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wandshogun09

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This was probably the last win Wanderlei had as an elite-level fighter. He notched up some decent wins in the UFC, but there was always a feeling that he wasn't quite what he once was. It was also the final time we saw him use soccer kicks to great effect. 

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I remember I felt sorry for Fujita watching that fight. He took a right battering. I think the ref was waiting to see the death certificate before he was going to stop it. If you notice, the bell rings before he even waves it off. Someone higher up made that call for him. 

But yeah, despite his performance there, Wand was fast heading for a sharp decline. I class everything after the Mark Hunt fight at Shockwave 2004 as post-prime Wandy. I really believe that fight, the size he was giving up and the heavy shots he took left him a lesser fighter than when he went in. From 2005 on he was never quite the same. He went 1-1 with Arona but, truthfully, he probably lost both fights. And the Cro Cop and Hendo knockouts at the end of his Pride run were absolutely brutal. 

Edited by wandshogun09

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27 minutes ago, wandshogun09 said:

I class everything after the Mark Hunt fight at Shockwave 2004 as post-prime Wandy. I really believe that fight, the size he was giving up and the heavy shots he took left him a lesser fighter than when he went in.

Agreed, the heavy sparring sessions at Chute Boxe probably contributed in that regard as well. Not to mention that his style was better suited to the ring and his offensive arsenal regressed as the years rolled on. 

27 minutes ago, wandshogun09 said:

He went 1-1 with Arona but, truthfully, he probably lost both fights.

Arona gets a bit forgotten. He only lost 5 times in his career and all those losses were somewhat forgivable.

Fedor: He was the smaller man and many thought he won. 

Rampage: Some felt this fight should have been ruled a non-contest. It was seemingly an illegal headbutt that knocked Arona unconscious.

Shogun: Rua was at his very best and would have probably walked through any active 205er at that time. 

Wanderlei: As you said, many thought Arona won the rematch. I had Wanderlei nicking it if memory serves correctly, but it was indeed very close. 

Sokoudjou: He entered that fight with a fever and got KO'd in less than 2 minutes. On equal terms, I would favour Arona to win that bout 7 or 8 times out of 10. 

Elsewhere, he had clear-cut wins over Hendo, Sakuraba, Overeem, Wanderlei and others. 

Edited by jimufctna24

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Yeah, Arona was a top 205er. Not always the most entertaining to watch bell-to-bell but I always felt like he could’ve done well in the UFC if he’d made the jump after Pride shut up shop. I think the cage would’ve benefited his style in terms of being able to take guys down and trap them against the fence and stuff like that. And when you add elbows in with his grappling game it becomes quite a scary box of tricks to contend with. The Sakuraba beatdown was the stuff of nightmares. 

There was a time when he would tease jumping to the UFC. Remember that? It seemed to crop up every few months in articles and interviews and stuff but obviously it went nowhere. Maybe the biggest example of wasted potential in MMA over the last decade or so. I mean, once the Jon Jones era started I think it’d have been over for him in the title picture but from 2007 to 2010, I would’ve given him a good chance against Rampage in a rematch, a fading and battleworn Wanderlei, a rematch with injury riddled Shogun might’ve gone differently. I’d have favoured him against Tito, Forrest and Hendo at that point too. Style wise, the trickiest fight for him from that era might’ve been Rashad Evans who was at his peak back then. And style-wise Chuck could’ve been tough given his takedown defence and KO power. But even then, Chuck was on the way out at that time. Thinking back, Arona could’ve had a really strong few years. And it was during a hot period for MMA. 

Edited by wandshogun09

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11 minutes ago, wandshogun09 said:

I think the cage would’ve benefited his style in terms of being able to take guys down and trap them against the fence and stuff like that. And when you add elbows in with his grappling game it becomes quite a scary box of tricks to contend with. T

He agrees with you. This is what he said about his fight with Eastman in 2009:

Quote

"I’ve never fought in a cage before and I felt very comfortable there. Many fighters felt that change [after Pride], but I loved it. I felt at home inside the cage."

I think he was one of those fighters who could fight to a similar level in both settings. 

13 minutes ago, wandshogun09 said:

There was a time when he would tease jumping to the UFC. Remember that?

Aye, he suffered a lot of knee injuries and never really recover from them. That was partially why he turned down Strikeforce in 2009 and declined a contract offer from Bellator in 2014. 

And although he was actually keen to fight in the UFC, Dana didn't exactly go out of his way to sign him. 

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Yeah, I think he’d have fallen into that Ben Askren/Jon Fitch bracket in Dana’s eyes. Would’ve been an interesting addition to the roster at the time though. I think he’d have cleaned up in Strikeforce at that time, and definitely Bellator. Neither had the strongest 205 division in 2009 did they? Aside from Mousasi and King Mo, who was about? 

I forgot about Machida when thinking of potential tricky matchups in the UFC. That could’ve been a difficult puzzle, Machida was at his best in those couple of years after Pride folded. Not sure they’d have fought anyway though. Arona was pals with both Machida and Anderson, wasn’t he? They were all linked through the Nogueira brothers from the Brazilian Top Team days. 

Edited by wandshogun09

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41 minutes ago, wandshogun09 said:

I think he’d have cleaned up in Strikeforce at that time, and definitely Bellator. Neither had the strongest 205 division in 2009 did they? Aside from Mousasi and King Mo, who was about? 

Aye.

He'd have been a horrible match-up for Mousasi, especially under the Unified Rules. Those rules outlaw upkicks when an opponent has a knee on the ground and have a scoring criteria that favours cage control over aggression and damage. 

I guess he could have also fought Feijao and Sobral. He could have also rematched Hendo a bit later on. 

41 minutes ago, wandshogun09 said:

Arona was pals with both Machida and Anderson, wasn’t he?

He was certainly chummy with Lil Nog and Filho. So yeah, he was probably mates with those two as well. 

Agreed that Machida would have probably been all wrong for him. 

Edited by jimufctna24

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