Fedor Emelianenko vs Cro Cop, Pride Final Conflict 2005, 28 August 2005
Fedor Emelianenko vs Cro Cop, a legendary fight between two gods of the sport. This fight won the Sports Illustrated 2000s Fight of the Decade award, the Yahoo Sports 2000s Fight of the Decade award, the MMAFighting 2005 Fight of the Year award, and the Fightmatrix.com 2005 Most Noteworthy Match of the Year award.
In 2005, Fedor Emelianenko was the Pride Heavyweight Champion. He defeated Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in 2003 to claim the title. Fedor’s dominance of the Rings and Pride Heavyweight divisions paired with his cold and stoic expression earned him cage names such as the Machine, the Russian Experiment, the Last Emperor. MMA legends like Renato Sobral, Semmy Schilt, Heath Herring, Kevin Randleman, Mark Coleman, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, all fell to this Russian master. Most of them were defeated in the first round by TKO or submission.
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.
Nick Diaz vs Takanori Gomi, Pride 33, 24 February 2007
Photo from hov-mma.com
A fight fan’s delight. Nick Diaz vs Takanori Gomi was named the 2007 Fight of the Year by Inside Fights. The fight takes place at the Pride 33 event in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pride 33 is considered one of Pride’s most epic events. It is also sadly, Pride’s second to last event.
In what is known as one of Prides most exciting first rounds, Takanori Gomi drops Nick Diaz towards the middle of the first round of the figh. Nick Diaz then comes back implementing his unique and deadly “Don’t Be Scared Homie” boxing style of dangerous piff-piff-pat-pat pillow punches. To the hardcore fight fans, we know Nick Diaz vs Takanori Gomi for a special reason. This is the fight where Nick Diaz submits Takanori Gomi with the first Gogoplata to be seen in competition MMA.
Pride Shockwave, 31st December 2005
Photo from www.mmaopinion.co.uk
2005 was a good year for Pride, with incredible events that served as historical milestones for MMA. This year, Pride held it’s first ever Welterweight and Lightweight tournaments. Pride also held an incredibly competitive Middleweight Grand Prix.
Pride Shockwave is considered one of the most epic events in Pride history. The evening featured a main event fight between Wanderlei Silva and Ricardo Arona for the Pride Middleweight Championship. This was an especially interesting fight since Ricardo Arona had previously defeated Wanderlei Silva in the semi-finals of the Pride Middleweight Grand Prix in Pride Final Conflict held on the 28th August 2005.
The event also featured the final rounds of the first ever Pride Welterweight tournament between MMA legends Murilo Bustamante and Dan Henderson. Shockwave 2005 also had the final round of the first ever Pride Lightweight tournament between Takanori Gomi and Hayat Sakurai. The winners of these tournaments would be crowned as Pride’s first ever Welterweight Champion and Lightweight Champion.
As if the evening wasn’t exciting enough, Pride Shockwave 2005 also features an awesome match up between Mirko “Crocop” Filipovic vs Mark Hunt.
The event is about 3 hours long. Perfect for a lazy MMA Sunday.
Wanderlei Silva vs Brian Stann, UFC on Fuel 8, 3 March 2013
Fight of the Night
Photo from Josh Hedges Zuffa LLC
Wanderlei Silva vs Brian Stann gives Wanderlei the opportunity to return to fight in Saitama, Japan after almost seven years away. Wanderlei’s last fight in Japan was in Pride 33 where he and Dan Henderson gave an incredible performance in Dan Henderson vs Wanderlei Silva II.
This is the arena where Wanderlei built his reputation as the frightening Axe Murderer. This is the country where he ruled as Pride Middleweight Champion. At UFC Fuel 8 Japan, Wanderlei Silva return’s “home” where he finds an incredibly tough and game opponent in Brian Stann.