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On This Day in MMA History

Noah Southworth

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On This Day in MMA History (June 23rd)

KOTC 9: Showtime (June 23rd 2001)

Notable results from this event include the final fight of one of the early UFC stars, Dave Beneteau. Beneteau lost to Tim Catalfo by way of choke. The biggest name fighter on the card was probably Jason Lambert, beating Rick Mathis in the first round. MMA’s most famous jobber not called Bob Sapp, Shannon Ritch was in action. As ever, he lost, to Katsumi Usuata, in what would be the first loss in a 12-fight losing streak. The most notorious fighter on the card was Bobby Hoffman, who is in the main event, beating Kauai Kupihea. Whilst most fans remember Hoffman as one of the first UFC fighters to fail a drug test, Hoffman gained notoriety for almost beating his then-wife to death whilst under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Oh, and his manager, Monte Cox, fired him for allegedly threatening to kill his wife and children.

PRIDE 21: Demolition (June 23rd 2002)

On this day, Don Frye and Yoshihiro Takayama beat the living shit out of each other in one of the craziest fights in MMA history. Featuring what is probably the most famous exchange in MMA history, Frye and Takayama just laid into each other with reckless abandon, putting themselves on the map. Frye was already there but his name had kind of faded after four years away working for New Japan; a fight with Ken Shamrock earlier in 2002 had reminded people all about Frye, but it was this fight that firmly put Frye’s name back in the consciousness of fight fans. Takayama gained tremendous notoriety off of this fight, and it pretty well lit a rocket under his pro wrestling career, but the sad legacy of the fight is that it undoubtedly contributed to Takayama’s many brain issues over the year; not only did he take the damage from this fight, but Takayama’s gimmick in wrestling became that he could take lot of punishment and keep going, and it eventually caught up to him in 2004 when he suffered a cerebral thrombosis after a particular brutal match against Kensuke Sasaki.

The rest of Demolition wasn’t any good and the only real notable match was the 11-second massacre of Kiyoshi Tamura at the hands of Bob Sapp. I guess you could call it notable that Daniel Gracie made his MMA debut, beating pro wrestler Takashi Sugiura by split decision.

The Ultimate Fighter: Team Pulver vs. Team Penn Finale (June 23rd 2007)

Now this was a card packed with newsworthy fights. It was headlined by BJ Penn gaining revenge on Jens Pulver in a completely one-sided fight, with Penn choking Pulver out in 3:12 of the second round. Nate Diaz made his debut on the big stage, beating Manny Gamburyan to win season five of TUF, although it was a fluke ending with Gamburyan dislocating his right shoulder making a takedown early in the second round. The first round had seen Gamburyan come out on top and he was looking good for the win before the unfortunate ending. We never found out if Nate could have ever beaten Gamburyan properly as they never rematched, which is somewhat surprising because it seems like a natural rematch to make.

It wasn’t the only fight to have a controversial ending that evening as Gray Maynard vs. Rob Emerson was ruled a no-contest after Maynard knocked himself out taking Emerson down, with Emerson tapping out from the takedown due to inured ribs. Emerson tapped before it was noticed Maynard was out, but the question was whether Maynard being out should have counted at all given that Emerson did tap. It echoed the similarly controversial ending to the first Matt Hughes vs. Carlos Newton fight, with Hughes being out from the triangle choke but still managing to slam Newton to the mat and knocking him out. Hughes was ruled the winner, even though he was the first of two to go out; Hughes later admitted that he was out from the choke and had no idea what happened. In that case, Hughes and Newton had a rematch, but Maynard and Emerson did not.

K-1 World Grand Prix 2007 in Amsterdam (June 23rd 2007)

My knowledge of K-1 is limited to the bigger names, like Hoost, Bonjasky, Herts, etc, so I don’t recognize any of the names in the tournament. The tournament itself is worth a look, though. The highlight is probably Paul Slowinski chopping Hiromi Amada down with some vicious leg kicks, resulting in Amada getting TKO’d from being unable to stand. The non-tournament fights include Melvin Manhoef and Bob Sapp, both men doing exactly what they do best, and Semmy Schilt defending the Super Heavyweight title against Migihty Mo

UFC 147: Silva vs. Franklin II (June 23rd 2012)

This was a card that went through a lot of changes. The original main event of Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen II was bumped up a few weeks to headline UFC 148, so the co-main event of Wanderlei Silva vs. Vitor Belfort II was moved up to the main event slot. Then Vitor pulled out due to injury, so Rich Franklin was drafted in as a replacement. Elsewhere on the card, Daniel Sarafian was pulled from his TUF: Brazil final against Cezar Ferreira, also due to injury, and was replaced by Sergio Moraes. And if that wasn’t enough, a Jose Aldo title defence was considered for this card but the decision was made to keep Aldo on the UFC 149 card, for a fight that never happened due to Aldo getting injured.

