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25 Best Throwback Fights of MMA

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25 Best Throwback Fights of MMA

Postby Mikal » Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:34 pm

I made this thread a long time ago with about 20-25 fights that were my all time favorite classics and best displays of mixed martial arts, but then that fuckin' forum wipe happened and it got deleted. Always been thinking about remaking it and I got time while I'm waiting for my flight right now, so I'm gonna start now and edit it later.

Anyway, this list is more or less my top 25 fights of all time, but the fights kind of have to have a criteria. While Hendo vs Shogun was an awesome fight, I'm not looking to post straight up brawls in here. Frye vs Takayama won't make it in either. This list is going to be filled with fights where you witness some beautiful martial arts as well as a bunch of iconic figures from the PRIDE and early UFC days. Feel like a lot of guys are being forgotten about in nuthugging battles of MMAlinker these days, so maybe this will help as a reminder as to why certain people are or were considered legends. Also, when I post their records keep in mind it was their record at the time of the fight.


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#25
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Dan Henderson (21-5) vs Wanderlei Silva (31-6-1) II
Pride 33

I was second guessing whether or not I should put this one in because I did talk about how Hendo vs Shogun wouldn't of made it because it was more or less a brawl, but then I rewatched it and decided that it's muuch more technical. Henderson had already lost to Wandy in a decision in his 10th fight of his career, so of course he wanted to get this one back.

The fight kept the pace of a typical Wandy fight - huge bombs being thrown in the midst of winding combos as he pushes forward and forward. On the other end, Hendo was finding a home for his classic right hand. Both guys were getting tagged left and right -- with 10 seconds left Henderson got rocked but went on to land some vicious ground and pound in the second round. Silva attempted one armbar but wasn't successful. After that it was back to trading combinations in the third. It seemed as though Silva was getting the better of him until a very uncharacteristic spinning backfist from Dan Henderson that landed flush which started the beginning of the end for Wandy resulting in a left-hook knockout from Dan Henderson (and a finishing blow similar to his one on Bisping)

Dan Henderson became the owner of a PRIDE MW (our LHW) belt as well as a PRIDE WW our MW) belt in probably the most emotional victory of his career.

You can find highlights of this fight on Youtube,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbsxYuTnkKI

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#24
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Takanori "the Fireball Kid" Gomi (27-3) vs Nick Diaz (14-6)
Pride 33

I'm just gonna come out and say that this fight is crazy. Diaz does a front flip within the first minute of the fight!

Nick Diaz came in as quite a large underdog against the PRIDE Lightweight champion, Takanori Gomi. And it seemed to be for good reason. Gomi was 13-1 in 14 fights prior to this event and Diaz was was 3-2 in his last five and had just been released from the UFC.

The fight starts off with some great Jitz, gets on the feet, and it seems as though Diaz was going to pepper him with his specialty volume punching but then Gomi came back with a right hand that ended up dropping and stunning Diaz for a moment. "That little fucker hit me with a Hadouken or something." — Nick Diaz.

Everything seemed to be going well for Gomi until his gank tank started showing signs of emptying. From then on out it was Diaz landing combinations and Gomi just winging those overhands hoping for another Hadouken -- and he did connect a few times, but not enough to put Diaz away. He did create a rather nasty gash over Diaz's eye that needed to be checked out during the fight but it was nothing fight-ending.

Going into the second round Gomi was gassed which resulted in more of the same. Volume punches from Diaz, bombs from Gomi. At about 3:30 of round 2, Gomi goes for a takedown which would be the biggest mistake of the fight. Almost immediately Diaz locks up Gomi's arm with his leg and sinks in a gogoplata and Gomi is forced to tap.

UNFORTUNATELY the fight was ruled a no content because Diaz was getting baked and it showed up on his tests, but at least we got to witness the fight. 8)

This fight is entirely on Youtube.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xio3XxKE70I

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#23
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Kazushi Sakuraba (2-1) vs Carlos Newton (4-2)
Pride 3

Let me just start out by saying - anyone who looked past this fight because of their records must be kicking themselves in the ass. Newton was coming off a split decision loss to Dan Henderson and Sakuraba had been showing some of the biggest balls of all time fighting a guy 60 pounds heavier than him in his first fight and winning the UFC Japan HEAVYweight tournament.

