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The Top 24 Mixed Martial Artists Who Lost Their First Fight


(Renan Barao: Started from the bottom, now he here. / Photo via Getty)

By Adam Martin

At the UFC 165 post-fight presser last month, UFC president Dana White showered praise upon UFC interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao, calling him one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport and remarking that the media hadn’t given enough credit to his eight-year, 32-fight undefeated streak, which has remained pristine since May 2005.

Barao has only tasted defeat once, and it was in the first fight of his career. The fact that he’s rebounded with the longest current undefeated streak in mixed martial arts — despite the fact that his first loss could have ruined his confidence forever — is absolutely amazing to me, as many young would-be prospects have crashed and burned in their debuts, never to be heard of again.

It got me thinking: What other mixed martial artists lost their first fight but then went on to have great success? I expected to bang out a list of ten fighters, but once I started doing the research, it blew my mind that some of the best fighters to ever compete in the sport, and a number of currently top 10-ranked fighters, actually lost their very first fight.

And so, I compiled a list of the top 24 MMA fighters of all time who lost their first fight. The list is based on accomplishments in the sport, overall skill level, and potential. Enjoy, and if I somehow missed somebody notable, please leave a comment below and explain why he or she should be included.

Honorable mentions: Matt “The Wizard” Hume (5-5), Wesley “Cabbage” Correira (20-15), Ryan “The Big Deal” Jimmo (18-2), Rodrigo Damm (11-6), James Te Huna (16-6)

24. Travis “The Ironman” Fulton (249-49-10, 1 NC)

(Photo via ThunderPromotions)

On July 26, 1996, at the age of 19 years old, Travis Fulton fought Dave Strasser in his MMA debut at Gladiators 1 in Davenport, Iowa, losing the fight via first-round submission. He then went on to win 249 fights, the most wins in mixed martial arts history. Fulton also holds the record for most fights (309) and most knockout wins (91) in MMA history.

Mind = blown.

Was Fulton a can crusher? Yes, yes he was. Or, should I say, yes he is, as he beat some nobody in his native Iowa just this past March. But you don’t win 249 MMA fights by accident, and Fulton deserves a place on this list based on volume alone.

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Fallon Fox Gets TKO’d, Holly Holm and Henry Cejudo Stay Undefeated [VIDEOS]


(Fallon Fox vs. Ashlee Evans-Smith highlights, via AXS TV Fights)

There was a considerable amount of combat sports action this weekend. Timothy Bradley took a split decision over Juan Manuel Marquez, retaining his WBO welterweight title. Tyrone Spong avenged a past draw against Nathan Corbett with a vicious left hook knockout in the second round at Glory 11. But this is CagePotato; we deal in MMA here. And while most of the focus was on Bellator this weekend (which is to say, there wasn’t a lot of focus this weekend), there were three other notable MMA fights that warranted attention. Olympic wrestling gold medalist Henry Cejudo notched yet another victory, and both Holly Holm and Fallon Fox, WMMA prospects fan-favorities celebrities fighters who you know about, fought this weekend. While the results were different for the three, each took a step towards fulfilling what potential they possess. For better or worse.

We’ll start with Fallon Fox, just to get her out of the way. Despite the publicity she’s received, Fox isn’t what you might call a “good” fighter. Her opponents thus far have been terrible, and the supposed advantage she possesses from being transgender is looking tenuous at best after her appearance at Championship Fighting Alliance 12 in Coral Gables, Florida on Saturday. Although Fox had her moments in the first round, her opponent Ashlee Evans-Smith ramped up the pressure in the second and it paid dividends. Smith, in just her second professional fight, managed to take Fox down and almost finish her in the second round before the bell sounded. There was some controversy, as the crowd was so enthusiastic (“virulently transphobic” could also work here) that it was unclear at what point the bell had rung and whether the fight had been stopped. Ultimately, it didn’t matter. Evans-Smith simply repeated the process in the third round, putting Fox away with punches from the mount position.

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Insane Submission of the Day: The ‘Modified Americana,’ a.k.a The ‘Inverted Twister Cruciplata’


(Props: themmaclinic via MiddleEasy)

Grappling arts have existed for millennia, and yet human beings continue to find new and exciting ways to fuck each other up. The latest example of mind-blowing grappling ingenuity comes to us from Cage Warriors 60 on Saturday, where a lightweight submission artist named Ivan “Buki” Buchinger tapped Mick Sinclair in the second round with a…well…it’s hard to say, really.

Sherdog ID’s the move as a “scarf-hold armlock,” which is basically true — and more descriptive than the ring-announcer’s vague claim of a “modified Americana” — but the positioning of Buchinger’s body, and the way that he sets up the hold by trapping Sinclair’s right arm with his legs before cranking on the neck makes this submission unique and kind of astounding.

Side note: Buchinger got his ass handed to him by Conor McGregor when they fought last December. But still, good sub, mate.

