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14 MOST LOPSIDED “RIVALRIES” IN MMA

Ideally, mixed martial arts competitions should be competitive and evenly fought to bring about maximum entertainment and value for both us sports fans and competitors alike. However, there’s been more than enough one-sided ass-whoopings in the MMA world I had to compile a few that stood out.

A “rivalry” like the competitions would be a lot better if both fighters were actually evenly matched and hurt each other equally. That isn’t always the case. So here are 14 of the most lopsided affairs between two MMA fighters who fought each other on multiple occasions. Please leave comments or accusations if I missed any or ranked some too high!

14. Frank Mir vs Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera

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Both fighters are considered two of the greatest submissions specialists in the heavyweight division (30 combined submissions). Yet when they finally clashed, not once but twice, it would be Mir who would hand Big Nog his first TKO and submission losses, the latter being arguably the greatest submission in UFC history when Mir literally broke Nog’s arm. Ouch.

13. Dennis Hallman vs Matt Hughes

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Matt Hughes was the welterweight division’s kingpin for quite the time. Only a handful of UFC fighters can say they beat the legend and Hallman probably has every single one beat. In their two contests, Dennis Hallman needed only a combined 37 seconds to submit Hughes. Today, Hughes is a UFC Hall of Famer and Hallman is toiling the local circuits. Still, 37 seconds is probably a record somewhere.

12. Urijah Faber vs Champions

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“Always the bridesmaid, never the bride”. Every single one of the California Kid’s seven career losses came in a title fight. Since he dropped his WEC Featherweight title to Mike Brown, Faber has gone 0-6 in his last six title fights. This may not be the traditional “rivalry” in a sense but Faber’s consistent losses to title holders represented a metaphorical dragon he can’t quite slay even to this day.

11. Matt Hughes vs Frank Trigg

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Matt Hughes was no friend to Frank Trigg. The two fights between Trigg and Hughes were close and Trigg would come close to beating Hughes. He almost finished him in the second fight after an unnoticed knee to Hughes’ groin. Yet both times, Hughes would end up choking out Trigg in dramatic fashion leading to many fans mockingly renaming the choke, “Rear Naked Trigg”.

10. Mauricio Rua vs Alistair Overeem

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Once upon a time, Alistair Overeem was not a steroid-abused heavyweight. Once upon a time, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua fought Alistair Overeem and knocked him out. The beaten Overeem decided to move up to heavyweight. A few wins later and the ‘Reem decided to go back to light heavyweight where Shogun would once again, beat the crap out of him. Having had enough, Overeem went back to heavyweight, never looked back and ate Barry Bonds.

9. Cain Velasquez vs Junior Dos Santos

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Junior Dos Santos would dethrone Cain as the UFC’s heavyweight champion giving him his first and only loss in his career. So what does Cain do? Give JDS one of the most savage beatdowns not once but twice, beating his face into that of a troll from Lord of the Rings. The only reason this lopsided rivalry is ranked this low is because of JDS’s first win. In hindsight, the “damage” Cain took in that fight seems like a teardrop compared to the river he poured on poor JDS.  

8. Anderson Silva vs Rich Franklin

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Rich Franklin was 22-1 into his UFC career finishing the majority of his fights by stoppage. He looked every bit like one of the most dominant fighters of his time. Then along came a spider. Anderson Silva would hurt Rich Franklin more times in their two brief fights than Franklin has been hurt his entire career to that point. The best Ace could do was apologize for “hurting” Silva’s knee with his face.

7. Fedor Emelianenko vs Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

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Antonio “Minotauro” Nogueira was Pride’s first ever Heavyweight Champion and its resident top dog. Then a dude named Fedor came and thoroughly punished the bigger Nogueira en route to winning his belt. Big Nog would rematch Fedor twice but neither resulted in success. Though Fedor didn’t finish Nog, he became the first man to twice beat who otherwise was known as (arguably) the best heavyweight at that time.

6. Quinton Jackson vs Chuck Liddell

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For a decade, Chuck Liddell was possibly the most dominant light heavyweight in MMA with twenty wins, most coming by knockout. He would avenge his earlier losses to Randy Couture and Jeremy Horn but not Quinton Jackson. Rampage would beat Liddell into retirement in their first Pride fight then knock him out and take his belt in the UFC rematch. Poor Chuck was never the same after the second loss.

5. Ronda Rousey vs Miesha Tate

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The most heated rivalry in MMA today. Rousey and Tate brought a new meaning to the word “hate”. It started in Strikeforce when Rousey would break Tate’s arm and win her title. It carried on to the UFC reality TV series, The Ultimate Fighter. Tate would successfully piss off Rousey with her constant mind games and Rousey would retaliate by mauling Tate and armbar her a second time in the rematch. As consolation, Tate became the first woman to survive Ronda in the first round.

