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Tag: PRIDE

On This Day in MMA History – Kazushi Sakuraba Born Forty Four Years Ago


(Baby Saku – Already cooler than you or I at age 1)

If the sport of MMA continues to grow in popularity, decades from now there will be legions of fans raised only on the UFC who will have no idea who Kazushi Sakuraba was and is. I’ll feel sorry for them.

To date, Sakuraba is the greatest and perhaps bravest fighter to have come out of Japan in the sport’s history. He became a super star while fighting for the defunct Pride Fighting Championships.

Sakuraba’s prime warring days took place before an appropriate weight class came into existence for him and as a result, the natural welterweight fought light heavyweights and heavy weights. Usually, he beat them.

Sakuraba would, and sadly still does, fight anyone, anywhere and always does so in exciting and unrelenting fashion. He is a jester-samurai if there ever was one, quick with a Kimura shoulder lock or smile. Sakuraba combines excellent wrestling with dynamic submissions and effective stand up striking.

In recent years, Sakuraba has fought on past his health and has taken brutal beatings. Though they make us cringe, they do not and cannot possibly diminish this champion’s legacy.

Win, lose or draw, from lightweight to heavyweight, from Gracies and Wanderlei to “Rampage”, Belfort, Nogueira and “Cro Cop”, no one that has ever gone into the ring or cage with Kazushi Sakuraba has left it without respecting him. Enjoy the highlight videos of Sakuraba and always remember, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

More highlight videos after the jump.

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Classic Fight: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Fabricio Werdum Clash for the First Time at ‘Pride: Critical Countdown Absolute’

These days, UFC on FUEL cards are like that son in the family who shows up to Thanksgiving dinner bragging about the “big shot writing job” he got for a “legitimate mixed martial arts publication,” which is to say that no one ever really notices them or pays them any mind until they are forced to deal with them face-to-face. For instance, did any of you realize that UFC on FUEL 10 goes down this Saturday and features not only the finals of TUF: Brazil 2 but a rematch between coaches Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Fabricio Werdum? Neither did I, and being aware of upcoming MMA events is, like, half of what my big shot writing job entails.

Anyway, in an effort to stir up some last-minute interest for the event, the fine folks over at FUEL TV have made the first meeting between Big Nog and “Vai Cavalo” available for viewing. The fight originally went down at Pride: Critical Countdown Absolute Fun Time Bang-Bang! (part of that title might be stolen from the Japanese laundromat across the street from me) and constituted the quarterfinals of the 2006 Pride Openweight Grand Prix. In a hard fought battle between two of the sport’s best grapplers, Nogueira emerged victorious by way of unanimous decision.

However, Werdum’s career resurgence in the UFC has convinced oddsmakers that Big Nog will enjoy no such victory when the two clash this weekend. Will Nogueira prove us all wrong once again? Tune in this Saturday starting at 8 p.m. EST to find out.

-J. Jones

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[VIDEO] Mirko Cro Cop Gets His Cro Cop On, Wins 2013 K-1 Grand Prix

Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic has finally achieved something he never had up this point in his legendary fight career and has become a world champion. Cro Cop defeated Ismael Londt yesterday in the finals of the 2013 K-1 Grand Prix, held in Zagreb, Croatia.

Prior to the finals, Cro Cop also decisioned Pavel Zhuravlev and Jarrell Miller – a win with some controversy because many observers felt Miller deserved to get the nod from the judges. There was not controversy in the finals, however, as Cro Cop scored a knockdown via left high kick (!) in the second round.

The thirty eight year-old kick boxer, former special forces member and member of Croatia’s Parliament, first fought in K-1 seventeen years ago. He got close but never managed to become champion of the organization’s vaunted Grand Prix before last night. Cro Cop moved on to fight in MMA in Pride and once more got close, twice, to becoming a world champion but on two occasions lost in world title fights – once to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in an interim title bout and once to Fedor Emelianenko.