Previously: Omo-Peruvian-Necktwister Inventor Coty Shannon Hits a Sideways-Peruvian-Gogo-Bowtie in Second MMA Fight

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‘WTF?’ Video of the Year Candidate: Brazilian Fighter Quits Match by Jumping Out of Cage, Leaving Arena


(Props: Zona de Ataque)

OK, watch the above video and please tell us if you can figure out what in the Sam Hell just happened. Evilasio Silva and Claudinei Angelo met at JF Fight Evolution in Juiz de Fora, Brazil, on Saturday and things were going as MMA fights normally do — both men fighting inside an enclosed space — until, for some reason, Angelo decided he had had enough.

“When Angelo clearly spat his mouthpiece to recover from the punches, the referee refused to stop the fight,” wrote MMA Fighting’s Guilherme Cruz, who first brought this strange fight to our attention. “Angelo went on and asked for a ‘time out.’ Silva and [the referee] didn’t understand what he was asking for, but Angelo decided to quit. The door was locked, so his only way out was jumping off the fence and leaving the arena.”

And, he did. Now, we didn’t see the entire match and Cruz has more description of what happened before Angelo decided to hit splitsville, but it doesn’t seem as if the quitting fighter was upset about some supposed unrecognized fouls on the part of his opponent or anything like that.

Angelo simply broke free from the clinch, tried to call a time out by making the sign with his hands that is universally recognized in sports where participants are actually allowed to call time outs, tried to open up the cage, and when that failed, he climbed the chain-link and then walked out of the arena. As Angelo did that, boos cascaded down on him from the confused crowd.

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Highlight Reel of the Day: The Top 10 Submissions in UFC History [VIDEO]


(Props: BeautyofMMA. Check it out before the UFC inevitably shuts down their YouTube channel.)

Any top 10 ranking of anything in MMA is bound to be frustratingly subjective. And so it goes with Beauty of MMA‘s well-edited (but sort of oddly-curated) video list of the Top 10 submissions in UFC history.

For me, Anderson Silva’s triangle choke of Chael Sonnen, Frank Mir’s kneebar of Brock Lesnar, Jon Jones’s guillotine choke of Lyoto Machida, Mir’s bone-snapping armbar of Tim Sylvia, and BJ Penn’s gory rear-naked-choke of Joe Stevenson would all be first-ballot selections. They’re all missing here…and yet Dustin Hazelett earns two spots on this countdown. (Luckily, Frank Mir is given his due in the #1 spot. If you’re impatient, all ten fights are listed in the ‘About’ section of the video’s YouTube page.)

What I’m saying is, don’t look at this video list as a definitive take on UFC history — they’re just ten entertaining submissions that will help you pass the time at work on a dull Monday morning. After the jump: Beauty of MMA’s take on the UFC’s top 10 knockouts. At least Anderson is on this one…

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Diego Sanchez Has Been Going Through Some Times, Brother [VIDEO]


(“If I could tell that young Diego Sanchez anything…anything…it wouldn’t matter because he wouldn’t have listened anyway.” Props: YouTube.com/UFC)

Thanks to his 2009 beating at the hands of BJ Penn and a shaky 2-2 stint at welterweight, UFC fan-favorite Diego Sanchez has lost a great deal of the “perennial contender” aura that he’d held during his early ascension. So is The Nightmare Dream still relevant in the year 2013? The jury is still out on that question: Sanchez made his return to lightweight earlier this year in Japan, missed weight by three pounds, then barely snuck off with a split-decision win against Takanori Gomi.

Still, Sanchez has a massive opportunity to redeem himself next month at UFC 166 when he faces former Strikeforce champ/UFC lightweight title contender Gilbert Melendez. In this new profile video, Sanchez explains how some poor personal decisions left his MMA skills fading and his bank account drained, leading to some rough times in his career. Now, he’s reunited with Greg Jackson, focused and humble, and has a wife and son to fight for. It’s the set-up to a Cinderella story. Can he scrap his way to a happy ending?

Related:
- Mark Coleman Has Been Going Through Some Times, Brother
- Ian McCall Has Been Going Through Some Rough Times, You Guys [VIDEO]

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Friday Link Dump: Football Player Ejected for Nasty Uppercut, Epic UFC 168 Video Trailer, Mayweather Sets PPV Records + More


(Must-watch: “MMA Pay: Leverage & Power,” by CAINtheBULL)

Today’s Installment of “Football Players Using MMA Techniques”: Clemson Player Ejected for Devastating Lead Uppercut (BleacherReport)

EPIC video trailer for UFC 168: Weidman vs. Silva 2, by the legendary NickTheFace (CagePotatoMMA Tumblr)

Tomato Can Blues: The True Story of the Michigan MMA Fighter Who Faked His Own Death (New York Times)

Following Chael Sonnen’s Rihanna Comments, Dana White Says ‘He’s Got to Knock That S**t Off’ (MMAFighting)

