#10: Anderson Silva vs. Chris Leben, UFC Fight Night 5 (6/28/06) If you didn’t follow his pre-UFC career, you probably figured that Anderson Silva’s Octagon debut would be relatively competitive. Chris Leben was a dangerous brawler who had won five straight in the Octagon against solid competition, while Silva was…some sort of Brazilian from Japan, [...]
When it happened: 4/14/00, at UFC 25 When it should have happened: Spring 2003 Why: Ortiz vs. Silva was an entertaining scrap between two young contenders for the UFC’s vacant “middleweight” belt. If they met three years later, it would have been a superfight. By the end of 2002, Ortiz had defended his title five times — he’d lose it in September 2003 to Randy Couture — while Silva was PRIDE’s middleweight ruler, owning a 12-0-1 record in the promotion and two successful title defenses. With Ortiz at the end of his reign and Wandy near the middle of his, it would have been an ideal moment to establish bragging rights for one of MMA’s two leading organizations. Prediction: Depends on where the fight was held. If Ortiz had home-field advantage, he’d probably still be able to grind out a decision win. In Japan, it would be Wanderlei via soccer-kick death.
When it happened: 4/9/05, at the Ultimate Fighter 1 Finale When it should have happened: Sometime next year. Why: Kenny Florian had enough talent and heart to make it to the finals of TUF 1 as a 185-pounder, but it was only a matter of time before he was squashed by another talented fighter who was more experienced and better suited to the weight; Diego Sanchez just happened to be that dude. This year, there was talk — hope, even — that Florian could upset BJ Penn at UFC 101, then have a high-stakes rematch against his old nemesis, who had followed him down to lightweight after an impressive run at 170. Unfortunately, Florian succumbed to Penn’s trademark mata leon, and Sanchez was booked to challenge Penn for the title in December. Still, as long as Florian keeps winning, he’ll claw his way back to the Nightmare — and this time, they’ll face each other as two of the best lightweights in the world. Prediction: Sanchez outstrikes Florian to a decision in a far more competitive match than their first meeting.
Fighting for a living is a lot like teasing a really mean dog: you can’t do it forever without something bad happening to you.Even the great ones get to a point where their drive becomes sluggish and their bellies are too full for them to stay hungry, and that’s usually when a particularly bad beating takes what remaining fire they have and douses it with the fury of a God pissing on your dreams.It doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll quit right then, even if they should, but it does mean that they’ll never be the same again.Here now, in chronological order, are the most notorious breaking points in MMA history.
It’s hard to say that Igor Zinoviev was really on his way to being a legend of the sport, because he got stopped almost before he really got started.The former Soviet Army commando was one of the first fighters in the early days of MMA to beat a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt when he TKO’d Mario Sperry, and he took out Enson Inoue the next year.All this came after years of fighting underground brawls in Brooklyn warehouses following the fall of the Soviet Union, so his toughness was never in question.
When he joined the UFC the future was, as they say, wide open.Then he came up against Frank Shamrock, who wasted no time in scooping him up and slamming him down so viciously that it shattered his collarbone and knocked him out cold.It was Zinoviev’s first career loss, and he would never fight again after that.We’re not saying the devastating finish served as the catalyst for Shamrock’s out of control ego over the next 10+ years, but we’re not saying it helped, either.
It’s looking like MMA great Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic might call it a career and move on to a life that does not involve kicking people in their heads. That’s sad for those of us who remember his glory days in Pride, but it’s also an inevitable fact of life. No matter how well you do something, you can’t do it well forever. Just ask Mötley Crüe. But at the risk of eulogizing Cro Cop too soon, we wanted to pay tribute to his greatest moments in the ring. Nothing gold can stay, but we’re guessing these victims will never forget their beatdowns.
Some of you youngsters may find this hard to believe, but there was a time when Aleksander “Don’t Ask Me To Take a Blood Test” Emelianenko was a fresh-faced killer on the Pride scene, knocking dudes out and not feeling one way or another about it. Then he ran up against Cro Cop, who fed him a steady diet of straight lefts and a brain-jarring high kick that effectively ended it. Though Fedor would later win a decision over Cro Cop in a bit of reluctant revenge for his embarrassing younger bro, it didn’t cancel out the sheer brutality that left brother Aleks on his back in a mummy pose.
