Tag Archives: Gracie

20 GREATEST FIGHTS IN THE UFC FROM EACH OF THE LAST 20 YEARS (BELATED HAPPY BIRTHDAY UFC POST!)

Really late but it took a while to do research on the fights and videos. I picked the fights I thought had a great story behind it, not just how much each fighter bled or how how action-packed a fight was – although the entertainment value and lasting impact were my top two categories. Here we go!

2013: Jon “Bones” Jones vs Alexander Gustafsson (UFC 165)

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Edges out Gilbert Melendez vs Diego Sanchez and Wanderlei Silva vs Brian Stann for the moment it showed the champion’s vulnerability and resilient comeback; this was a very controversial contest but marked what could be the start of the greatest trilogy in MMA history.

2012: Joe Lauzon vs Jamie Varner (UFC on Fox 4)

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Post-fight bonus legend Joe Lauzon outlasted Jamie Varner in a World War III style gritty MMA fight. A lot of fights in the octagon are technical affairs but this was a straight up WAR. Lauzon and Varner may never win a UFC title but this fight ensures they have a place somewhere in UFC legend.

2011: Frankie Edgar vs Gray Maynard II (UFC 125)

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Gets the nod over Dan Henderson vs Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 139 for the revelation of the heart of Frankie “The Answer” Edgar; a big size difference saw Frankie make a gutsy comeback against  then-undefeated Gray Maynard to retain his title.

2010: Anderson Silva vs Chael Sonnen (UFC 117)

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Undisputed champion, Anderson Silva would get the fight of his life against then-unknown Chael Sonnen. Silva would pull off a miraculous comeback late in the last round, submitting Sonnen after being controlled the whole fight. This match added to the Spider’s legend and gave rise to the “American Gangster” Chael Sonnen.

2009: Diego Sanchez vs Clay Guida (The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale)

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From the start of the bell to last minute, this fight was a complete war! Right off the ring of the bell, Diego Sanchez and Clay Guida engaged in gratuitous but glorious war that saw a razor-thin decision win to crazy Diego “The Dream” Sanchez.

2008: Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs Forrest Griffin (UFC 86)

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The peak of Forrest Griffin’s Cinderella run with the UFC. A major underdog to Pride legend, Rampage, Forrest would win a close five-round fight to become the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. It would mark the first time a The Ultimate Fighter winner would win a UFC championship.

2007: Chuck Liddell vs Wanderlei Silva (UFC 79)

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This year marked the year two legendary (but fading away) MMA fighters went in an all-out brawl. Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva brought a combined 37 knockout wins to this fight but it was the guts and heart of both men that shined best in this classic.

2006: Georges St. Pierre vs B.J. Penn I (UFC 58)

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In what would be one of the most controversial fights in UFC history, a resilient GSP would outlast a vicious assault from B.J. Penn to win a title shot against Matt Hughes. In a rematch a few years later, GSP would put doubters to rest by soundly beating the Prodigy.

2005: Forrest Griffin vs Stephan Bonnar I (The Ultimate Fighter Finale)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXfyzBZzisQ

The fight that put the UFC on the map; not the best fight in technical terms but if you want to see a legitimate contest with two guys beating each other this is the fight for you. As such every UFC fan should have at least seen this fight. Call it a tribute or homage.

2004: Karo Parisyan vs Nick Diaz (UFC 49)

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In a stacked UFC 49 card, young phenoms Karo Parisyan and Nick Diaz stole the show and put on a brilliant display of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Parisyan would come out with a close split decision victory but there were there no real losers in this epic contest.

2003: Randy Couture vs Chuck Liddell I (UFC 43)

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In what would be the first meeting between two UFC legends, Randy Couture would hand Chuck Liddell his first career TKO loss. Couture would also become the first man in UFC history to win two world titles in separate divisions and further establish his stake to one of the company’s greatest fighters.

2002: Tito Ortiz vs Ken Shamrock (UFC 40)

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This fight and PPV marked a turning point for the company as the buyrate was four times larger than any other show. Though a somewhat lopsided affair for Ortiz, the crazy atmosphere and intense rivalry fueled what would’ve been one of the most significant fights in company history.

2001: Carlos Newton vs Matt Hughes I (UFC 34)

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The night Matt Hughes became a UFC legend. The wrestler was a relative unknown coming into this fight and found himself in a grappling war with then-champion and BJJ specialist, Carlos Newton. Mid round 3, Hughes is caught with a triangle choke but just before passing out, slams Newton to win the title in what would stand as one of the most iconic finishes in UFC history.

