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From 2003 to 2006, the UFC had no lightweight title.  In 2005, eight years after its founding and two years into development of its new Bushido sub-promotionPRIDE FC was finally ready to crown a world lightweight champion.  As was tradition, the inaugural PRIDE Lightweight Champion would be decided by a Grand Prix. 

The entrants included:

  • The heir apparent to the absent UFC title, Yves Edwards.
  • The disgruntled UFC lightweight pioneer, Jens Pulver.
  • Bushido's star, Takanori Gomi.
  • The Shooto champion, Tatsuya Kawajiri.
  • The former Shooto champion, Joachim Hansen.
  • Chute Boxe's top lightweight and Gomi's nemesis, Luiz Azeredo.
  • And the reinvigorated old-timer, Hayato 'Mach' Sakurai. 

The pair of events through which PRIDE's only lightweight grand prix played out - PRIDE Bushido 9 and PRIDE Shockwave 2005 - provide a thrilling snapshot of PRIDE FC at the peak of its popularity and quality but they also foreshadow the end of an era. On the last night of the grand prix, Kazushi Sakuraba took his last fight in PRIDE FC and a new Japanese star rose to prominence.  

Direct Download here.