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On This Day in MMA History…June 17


(Since this sculpture seemed to be a major talking point…)

Minoru Suzuki was born 43 years ago.

Why he matters: One of the co-founders of Pancrase — the pre-cursor to the UFC — Suzuki was of the best Japanese submission specialists of his era. He holds wins over Ken Shamrock, Vernon White, Matt Hume and Guy Mezger and Maurice Smith. A former Olympic alternate freestyle wrestler for Japan and former Japanese freestyle wrestling national champion, Suzuki retired from MMA competition in 2002 with a record of 27-20 to focus on professional wrestling, in which he is still active today.


(Video courtesy of YouTube/MrDartzero)

Many MMA luminaries from Bas Rutten and Ken Shamrock to Josh Barnett count Suzuki as one of THE best catch wrestlers the sport has ever known.


(Video courtesy of YouTube/scientificwrestling)

Kuniyoshi Hironaka was born 34 years ago.

Why he matters: Besides a win over Nick Diaz, and a stint as the Cage Force lightweight champion, Hironaka’s claim to fame could be that he is the fighter who created Shinya Aoki‘s appetite for arm-breaking.


(Video courtesy of YouTube/dannykeat)

In a 2007 jiu-jitsu competition, Aoki caught Hironaka in an armbar, but his opponent refused to tap out. Although Aoki was much more sportsmanlike and reserved than he would be when he duplicated the feat against Mizuto Hirota at K-1 Dynamite! two years later, the incident seemed didn’t seem to bother “Tobikan Judan” in the least. Incidentally, the pair fought a year prior to the jiu-jitsu match under the Shooto banner, with Aoki winning via TKO due to cut.


(Video courtesy of YouTube/belfastbootboy)

Andrei Semenov was born 34 years ago.

Why he matters: Semenov is one of the best fighters who never really got a fair shake in the UFC. Had he been given one, he may have become a household name like Chuck Liddell or Tito Ortiz, rather than a fighter most non-hardcore MMA fans have never heard about.


(Video courtesy of YouTube/Damienhis)

His 30-9-2 record includes wins over Amar Suloev, Ricardo Almeida, Martin Kampmann and Martijn de Jong, as well as a pair of draws with Mike Pyle and Denis Kang. After winning his UFC debut against Almeida, he lost to Ivan Salaverry in his second (and last) fight in the Octagon and was dropped by Zuffa. Folowing a three-year hiatus from the sport, Semenov returned to competition in April of this year to beat Luigi Fioravanti at M-1 Chalenge in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Chris Weidman was born 27 years ago.

Why he matters: Being an undefeated fighter in MMA is like being a messageboard commenter with actual MMA credentials — it’s a rarity. A product of Matt Serra‘s gym in New York, Weidman is 6-0 in the sport and 2-0 in his UFC career. He defeated veteran Alessio Sakara by unanimous decision at UFC Live 3: Sanchez vs. Kampmann in March and followed up that impressive performance three months later in Vancouver at UFC 131 with a first-round submission win over Jesse Bongfeldt.

Bellator 22 happened one year ago.

Why it mattered: Ben Askren won Bellator’s Season 2 Welterweight Tournament by defeating veteran Dan Hornbuckle by unanimous decision at the event. He would go on to win the Bellator strap from Lyman Good in his subsequent title shot at Bellator 33.


(Video courtesy of YouTube/BellatorMMA)

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oniuniu- June 18, 2011 at 6:30 am
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Jawbreaker_46- June 17, 2011 at 10:48 pm
God I hope Duke Rufus has taught Askren some stand up. Ya gotta respect how dominant wrestling is, but holy shit is it boring when thats all a guy can do.
KrmtDfrog- June 17, 2011 at 7:45 pm
Most importantly, I was born this day, many years ago.
noname- June 17, 2011 at 2:50 pm
Kuniyoshi Hironaka = heart + a broken arm.
Koeikan- June 17, 2011 at 12:52 pm
Most, if not all, of Minoru Suzuki's significant wins in Pancrase were works.

You know... just FYI.
Fried Taco- June 17, 2011 at 12:28 pm
You forgot to mention that Venus Williams was born on this day 31 years ago.
Kid Clam Curtains- June 17, 2011 at 12:27 pm
That's rape 101, Josh.
LOKI- June 17, 2011 at 11:42 am
Little know fact; the title of that sculpture is, "Imma fuck you till you luv me faggot!"
mmacanada- June 17, 2011 at 11:14 am
Looks like jds on top of Carwin last week!
WK- June 17, 2011 at 11:12 am
Heh, Pankration was introduced in 650BC.
~2600 years later, we've only added boardshorts with lots of sponsor logos on it.
knucklesamitch- June 17, 2011 at 11:03 am
the guy on top in that sculpture is being a real cunt.
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