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wandshogun09

2000-09 in MMA: Top 50 Fights Of The Decade

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12 minutes ago, ElCece said:

Watched the Leben vs Martin fight last night and I was surprised that the commentators made it seem like Martin was the heavy favourite going in.

He probably was considered the favourite just because of the timing and the recent form they’d both shown. Martin was coming off 4 straight knockout wins whereas Leben had lost two on the bounce. It’s a ‘what have you done lately?’ business. 

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1 minute ago, wandshogun09 said:

He probably was considered the favourite just because of the timing and the recent form they’d both shown. Martin was coming off 4 straight knockout wins whereas Leben had lost two on the bounce. It’s a ‘what have you done lately?’ business. 

Right time right moment. I like that snapshot into the time in honesty. Really hits the nostalgia funny bone. I've been rewatching some of my favourite fights from around about this time sporadically with my wife the last couple of nights.

Wondering where one if my personal favourites Tyson Griffin vs Frankie Edgar is going to place. Was my go to fight to show interested non-fans for years. 

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I’ll go ahead and say right now that there’s a bunch of Lightweight fights from 2007 that will be in this Countdown, Edgar vs Griffin included. The 155ers were on fire that year. 

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40 minutes ago, wandshogun09 said:

I’ll go ahead and say right now that there’s a bunch of Lightweight fights from 2007 that will be in this Countdown, Edgar vs Griffin included. The 155ers were on fire that year.

TUF was the entry point but the 2007 lightweight bouts hooked me in. 

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#47 - Nick Diaz vs Thomas Denny - EliteXC - Jul 26th 2008

Diaz back in the old 209. Stockton motherfucker! This was near the start of what would end up being the best stretch of Nick’s career. He was 17-7-1 coming into this one. He’d had a hit and miss stint in the UFC, then had that great fight with Gomi in Pride. But he was out in the wilderness here. Gone from the UFC, Pride was dead, so he was making EliteXC his new home. He’d lost on cuts to KJ Noons in late 2007 but had rebounded with a couple of wins. He was being rebuilt for that big showdown with Frank Shamrock or a rematch with Noons. But before we could get to either of them, he had one more piece of business to take care of.

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Thomas ‘Wildman’ Denny wasn’t going to be on anyone’s pound-for-pound list. He had a record of 26-16 at this time. A tough, scrappy guy who’d basically become a bit of a jobber to the stars. Yves Edwards, Duane Ludwig, Joe Stevenson, Georges St Pierre all gave him a hiding at one point or another. He did have wins over Olaf Alfonso and Tony Fryklund though. But he was pretty much just a body to feed Diaz and someone who would make it exciting for however long it lasted.

He talks a good game in the pre-fight video package as well.

“I think Nick Diaz’s gameplan is to talk trash about people because he likes to try to get in their head. But I’m a grown ass man. I’ve been getting beat up my whole life. I’ve been having people tell me I can’t do things my whole life. Mentally he can’t touch me. I love that he’s talking trash because it’s just gonna be that much more exciting when all his friends and fans go ‘man, that guy just whooped your ass!’” - Thomas Denny

That doesn’t go down too well with the Stockton Massive.

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Nick Diaz vs Thomas Denny

EliteXC: Unfinished Business 

July 26th 2008

Stockton, California

Commentators are Mauro Ranallo, Frank Shamrock and Gus Johnson. Fuck me. What did we do to deserve that trifecta of audio GBH?

Round 1: Denny is wasting no time. He’s coming right after Diaz with punches and leg kicks. Diaz trying to counter. The ‘Wildman’ is living up to his name early on here. He’s all over Diaz. Not landing anything particularly clean but he’s just all pressure, all the time. Diaz is just trying to weather the storm. They’re on the ground now. This isn’t a game Denny wants to play. Back on the feet and Denny is starting to land more. Nice elbows and knees in close. But now Diaz is starting to land that left hand more.

They’re clinched against the fence now and my wife just commented that Denny is wearing the same shade of pink nail varnish she wears. Yeah, Diaz isn’t losing to this fucker, is he? Reminds me of that rant he went on years ago about fighters “painting their hair and toes funny colours” and him strongly disapproving. 

Diaz is starting to take over and Denny looks like he’s already getting tired and a bit unsteady on his legs.

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This isn’t pretty but it’s a lot of fun. Denny is still throwing with reckless abandon but his legs are all over the place now. He even falls on his arse after throwing a leg kick himself. Diaz is killing him in the last minute of the round. Just drowning him with volume punching to the head and body. Diaz 10-9.

