June 23rd, 2002

Pride 21: ‘Demolition’ at the Saitama Super Arena tonight was headlined by a heavyweight encounter between American hard-hitter Don Frye and Japanese professional wrestler Yoshihiro Takayama.

The staredown that both men engaged in before the bell rang showed a glimpse of what was about to follow. After referee Yuji Shimada gave his final instructions, Frye and Takayama came out of their respective corners and immediately started to throw harrowing blows.

Each man was holding the back of the other’s head with one hand while delivering right hand after right hand. The crowd at the Saitama Super Arena erupted as the pair unloaded rapid-fire haymakers in the early exchanges.

Barrage of blows

While the barrage of blows brought the audience to its feet Takayama was clearly getting the worst of it. The pro wrestling veteran was going in search of his first MMA win but his face was a bloody mess as Frye threw punch after punch.

As Takayama shifted gears and drove knees to his opponent’s midsection Frye shot for a takedown and moved into mount. The two time UFC tournament winner was in his element and rained down ground and pound.

Frye fired away and eventually finished Takayama at the 6:10 mark of the first round. The victory moves the American’s professional record to 15-1 while his opponent drops to 0-4.

Best of the rest

In the co-main event promotional newcomer Fedor Emelianenko (11-1) faced former Pancrase openweight champion Semmy Schilt (22-11). The Russian heavyweight made his name with Japanese promotion Rings and he certainly enhanced his reputation here with a clear cut decision win against the much taller Dutch kickboxer.

The card featured two fighters from MMA’s most famous family and they went the distance too. Daniel Gracie (1-0) scored a unanimous decision win over Takashi Sugiura (0-1).

But in the other contest pitting Japan against Brazil it was the host nation which emerged victorious. Shungo Oyama (2-3) scored a unanimous decision win over Renzo Gracie (10-4).

Pride 21, Tokyo, June 23rd, 2020
Don Frye def. Yoshihiro Takayama by TKO (Punches) at 6:10 of Round 1
Fedor Emelianenko def. Semmy Schilt by Decision (Unanimous) at 5:00 of Round 3
Daniel Gracie def. Takashi Sugiura by Decision (Split) at 5:00 of Round 3
Shungo Oyama def. Renzo Gracie by Decision (Unanimous) at 5:00 of Round 3
Jeremy Horn def. Gilbert Yvel by Decision (Unanimous) at 5:00 of Round 3
Anderson Silva def. Alex Stiebling by TKO (Doctor Stoppage) at 1:23 of Round 1
Gary Goodridge def. Achmed Labasanov by Decision (Split) at 5:00 of Round 3
Bob Sapp def. Kiyoshi Tamura by TKO (Punches) at 0:11 of Round 1

This is part of our retrospective series looking at some classic shows and fights. For more information click here.