2000: Tito Ortiz vs Wanderlei Silva (UFC 25: Ultimate Japan 3)

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Go ahead and accuse me of Tito Ortiz bias but Tito Ortiz does what most fans expect in a fight: he WARS. In this particular bout, he takes his brawling talents across the Pacific and meets equally violent Wanderlei Silva in an epic clash for the UFC Light Heavyweight title. Tito would prevail.

1999: Frank Shamrock vs Tito Ortiz (UFC 22)

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One of the greatest comebacks in UFC history; defending Light Heavyweight Champion, Frank Shamrock gets manhandled by the bigger Tito Ortiz for most of the fight then mounts an improbable comeback and TKO’s Ortiz just seconds before the end of round 4. It would be Frank’s last fight with the UFC. It would also be his best.

1998: Dan Henderson vs Carlos Newton (UFC 17)

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The first appearance of future champions Dan Henderson and Carlos Newton would be a memorable one as the two would engage in an all-out brawl with Hendo claiming victory by decision.

1997: Randy Couture vs Vitor Belfort (UFC 15)

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One of the first “superfights” in the UFC, “The Natural” Randy Couture would upset then-undefeated Brazilian terror, Vitor Belfort. Couture would use his strong wrestling to nullify Belfort and finish him with strikes.  This also marked the first UFC with its current limitations on permissible striking areas.

1996: Mark Coleman vs Don Frye (UFC 10)

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Not the most exciting bout by today’s standards but at that time it showcased two powerhouse heavyweights. Mark Coleman would make the most of his UFC debut, beating fan favourite Don Frye with vicious ground and pound and wrestling to win. Bruce Buffer also made his debut at this event.

1995: Oleg Taktarov vs Marco Ruas (Ultimate Ultimate 1995)

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A classic not a lot of fans know about but should watch! UFC 7 champion and Vale Tudo phenom Marco Ruas would be taken to war by the Russian guy from Predators Sambo and Judo expert, Oleg Taktarov. Taktarov would win an entertaining scrap that might’ve yielded different results with today’s judging.

1994: Royce Gracie vs Dan Severn (UFC 6)

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In what is my “Really Boring Fight That Ended Really Awesome” fight, Royce Gracie shows the world that size doesn’t matter after he chokes out Dan Severn, who was a good three weight classes above him. This match is another reminder why BJJ is so widely studied and how even the smaller man can win.

1993: UFC 1

http://vimeo.com/45287348

Quite obvious. Pay your respects!

MMA Fanboy’s Manifesto

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a HUGE sports fan. I won’t brag about being the most hardcore fan or talk about any insane antics or hefty dollars I’ve spent to prove it. No, in fact I would say I’ve been modest and there’s always a crazier fan around the corner.

I’m still a relatively “young” sports fan, not having been for more than a decade. I initially followed the NBA then transitioned to the NHL after moving to Toronto then the NFL and MLB followed. I follow other sports to an extent but casually: college basketball and football, tennis, soccer on an international level and pro wrestling if you count that.

But it wasn’t until April 9, 2005 as what Dana White would call “the most important fight in UFC history” that I got sucked into the world of MMA. I’ll always remember that fight as the sporting event that had me glued to the TV set from the moment it started to the moment it ended. Here’s the fight in its entirety:

Eight years, hundreds of UFC cards and endless fights later, I’ve finally decided to blog about MMA. I’ve tried blogging in the past about past sports or all of them and it turned out to be too much and I slowly faded.

But not this time. MMA is the sport I write about and it’s the sport I’ve decided to stick to. I love it, I respect it and I’ll continue to watch it till the day I die or till the day it dies (hopefully never). Here’s some reasons why I love it so much and why you should:

Young Sport but the Fastest Growing Sport Worldwide

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The sport of MMA is pretty young especially if you compare it to other combat sports such as boxing and wrestling. The UFC, the biggest MMA promotion is only 20 years old versus the big four sports leagues, which are all about a thousand years old. The promotion actually began at a time when I was not only alive but at a conscious age. I can trace the UFC and MMA back to its roots and actually recall it easier or watch it and it’ll be more accessible as opposed to baseball. Good luck finding older videos or tapes.

Despite being young, MMA is the fastest growing sport in my opinion. It’s a global sport that is big in all continents from North America to Asia to Europe to South America and so on. The only two sports I can think of that are more popular in a global scope are football (soccer) and basketball.

There are over 90 fighting promotions based in (n) different continents and the UFC has been to every continent (but Africa and Antarctica) and is being broadcasted in over 130 countries and they’re not slowing down any time soon. For the UFC to have been so successful and not use the state of New York, arguably the hottest market for anything sports-related speaks volumes.

From a career perspective the sport of MMA is the place to be. As an aspiring public relations, events and writing student I would want to be a part of a sport that I can only see continue growing and expanding. The sport of MMA I feel is only as young as I am. This is the sport for me and my generation.

