3 Events: Total Elimination Absolute/ Critical Countdown Absolute/ Final Conflict Absolute
Combined Attendance: 136,800 (approx)
15 Tournament Fighters: Alexander Emelianenko, Josh Barnett, Mark Hunt, Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Zuluzinho, Mirko Filipovic, Ikuhisa Minowa, Hidehiko Yoshida, Yosuke Nishijima, Kazuyuki Fujita, James Thompson, Fedor Emelianenko.
Pride 2006 Open Weight Grand Prix tournament held one of the deepest talent pools of any mixed martial arts tournament in history and was held over three separate events throughout 2006. The tournament began in May at Total Elimination Absolute, and saw seven fights with a first round bye going to an injured Fedor Emelianenko.
The quarterfinals would take place in July at Critical Countdown Absolute and featured some very exciting fights. Josh Barnett vs Mark Hunt, Fabricio Werdum vs Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Mirko Filipovic vs Hidehiko Yoshida would all face off and due to the fact that Fedor was still unable to compete due to injury, Wanderlei Silva replaced him to face Kazuyuki Fujita.
Barnett submitted Hunt, Nogueira decisioned Werdum, Silva TKO'd Fujita and Filipovic's vicious leg kicks made Yoshida verbally submit. The final four was set and the semi finals and finals would take place on the same night in September in Saitama.
Four of the best fighters in the world would deliver fireworks on this night as Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic would score a beautiful head kick knockout over Silva in the semi's to make it to the finals. In the other fight, Barnett and Nogueira would battle to a tight split decision win for Barnett.
Barnett and Cro Cop had already fought twice, with Cro Cop winning both times, and it would be no different in their third fight against each other. Mirko Cro Cop would defeat Barnett via tap due to strikes and become the 2006 Grand Prix Open Weight Champion.