Golden Boy: Mayweather vs. Canelo PPV Sets Records With Reported 2.2 Million Buys, $150 Million in Revenue (MMAMania)

Angels of Anarchy – Jade Bryce (BabesofMMA)

Anthony Perosh Takes on Ryan Bader at December’s UFC Fight Night 33 in Australia (MMAJunkie)

Spoil TUF and the UFC Will Sue You for Five Million Dollars (Fightlinker)

Get Down And Stay Down: MMA Style (Break)

Interview: Andy Samberg Fires Up ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ (MadeMan)

20 Job Search Hacks That Will Get You Hired (Complex)

Russell Wilson: The Quarterback That Connects (MensFitness)

Insane Russian Flattens Nails With Bare Hands (EgoTV)

The 33 Most Influential Events Of The Last 10 Years: A Summary For Average Joes (DoubleViking)

Supercut: Before They Were Famous (ScreenJunkies)

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VIDEO: Omo-Peruvian-Necktwister Inventor Coty Shannon Hits a Sideways-Peruvian-Gogo-Bowtie in Second MMA Fight


(Props: NemesisFighting. Fight starts at the 1:03 mark)

In the midst of our eJizzing about Coty Shannon’s absurd omoplata-choke from his amateur debut last June, we completely overlooked the fact that the budding bantamweight star landed an equally mind-boggling submission in his most recent fight. Nemesis Fighting Alliance sent us this clip of Shannon’s win over Justin Jovanovic, which took place at NFA: Night of Fire on April 27th of this year.

The lanky grappler doesn’t look too graceful on his feet — a woman in the crowd laughs at the 1:23 mark, possibly at Coty’s footwork — but once he drags Jovanonic to the mat, it’s on, son. Shannon takes Jovanovic’s back, snakes his arms around Jovanovic’s head and under one arm, tosses his shin up on Jovanovic’s neck and squeezes out a tap immediately. So it’s sort of like a Peruvian Necktie, except with a gogoplata twist. Or something. I feel like Eddie Bravo would have a name for this move. “Oh yeah, brah, that’s West Coast Poison Control, all my students know that one [*exhales a cloud of smoke*].” Anyway, it’s awesome and you should all watch it.

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Sad Video of the Day: ‘The Truth Behind Evan Tanner’s Death’


(Props: Bobby Razak)

Never take for granted anything in life. Never underestimate the surroundings you’re in, be it the city, the mountains, the desert. Once you do, that’s when it comes to say hello to you.” — Charles Lucas, Supervising Deputy Coroner of Imperial County

In advance of a feature-length film about Evan Tanner called 1, MMA filmmaker Bobby Razak has released a 20-minute documentary about the former UFC middleweight champion’s tragic 2008 death from heat exposure, which occurred during a doomed solo adventure in the desert near Palo Verde, California. Through interviews with the coroners and rescue personnel who were directly involved with the case, “The Truth Behind Evan Tanner’s Death” describes the brutal circumstances surrounding Tanner’s last days, and what might have saved his life. It also clears up the theories that the death was a suicide (as some scholars have suggested) or that the famously-troubled Tanner had relapsed on alcohol. And contrary to initial reports, Tanner’s death apparently had nothing to do with his motorcycle running out of gas.

Watching this documentary five years after Tanner’s passing is like ripping open an old wound. Some of it is genuinely hard to watch, and credit goes to Bobby Razak for his ability to take viewers into the hostile environment that killed Tanner, and convey his mounting desperation. If you’d like to donate some cash to help Razak complete the full-length movie, visit the Evan Tanner Film Indiegogo page.

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Classic Fight: Frank Mir vs. Brock Lesnar at UFC 81 [VIDEO]


(Match starts at the 10:48 mark. Props: YouTube.com/UFC)

To hype up Frank Mir‘s return to the Octagon at UFC 164 this coming Saturday, the UFC has released one of Frank’s career highlights — his first-round submission victory against pro-wrestling star Brock Lesnar at UFC 81, back in February 2008. Lesnar had first dipped his toes into the MMA pool the previous June, when he swallowed up Min Soo Kim at Dynamite!! USA in Los Angeles. That was enough to earn him an invitation to the UFC, but his debut fight would not be an easy one.

Lesnar wasted absolutely no time in dumping Mir on his back and firing some nasty shots from above. Then, referee Steve Mazzagatti makes a rather controversial choice, halting the action after Lesnar lands some punches to the back of Mir’s head. Theoretically, it’s the right call to make; Lesnar clearly lands at least four rabbit-punches at the video’s 11:08-11:12 mark. But how many times have you actually seen a UFC referee enforce that rule so quickly, without previous warnings? The Mazz deducts a point from Lesnar and re-starts the action with the fighters in a standing position. It’s a lucky break for Mir, who gets a moment to clear the cobwebs.

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