Silva and Franklin ended up having a really good fight, so in that respect the fans in Brazil were happy, but the outcome, Franklin winning by unanimous decision, and the fact that they didn’t get the fight they really wanted to see, Silva vs. Belfort II, ended things on a bit of damp note for the live fans. Cezar Ferreira and Rony Jason (Rony Mariano Bezerra) won the TUF: Brazil Middleweight and Featherweight finals respectively, although neither has gone on to any great success in the UFC. Ferreria hasn’t been too bad, just not outstanding, and Jason is 0-3 1 NC in his last four fights, with the no-contest a result of a win being overturned due to a failed drug test.

Elsewhere on the main card, Fabricio Werdum destroyed Mike Russow in what was Russow’s penultimate fight in the UFC; Russow lost his next fight, was cut, and hasn’t fought since. Nothing stood out on the rest of the card, with UFC 147 living to its promise or lack thereof, although a lot of that was down to problems outside of the UFC’s control.

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On This Day in MMA History (June 24th)

Pride 3 (June 24th 1998)

PRIDE 3 was headlined by a controversial fight in that it saw Nobuhiko Takada beat Kyle Sturgeon, and like all of Takada’s wins in PRIDE, it was bought and paid for ahead of time. MMA fans didn’t like it, and it really was a joke to have a worked fight headline over real fight, but Takada needed to be on top. And whilst Takada didn’t have to win all the time, he did have to win some of the time, and his lack of proper fighting ability meant the only way that was going to happen was with KRS reaching into their wallets. As with Takada’s ‘win’ over Mark Coleman, the announcers, in this case Stephen Quadros and Bas Rutten, give you enough to where you can read between the lines to know what the score is without either insulting your intelligence or outright saying it’s a worked fight.

The two notable fights on the undercard saw Kazushi Sakuraba face Carlos Newton, and a total freakshow fight as the 6’0 183lb Daiju Takase took on 6’8 600lbs Emmanuel Yarbrough. Yarbrough is a feature of one of the UFC’s most famous clips from its early days, getting dropped by Keith Hackney. The fights were on the opposite ends  of the technical spectrum, really about as far apart as you’re ever going to get, and for that reason, they’re both worth watching.

King of the Cage 4: Gladiators (June 24th 2000)

This was a 15 fight card with most of the fighter’s not even household names in their own household. Half the fighters don’t even have a picture on Sherdog, and they have pictures of almost everybody. If you are a diehard TUF fan, you might recognize Jacen Flynn from losing his elimination fight on season 11 of TUF.

The standout fight is Marvin Eastman facing Quinton Jackson for the vacant KotC Super Heavyweight title, and it wasn’t even standout enough at the time to be near the main event spot. It was the fifth fight on this card, and is only really notable for being Eastman’s MMA debut and for being a footnote in the history of Quinton Jackson. The actual main event saw a fighter from the early days of the UFC, Todd Medina, take on Daijiro Matsui, from PRIDE. The only other easily recognizable name on the card was Duane Ludwig.

The Ultimate Fighter: Team Ortiz vs. Team Shamrock Finale (June 24th 2006)

Now we’re getting to some real meat and potatoes, a card with some historical value to cap off one of the classic seasons of TUF. The third season of TUF is widely regarded as one of the best ever, with Tito Ortiz coming off so much better than you’d think, as a guy who really does care about people, and Ken Shamrock coming off as woefully out-of-touch and a terrible coach. Of course, the most historic fight of the night is the light heavyweight final that saw Michael Bisping defeat Josh Haynes. Bisping went on to become one of the UFC’s biggest names, single-handedly establishing the UFC name and the sport of MMA in the UK. Haynes, meanwhile, went on to great heights of obscurity, including a stint on a TV show called ‘Ty Murray's Celebrity Bull Riding Challenge’.