Round 2: Denny isn’t smiling anymore. He’s still not backing down though and comes right at Diaz swinging. Diaz connects again with more punches. Denny’s bollocksed. Diaz swarms him again...

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He lands a couple more flush, hard shots on the ground and it’s done. 

Winner - Nick Diaz by TKO. Round 2 - 0:30.

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That was...well, wild. Turned into a squash match by the end, and that’s what it was no doubt designed to be. But Denny didn’t come to lose. He really gave it all he had here and it made for a hell of an entertaining round and a bit.

Denny only fought 6 more times. He went 1-4-1 and finished up in 2013 with a record of 27-21-1. Diaz continued on his streak with wins over Frank Shamrock, Marius Zaromskis, KJ Noons in a rematch, Paul Daley and BJ Penn among others. 

In his post-fight interview, Diaz started off by mentioning he wanted to dedicate the night to 3 friends from Stockton who had passed away. The first name he mentions is Stephanie Wise, who he describes as “a very special girl in my life”. Out of curiosity, I looked up who she was and came across this interview with Diaz from MMAFighting where he goes into detail. Bit of a tough read but thought I’d share it as I hadn’t read the whole thing before and it’s stories like this that might help kind of explain why Diaz is the way he is.

Quote

”Before I ever had my first pro fight, July 5, 2000, Bart had a party at his house. The night before, Stephanie had told me she loved me. After the party, I was gonna go back to her house with her brother -- he was my best friend -- but some friends weren't doing well and headed to my house. So I had to go.

An hour later I got a call from her mom saying, 'Are you with Stephanie?' She came straight to my house to get me, took me up and down the Frontage Road on Highway 99 by my Grandma's house next to their trailer park.

There was a wreck on the freeway. I jumped the fence and saw only one car and ambulances.

She had walked and killed herself on the freeway. The girl I loved more than anything had tried to kill herself for the third time and succeeded.

She was gonna go to college. She was an avid student and was doing everything I couldn't while living in a trailer park where everyone was doing dope.  Meanwhile, I focused my whole high school years worried about what her and her friends would think if I lost a fight to her ex-boyfriend and football friends. I could never make attendance, hung out with the wrong people to hold my ground as a fighter and someone who I would fight for was important to me.

There was no way I was gonna go to school. I had no money, no car. I would have driven there and stopped her. After that, I was grown up. It was all over. I wasn't a kid anymore. I won my first fight in the first round with a choke and all I could think about was her, just like when I was in school.

I would run seven miles and back to her grave just to promise her I would make it as a fighter like she knew and had told me she knew and was proud of me.”

Edited by wandshogun09

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I've not watched this for years (and my MMA DVDs are all up the loft at the moment) but that was a great fight.

If you're waiting for Wand's reviews to watch this stuff, don't click on the spoiler.

I'll put this in spoilers in case, but I just went back and had a quick flick through my old MMA fight listings and brief notes that I used to keep, I'm going for two more fights from Elite XC to crack the top 50 and maybe something from ShoXC (which I thought was an amazing fight when I watched it.

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#46 - Robbie Lawler vs Chris Lytle - UFC 45 - Nov 21st 2003

Robbie Lawler back when he had hair! He was only 21 years old at this time and was coming off his first loss. He’d gone 7-0 with 6 knockouts at the start of his career. Burst through the UFC’s doors in 2002, went 3-0 and was quickly being hyped up as the UFC’s version of a young Mike Tyson. Then he ran into Pete Spratt in April 2003, Spratt kicked fuck out of his legs and Lawler’s hip messed up and he basically verbally gave up. Not a knock, the poor get couldn’t stand and if we know anything about Lawler, his toughness has never been in question. But it went down as his first loss and this was his return.

“I’m back. My hip’s 100% and I’m ready to get back in the Octagon. My strategy is just to go out there and fight.” - Robbie Lawler

In Chris Lytle he was up against someone who was similar but different. Like Lawler, Lytle was known to be hard as nails and loved a scrap. Where they differed was that Lawler was more wild and unrefined back then. Lytle could be more technical and had some Pro Boxing experience under his belt (15-1-1 record) as well as a decent submission game.

“I don’t think he’s got that much experience in Mixed Martial Arts at all. I think he’s more of a brawler. A ‘I’m gonna hit you harder than you hit me’ type boxer. There’s some holes in there where I can use Boxing skills instead of brawling skills.” - Chris Lytle

So the stage was set.

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Robbie Lawler vs Chris Lytle

UFC 45: Revolution 

November 21st 2003

Uncasville, Connecticut

This was the UFC’s 10 Year Anniversary show. And these two were opening up the PPV main card.