Now, it's almost impossible to sum up this fight in the form of a play by play as there are SO many beautiful transitions, sweeps, submission attempts -- anything you look for in a jiujitsu match, this has it. I openly praise this as the best ground battle of all time. In fact, both fighters respected the nature of grappling so much that you rarely even see any strikes thrown. The fight ends in a gorgeous kneebar from Saku, but the fight in its entirety is amazing. If you enjoy jiujitsu in the slightest and haven't seen this video.. well, check it out before you think about calling yourself a jitz fan ;)

It's unfortunate that all I have is this shortened video,
http://www.videolog.tv/video.php?id=206577
but definitely check it out.


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#22
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Aleksander Emelianenko (8-2) vs. Sergei Kharitonov (13-2)
Pride Final Conflict Absolute

Okay, I once again was a little iffy on this one. But it has all the classics of a good fight: it has 2 Russians, it has technical standup, it has ground and pound, it has the awesomeness of PRIDE rules with standups, and it has a vicious, VICIOUS ending. So I figured fuck yeah I'm throwing this one in.

The fight is for the most part a very technical standup battle. To me it seemed as though Sergei was getting the better of the exchanges, eventually dropping Aleks at one point with a very slick left-right combo. Sergei gets full mount and lands some pretty decent but not devastating ground and pound. Being an Emelianenko, Aleks does a great job getting back into guard and eventually forces a standup from the PRIDE referee.

Seems as though Sergei may of lost some energy after working on the ground as he gets a little sloppy and Aleks lands about 4-5 straight rights in a row wobbling Sergei sending him to the mat. And then comes the holy shit wtf moment. Sergei is completely KO'd on the mat and eats 6 punches and 4 knees to the face.

This fight is entirely available on youtube.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnH2PR_vDCc


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#21
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Remeau Thierry Sokoudjou (2–1) vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (12–3)
Pride 33

While this fight is short and to be honest, not even that great of a fight. The reason it's making its list is because of what a huge shock the outcome of this fight was. Literally NO ONE thought Sokoudjou had anything for Brazil's boxing representative and grappling wiz. Soko came into this fight as a +1601 underdog. He, to this day, goes down as the biggest underdog of all time (though I'm not sure where Bonnar vs Silva is at :lol: )

Right from the start Soko is staying busy and throwing high kicks, punches, basically everything he has. Counterstrike players might even call it spray and pray. And then out of nowhere he lands a left hook as Nog is leaning in and out he goes.

Oh, and fun fact. Soko was coming off a loss by Glover Teixeira prior to this fight.

I only plan on adding a couple of these quick KO fights, but I wouldn't feel right not adding this astronomical upset to the list.

It's available to watch on youtube,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNV-IYWLX9w

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#20
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Wanderlei Silva (27–3–1) vs Mark Hunt (1–1)
Pride Shockwave 2005

Uhm. Well..


The atomic butt drop. That is all.

http://vimeo.com/45527210 for a highlight video of the fight. It really is a very exciting fight -- lots of good trades, hard shots landed, true chins shown, but. nothing could describe it better than the atomic butt drop.

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#19
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Alistair Overeem (16–3) vs. Chuck Liddell (12-2)
Pride Total Elimination 2003

Prior to the event, Dana White and PRIDE President Sakakibara had a little grudge going on. Sakakibara had apparantly talked trash about the UFC.. and Dana White trash talks everything that ISN'T the UFC, so naturally these two were going to have a bit of conflict. Dana wanted Chuck to fight and knock out Wandy, so much so that he says he bet $250,000 on that fight. Sakakibara, on the other hand, said that the best was made on Chuck winning the whole tournament. Now, if I know Dana then I would put MY $250,000 that I don't have that Dana bet money on Chuck winning the whole tournament, not just one fighter.

Regardless, this was step 1 for Chuck in the tournament.. and boy was this an exciting fight. Great technical strikes thrown from Overeem and huge, calculated power shots thrown from Chuck. Overeem was able to rock and somewhat drop Chuck early but let it all slip away as he ate a huge overhand right that rocked him, resulting in Chuck swarming like he does best and scoring the knockout victory. Dana was that much closer to $250,000. More on this wager further down the list!

This fight is available on youtube with irritating music,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvUJPI9LtFs

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#18
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Takanori Gomi (18-2) vs Jens Pulver (18-4)
Pride Shockwave 2004

Takanori Gomi and Jens Pulver put on a standup war at Pride Shockwave 2004. Although the fight was short, there were a couple of different phases in the fight. At the start, Jens 'little evil' Pulver seemed as though he was keeping up with Gomi in the exchanges and that he would be able to keep up with his pace. However, Gomi was landing VICIOUS body shots pretty much every engagement which you could tell took a toll on Pulver as the fight progressed, thus leading into the next phase. The Fireball Kid could smell that Pulver was slowing down and began to land even harder bodyshots at an even bigger rate while also clinching up and throwing some great, well placed knees. Pulver was still fighting back with some good punches and combinations, but halfway through the fight you could tell that Gomi was getting far ahead of Pulver and that he'd need to land something big to change the fight.

