Dan Henderson vs Wanderlei Silva II, Pride 33, 24 February 2007
Dan Henderson vs Wanderlei Silva II is an instant classic, a milestone in MMA, and one of the best fights in Pride. This is the second time these two MMA legends and Pride warriors meet. The first meeting was at Pride 12 in 2000. Wanderlei Silva won that fight via unanimous decision. Since that fight, Wanderlei Silva went on to defeat Pride superstars such as Kazushi Sakuraba, Rampage Jackson, and Ricardo Arona. He captured and successfully defended the Pride Middleweight Championship and established himself firmly as one of the most dangerous MMA fighters in the world. Pride 33 is Wanderlei Silva’s last fight in Pride before moving to the UFC to face Chuck Liddell in another one of MMA’s best of the best fights.
Kazushi Sakuraba vs Carlos Newton, Pride 3, 24 June 1998
Kazushi Sakuraba vs Carlos Newton is an incredibly technical, suspenseful and action-packed grappling match. The fight is a spectacular match-up between grappling masters. Both fighters come from an incredible wrestling background and are skilled technicians of the sport. Just from the first two minutes of the first round, Kazushi Sakuraba attempts two submissions and Carlos Newton defends them both.
UFC vs Pride 2003, Japan, August – November 2003
Full fight videos including commentary from Dana White as well as history of UFC vs Pride 2003. Chuck Liddell enters the Pride 2003 Middleweight Grand Prix against the top Pride fighters at the time.
By 2003, Pride had established itself as the premier MMA promotion in the world. Pride had most of the legendary fighters of today including the Nogueira brothers, Fabricio Werdum, Wanderlei Silva, Shogun Rua, Rampage Jackson, Alistair Overeem and many more. The UFC also had their own stable of legends including Randy Couture, Frank Mir, Matt Hughes, Sean Sherk, Frank Shamrock, Tito Ortiz, and Chuck Liddell. Both of these organizations had put on incredible events drawing crowds and building the sport of MMA.
Even though Pride was the leading MMA promotion at the time, the UFC and Pride were on an inevitable collision course. Having UFC fighters compete against Pride fighters would have been a fight fans ultimate fantasy come true. Not only would the fights be exciting, but this would also be a great marketing opportunity for the UFC. Pride fighters were considered the best in the world. With the UFC putting their fighters against the Pride fighters, win or lose it would be a great marketing campaign to promote the UFC and the quality of UFC fighters. Dana White had spent a good amount of time and effort campaigning for a UFC vs Pride show down. This would be a fight for the Pride Middleweight Championship between Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva.
Click and scroll to watch Chuck Liddell represent UFC in UFC vs Pride 2003
Kazushi Sakuraba vs Royce Gracie I, Pride Grand Prix, 1 May 2000
Photo from sherdog.com
This is a monumental fight in MMA history and signifies the evolution of the sport.
Kazushi Sakuraba is known as The Gracie Hunter or even as The Gracie Killer. Throughout his career, he defeated four members of the Gracie family including Royler, Royce, Renzo, and Ryan. He single-handedly dismantled the unbeatable institution.
This is the legendary fight, Kazushi Sakuraba vs Royce Gracie. The rules for the match were altered to reflect the Gracie mentality of allowing the best fighter to prevail. The match had no time limit and virtually no rules except for no eye gouging and no attacks to the groin. Rounds were 15 minutes each with one minute rest in between. This epic and engaging thriller lasted 90 minutes but without a single dull moment.