Round 1: To the surprise of everyone, Lawler takes him down right away. Lytle is trying to slip on a guillotine choke but Lawler picks him up in the air and slams him down. Christ that sounded hard. Lytle still trying from the bottom to tie him up in...something. But Lawler is going mad now with the ground and pound. Lytle tries for a leglock and Lawler powers out of it and throws more bombs. Fuck, Lawler was always a nutter, wasn’t he? Lytle is surviving but he just can’t contain the lunatic. Lawler raining down BIG shots in the last minute. Lytle fucking CRACKS him with a huge upkick! But Lawler laughs at him. Jesus. Lawler 10-9.

Round 2: Lytle lands the left hook and Lawler raises his arms and cheers. Weird fucker. Lawler’s backing off a lot now though. It picks up again in the middle of the round and Lawler lands some hard shots during a brief slugfest but he’s taking a lot of breathers and Lytle is landing more as a result. Lytle 10-9. Bit of an odd round.

Round 3: Again, a bit of a cautious start and the crowd are starting to boo. That seems to light a match under them as Lawler buries a hard body kick into Lytle’s old bread basket. Lytle with a big right hook and Lawler is loving life...

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He’s not right.

That seems to have woke Lawler up again. He’s going into beast mode now. No more breathers. They get into a few mad exchanges and both connect with hard punches. They collide again and it looks like those fights you’d see in the cartoons as a kid. You know where there’d be a big cloud of smoke with arms and legs flying about?

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Well this looks like that but it ends up with Lawler knocking Lytle on his arse, and Lytle giving him a fucking round of applause!

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They’re both not right.

They continue to throw down and it’s fairly even. Rogan keeps saying “Lawler should blast him out of here”. Like he hasn’t been trying. Lytle with a German suplex! He goes for a choke but Lawler escapes and throws more punches as the buzzer goes.

Winner - Robbie Lawler by unanimous decision.

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Really good fight. Would’ve been higher up if they didn’t kind of take the second round off. Kind of wish we got a rematch a few years later but I think they were in different promotions by then. 

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15 hours ago, wandshogun09 said:

Commentators are Mauro Ranallo, Frank Shamrock and Gus Johnson. Fuck me. What did we do to deserve that trifecta of audio GBH?

Mauro's commentary style has always been a bit Marmite. For some, his enthusiasm is overbearing and leaves them reaching for the mute button. For others his passion adds meaning to the spectacle - "if he cares so much, it must mean something". Personally, I am in the latter group.

However, I always felt Mauro was better in Pride than he was in Elite XC and Strikeforce. Working in front of a larger audience - Stirkeforce/Elite XC broadcasts on Showtime and CBS drew far more viewers than Pride PPVs - didn't bring out the best in Mauro. His commentary became a bit forced in the late 2000s. In particular, he had tendency to cram in needless pop culture references into his observations. 

He's recently rediscovered his form in Bellator, where he brings out the best in Big John. Without Mauro's professionalism pushing him into taking his commentary gig seriously, Big John becomes complacent alongside Goldberg - who clearly doesn't give a toss about MMA anymore, and just enjoys receiving an easy pay cheque and hanging around with his buddy. 

Edited by jimufctna24

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Yeah, I preferred Mauro in Pride as well. Mostly because I think he had better chemistry with Bas Rutten than he’s had with anyone he’s worked with since. He wasn’t so overbearing either back then, I thought. I found him awful in EliteXC and Strikeforce. Just screaming and shouting and unbearably cheesy with his “MAMA MIA” nearly every time someone got knocked out. And when someone would have a swollen eye and he’d go “that mouse under his eye just turned into a RAT, Frank”.

On top of all that, his voice just grates on me like fuck. Even at times in the Pride days. The actual sound of his voice is annoying to me. It’s one of the reasons I don’t fully enjoy Dominick Cruz as an announcer these days as well. The content of what he’s saying is usually good, but that whiny nasally voice can get to fuck. Especially over a 4 or 5 hour show. I haven’t found Mauro quite as shit in Bellator, to be fair. But maybe that’s just because I don’t watch every show so I only have to hear him occasionally these days. 

Edited by wandshogun09

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44 minutes ago, wandshogun09 said:

Yeah, I preferred Mauro in Pride as well. Mostly because I think he had better chemistry with Bas Rutten than he’s had with anyone he’s worked with since.

Agreed. Bas and Mauro were simply a good fit together. 

Their chemistry can't be attributed to their friendship or their working environment. Mauro was mates with Franky Shams - yet those two never really gelled together on commentary. Moreover, Mauro seemingly got on well with Showtime's crew, whereas Gary "Jerry" Millen treated him like crap. 