4. Chuck Liddell vs Tito Ortiz

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Chuck Liddell owned Tito Ortiz like no UFC fighter has. Despite Tito’s antics and excuses and Liddell’s injured MCL in the second fight, Chuck would knock out Ortiz in both fights. The two were supposed to fight a third time after The Ultimate Fighter yet Ortiz would pull out for unknown reasons. Who are you kidding, Tito? Everyone knows you chickened out from getting your butt handed to you a third time.

3. Wanderlei Silva vs Kazushi Sakuraba

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Kazushi Sakuraba was fresh off of his sweep of the Gracie clan and was writing his own legend until the Axe Murderer brutally beat him not once, not twice, but three times. Wandy was the much bigger and stronger fighter and punished Sakuraba either breaking his bones or leaving him a mangled mess. It was truly one of the most lopsided rivalries not only in Pride history but all of MMA.  

2. Tito Ortiz vs Ken Shamrock

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The most popular rivalry in UFC history also turned out to be the most lopsided in UFC history. Ortiz’s post-fight antics against Shamrock’s student, Guy Mezger led to an enraged Shamrock challenging Tito to a fight. Three fights. In each fight, Tito would slap Ken around so bad I almost felt sorry for him. Thankfully, Ken only had to endure the last two fights a combined three minutes and 39 seconds. After all, I don’t think even the “World’s Most Dangerous Man” wanted to get spanked any more.

1. Kazushi Sakuraba vs the Gracie Clan

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The nickname says it all: the “Gracie Hunter”. Sakuraba dispatched of four members: Royler, Renzo, Ryan and most notably: the undefeated Royce Gracie in a ninety-minute marathon. Sakuraba outlasted Royce when the Brazilian’s corner threw in the towel. Eight years later, Royce would finally defeat Sakuraba though with a little PED help. Four years after, Ralek Gracie, 16 years Sakuraba’s junior, would finally end the slump. Sakuraba would finish his career going 4-1-1 (loss to Royce I counted as ‘NC’) against the most prestigious family in MMA history.

Honourable Mentions

Cristiane Justino vs Marloes Coenen
Georges St. Pierre vs Matt Hughes
Randy Couture vs Vitor Belfort
Mauricio Rua vs Lyoto Machida
Mirko Filipovic vs Josh Barnett

14 EXPECTATIONS FOR THE MMA WORLD IN 2014

14. UFC and MMA in general will “struggle” with TV ratings and PPV buys continue to decline or holding steady

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The loss of the two biggest stars in the MMA world in Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva coupled with injuries to other stars (Cain Velasquez, Anthony Pettis) and the increasing number of UFC events could mean even more oversaturation of MMA.   

13. All current UFC Champions will retain their titles in 2014

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Ronda Rousey is indomitable. Jon “Bones” Jones will reign supreme. Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson only keeps getting better. And Chris Weidman is only going to build on his back-to-back mauling of Anderson Silva. I don’t see any current UFC champions dropping their belts in 2014.

12. Jessica Penne and Michelle Waterson wage war in a rematch for the Invicta Atomweight Title with Penne regaining the title in what will be the best women’s fight outside the UFC

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The Penne and Waterson title fight early in 2013 was an underrated classic. When the two meet again in the inevitable rematch, they’ll put on another classic that will have talking heads look to recognized female atomweights for the UFC.

11. Ben Askren dominates One FC going undefeated in 2014 and finishing all opponents and strengthens his status as the “Best Fighter outside the UFC”

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He almost contemplated retirement after briefly being unemployed but the wrestling star is back. Askren will take advantage of the relatively unknown division and dominate every opponent he faces until One FC can sign a higher-level talent.

10. B.J. Penn finally retires after suffering his fifth loss in seven games and third consecutive loss to Frankie Edgar

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B.J. Penn will make an emphatic return to the UFC scene on The Ultimate Fighter 19 and he’ll make more noise inside the octagon against Frankie “The Truth” Edgar. But it won’t be enough as he’ll lose a close decision to which he will then announce his retirement to the applause and admiration of millions.

9. UFC continues aggressive international expansion focusing on Asia: Mainland China and Southeast Asia particularly

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With the UFC’s debut in Singapore, the rest of Asia may soon follow. Events in the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Mainland China may happen. Outside Asia, Mexico’s a strong possibility.

