The following is a bulletin from the official MySpace of former UFC Heavyweight champion and PRIDE standout Josh Barnett:
Barnett raids the ring again in ’08! Plus the Angels of Destruction.
The moment has finally arrived! I am finally getting back in the ring after being unable to fight for over one year. I will be stepping into the main event of World Victory Road's premier event: Sengoku March 5th at Yoyogi Stadium. My opponent -none other than Judo Olympic Gold Medalist and former PRIDE fighter Hidehiko Yoshida.
This match on first appearance may seem to be simply a fight between two athletes but there is history in this match. I fought in PRIDE 28 in February last year against Yoshida's own student, Kazuhiro Nakamura defeating him by Sleeper Choke. But there is an even longer history from the rivalry of Judo vs. Catch Wrestling which dates back 100 years or more. One of the more famous stories involving this rivalry was when Catch Wrestler Ad Santel defeated 5th degree black belt Tokugoro Itoh with a slam so powerful it fractured the skull and TKO'd his Judo opponent Itoh. Since Itoh was considered one of the best Judoka in the world, Santel proclaimed himself, “The Judo World Champion”. The Kodakan sent many Judoka to avenge the loss and more importantly the insult, but rare was success against the Catch Wrestler, Santel. In the end, Santel claimed victory over many of the top judoka of the time: Taro Miyake via slam TKO, 4th degree black belt Daisuke Sakai, and 5th degree black belt Reijiro Nagata again by TKO.
Times have changed but will Judo be able get the win against Catch Wrestling in this century's Judo vs. Catch Wrestling rivalry? Nakamura was beaten. One of Judo's most dominant players of the last ten years, Pawel Natsula, tapped out. Can the teacher avenge the student? Can Yoshida bring honor back to Judo and avenge these losses. Only way to know is to strap up the boots, check the tape, get in the ring a lock horns in the center. Only one will win and I intend to make it 3-0 for Catch Wrestling in the 21st century.
To read the complete bulletin, click here.