Tag Archives: pride

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

One Punch: Dan Henderson’s Most Important Fight

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Tonight’s UFC Fight Night 32 will put two of mixed martial arts’s biggest icons: Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort against Dan “Hendo” Henderson, a rematch from their Pride fight in 2006. Let’s state the obvious that this fight is a must win for both fighters especially since both are still as dangerous as any young gun and are still vying for a title shot. But for Hendo, this is do or die. This is his most important fight. He has to beat Vitor Belfort. His entire career depends on it.

Divergent Paths

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Both Hendo and Belfort have a combined 29 knockout wins in their careers. All of Belfort’s wins in the UFC have come via finish. That’s right. Out of the 12 UFC opponents he has beaten, he has submitted two and knocked out ten. The Phenom has looked phenomenal, excuse the bad pun, as of late. Thank a little TRT exemption – but his last two wins, both spectacular finishes against middleweight contenders, Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold means he’s on a path of destruction back to contendership (listed #2 ranked middleweight by UFC.com).

Hendo in contrast has lost his last two fights by split decision to former light heavyweight champions, Rashad Evans and Lyoto Machida. A lot of the naysayers may think Hendo’s on a downtrend and retirement may be in the horizon but Hendo stated he has no plans of and wants to fight for at least two more years. That’s plenty of time to get back into title contention.

Before Hendo lost his last two fights, he was Jon Jones’s next opponent until his injury infamously made history by cancelling the first ever UFC 151. This and being on a two-fight losing streak pretty much has Hendo on the back end of a short line of contenders for another shot. But one punch can change everything. One knockout can change Hendo’s fortunes for good. But he has to be the one pulling it off.

Turning Back Time: 2011

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Hendo is only two years removed from a magnificent 2011, which was arguably his greatest year since his Pride days. In 2011, Hendo knocked out highly-touted Black House prodigy, Rafael “Feijao” Calvacante to win the Strikeforce light heavyweight championship. He followed this up with come-from-behind knockout of the legendary Fedor Emelianenko, the first time the great Russian has been felled mid-fight by strikes.

And as an encore to the year, Hendo engaged Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in what many pundits and fans alike have called one of the greatest fights in MMA history. He would win the war by unanimous decision.

Hendo would go 3-0 for the year, which would earn him the aforementioned title shot against Jones. But it’s worth noting that his wins have come with asterisks. Cavalcante as highly regarded as he was isn’t a top ten light heavyweight at least not in the UFC. Fedor was on the downswing of his career coming off of two losses and several fight metrics had him losing to Rua.

TRT or Retirement?

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Since his injury in 2012 and bowing out of the title fight, Hendo just has not looked the same. He certainly didn’t seem as explosive in both his fights against Rashad and Machida and has looked slower and more sluggish. Being permitted a TRT exemption isn’t good news, it’s more concerning. But should Hendo decide to undergo it, would it make a big difference?

TRT users indeed report “increased alertness and well-being, increase in lean muscle mass and concomitant decrease in body fat” (source: Gan EH, “A UK Epidemic of Testosterone Prescribing 2001-2010) . It has certainly helped the resurgent Vitor Belfort as he has looked like a new man, arguably at his best ever since he’s fought professionally. It’s also helped Chael Sonnen as he submitted Rua within just a round. But it didn’t really help either man against Jon Jones.

A reinvigorated Hendo could definitely end up like Vitor Belfort. There’s no guarantee but should Hendo lose to Belfort, and should he lose badly (as in first T/KO loss), maybe retirement is a better path?

Does Hendo want to fade away like other greats before him: Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, Rampage Jackson and the abovementioned Fedor Emelianenko?

Hendo is a man of great pride and he has aged gracefully. I’m sure he as well as any of his fans believe he’s capable of putting on even more fights but what if he isn’t? As a Hendo fan, I would hate to see him get trashed on his way out of MMA.

One Punch

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One punch. Sometimes that’s all it takes to end a fight. And it can happen at any moment against anyone. It happened to Anderson Silva against Chris Weidman, the greatest mixed martial artist of his time flattened by a punch. Hendo and Belfort are both familiar with the power both possess. Whether it is Hendo who uncorks an “H Bomb” and floors Belfort or the Phenom finally accomplishes what over 30 fighters couldn’t and that is to stop Hendo in his tracks with punches (or a kick).

If Belfort loses, he’d be slightly derailed from his hopes of another title shot (since the fight is taking place at light heavyweight, he will still be technically unbeaten at middleweight since losing to Anderson Silva). But if Hendo loses, this could put him on the verge like what Frank Mir is currently facing.

If Hendo wins however and if he does so in spectacular fashion, he’ll be back in the hunt since the only men who have beaten Belfort in the UFC are or will be in the Hall of Fame. One punch could change Hendo’s fortunes: back in title contention or one step closer to retirement or the purgatory of the gatekeeper status.

As such, this would be Hendo’s most important match. It isn’t for a title. It isn’t of the same magnitude as the Fedor or Anderson Silva fight and it likely isn’t Hendo’s last. But it could very well be one that would define his legacy. One punch: Hendo goes back on the road to the title… or the road to the end.