8. Tecia Torres wins the The Ultimate Fighter 20 and the UFC’s Inaugural Women’s Strawweight Title narrowly defeating Barb Honchak in the Finals

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Carla Esparza and Joanne Calderwood seem like popular choices to win TUF 20 but I think it’s the “Tiny Tornado” Tecia Torres who’ll be winning it all despite being the smallest fighter making for one of the better underdog stories this year.

7. Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson becomes the UFC’s main breakout star

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Mighty Mouse was the only UFC champion to go 3-0 in 2013 and punctuated it with a huge knockout as an answer to critics of his stopping power. He’s looked better as he keeps fighting and the world will put the flyweights on the grid for good.

6. Michael Chandler recaptures Bellator Lightweight Title from Eddie Alvarez in conclusion to trilogy and main event to Bellator’s first PPV

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Chandler and Alvarez will go at it for the third time and will put on another amazing fight. Chandler will outlast his rival in a close decision to reclaim the belt as they headline Bellator’s first PPV.

5. GSP, Brock Lesnar and Nick Diaz do NOT return to the UFC or MMA

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They will make more buzz than most active fighters in 2014 thanks to social media and endless “rumour” talks but none of GSP, Brock Lesnar or Nick Diaz will be making a comeback to the octagon for this year.

4. No “Superfights”

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Talk of a Jose Aldo vs Anthony Pettis fight or the Anderson Silva vs Roy Jones fight will flood the Internet but neither will actually transpire. Aldo and Pettis have to defend their titles and are injury prone. Silva will return to action but against a fellow mixed martial artist, not a boxer.

3. Ronda Rousey defends belt three times in 2014 and talks of retirement resurface

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Rousey’s toughest test in 2014 is Sara McMann but after she overcomes her she’ll continue to dominate the division while having a part-time gig in Hollywood. The dreaded “R” word will come up again as many could say she doesn’t have anything left to prove.

2. Anderson Silva returns with a vengeance; finishes non-title opponent in emphatic fashion

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Anderson Silva will make his comeback of the year in the form of a huge knockout or submission. News of his demise would be greatly exaggerated as Spider will prove he’s still a force to be reckoned with.

1. Jon “Bones” Jones becomes the UFC’s P4P King and PPV King

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With GSP gone and Anderson Silva done for most of the year, it’ll be Jon “Bones” Jones who’ll headline the most top-selling UFC PPVs especially if and when that rematch with Alex Gustafsson transpires. He’ll also solidify his spot as the UFC’s #1 P4P king.

UFC Fight Night 29 Main Card Picks!!

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DEMIAN MAIA (#4) VS JAKE SHIELDS

I see this fight going in two directions: the first (and one I’m praying for) is going to be a major treat for jiu-jitsu fans as Shields and Maia, two BJJ black belts and premiere grapplers go into a grappling war of the ages.

In 48 combined fights neither fighter has been submitted. They’re both aggressive and wear out their opponents to a scorecard win or a submission (19 combined submission victories). Height, reach and age are all pretty identical.

Of course the second (worst-case) scenario is both – well aware of each other’s expertise – decide to rely on their… not-so-exciting stand-up games. Shields despite having a kickboxing background leaves much to be desired in his striking and Maia (though improved) has rarely shown a penchant for standing and banging.

Maia is undefeated as a welterweight having dominant victories including one over Jon Fitch. Shields on the other hand looks to be a bad loss away from the firing squad. If Shields doesn’t enter this fight with the same ruthless aggression Maia will, it might be a really short – or really long night for him.

Result: Maia via unanimous decision

ERICK SILVA VS DONG HYUN KIM

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A fight between two welterweight prospects who people have forgotten. They’re outside the top 10 but a huge win here could push them in. Dong Hyun Kim has won his last two and his only losses have come against former Interim champ Carlos Condit and Demian Maia. Erick Silva is coming off a tough loss to the gritty Jon Fitch but has three 1st round submission wins. He’s a BJJ Muay thai expert in the mold of Anderson Silva – his mentor and training partner.

“Stun Gun” is a big dominating wrestler and the only fighter who’s outgrappled him was Maia, who was a former middleweight title contender. Depending how well Silva’s improved his grappling and takedown defense, I see Kim Jon Fitch-ing Silva all over again. But Silva is a creative striker and submissionist and has more than likely learned from his run-in with Fitch.

This fight has an eerie resonance with the Jacare and Okami fight: the Brazilian BJJ Muay Thai expert going up against the big strong Asian wrestler. I love Silva’s promise – call me a fanboy but I’m all on board his bandwagon like everyone’s on Jacare’s. Fitch was also a better wrestler than Kim. Silva wasn’t dominated by Fitch in fact coming close to submitting him – twice. He may just pull that off against Kim – if he doesn’t knock him out first. Either scenario is likely to happen, so my gut says.