Pulver wasn't able to land what he needed to and Gomi eventually landed a beautiful uppercut after a culmination of body shots and knees that led to a KO on Jens Pulver in one of the most exciting, although short lightweight battles in Pride history.

The full fight is available here,
http://www.mixedmartialarts.com/mma.cfm ... gid=174650

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#17
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Shinya Aoki (11-2) vs Akira Kikuchi (14-2) II
Shooto: Back to our Roots 1

A lot of the times you'll hear announcers hype up a fighter by saying they have some of the best submission defense around. You often hear it and then you see replays of them escaping an arm in guillotine from a guy who has very little jitz in his background, or you'll hear it when they escape an armbar where their opponent didn't keep their knees tight. When it comes to this fight, you need to put how amazing Akira's sub defense was into perspective: he escaped every single one of Shinya Aoki's submission attempts, probably the best grappler in MMA (Yes, I'm saying he's better than Werdum. Come at me bros). That itself is an amazing feat, but this fight is so amazing because of the beautiful technique we get to witness from Shinya Aoki.

The movies this guy comes up with are the most creative grappling techniques in MMA, bar none. Shinya was able to get a standing rubbergaurd on Kikuchi while going for the same armlock he broke Hirota's arm with, he got him in a triangle WHILE going for a kimura, a standing kimura, even an omaplata, and much more. I was having a tough time picking an Aoki fight for this list because everything he does in terms of grappling is phenomenal, but Kikuchi showed such a good display of sub-d that it not only made for a great fight, but it allowed us to witness some insane submission attempts from Aoki.

Unfortunately no submission was completed and Aoki was awarded a split decision victory to defend his Shooto belt, although I do not believe it should've been a split. The full fight is available on youtube,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9mW3g9xxbE.

(did I mention they fought twice and both fights are just as exciting?)

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#16
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Caol Uno (8-2) vs Rumina Sato (13-2) I
Shooto 10th Anniversary Event

This fight starts off with a bit of jumping around, but even that's exciting! Uno opened up with a wild jumping kick of some sort, missed completely as it looked like Sato was going to try and meet him in the middle but moved out of the way.. followed by Sato trying a flying knee attempt while also missing completely. After that it gets a little less hoppy and a little more slappy as they land a couple blows in a few wild exchanges, and then Sato goes for some sweet chin music ala the HBK followed by landing a beautiful counter left hook while Uno goes for a leg kick which allows him to clinch up and eventually get a trip while maintaining back control. It seems as though the theme of this fight was to go for RNC's as Uno fought off RNC attempt after RNC attempt for about three straight minutes before turning it around on him and getting top control, as well as getting the crowd on his side for his insane effort at escaping those RNC's.

Round 2 begins with a bit of standup and then Uno eventually getting top control and landing some good ground and pound while the crowd roars with chants of "UUNOO." The rest of the fight Uno takes control, landing takedowns and dictating the pace over Sato until he eventually takes Sato's back and sinks in an RNC for some poetic justice to take the win.

One thing that makes me appreciate this fight that much more is that even though Sato emptied his gas tank going for those RNC's, he still in the later rounds is attempting to throw at Uno giving it his all. He's still trying to push forward and land significant strikes because he realizes he's down, whereas many fighters today just backpedal and hope they won't have to engage anymore. Lots of heart displayed by both fighters!

The entire fight is available on youtube,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwXMqAtHIYM

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#15
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Alistair Overeem (19-5) vs Vitor Belfort (12-5) I
Pride Total Elimination 2005

I probably don't even need to try and make this fight sound exciting to you guys; the two names involved should be more than enough. But ah well, fuck it!

Belfort gained huge recognition in Japan for his knockout of Pride legend Waderlei Silva in the early UFC days and so it only made sense that the demand to see him face a decorated striker was high. Turns out Overeem drew the straw and was pitted against Belfort in the opening round of the Pride 2005 Grand Prix in what was sure to be a technical and fast standup battle, and holy shit did this fight deliver for MMA fans. Now, keep in mind this was before the days of Ubereem so the size difference wasn't too great, though Overeem still had quite a larger frame.