This event also saw Randy Couture inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame, and the announcement that Jens Pulver was returning to the UFC. Pulver coming back was something of a surprise given that he’d left the UFC somewhat acrimoniously in 2002, but he was back and was all set for a big return en route to coaching on an upcoming season of TUF. Almost forgotten from this night, certainly overshadowed, is that Kendal Grove beat Ed Herman to win the middleweight tournament. Grove had showed a lot of promise on TUF and big things were expected of him. But Grove never lived up to those expectations, or even come close to doing so.

I’ll bet that almost nobody remembers off-hand the main event of the evening was Kenny Florian vs. Sam Stout.

The preliminaries were filled with fighters from the TUF season, although the only one to make any kind of a name was Matt Hamil. Kalib Starnes did become notorious, however, for one of the worst performances in UFC history, at UFC 83 against Nate Quarry, which saw one judge scoring the fight 30-24 in favour of Quarry.

Strikeforce Challengers: Fodor vs. Terry (June 24th 2011)

There were no real names on this card, at least per the standards of the time, because the ‘Challengers’ series was intended to promote up-and-coming fighters rather than established names. However, several of the names involved have achieved varying levels of success or notoriety. The most notorious is notorious because of recent events, Germaine de Randamie, and she came up short here, losing to Julia Budd. Other names that went on to become notable to varying degrees are Derek Brunson, Ryan Couture, and the man who could soon become Bellator Middleweight Champion, Lorenz Larkin. Of minor notoriety is headliner Caros Fodor, although that’s only because his brother is Ben Fodor, aka. Phoenix Jones, self-styled superhero of Seattle.

Gladiator Challenge (June 24th 2012)

The only reason this event is being mentioned, and only briefly, is because of the overloaded card, 24 fights in all. That’s just way too many for even the most diehard of fans to sit through. It’s one of the most bloated cards I can remember seeing. Only 14 of the 28 fighters have pictures on Sherdog, which tells you how notable they were. I guess not every up-and-comer can make it.

VFC 51: Emerson vs. West (June 24th 2016)

The main card of this is on UFC Fight Pass, with the preliminaries, presumably, lost to the mists of time. VFC are a pretty good secondary promotion, based out of Omaha, Nebraska. A number of fighters from this group have either come from the UFC or have moved up to the UFC. Case in point is a fighter in the main event, Rob Emerson. Nine years and a day removed from perhaps his most memorable UFC moment, his famous no-contest with Gray Maynard, Emerson faces Shawn West for the vacant VFC Bantamweight title. Three other fighters on the main card have fought in the UFC, and one of them, Rick Glenn, is still on the roster and has a fight scheduled at UFC 216, when he’ll be fighting Gavin Tucker. 

VFC generally put on good events and they have Sean Wheelock as their main commentator, and Wheelock is really good at his job. Not every fight is a winner, but on the whole, you rarely go wrong with VFC.  This event is no exception, and it does feature one of the best knockouts of the year, so if you’ve got the time and the access to Fight Pass, check it out.

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On This Day in MMA History (June 25th)

Pancrase: Truth 6 (June 25th 1996)

At this point in Pancrase, we’ve reached the stage where a lot of the fighters, especially the Japanese, have become so good defensively that fights were having a tendency to go the distance. Of the seven fights on this card, five went the time-limit; three went 10:00 and two went 15:00. It would eventually reach the stage where a lot of Pancrase fights felt long and drawn out because they were often defensive stalemates.

The opener, between Kiuma Kunioku and Takafumi Ito, is a really good grappling match, though, as with most Japanese fighters, neither threw lot a lot of strikes. The two top fights saw Bas Rutten outclass Jason DeLucia on the feet and Masakatsu Funaki outclass Vernon White on the ground, and it’s the Funaki/White fight that’s the main event as well as the shortest fight of the evening, lasting a scant 2:34.

What stands out the most about the submission work on this card, and this also goes for the Sakuraba/Newton fight previously talked about, is how primitive it looks by today’s standards. The submission game has advanced so much over the past twenty years that what was state-of-the-art by the standards of the day looks positively prehistoric now.