Edited by jimufctna24

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#45 - Takanori Gomi vs Jens Pulver - Pride Shockwave - Dec 31st 2004

So our first trip to Pride. Gomi made a fresh start after the BJ Penn loss in late 2003. He signed with Pride and in 2004 rattled off 4 straight stoppage wins before this fight was made. Pulver was also in good form. He’d also won and finished his last 4 fights. He was 18-4-1 coming into this and widely respected as one of the pioneers of the lighter weight classes in the early days. It promised to be an explosive fight. Both men were primarily boxers and they were both known for their ability to throw hands and score knockouts.

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Takanori Gomi vs Jens Pulver

Pride Shockwave 2004

December 31st 2004

Saitama, Japan

Had fun trying to find this on Fight Pass. If you are watching these fights as we go then don’t make the mistake I did. I was arsing about in the Pride replays section for ages looking for this. For some reason Shockwave 2004 isn’t there. The other years events are but not this one. Had to search Gomi vs Pulver and it came up that way. But the picture quality is utter shite compared to the other stuff I’ve been watching. Anyway, whatever...

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Round 1: Both southpaws. Gomi throws some jabs and shoots in for a quick takedown right away, but Pulver stuffs it. Both throwing heavy leather and Gomi is ripping in some nice hard shots to the body. Good stuff from both here. Gomi is leaving his chin right out there to be hit though, and Pulver isn’t passing up on the opportunity to tag it. Gomi had an iron chin at this time though. Really nice Boxing from Pulver but every now and then Gomi will just dig in a nasty body shot and it’s all adding up.

“The body shots, he’s going for the body. And you have to watch out for that because he can make it to the body and then go upstairs.” - Bas Rutten

Gomi’s starting to take over. The body punching, a consistent jab and his overall power is beginning to give Pulver real issues. But right when I think that, Pulver fires back with a combination. Big straight left from Pulver and follows up with a left hook. Gomi back with punches and a big knee.

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This is great to watch. Gomi’s fucking bringing the pain now. Non-stop to the head and body. Pulver is returning fire when he can but Gomi’s all over him with a flurry. And fuck me...

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An absolutely vicious left uppercut puts Lil Evil down and that’s a wrap.

Winner - Takanori Gomi by knockout. Round 1 - 6:21.

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Gomi with his usual standing on the top rope celebration there. And he caps off a highly successful 2004. Loved this. Just wall to wall action and a big finish. Totally shat on the thinking at the time that the little guys couldn’t bang. 

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Honestly Magic, you're keeping me, my son and young lad sane during the day. I read these, go onto Fight Pass at my desk (fuck all of us in the office, so it's grand), and I'll WhatsApp the fights to the boys.

My nephew - who lives with us - is 18 and thinks you're an absolute hero.

"Will you send us on what Magic has today?" Is what I was asked at about 8am as I was ating an omlette.

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Cheers Scotty 👍 my little girl is commandeering the telly in the living room at the minute. I watch these on the telly in the spare bedroom and it’s quite strange watching all this violence but hearing Peppa Pig and Mr Men in the background from downstairs. Mrs Wand’s got the telly booked for the night anyway so I’m going to leave her to it and try to blast through a few of these fights tonight. 

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When I get home from work, the missus - who has to listen to "MAM! MAM! MAM! MAMA! MAM!" from 9am until I get home - pretty much hands my 6 year old daughter to me and says "Your turn, boss!" so I'm out jumping on tramampolines, playing Barbie (or 'fart dollys' as she calls it, because that's really all I contribute to the proceedings, is Ken running in an farting on other dolls), tea parties and letting her paint my nails with glittersparkles and what have you...but when I do get her to sit down and watch something for a chillout, I recently got her away from Peppa and that sort of carry on that I'd no real interest in, and tuned her into Spongebob and Fairly Odd Parents which we both absolutely love.
Food for thought if Peppa, Vampirina and that mob are wrecking your head...

 

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Yeah it’s usually the same with me when I’m working but our routine has all gone to bollocks now. I’m usually downstairs with the little ‘uns and even when I’m watching fights my daughter will sometimes come up and jump on me and watch the ‘punches’ as she calls it. But yeah, the usual routine is out the window now. 

I’ll take any advice I can get on new stuff to watch. My niece showed her some Mr Men on YouTube recently and that’s her new thing. But pretty much just the Mr Greedy episode. I must have watched it 50 times this week no joke. Don’t get me started on that Peppa div. 

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