From the opening bell we see Vitor go for a huge headkick followed by an Overeem takedown which resulted in some very good ground and pound. However, we also saw the active guard of Vitor going for an armbar against the bigger, lankier Overeem (much like the Jones fight?!). Vitor gets back to his feet and after some exchanges he lands a takedown of his own as well as some ground and pound of his own!

After the referee stands the two up even though I felt Vitor was throwing enough strikes to seem active, it is now Overeem's turn once again to land a takedown and more ground and pound! Vitor once again shows his active guard and almost gets another solid armbar attempt in.

After one last standup near the very end of the round, Overeem lands a HUGE knee that drops Belfort which drops him and as Vitor is trying to stand back to his feet Overeem sinks in his trademark guillotine to finish Belfort to move on to the second round of the Grand Prix!

The full fight is available here,
http://www.mmaspace.net/videos/vitor-be ... ide-85391/


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#14
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Daisuke Nakamura (15-8) vs Bogdan Cristea (4-2-1)
M-1 Challenge 5 - Japan

Now.. I know I referred to Newton and Saku as the best ground battle of all time, but I'd have to call this one the most exciting. From the bell there was a flying armbar attempt, a kneebar followed by an ankle lock that was almost fully sunk in IMMEDIATELY after, the kneebar reveresed after it looked like his ankle was about to snap to a toe hold, to an armbar attempt, followed by an RNC attempt, to full mount, to armbar, to kimura attempt, followed by ANOTHER flying armbar, to triangle attempt, to ANOTHER armbar attempt..

Did I mention all that took place in one round? You can find the legendary second round here, though I can't seem to locate the rest of it on any website just yet;
http://youtu.be/1dOhyQhvIBs

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#13
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Rampage Jackson (18-3) vs Chuck Lidell (13-2)
PRIDE GP 2003

Referring back to Chuck vs Overeem, this is once again one of Dana's reasons for coming over to Japan. This was the next step to getting the Chuck vs Wandy fight that Dana had come all this way for. That next step to getting that $250,000. What Dana didn't know is that Quinton was here to spoil the fun.

The fight doesn't have much you didn't expect - lots of technical striking, lots of feints, and looping punches. With Dana sitting ringside and commentating alongside Bas (and the nerves in his voice are quite noticeable) this fight is sure to entertain. Now remember, Chuck's chin wasn't always made of glass. He eats some huge shots from Rampage and throws some heavy leather as well, but we know Rampage has a granite chin himself.


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#12
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Shogun Rua (11-1) vs Ricardo Arona (12-2)
PRIDE Final Conflict 2005

And here we have the final match in one of, if not the most impressive Grand Prix's of all time. Both Shogun and Rua were young, talented MMA stars. Arona having only lost to Fedor by decision and Rampage by head-butt slam and Shogun only losing to Sobral early in his career, this was one of the most anticipated finals yet.

Now, this has a bit more of a background behind it. The animosity between Silva and Arona carried over into this Brazillian Top Team vs Chute Box battle. This fight has it all. Great grappling, great striking, foot stomps, one of the most animated crowds PRIDE has ever seen (previously on the card was Fedor/Cro Cop, soooo :P ) and a wicked KO finish.

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#11
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Takanori Gomi (21-2) vs Tatsuya Kawajiri (15-2)
PRIDE Bushido 9

Across Japan, MMA critics had Gomi and Kawajiri ranked #1 and #2 lightweights in the world. While this fight was only the quarterfinals of the Bushido tournament, it was pinned as one of the most anticipated JMMA fights of all time. The "21st century boys" were ready to make their mark in the Bushido tournament (which, by the way, was the first time this tournament had ever been organized.).

This was awarded with the Pride FC Fight of the Year 2005 award and with the high-paced nature of the fight, it's one that no MMA fan should go without seeing. This was the Japanese version of Fedor vs Cro Cop. And much like Fedor vs Cro Cop, there was a clear cut victor. Gomi displayed that the skill gap between the two was much bigger than MMA critics had made it seem, displaying punishing ground and pound and great ability to finish with a RNC at 7 minutes and 42 seconds.

During the post-fight celebrations, Gomi handed Kawajiri the medal awarded to him for going to the next round.. but in a great display of respect, he handed it off to Kawajiri.

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#10
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Anderson Silva (6-1) vs Hyato Sakurai (18-0)
Shooto – To The Top 7

Up until this fight, Silva was not the Anderson Silva we all know of today. He wasn't the huge star or champion that he is now - his record was very small and his highlight reel barely had anything to it. Sakurai, on the other hand, was an 18-0 champion and legend in the Japanese fight community and was the favorite in this showdown.

