – the other was a Pancrase fight). The rest of 2004 saw Sherk go back to fighting in various organizations around the U.S., and then in November 2005 he fought Georges St. Pierre at UFC 56, and has been fighting with the UFC ever since.
Sherk’s next fight is scheduled for UFC 108 on Jan. 2, 2010. His opponent will be Rafaello Oliveira. Sherk is still one of the top ten lightweights in the world.
Part 2: Sean Sherk vs. Ryuki Ueyama