You asked for it, and now you got it. Cage Potato presents the 8 most impressive striking displays we’ve ever witnessed in MMA. Please note that "impressive" doesn’t necessarily mean the best technical displays or most dominant victories. Naw son, there’s a range. Some are brutal, some are smoove, and some are just nice all-around displays. All are impressive for one reason or another, and our hats go off to the purveyors of beatdowns featured below. Enjoy…
#8: Takanori Gomi vs. Jens Pulver: Pride Shockwave, 12/31/04
Going into this fight, the conventional wisdom was that Pulver would want to stand and bang and Gomi would look to get things to the mat.As you see, that ain’t how it happened.Instead they traded a pleasing mix of low kicks, body shots, and power punches in a contest to see who would fall down first.Turns out that someone was Pulver, who couldn’t stand up to Gomi’s deceptive power quite as well as he thought.Really makes you wonder what happened to that Gomi.He sure was something to watch once upon a time.
#7: Fedor Emelianenko vs. Gary Goodridge: Pride Total Elimination, 8/10/03
While several of Fedor’s fights could arguably make this list, his one-minute destruction of “Big Daddy” gets the nod simply because it’s one of the best examples out there of Emelianenko’s nothing-but-power-punches approach to striking.From the moment he first unleashes his offense, Fedor hardly throws anything that isn’t a cannonball with evil intentions.Just listen to the sound of the punches hammering Goodridge in the opening seconds and see if it doesn’t remind you of a Gallagher show.Sure, he’s beaten better opponents in his time, and thrown more devastating one-punch KO’s, but this one really gives you a glimpse of how terrifying it must be to find yourself on the business end of a Fedor assault.
#6: Wanderlei Silva vs. “Rampage” Jackson II: Pride 28, 10/31/04
If it wasn’t for bad luck, Strikeforce’s upcoming “Carano vs. Cyborg” card wouldn’t have any luck at all. Despite the best intentions, some MMA events are destined to be magnets for injuries, unwelcome surprises, and other bizarre occurrences. But which events have been screwed by fate the hardest? Knock on wood, grab your crotch, and read on…
The aptly-titled “All or Nothing” event was the first UFC pay-per-view in nearly a year to lack a title fight by the time it finally took place. That’s all the more disappointing when you consider that it had two a couple months out from the event, pitting TUF “Comeback” winners Matt Serra and Travis Lutter against the champions in their respective weight classes.
The first title fight went down the drain when Georges St. Pierre injured his knee during training and had to put off the fight with Serra (and we all remember how that went when it finally happened). Fortunately they still had Anderson Silva vs. Travis Lutter to fall back on…right? Only Lutter failed to make weight for his title shot, downgrading his “Rocky” storyline to a “Bad News Bears” one. Instead they just had themselves a normal old three-rounder, with Lutter holding his own in the first round before getting triangled/elbowed to death in the second. What fun.
Ah, the freak show: Where honest competition meets the insatiable human desire to see something weird, typically in Japan. We thought we’d take a look back and count down the ten craziest, most outlandish freak show fights in MMA history. Some are bizarre enough to be fun. Some are just horrible. At least one is [...]
(The Newton slam comes at about the 0:52 mark. Then there are others.)
We’ve sung the praises of Hughes’ signature slam before, but never was it more effective than when he used it to take the UFC welterweight championship away from Carlos Newton. Hughes’s first line of defense against Newton’s triangle choke was to pick him up and walk him over to the fence, resting him atop the Octagon while he got a second to think things through. When that didn’t help he dropped him straight down, sending Newton’s dreads a-flyin’ and knocking him out cold. Hughes also seemed, shall we say, out of sorts after the slam. He also seemed like the new UFC welterweight champ. So there you go.
#7: MAC DANZIG (Photo via Paul Thacker.) A five-time King of the Cage lightweight champion with appearances in PRIDE and the WEC, Mac Danzig was one of the most seasoned mixed martial artists to ever appear on The Ultimate Fighter, and few were surprised when he blazed past guys like Ben Saunders, War Machine, and [...]