Extreme Challenge 7 (June 25th 1997)

This is still the early and primitive days of MMA in the US, when it was still called No Hold Barred fighting. For this EC, there is one ten-minute round with a five-minute overtime period if required, with no elbows on the ground being a rule worth noting. This is a loaded card, 15 fights in total due to there being three tournaments at various weights. Of interest to long time fans are two non-tournament fights, with Pat Miletich fighting Chuck Kim, and the main event of Dan Severn against Jeremy Horn, which is the kind of fight you’d never get today due to the weight disparity. Another name of note on the card is one of MMA’s most famous iron men, Travis Fulton, although at this point in his career, Fulton is only 6-4. Fulton is known for having an insane amount of fights on his record and there are probably a lot that aren’t officially recognized. Long time independent wrestling fans may also recognize the name Adrian Serrano, who parlayed his NHB experience into a run in wrestling, including a stint with Ian Rotten’s IWA Mid-South, where he once had a match with Mike Barton (aka. Billy Gunn) in what was billed as some kind of shoot fight.

Interestingly, the instrumental music played over the graphics and replays bears an uncanny resemblance to original TUF theme.

The fighters range from terrible to decent, and one of them, Caz Daniels, actually looks pretty good for the time and showed a lot of potential as a fighter and personality. For whatever reason, Daniels never fought after 1997, which is a shame because it certainly looked like he had the promise to go places. Miletich looked dominant, as you’d expect, and was coming off of the first loss of his career, a doctor stoppage TKO loss to Matt Hume at a prior EFC event. Severn and Horn was surprisingly heated for a fight where not a whole lot actually happened; Severn would take Horn down and keep him grounded, but never really work for anything, just punching Horn enough to stay busy. Occasionally, Horn would get back to his feet but it wasn’t long before Severn took him back.

This isn’t necessarily a great event but it’s very interesting throwback to the early days of MMA in the US, so if you’re an aficionado of that sort of thing, check it out. For the record, Travis Fulton still fights today and his last fight was just eleven days ago in Ukraine. Fulton’s current record is 253-53-10 and 1 no contest. That’s both amazing and crazy. 

Shooto: Gig (June 25th 1997)

Apart from the interesting name, there isn’t much to note about this one. It does feature the third fight in the careers of both Caol Uno and Hayato Sakurai, which is a mildly interesting enough coincidence for me to mention this card.

There were a few other MMA events on this date, but there is nothing about them worth writing about, although one of them was another overly packed Gladiator Challenge event, with 20 fights. I think the only way it through such a loaded card might be to be loaded. And a word of warning about tomorrow’s entry; it’s a biggie, and much of it talks about a very historic fight.

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On This Day in MMA History (June 26th)

Pride FC: Critical Countdown 2005 (June 26th 2005)

PRIDE was famous for their tournaments. They were usually held over two or three events, with the semi-finals and finals being held on the same night. The 2003 Middleweight Grand Prix was perhaps their best tournament ever, with an eight man field that was loaded with big name talent. Two of PRIDE’s biggest names, Kazushi Sakuraba and Wanderlei Silva, were in that 2003 tournament and they were in the 2005 version as well, the quarterfinals of which  took place at this event. There were also some non-tournament fights as well.

The event opened up with Pedro Rizzo making his PRIDE debut against Sergei Kharitonov. Rizzo is a funny one, in that he had vicious leg kicks, good boxing, and knockout power. He seemed certain to claim the UFC title. But after falling short against Kevin Randleman in one of the worst title fights in UFC history, and failing in back-to-back title fights with Randy Couture, it was like Rizzo lost his spark. He still won a few fights but the fire was gone. That was never more evident here as Rizzo was battered for almost the whole 2:02 this fight lasted. And whilst Kharitonov was a dangerous fighter, Rizzo just didn’t seem to have ‘it’ anymore.

The first tournament fight of the night saw Antônio Rogério Nogueira take on Mauricio Rua, and this had its own backstory, with the fighters coming from rival camps; Nogueira was a member of Brazilian Top Team and Rua was a member of Chute Boxe Academy. This was a good fight, very evenly matched, but I think the wrong man got the decision. Alistair Overeem faced Igor Vovchanchyn, with Overeem lacking about 40lbs or more of muscle that he currently walks around with. This was short, sweet, and you wonder what Overeem at this weight would be like in the UFC. Imagine Overeem against Jon Jones. Kazushi Sakuraba took on Ricardo Arona and this was a sad sight to see because Sakuraba was giving up weight and was well past his physical prime, taking a serious beating here. Wanderlei Silva faced Kazuhiro Nakamura and it lasted longer than you thought it might but it ended exactly as you’d expect.

The other non-tournament fights were nothing to write home about and just drag things down overall.

Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum (June 26th 2010)

Now this was an event that made headlines around the MMA world thanks to a memorable main event.

Fedor Emelianenko is widely considered to be the best heavyweight fighter of all time. Whether he was or not, there was an extended period where Fedor undoubtedly was the best heavyweight fighter around, thanks in the main to two victories over Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira and a win over Mirko Cro Cop, both fairly comprehensive and both when Nogueira and Cro Cop were in their primes. Throw in dominant showings against, well, everybody he else faced, and it was easy to see why Fedor was rated so highly.

However, in 2010, there was considerable doubt in some quarters as to whether Fedor was the best heavyweight fighter of the moment due to the fact that since his 2005 win over Mirko Cro Cop, Fedor had not faced any top-level competition. Fedor’s opponents since that time consisted of; Zuluzinho, Mark Coleman, Mark Hunt, Matt Lindland, Choi-Hong man, Tim Sylvia, Andrei Arlovski, and Brett Rogers. Zuluzinho and Choi-Hong man aside, they were all real fighters, but nobody considered them to be the cream of the crop. Mark Coleman was several years past his prime, Mark Hunt was considered to be limited and easy to beat once you got him on the ground, Matt Lindland was a well past his prime middleweight, Tim Sylvia was past his best and not highly thought of to begin with, Andrei Arlovski was also considered to be past his best and had a rep for having a glass jaw, and Brett Rogers was a guy who was hot based purely on his 22-second KO of Arlovski.

With a run of opponents like that, it’s easy to see why some people felt Fedor was no longer entitled to be considered the best heavyweight fighter of the moment. They readily acknowledged Fedor’s talent, but the feeling from that quarter was that Fedor’s reputation as the best was based purely on accomplishments up to and including the Mirko win, and that Fedor had done nothing since then to warrant being called the best current heavyweight fighter.

Now, to say Fedor’s fanbase in MMA was devoted is something of an understatement. It wouldn’t be out of turn to say that most of them had put Fedor on a pedestal and they weren’t about to let anyone suggest Fedor was no longer worthy of being on it. To them, Fedor was not only the greatest of all time, but he still was the greatest of all time, and any attempts to suggest Fedor had slipped or was otherwise no longer the best were shot down with an almost visceral rage.

So, with Fedor’s rep being that he was the greatest of all time, and, more importantly, still was the greatest of all time, Strikeforce signed him to a very hefty contract. His first fight was the win over Brett Rogers, a fight that saw Brett momentarily have Fedor in trouble, a moment the fuelled the doubters, before Fedor came back to finish Rogers. Next up was Fabricio Werdum.

At this point in time, Fabricio Werdum was still attempting to rebuild his reputation after getting KO’d by Junior Dos Santos. Fabricio had gone into the JDS fight considered the next contender for the UFC heavyweight title, but he walked out of it, not only being on the wrong end of a highlight reel KO in what was a major upset, but also with his marching orders. Fabricio subsequently signed with Strikeforce and had scored a submission win over Mike Kyle and a unanimous decision win over Antonio Silva. It wasn’t enough to rebuild his rep and so despite his submission skills, Fabricio was considered a safe opponent for Fedor. Simply put, Fabricio was put against Fedor to give Fedor another former UFC fighter to beat.

June 26th rolled around and it was time for Fedor Emelianenko to face Fabricio Werdum. Nobody gave Werdum a chance, and this was based purely on Fedor’s rep and Fabricio’s lack of one. Rather confusingly, the announcers called Fedor unbeaten, even though when his record was put up, the lone loss on Fedor’s record was displayed for all to see. To be fair, that loss, whilst official, is very questionable. Fedor lost to Tsuyoshi Kohsaka by TKO in RINGS, as part of Block B in their 2002 King of Kings tournament. Just 17-seconds into their fight, Kohsaka threw a punch that missed and his elbow caught Fedor, opening up a cut that had previously been opened up by Ricardo Arona earlier in the night. The doctor ruled Fedor unable to continue and the fight was stopped. Where the ‘loss’ gets controversial is that elbow strikes to the head, when not wearing an elbowpad, were illegal in this tournament, so the fight should have been ruled a no-contest. However, the tournament format required that a winner be declared, and as Fedor couldn’t continue, Kohsaka was declared the winner, and Fedor lost for the first time. Obviously, it wasn’t a loss that people took seriously, but the blemish on the record is there.

