CagePotato reader Andrew K. sent this to us with the brief message “The newbs deserve to know.” And indeed, they do. Above is part one of a new highlight series featuring the best moments of PRIDE’s early days, mostly soundtracked by obscure video-game music. (It’s amazing how well that works together.) Give it a look and you will witness…
- Gary Goodridge, back when he was still one of the scariest men to ever enter a cage or ring.
- Rickson Gracie armbarring Nobuhiko Takada on two separate occasions.
- Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Carlos Newton, aka The Greatest Grappling Exhibition in MMA History.
After his loss on Saturday night it now seems like Coleman is done, or at least done in the UFC. At the very real risk of eulogizing Coleman’s career too soon, as we did with Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic’s – Christ, doesn’t anyone quit this sport when they should? – we’d like to pay tribute to the monster Coleman used to be by looking back at some of his finest MMA moments.
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, I guess? In actuality, the Spider was quickly becoming the most lethal striker in the business, and had spent the previous two years brutalizing guys like Lee Murray, Jorge Rivera, and Tony Fryklund as the middleweight champion of Cage Rage. So all that stuff the Crippler said about pressing the action against Silva, rough-neckin’ him, throwing him around, blasting him in the face, breaking his jaw, then sending him back to Japan where the competition’s a little easier? Oh my God, player. He might as well have been talking about how he was bringing the karate aspect back into jiu-jitsu — that’s how out of touch with reality he seemed, in retrospect.
Chances are, you’ve watched this clip a hundred times by now, so you know what happens next: Anderson Silva makes his name in the U.S. with one of the most flawless victories in MMA history and earns an immediate title shot against Rich Franklin, while Leben begins his slow drift out of relevance. And these days, all of Silva’s fights look like mismatches.
It was a classic matchup of skill vs. morbid obesity. The comically large son of legendary Brazilian scrapper Rei Zulu, Wagner da Conceicao Martins (aka "Zuluzinho") managed to build up a sizable undefeated record in vale tudo matches before joining PRIDE in 2005, where he mauled sumo wrestler Henry "Sentoryu" Miller in his debut. But things like size, pedigree, and professional record mean very little when you’re fighting Fedor Emelianenko. To the untouchable PRIDE heavyweight champion, Zuluzinho was nothing more than a giant punching bag.
In just 26 seconds, Fedor put ‘Zinho on his ass with an inhumanly fast left hook, abused him on the ground a bit, knocked him back down with a right as soon as the giant got to his feet, then went into beastmode until Zuluzinho tapped from the onslaught. This fight proved once and for all that "big and slow" is not the best combination for beating Fedor. If only Hong-Man Choi and Tim Sylvia got the message in time.
(The Hallman/Hughes story. Could Matt Hughes be getting one more shot at revenge before he retires?)
— Anderson Silva‘s manager Ed Soares has debunked a report by Yahoo! Sports in which he was quoted as saying Silva wanted to give up his middleweight title to compete as a light-heavyweight permanently. As Soares told MMA Weekly: “It’s not true. I never said that to Dana. I have said to Dana that he’d like to fight again at 205 (but not permanently)…he wants the biggest fights possible, whether it’s at 205 or 185.” Silva and Soares still aren’t psyched about an impending rematch with Dan Henderson: "I feel a true number one (middleweight contender) would be if Henderson fought the winner of Nate Marquardt and Damian Maia…we could take another fight at 205 or a catchweight fight (in the meantime).”
(Be sure to click the "HQ" button for higher quality.)
With my girlfriend and dog out of town this weekend, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands. So, I decided to eff around with iMovie and put together the above highlight reel of Kazushi Sakuraba‘s most brutal beatings. (Has there ever been a fighter whose victories were so beautiful and whose defeats were so ugly?) I’m no Genghis Con, and most of the footage was taken from low-quality YouTube clips to begin with, but let me know what you think, and if you have any Sakuraba fans in your life, please pass it along.