Looking back with what we know now, it's actually very impressive that Sakurai did as well as he did against Silva.. but at the time, it was a shock that Sakurai didn't dismantle his Brazilian opponent. Silva showed a great ability to clinch in this fight, and although Sakurai landed some solid takedowns and some good ground and pound, the power shots of Silva were enough to get him the W and take home the Welterweight Shooto championship,


this fight is entirely available on youtube,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXJTv1jQRyE

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#9
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Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (6-1) vs Kazushi Sakuraba (15-7-1)
Pride Shockwave 2003

This fight took place earlier on in Little Nog's career, only his 8th fight, and he was to face the Japanese phenom Sakuraba in the 2003 year ending event, and I cannot think of a better fight to end the year on. Sakuraba ate a flurry of knees from Nogueira early on in the fight which set the pace for Nog as he would continue to bring the fight with flurries of punches throughout the round. Sakuraba looking rather tentative against the larger Nogueira in the first stages of the fight eventually starts letting his hands go and then pushes forward going for a takedown, but the punch exchange prior to the takedown attempt resulted in a fair sized cut over the brow of Nog's eye. Fortunately this highly anticipated fight was allowed to continue.

After the time out, Sakuraba seemed to loosen up quite a bit letting his hands and kicks go. But what was on everyone's mind is -- when was this fight going to the ground? Nogueira seemed to be getting the better of the exchanges, aside from the blow that created the cut above his eye, so it was only a matter of time before Sakuraba would start pushing for the takedowns. And finally, after eating quite a few punches and knees, he was able to get it there.

In the first round we saw exciting striking exchanges, curious grappling, and a bit of controversy with the cut. Watch round 2 for much more of the same, but with quite a bit more grappling, and round 3 for a rather dramatic, saved-by-the-bell ending.

this fight is entirely available on youtube,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVRNpbzmx6I

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#8
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Rampage Jackson (20–4) vs Ricardo Arona (8–1)
PRIDE Critical Countdown 2004

Ricardo Arona is highly considered one of the biggest talents, both natural and technical, that the sport has ever seen. Pesonally, he's one of my top 10 favorite fighters of all time, and at the time of this fight against the slamming-machine Rampage Jackson, he had only lost a controversial decision against the GOAT Fedor Emelianenko. This fight had title implications to earn a shot at Wanderlei Silva.

Up until this fight, Rampage had 16 finishes out of his 20 wins and so Arona had the utmost respect for his ability to finish. However, Arona wanted to use his submission skills to put the King of the Slam away. Early on in the fight, Arona showed some very improved, very crisp striking (many, many leg kicks) but standing wasn't too favorable of an area for Ricardo and so we see him pull guard only a minute into the fight. Most would have assumed that Rampage would of just stood up and not gone to Ricardo's area of expertise, but Jackson showed no fear in going to the ground. Aside from an armbar attempt, Jackson seemed to be out of harms way but the fight ended up back on the feet with a few more powerful exchanges until guard was pulled again.

After some good ground and pound from Jackson and a VERY active guard display from Arona, it seemed as though Arona had a deep triangle locked in until one of the most dramatic finishes ever seen had happened. Quite possibly the biggest slam in the history of MMA.

After the fact, we've learned that there was a HUGE headbutt at the end of the slam which resulted in a huge cut over the top of Rampage's brow and while it takes away from the finish, it is still one of the most exciting fights in PRIDE history.

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#7
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Mauricio Shogun Rua (8-1) vs Rampage Jackson (22–5)
Pride Total Elimination 2005

Prior to this fight, at PRIDE 2 Fists of Fire, Rampage Jackson had faced off with Mauricio's older brother Murilo and was gifted a controversial decision in which even he stated he believed that Ninja Rua had won. Regardless, the soccer-kicking pride phenom Shogun would feel obliged to avenge his brothers loss and obtain a victory in the biggest fight of his rather new career. Prior to this, Rampage had showed troubles in the clinch against Shogun's Chute-Box teammate Wanderlei Silva losing two times by vicious TKO's, and it became apparent early on that this fight would be no different.

Shogun came out VERY strong, landing huge kicks, a switch kick, clinching up, and having Rampage pinned against the ropes landing knee after knee. It was only a matter of time before Jackson would succumb to the knees of Mauricio Shogun Rua and after a series of soccer kicks and knees by the youngest fighter in the PRIDE tournament, Jackson would be finished early through the first round in one of the most impressive displays from a PRIDE fighter in Shogun Rua.

