I’ve been planning to write this entry for months now.. but thanks to lots and lots of work, the PBA Games heating up and a lot of procrastination I failed to write one.
Right now, with the help of the guys over at the Sherdog Forums, I’m writing the 10 most influential matches in Mixed Martial Arts History.
Since 10 fights are too short to count all of those fantastic matches that happened in Pride and the UFC.. here are some other fights that didn’t make the list. (Not in order)
Kimbo Slice vs Seth Petruzelli - Alright, I know it’s stupid but it’s just amazing how ONE JAB can take a whole organization down. The Kimbo loss marks the end of the stupid Slice hype and the organization called Elite XC
Matt Hughes vs Royce Gracie – Old school vs New school was the anthem at that time. Matt Hughes, probably the most dominant champion in UFC history takes on the guy the foundation of the early days of the UFC.
Dan Henderson vs Wanderlei Silva – This match marked the first time a fighter has ever held two titles on the same freaking time. Henderson, at that time the 183 pound champion, took on the reigning Pride 205 Champion Wanderlei Silva. Henderson won the match via knockout, being the first and only guy to hold two belts simultaniously.
Randy Couture vs Tito Ortiz – Randy at that time was struggling after losing back to back fights at Heavyweight. Randy then went on and beat Chuck to become the interim champion then defeated Tito to become the Undisputed Light Heavyweight Champion at that time. This also marked the end of Tito’s 6 fight win streak.
Royce Gracie vs Kimo Leopoldo – This fight showed the significance of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in a big way. You know why? At that time, Royce was being outweighed by about 50-60 pounds.
And now the list…
10) Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs Dan “Hendo” Henderson
UFC 75: Champion vs Champion. Rampage won via Unanimous Decision
Background of the match: This would be Quinton’s first title defense afte taking the belt away from then UFC LHW Kingpin, Chuck Liddell. This would also be Dan Henderson’s first fight, coming into the UFC as the Pride Middleweight Champion.
Why it’s so signifcant: Well basically, this marked the first ever unification of the Pride and the UFC belts. It’s also interesting to note that Rampage at that time was coming off a win against Chuck Liddell and Henderson was coming off a win against Wanderlei Silva. They only happen to be two of the best evers at that division.
9) Tito “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Ortiz vs Frank “The Legend” Shamrock
UFC 22: Only one can be champion, Shamrock won via Submission in the 4th
Background of the match: Shamrock came in as the king of the 205 division and Tito was one of the hottest prospects at that time.
Why it’s so significant: It’s probably one of the biggest matches in MMA’s dark days. Tito at that time was the word of mouth, with that bad ass cocky persona and incredible wrestling, Tito was already a draw at that time. Frank however, was the dominant champion. It’s a great fight that lived to the hype, showcased Frank as the first ever “Complete Fighter” and halted the hype that the bigger Ortiz had in that time.
8) Tito Ortiz vs Ken Shamrock 1
UFC 40: Vendetta, Ortiz won via Round 3 corner stoppage
Background of the match: The bad blood between the two is traced since UFC 18 when Tito defeated Lion’s Den fighter Jerry Bohlander. Since then, the two fighters have exchanged heat and in UFC 40, they finally met in the Octagon.
Why it’s so significant: Well, let’s just say that the feud between Ortiz and Shamrock helped the acceptance of MMA in the mainstream media. And the match didn’t disappoint, it drew PPV numbers and had a good gate attendance as well. It also kept the UFC afloat at that time.
7) Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko vs Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic
Pride Final Conflict 2005, Fedor won via Unanimous Decision
Background of the match: Fedor was being considered as the best Heavyweight on the planet and Cro Cop was the hot challenger, coming on a 7 fight win streak with all but one being stoppages.
Why it’s so significant: It’s two of the best heavyweights at that time going at it and it’s very rare to see that. This match also cemented Fedor’s legacy as the greatest Heavyweight ever.
6) Tito Ortiz vs Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell 1
UFC 47: It’s on!, Chuck won via 2nd round TKO.
Background of the match: The fight everybody wanted to see ever since the Iceman hype started. Tito at that time was hungry to get the belt back after losing it to Couture. Chuck however, was looking for a shot at Randy again.
Significance of the match: It was probably the biggest fight at that time. Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz.. if you get those guys to fight in the card, you’ll get asses on the arena seats and buys on PPV. It also answered a lot of questions at that time, is Tito scared of Chuck? is the Iceman the next big thing? This also marked the beginning of Chuck Liddell’s awesome run in the UFC.