Onto the fight itself, and it didn’t actually have time to be much of a fight, but it was very dramatic because of who was in it. Fedor rocked Werdum early and appeared to drop him, but it was actually Werdum dropping to his back to bait Fedor into coming into his guard. It seemed obvious in hindsight and was a strategy Werdum employed again in the future. But at the time, nobody saw it like that. Certainly not Fedor, who went right into the guard of Werdum and began raining down punches on Werdum. Werdum evaded them and was throwing up his legs for an armbar and then a triangle choke, and Fedor initially pulled free. Had Fedor stood up and avoided playing the guard game, the fight may have played out very differently. But Fedor stayed in the guard of Werdum, got caught in a triangle, and was forced to tap, sending shockwaves through the fans, and the MMA world

Gus Johnson often gets knocked for his commentary but his excitement over what happened made this moment even bigger. “Fedor, losing for the first time!” is, and should be considered as such, right up there with Mauro Ranallo screaming “Kevin Randleman has knocked out Mirko Cro Cop!” It only added to the sense of shock permeating through the crowd. People with their hands to their heads, mouths open in shock; none of them had seen this coming. They had come to witness the greatest of all time add another scalp to his trophy case, and instead saw history made in a way they didn’t expect. It was the MMA equivalent of Brock Lesnar beating the Undertaker.

The post-mortem on Fedor’s loss was as divisive as the opinion people held of the man himself. To his fans, Fedor had simply got caught and that it could happen to anyone. To his detractors, it was proof that Fedor was never as good as his fans thought he was. In all likelihood, it was simply down to the fact that time had passed Fedor by. The game had evolved but Fedor hadn’t. Fedor was training in the same camp with the same people he always had, and he looked and fought the same way he always had. What was once state-of-the-art was now old hat. It happens to everyone at some point, time passing them by, and it happened to Fedor on June 26th 2010.

Aside from the main event, it really wasn’t much of a card. A jacked up Cyborg hammered the crap out of Jan Finney, Cung Le avenged the first loss of his career to Scott Smith, and Josh Thomson tapped out Pat Healy, all in fights that didn’t make much of a lasting impression

UFC on Versus 4: Kongo vs. Barry (June 26th 2011)

This card didn’t have the history of Fedor vs. Werdum, but it had a main event that left its mark on all involved, a fight that has perhaps the greatest comeback in UFC history. And it was a fight that was originally not even supposed to be the main event.

The original main event was going to be Anthony Johnson facing Nate Marquardt. However, Johnson injured his rotator cuff and was replaced by Rick Story. Just 28 days prior to this event, Story had scored the biggest win of his career, an upset victory over Thiago Alves, so Story was going to be coming back real fast.

But on the day of the weigh-ins, Marquardt did not receive medical clearance, and not only was Marquardt pulled from the fight, he was fired by the UFC. Whilst not initially disclosed, it was eventually revealed that Marquardt had failed to gain a TUE for his use of TRT, and I believe Marquardt was less than open with either the UFC or the athletic commission about his use of TRT, hence him getting fired. This led to Cheick Kongo and Pat Barry being moved up to the main event slot. Ricky Story was then bumped down to the co-main event spot and faced Charlie Brenneman. Brenneman was originally slated to replace Matt Riddle against TJ Grant but Grant withdrew due to injury.

The only thing of note on the preliminary card was Charles Oliveira submitting Nik Lentz in a fight that was eventually declared a no-contest, as the referee for the fight had missed Oliveira landing an illegal knee to Lentz that set up the submission. The two would rematch but not for four years. The main card was nothing outstanding prior to the main event. Charlie Brenneman ended up beating Ricky Story by unanimous decision, halting the momentum of Story, who never really got it back,and who alternated between losses and wins in his next eight fights.

Now, onto the main event and one of the craziest fights you will ever see. It started out innocently enough and it was actually a little boring. And then just over two minutes in, Barry dropped Kongo with an overhand right and all hell proceeded to break loose. Barry swarmed Kongo, blitzing him with punches, and Kongo was slumped and it looked it over to the point that the referee, Dan Miragliotta actually had his hands on Barry to stop the fight. But he pulled back and the fight kept going. Kongo refused to die. He was trying his best to take Barry down but couldn’t and it looked like it was over properly when Kong was dropped for a second time, but again, Kongo refused to stay down. Kongo got back up, did the funny dance and staggered backward to the cage, and Barry moved in for the kill…only to take a right hook and then an uppercut and get knocked out cold. Twenty seven seconds after he had had the fight seemingly won, to the point the referee was ready to end it, Pat Barry was unconscious and it was the scary kind of unconscious as his eyes were wide open.