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#6
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Wanderlei Silva (26–3–1)vs Quinton Rampage Jackson (21–4) II
Pride 28

Now, if you read #7 above you'll know the outcome of the fight but that in no way means you shouldn't watch this PRIDE Middleweight Championship fight, also a rematch, which earned PRIDE 2004 fight of the year between Wanderlei Silva and Quinton Rampage Jackson. Rampage was coming off his slam-KO over Arona, and Wanderlei was riding a 15 fight win streak over some of the best PRIDE had to offer. The anticipation for this title-fight rematch was at an all time high, and did it ever deliver.

Having already fought before, Rampage came in with a much different gameplan -- to try and not be sent to oblivion with Wanderlei's knees. However, before the fight starts.. there must be a staredown! And once the ref's brought the two opponents together, one of the most legendary staredowns of all time ensued.

In the first round, Rampage showed much more success with his takedowns and showed to be very improved in the clinch, though still paled in comparison to the power knees of the Axe Murderer, Wanderlei Silva. However, in the slugfest exchanges, the two seemed even in in power shots landing. After some wild exchanges, Rampage was able to land a takedown on Wanderlei and controlled Silva for a good 4-5 minutes but both fighters received a yellow card during the ground action (guess you can't call it action if a yellow card was issued)

After the standup in the final minute, Quinton landed big sending Wanderlei to the ground. However, being in the time where Wandy was able to recover, no finish was delivered by Rampage but Rampage would enter the second round very confident

Near the halfway point in round 2 after some more standup exchanges, Wanderlei was finally able to capitalize in the clinch after a HUGE right hand landed by Silva. The knockout that ended this fight was one of the most epic knockouts I've ever seen -- a flurry of knees sent Rampage right through the ropes unconscious, resulting in Wanderlei defending his middleweight belt.

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#5
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Fedor Emelianenko (23–1 (1)) vs Mirko Cro Cop Filipović (16–2–2)
Pride Final Conflict 2005

I mean. Come on. Of course this fight was going to be on the list. This is, to this day, the mostly highly anticipated fight of all time. The importance, the relevance, the anticipation, the hype, and how it delivered. Everything about this fight is what epitomizes MMA. People could argue that Lesnar/Mir 2 or Sonnen/Silva 2 were more hyped and anticipated, but the hype and anticipation of those fights was due to trash talk and media/marketing; Fedor vs Cro Cop was as hyped as it was because of the pure talent of the two individuals.

Now, typing up a quick play-by-play is damn near impossible for this fight as there would just be too much to type, so all I'm going to say is if you want to be taken seriously as an MMA fan, watch this fight now.

the fight is entirely available on youtube,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6s0k9hE4f0

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#4
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Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (20–2–1) vs Mirko Cro Cop Filipović (7–0–2)
Pride Final Conflict 2003

Nowadays, when you think of best comeback victories of all time, it's hard not to picture Silva vs Sonnen I in your head. But before that Silva/Sonnen fight, it was almost certain that you type 'comeback' and 'mma' into google, and your results would blow up with links to videos and discussions about this fight.

Undefeated Mirko Filipovic was coming into this fight on a 7 fight winstreak, with 6 knockout wins out of 7 fights over fighters like Igor Vovchanchyn, Heath Herring, Kazuyuki Fujita, and Kazushi Sakuraba. Rather new to the sport, this kickboxing extraordinaire was making his mark on the MMA scene, and he was doing it quickly with 5 first round finishes.

Nogueira had only suffered 2 losses in his career at this point, a split decision to Dan Henderson and a decision loss to the great Fedor Emelianenko. He was much more seasoned than Cro Cop, but opposite the kickboxing style of Mirko, Nogueira was a world renowned Jiu Jitsu expert.

The fight was going Mirko's way pretty much the entire time. Landing blow after blow, getting a large volume of powerful ground and pound in, and seemingly outclassing the elder Nogueira brother on the feet. The left kick of Mirko was landing. Nog would shoot for takedowns, but the sprawl and takedown defense of the Croatian was proving to be too good. The first round ended with a thunderous LHK JUST as the bell rang, and 'all is well that ends with the bell.' ;)

The second round Nogueira was more successful with his takedowns, landing one very early on in the round, obtaining full mount and the fans were cheering like crazy for he underdog who now was landing on Mirko in a completely dominant position. The shots were nothing special, but what happened shortly after a period of ground and pound resulted in a roaring crowd. Nogueira was able to get ahold of one of Cro Cops arms and finish him with a beautiful armbar putting him that much closer to a rematch with Fedor.