5) Fedor Emelianenko vs Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogeuira 1
Pride 25: Body Blow, Fedor won via Unanimous Decision
Background of the match: At that time, nobody cared about this Russian guy and Big Nog was the best Heavyweight in the world. Oh how things changed..
Significance of the match: As I’ve said, Nogueira was the heavy favorite to win this match and Fedor was just basically another guy on Big Nog’s resume. But that didn’t happen tho, as Fedor unleashed a brutal ground and pound, never done before by any human being on Big Nog, winning a dominating Unanimous Decision and being crowned the second Heavyweight Champion of Pride FC, a belt he held onÂ to until Pride was bought by Zuffa.
4) Forrest Griffin vs Stephan “The American Psycho” Bonnar
The Ultimate Fighter Finale 1, Forrest won via Unanimous Decision
Background of the match: It was the finale of the first ever Ultimate Fighter, nothing special here, just two guys looking for a contract at the big league until…
The significance of the match: Up to now, it’s still known to many as the biggest fight in UFC history. An exciting slugfest of just two guys wanting to get that illustrious UFC contract. This match was the final kick into the UFC’s attempt to get into mainstream. Dana White refers to it as the most important fight in the UFC mainly because, it helped the struggling company into mainstream MMA. This match also invited new fans, many of them.
3) Rickson Gracie vs Nobuhiko Takada
Pride 1, Rickson by Armbar in Round 1
Why it’s so significant: I’m not gonna lie and pretend to be a know it all and try to make up some things in this match. So why is it so significant? Well, let’s just say.. there’s no PRIDE FC if this match didn’t happen.
2) Royce Gracie vs Art Jimmerson, Ken Shamrock and Gerard Gordeau
UFC 1, Royce won all fights via Submission
Background of the event: It was the first UFC event, 8 man format tourney, winner gets 50,000 dollars. It’s that simple.
Why it’s so significant: Other than being the first event in the biggest organization in the world, it also showcased the technique called Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Fast forward 15 years later, almost every MMA fighter has trained BJJ.
1) Kazushi “The Gracie Hunter” Sakuraba vs Royce Gracie
Pride GP 2000, Saku won via corner stoppage in the sixth round.
Background of the match: It was just another fight in the 2000 GP, except that it has unlimited number of rounds.
Why it’s the most significant fight in MMA history: Well, let’s just put it this way, Sakuraba was the corner stone of Pride FC. He’s a hero to most Japanese MMA fans and Royce was the cornerstone of the first ever UFCs. Up to now, it’s still the longest fight in MMA history (90 minutes) and it showcased two of the most influential fighters at the time being.
Whew, that’s long. That would be it. Thanks for reading.
On the night of UFC 91, Brock Lesnar did what seemed to be impossible to say for us fight fans 9 months ago when he got submitted by Frank Mir at UFC 91.
Yes, Brock is now the UFC Heavyweight Champion.
And he did it by knocking out the five time UFC Champion in brutal fashion. A shot to the temple and a barrage of hammer fist and that’s all she wrote. We now have a guy with 4 professional wins as our UFC Heavyweight Champion. And as ironic as it may sound the man that Lesnar beat to become the Champion also won his first title in his 4th professional fight, beating Maurice Smith via majority decision in UFC Japan in 1997.
While to most MMA fans, Lesnar didn’t deserve a shot at the title after beating Heath Herring, he certainly proved to the MMA community that while he technically didn’t deserve to fight for the title, he can beat and he already did beat the Champ. So that proved something about his skills.
Sadly, people still think of Brock Lesnar in Mixed Martial Arts is a joke, mainly because Lesnar fought or acted in World Wrestling Entertainment before. That I think is pretty darn stupid. MMA legend Kazushi Sakuraba fought in numerous Pro-Wrestling organizations before becoming one of the most beloved figures in the history of Mixed Martial Arts, what about that huh?
Are we forgetting that Brock is a former National Amateur Wrestling Champion? A former 4 time All American? Has a 106-5 record in the NCAA before being hired by Vinnie Mac. Forget the fact that in his first three fights in the UFC, he has fought Mir (Former Champion) Herring (MMA Vet) and Couture. He’s a pro wrestler and he doesn’t deserve to be here!
Alright, enough with the sarcasm.