The place was going crazy and they should have. This was easily one of the greatest comebacks in UFC history. Kongo was out on his feet, badly, to the point that Dan Miragliotta was as close to stopping the fight as you can get without it being stopped. Miragliotta had his hands on Barry and was ready to end it. But Kongo refused to die. Like some movie monster that had taken everything the army could throw at them, Cheick Kongo just would not stay down. This is the fight that made me a Cheick Kongo fan. How can you not get behind someone who is almost stopped twice, looks to be completely out of it, but still comes back to knock the other guy out cold, all of which takes place in less than thirty seconds?

Tomorrow’s entry will be a lot lighter with only one event meriting discussion.

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I fucking love Shogun vs Little Nog. Probably my favourite Pride fight (followed by Diaz vs Gomi) and that and the Rampage mauling were the two fights that made me a Shogun fan. 

I remember Ebb/Egg Shen called Werdum beating Fedor. I didn't see it at all at the time. I knew Fedor was starting to slip but based on Werdum blowing hot and cold and how Fedor had dealt with Big Nog's guard in Pride, I didn't see Werdum being the one to end Fedor's reign of terror. Seeing what Werdum has gone on to do in the years since, it's not a huge shocker but at the time I just couldn't see Werdum pulling it off. At the time I thought Horsemeat Overeem had the best shot at beating Fedor, outside the UFC. 

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5 hours ago, WeeAl said:

Cheers for doing these write up's Noah, they are a fun read, thanks for going to the effort. 

I appreciate the kind words. I have a lot of fun writing these pieces because I enjoy trawling through the history of the sport. The passage of time can give you a new, sometimes more accurate perspective on things.

5 hours ago, wandshogun09 said:

I fucking love Shogun vs Little Nog. Probably my favourite Pride fight (followed by Diaz vs Gomi) and that and the Rampage mauling were the two fights that made me a Shogun fan. 

How did you judge the fight? I thought Little Nog should have gotten the decision. I felt he did more damage and was far more active than Rua, especially off of his back. I thought Rua was just too defensive for far too long to get the nod.

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It was really close and both did damage and scored knockdowns. I haven't seen it for a while but I remember thinking that Nog got the better of most of the standup exchanges but all the takedowns from Shogun might've swung it for him. 

Either way, it felt like a fight that needed another round when it ended. Both because it was so close and so good. 

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17 hours ago, Noah Southworth said:

It was the MMA equivalent of Brock Lesnar beating the Undertaker.

That's a good comparison. Frank Shamrock felt Fedor losing was terrible for the sport. He argued that Fedor was one of the few fighters left with an aura. With his aura dented, so was Fedor's potential to draw. Fedor was never that big of a draw stateside, but Frank had a point. This wasn't the result that Strikeforce wanted.

It wasn't a result that I had entertained either. I felt Werdum was made for Fedor. This was during a time where Werdum's striking wasn't anything to shout about. It seemed obvious that Fedor would polish off Werdum with strikes. Wand is also correct. Most at the time saw Overeem as Fedor's biggest threat. The Overeem vs Fedor bout was perhaps the most anticipated MMA bout outside of the UFC. 

Jordan Breen was adamant that Fedor was always going to lose eventually. "We knew this day would come" was how he opened his post-mortem on Sherdog radio. A few Fedor fans called in to contest his point. I actually agreed with them. In retrospect, it's easy to agree with what Breen said. Even before the Werdum bout, Fedor had shown signs of vulnerability, and his career probably had peaked with the Cro Cop win some 5 years earlier. However, it was feasible that Fedor was going to retire without losing properly. This was a guy who topped P4P lists in 2005; when Shogun and GSP were knocking about. The guy had an incredible aura, and not all of it was based in folklore. 


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I really wanted to see the Fedor fight but I can’t remember if it was because I thought he was going to lose or because I wanted to see it just in case he did lose. What I do remember is frantically trying to find a method through which to watch the fight and finding a way to do so about thirty or forty seconds after it started. When Fedor taped, I don’t know whether I was more excited by the fact I'd witnessed history or that I’d only just caught the fight in time to see it.

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