Most Diverse Sport

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There are over 25 different nationalities in total competing in the UFC alone. Tito Ortiz (above) reps both his Mexican and American heritages. There’s over a hundred women competing, making it one of the largest if not the largest organized sport for women worldwide. There are over ten weight classes ranging from as light as 105 lbs to 265 lbs over. You have fighters as small as being under 5 feet and behemoths the size of Shaquille O’Neal. Needless to say, no matter what your ethnicity, sex or build, you have a spot in the world of mixed martial arts.

As a diminutive Asian, there weren’t many athlete role models I could take after. Asians are particularly nonexistent in the realm of sports and women’s sports are but an afterthought. You also seem to need to be over six feet tall to be given better consideration in most sports. But if I ever wanted to strap up, train and go HAM at least I know that pint-sized people like myself have a weight division to compete in.

Best Sport to Follow

There is no “offseason” in MMA. No waiting around for an entire season feasting on the endless trade and signing rumours, top ten lists of underrated and overrated fantasy players and whatever your favourite player is having for dinner.

There is an event perpetually every week or a PPV every month. Fighters only fight within three to four months, maybe two if they take fights on short notices or fight in multiple tournaments but that isn’t common especially for the big name fighters. Within one calendar year, the average MMA fighter fights 2-3 times. Assuming you follow or love about 20 fighters, that’s still only about 10-20 events you can catch in a full calendar year distributed quite evenly.

Also, in an age where there’s distractions everywhere *cough* ADHD *cough* Internet *cough*, the three-round five-minute format of the UFC for instance is easier to watch in its entirety than a 90 minute football match or a 60 minute American football game.

Not About the Violence… it’s Respect and Discipline

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Every MMA opponent would always argue the same thing: it promotes violence and is human cockfighting. Two people causing short-term and long-term physical and psychological injuries to each other for the sake of our petty entertainment… allow me a pause for brief laughter.

The relatively young sport of MMA is relatively no more as violent as other sports like hockey, American football, rugby, lacrosse, even pro wrestling if we want to stretch it that far. MMA just happens to be the most visually striking among all sports and the violence is direct with kicks to heads and faces caked in blood. You’d be hard-pressed to find deaths within major MMA organizations such as the UFC or One FC.

But it’s not about all of that. It’s about the respect and discipline each fighter puts in night in and night out. I’m not a fighter and I can respect every competitor that puts their body, mind and soul on the line. And at the end of a fight, even bitter rivals like Nick Diaz and GSP shake hands for respect. Because there are only two things that can overcome hatred: and respect is one of them. It’s a strange juxtaposition of something that is graphically bloody and violent with a great show of sportsmanship.

Every MMA fighter trains continuously maintaining strict diet to get to their respective weights.

Most Exciting Sport. But it’s about the Story.

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MMA is the most exciting sport, period. I haven’t been on the edge of my seat more times than MMA fights and I’ll always remember the nights I stayed up an extra two-three hours just skimming online for whatever fight videos I can see or going through Wikipedia or Sherdog reading up on fighter profiles, tracing fight history and reading up on various fighting styles.

But it’s beyond that sometimes. Sometimes it’s about what MMA – particularly the UFC – has stood for: truth and honour. Ties in to my earlier point on respect and discipline. It’s about what Royce Gracie started way back in UFC 1 (video below). It’s about the average guy, 170 lbs making much bigger fighters – hulking bullies like Ken Shamrock at 205+ lbs tap out. It’s about the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu adding this new dimension – this new image of fighting that has changed it forever – at least in the mainstream world.

What Royce Gracie showed was how the smaller man could beat the bigger man because it wasn’t just about someone’s size in a fight. He gives underdogs – pipsqueaks such as myself a chance to get ground and pounded instead of getting straight up knocked out the ability to defend myself from nearly anyone.

Sure, the world of MMA is very mainstream and commercialized now. It’s transcended what it originally meant and maybe it has no meaning at all for most people. As simple as two guys beating each other up for everyone’s amusement. But to me it’d always be about underdogs overcoming odds to win. And it’s just not just limited to Royce Gracie’s original domination of the first three UFC’s. There’s plenty wherever. From Matt Brown overcoming a heroin overdose to becoming one of the hottest welterweights currently to Frank Mir overcoming a motorcycle accident to pave a Hall of Fame career to bitter rivalries that span months or years from Tito Ortiz making peace with Ken Shamrock or the aforementioned GSP and Nick Diaz settling old scores in a handshake and hug at the end of their fight.

MMA isn’t so much about the gratuitous violence as it is about the passion, respect and triumph of human courage. You can beat each other to death (and potentially cause future physical risks) and still be best friends is why I love this sport.

With that said, I leave you with the video – the event – the night that changed it all.

Adios.