Result: Erick Silva via round 1 TKO

THIAGO SILVA VS HATT HAMILL

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A clash between two light heavyweight gatekeepers. Matt Hamill and Thiago Silva weren’t doing so hot until their recent victories over Roger Hollett and Rafael Cavalcante, respectively. Silva was and still is one of the premiere light heavyweights in the UFC. Only has 3 losses and 2 came to former champions (Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans) with Alex Gustafsson – who most recently gave #1 P4P king Jon “Bones” Jones a run for his money – is the third. Of his 15 wins, 14 have ended in stoppage with 12 coming via knockout.

Matt Hamill pretty much grew up in the octagon; all but one of his fights have occurred within the UFC. He’s a decorated wrestler being a former NCAA Division III champion and Deaflympics silver medalist in Greco-Roman wrestling. He also has heavy hands (6 wins via KO).

Tough fight. Silva is younger and has twice the fighting experience and has more to prove after having two recent wins forfeited due to failing the post-drug tests. Can’t count out Hamill either. Regardless who wins, this fight may not make it out of round 1.

Result: Thiago Silva via round 1 KO

FABIO MALDONALDO VS JOEY BELTRAN

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What do you get when you pit two granite-chinned strikers fighting for their jobs as part of the main card? The “Just bleed” Fight of the Year contender over here. Fabio Maldonaldo and Joey Beltran are relative unknowns in the casual MMA world but after this fight they may just be legendary.

Fabio Maldonaldo was already legendary in his own right. He was an unbeaten boxer posting 22 wins, 21 coming by KO. 12 of his 19 MMA wins have come via the knockout. But most impressive of all was how he took over a dozen of Glover Teixeira’s biggest bombs and continued to fight back, even clipping Glover a few times.

Joey Beltran burst into the scene by knocking out Rolles Gracie Jr. He also holds a knockout win over former UFC-er Houston Alexander. Though his record (3-5) with the company doesn’t show it, he’s been an underrated undercard talent having two Fight of the Nights to his name.

Honestly, in a slug fest like this it’s a toss up. It’s not really the result we’re after, it’s the showdown. But I’ll say the only fighter tougher than Fabio Maldonaldo is Fabio Maldonaldo after eating Chuck Norris.He should outlast Beltran in what should be one of the most brutal bangers of the year.

Result: Maldonaldo via TKO round 2

ROUSIMAR PALHARES VS MIKE PIERCE

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Another great grappling contest between two hulks in their own right. Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares got his nickname meaning “Tree Stump” for his little muscular build. He’s 5’8″ and fought to as high as light heavyweight.  Mike Pierce is built similarly. And they both like to get down and dirty.

Palhares paved a steady 7-4 record as a middleweight, many of those wins coming by some of the craziest submissions (two submission of the nights). But back-to-back losses by stoppage has him moving down to welterweight, his first foray into the division.

Mike Pierce on the other hand has been an elite gatekeeper (if there ever was one) in the welterweight division posting a 9-3 record with those losses all coming to former title contenders and elite wrestlers. Since then, he’s won his last 4 fights, finishing half of them by knockout. In his 22 career fights, he has never been finished.

Palhares and Pierce would be interesting to say the least but unless Palhares catches one of Pierce’s limbs for him to eat break, Pierce would grind him into a tree stump. He has heavy hands and has better stand-up and has wrestled much better grapplers.

Result: Mike Pierce via round 2 TKO

RAPHAEL ASSUNҪÃO (#5) VS T.J. DILLASHAW (#9)

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A battle of rising bantamweights. The 5th ranked Assunção is undefeated (4-0) since cutting down from featherweight and after his loss in the The Ultimate Fighter finale to (now flyweight contender) John Dodson, Dillashaw has rattled off 4 straight wins of his own. Whoever wins this fight could be one fight away from a title shot.

I’m biased towards Team Alpha Male fighters especially now that Duane Ludwig has taken them to a new level with greatly improved striking. Dillashaw could be the next coming of Urijah Faber and seems to be on a path to greatness but Assunção’s experience and size would pose considerable problems for Dillashaw. In a grappling match, I generally favour the more experienced larger fighter but you can’t discount talent, something I feel Dillashaw has more of.

Dillashaw will be in for the biggest fight of his career and while my head keeps telling me to pick the bigger, stronger, grittier Assunção, I’ll go with the gut and pick the fighter with the more upside. Chalk it up to Team Alpha Male and Duane Ludwig for another big W.  Keep the streak going.

Result: Dillashaw via unanimous decision