this fight is entirely available here,
http://video.i.ua/user/1951477/20424/106406/

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#3
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Carlos Newton (10–5) vs José "Pelé" Landi-Jons (19-6)
PRIDE 19

Here we have another classic striker vs grappler matchup. Pele, a former chute-box affiliated Muay Thai practitioner was a very seasoned fighter by the time this fight took place back in 2002, holding victories over Matt Hughes, Pat Miletich, and Evangelista Santos. 15 of his 19 wins were finishes. Carlos Newton, however, was facing better competition but was coming up short in many of his matches -- taking losses to Matt Hughes, Dan Henderson, and Kazushi Sakuraba. Pele was favored to finish Newton via knockout, but the outcome of this fight was in no way certain. While Pele was also a black belt in BJJ, his skills were not on he level of Pele.

Pele showed good, crisp muay thai skills, rather solid TDD, and good clinch work but the fight eventually hit the mat as Newton took control. From the time Newton got on top, it seemed as though the fight was going to be Newton's to lose until some very surprising ground work from Pele allowed him to sneak out from the back door. However, he seemed to be caught in a rather deep armbar but in a very dramatic escape, he was able to get back on his feet with a smirk on his face. The fight returned to the feet and Pele lands a big right hand and a HUGE knee to Newton sending him to the ground. More clinching ensued followed by ANOTHER huge knee landing on Newton -- it was one of those knees that you would think only Mark Hunt could survive. Pele trips Newton to the mat when Newton appeared to be completely out of it, he was certainly out on his feet at some point.

Pele had side mount but gave up position giving Newton one of his leg's resulted in a fight costing reversal. Newton grabbed hold of Pele's arm and was able to finish him with the armbar this time around in yet another amazing comeback story for the grappler.

this fight is entirely available here,
http://www.videohippy.com/video/205809/ ... Pele-Landi

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#2
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Mauricio Shogun Rua (9-1) vs Antônio Rogério Nogueira (11–1)
Pride Critical Countdown 2005

The 2005 MW Grand Prix was one of the most challenging grand prix's PRIDE has ever seen. In the first Quarterfinal matchup between Shogun and Little Nog, two of the hottest fighters in the tournament, we had the delight of seeing the 2005 fight of the year -- a fight suited for the tournament's final. At this point in time, Shogun's ground game had been rather unseen whereas Nogueira, alongside his brother, were renowned for their grappling. Shogun was also coming off his complete domination of Rampage Jackson. Little Nog was coming off a rather large and impressive winstreak of his own, holding wins over Henderson, Overeem, and Sakuraba among others.

(fun fact, Nog brought in Anderson Silva to train with him for this fight I believe for his first time training with him)

And finally, the Brazillian Top Team vs Chute Box matchup was underway. This is another one of those matchups where a play by play isn't as necessary as the history prior to the fight as there is just too much to type, but expect a very impressive striking display as well as a very surprising ground game (and some awesome leaping strikes) from the younger Shogun.

the entire video is available here,
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xko4g1 ... eira_sport

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#1
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Takanori Gomi (23–2) vs Hayato Sakurai (27–6–2)
PRIDE Shockwave 2005

I'm not sure how many fights can properly represent what PRIDE was all about, but the fight between Takanori Gomi and Hayato Sakurai is definitely one of them. These two Japanese fighters were the definition of what a legend was in the Japanese MMA world, and they were finally about to go toe-to-toe for the PRIDE Lightweight championship in the finals of the PRIDE Lightweight Grand Prix. You literally could not of given these two legends a better stage for their matchup. This is what fighting was all about.

Gomi and Sakurai both knew eachother very well; Sakurai the elder considered Gomi to be a little brother. They trained at the same gym and there was the utmost respect between the two. Both fighters were looking for the knockout, and the question in everyones mind was would it be the younger fighter or the more experienced fighter that would be first to the punch.

Gomi was undefeated in PRIDE at this point with a perfect record of 9-0 whereas Sakurai was only 5-2 as he made his name known in Shooto. However, the implications of this fight were much more than just a record. Since PRIDE's existence starting in 1997, it had never had a Japanese champion. This was the fight that would go down in history to change that.

Although Sakurai was the more experienced veteran of the two, Takanori Gomi was the hero of Japanese MMA fans. He was voted in 2005 to be the 2005 PRIDE MVP, and his fight against Kawajiri was voted match of the year. He was undoubtedly the hometown favorite.