At some point, I think the people would realize that Lesnar is for real and is the future of the young UFC HW Division. If you see how he works in his first four fights, beating Herring and Couture in his 3rd and 4th professional fight, imagine how he’ll do in about 2 years. 2 years of working with Greg Nelson’s camp, 2 years of training with Rodrigo Comprido, 2 more years of MMA experience. Imagine that.
With his dick-like tattoo in his chest aside, I’m going to go out and say this guy is going to be unstoppable in 2 years.
Like what Dana White said..
New layout means new sport entries. That means, I’m finally going to let go of my personal MMA blog (MMA ALL DAY) and will now post my Mixed Martial Arts related entries over here at HooPH under the “other sports” category.
Anyway, UFC 89 is just around the corner and while it isn’t one of the better cards in the UFC this year (name wise) it’s one of the cards that has the closest match ups. Leben vs Bisping, our very own Brandon Vera vs Keith Jardine, Luiz Cane vs Sokoudjou and many more. That’s why I find it interesting. It’s tough to predict cause you really don’t know what to expect.
Anyway here are my predictions for UFC 89
(185) Chris “Crippler” Leben vs Michael “The Count” Bisping
One of the most intriguing matchups I’ve seen in a while. Bisping, a solid well rounded fighter. Has good striking and ground and pound and has looked good ever since making his debut at the Middleweight division against Chainsaw Charles McCarthy. Leben on the other hand is a brawler, a guy with a rock solid chin and heavy hands.
The match could go either way, it’s either Bisping goes for takedowns all night long and try to avoid Leben’s stand up or he’ll try to show off to his hometown folks by trying to stand with Chris. I believe the latter is going to happen and Leben will take this fight via KO.
(205) Brandon “The Truth” Vera vs Keith “Dean of Mean” Jardine
This is a match for two guys who likes to stand. Keith, the kickboxer and Brandon the Muay Thai guy. Brandon didn’t look great in his debut in the LHW division, although he did win against Reese Andy in a boring unanimous decision while on the other hand, Keith Jardine didn’t do any better. He got knocked out (or rape choked as some of my colleagues would say) in 36 seconds by Wanderlei Silva. So definitely, these are two guys who would want to rebound from their previous performances.
The key stretch in this match would be the very first round. Keith, as we’ve seen it, starts slow (EG: against Houston Alexander and Wanderlei Silva) and we all know, Keith is usually on the end of a highlight reel beating if his opponent takes advantage of his slow start. I’m sure Brandon has already watched some of Keith’s matches and will be looking to attack early in the get go.
I say Brandon takes this via KO.
(205) Luiz Cane vs Sokoudjou
Again,Â two guys who hits hard and loves to stand and bang. Both will be coming out very aggressive and neither would like to fight on the ground. I say the guy who hits first gets the win here. And why am I thinking it’s going to be Soku? Well, ask Ricardo Arona and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
Sokoudjou via KO
(170) Paul Kelly vs Marcus “The Irish Hand Grenade” Davis
Davis’ title run was spoiled by AKA’s Mike Swick the last time around as he was taken down and grounded and pounded at will by Swick. Marcus will be looking to rebound from that loss as his takes on Paul Kelly. And if you’ve seen Kelly’s last fight against Paul Taylor, you know he’s going to stand toe to toe with Marcus Davis and that’s not really a bright idea.
Davis via TKO
(170) Chris “Lights out” Lytle vs Paul Taylor
This is going to be the fight of the night. Believe me when I say it. Lytle has crazy KO power and has only been finished twice (And that was via a cut) in about 50 matches.Â Like what I said in the Kelly – Davis match above, Taylor is known for standing and banging and will surely try to do the same thing to Chris Lytle. With that being said, I say Lytle takes this via TKO.
I won’t be putting much description to my predictions on the prelims because it’s 3:30 in the morning and I really need to get some sleep. Anyways, here it goes..
(170) Akihiro Gono vs Dan Hardy
Gono via Unanimous Decision
(206+) Shane Carwin vs Neil Wain
Carwin via TKO
(170) David Beilkheden vs Jess Liaudin
Beilkheden via Unanimous Decision
(170) David Baron vs Jim Miller
Baron via Sub
(155) Per Ecklund vs Sammy Schiavo
Ecklund via Sub
(155) Terry Etim vs Sam Stout
Stout via Unanimous Decision
That’s it folks. I’ll be posting my UFC 90 predictions next week. :D