This fight was pure fireworks, and albeit somewhat short, what this fight embodies is absolutely what PRIDE, and even MMA, was all about.

this fight is entirely available on youtube,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_JBBnLUw6w


===============================================



HONORABLE MENTIONS

These fights didn't quite make it into my top 25, but had this been a top 30 they would definitely be in there. There are just too many good fights, however, these ARE in order when it comes to which ones I think you should watch first and I HIGHLY recommend watching them.

B.J Penn vs Lyoto Machida (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdvOfCz6_tk)
Kazushi Sakuraba vs Quinton Rampage Jackson (http://www.mmatko.com/kazushi-sakuraba- ... -pride-15/)
Mirko Cro Cop vs Aleksander Emelianenko http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x4p4ut ... r-em_sport)
Big Nog vs Bob Sapp (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doJPc2rsO10) (also, would have made top 25 had it not been Bob Sapp. I just can't put him in a respectful top 25 anything list)




===============


Sorry it took so long to finish.
Last edited by Mikal on Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:36 pm, edited 32 times in total.
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Re: 25 Best Throwback Fights of MMA

Postby Wax » Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:39 pm

I missed this thread the first time around. Thank you for giving it another shot. Can't wait for the rest. :geek:
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Re: 25 Best Throwback Fights of MMA

Postby seb » Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:57 pm

Awesome posting to follow later
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Re: 25 Best Throwback Fights of MMA

Postby BrdrOkm69 » Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:41 pm

I feel like even if I don't agree with you on your list I'm still going to enjoy reading it all, this was pretty dope
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Re: 25 Best Throwback Fights of MMA

Postby Mikal » Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:22 pm

Just landed, be home in a couple hours. I figure it's time to bring some Russians to the list.
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Re: 25 Best Throwback Fights of MMA

Postby AXEMELL » Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:55 pm

Mikal wrote:Just landed, be home in a couple hours. I figure it's time to bring some Russians to the list.

Hmmm, I know a couple of really good Russian fighters who had some pretty epic battles, but I'm a let you finnish. I am AXEMELL, and I approve this thread and everything about it!
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Re: 25 Best Throwback Fights of MMA

Postby stvgabriel » Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:57 pm

cool. gonna stay tuned
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Re: 25 Best Throwback Fights of MMA

Postby discoowl » Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:59 pm

good thread - waiting for more Op
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Re: 25 Best Throwback Fights of MMA

Postby LiamHillen » Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:06 pm

Looking forward to the rest of the thread op :biggrin:
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Re: 25 Best Throwback Fights of MMA

Postby stokjeros » Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:44 am

Mikal wrote: At about 3:30 of round 2, Gomi goes for a takedown which would be the biggest mistake of the fight. Almost immediately Diaz locks up Gomi's arm with his leg and sinks in a gogoplata and Diaz is forced to tap.


It was Gomi tapping, but we all know that, just that if you are editing it... we might as well start to be picky.

Awesome post so far if this is 25 - 23, I am curious how the remainder will look.
Would be nice to collect all the cideos, and show them to any friend who is not HOT on mma yet...

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Re: 25 Best Throwback Fights of MMA

Postby jitzkrieg » Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:00 am

Sick thread. Want to follow this as it goes.
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Re: 25 Best Throwback Fights of MMA

Postby iHeartChrisWheelkick » Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:24 am

stokjeros wrote:
Mikal wrote: At about 3:30 of round 2, Gomi goes for a takedown which would be the biggest mistake of the fight. Almost immediately Diaz locks up Gomi's arm with his leg and sinks in a gogoplata and Diaz is forced to tap.


It was Gomi tapping, but we all know that, just that if you are editing it... we might as well start to be picky.

Awesome post so far if this is 25 - 23, I am curious how the remainder will look.
Would be nice to collect all the cideos, and show them to any friend who is not HOT on mma yet...

Peace


:lol: @ Diaz tapping and "posting the rest later"
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Re: 25 Best Throwback Fights of MMA

Postby jcmmnx » Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:41 am

Saku vs Newton is the first fight I thought of nice to see it mentioned.
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Re: 25 Best Throwback Fights of MMA

Postby gvd13 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:04 am

I need to watch every fight you mention here to expand my knowledge of MMA!
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Re: 25 Best Throwback Fights of MMA

Postby JohnKG » Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:43 am

gvd13 wrote:I need to watch every fight you mention here to expand my knowledge of MMA!


This is true.... something like the OP should be shown to people who are new to the site... just like the rules..
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