After the UFC purchased Pride, Cro Cop would go on to fight ten times in the American organization, compiling a 4-6 record and leaving after three straight losses. He has since fought and won once more in MMA competition, this past New Year’s Eve against Shinichi Suzukawa in Japan.

Cro Cop decided to make another run in kickboxing and last night’s home-town win vindicates his decision. Watch his full finals bout in the above video and then highlights of some of our favorite Cro Cop moments after the jump.

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And Now He’s Retired: Mark Coleman, The Godfather of Ground & Pound, Officially Hangs Up His Gloves

Mark Coleman groping MMA photos funny
(Insert whatever version of a “Ground-n-Pound” sex joke you see fit here.)

When UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman stormed onto the mixed martial arts scene in 1996 following a storied college wrestling career and top 10 placing in the 1992 Summer Olympics, he brought with him an economic, workman style of fighting that would lead him to championship glory on his first night out. The event was the aptly-named UFC 10: The Tournament, and after beating the rights to the nickname “The Hammer” out of Moti Horenstein in his very first fight (an agreement that Moti never honored), Coleman would take out veteran Gary Goodridge and UFC 8 tournament winner Don Frye in back-to-back fights to claim the tournament championship. Coleman would repeat this feat in even more dominant fashion at UFC 11 and would unify the Heavyweight and Superfight Championships at UFC 12 the following year by choking out fellow scary wrestler Dan Severn. With the victory, Coleman’s legacy as one of the sport’s pioneers was all but written in the history books.

But Coleman didn’t stop there. Over the next 14 years, Coleman would not only popularize but would be dubbed “The Godfather” of the wrestling-based, “ground-n-pound” attack that would lead him to a PRIDE openweight championship in 2000 and a list of victories over the likes of Mauricio Rua, Stephan Bonnar, and Igor Vovchanchyn to name a few. But as all good things must come to an end, so must the legendary career of the now 48 year-old Coleman. Although he hasn’t fought since his 2010 submission loss to Randy Couture — a bout that would mark the first Hall of Famer vs. Hall of Famer fight in UFC history — Coleman has decided to officially announce his retirement from the sport as of yesterday. “The Hammer,” who is scheduled to undergo hip surgery next week (because that’s what old people do, amiright? *self-fives*), posted the following on his Facebook:

Total Hip replacement next Monday. Ouch.

The hammer is done fighting. I know been done. Just looking for some prayers.

i thank everyone who will help me get through this. Have to pay to play sometimes. Only regret is could have worked harder.

Love you all live your dream.

After the jump: A look back at some of Coleman’s greatest moments, as well as one of his worst.

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[VIDEO] Wanderlei Silva Discusses KO Win & Career at UFC on Fuel 8 Post Press Conference


(Video courtesy of the UFC’s Youtube channel)

“I don’t know what happens in Japan, but makes me feel young again.” Wanderlei Silva returned to the scene of his many glorious crimes last night at UFC on Fuel 8, knocking out Brian Stann in the second round of their main event bout.

At the post-event press conference, a proud and happy Wanderlei reflected on his win, his career and looked towards an uncertain future. Wanderlei reigned supreme in the now defunct Japanese Pride Fighting Championships organization for years but had not fought in his adopted professional home since 2006.

“I’m happy to make a good fight. Brian Stann is a tough opponent…this victory is for my fans, who give support to mem” he continued at the post-presser.

“I don’t have words for how happy I am right now. This job is a tough job. After so many years of fighting, every time it is harder to do that.”

Watch and listen to everything else Wanderlei and other UFC on Fuel 8 fighters had to say last night after the action.

- Elias Cepeda

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[VIDEO] Mirko Cro Cop Invents, Plays Brutal New Sport of MMA-Basketball

MMA legend Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic is a man of many skills. Before he was a world class MMA fighter, he was a top kickboxer. Before that, he was a special forces officer in the military of his native Croatia. He also later became an elected member of his country’s parliament.

Filipovic is also no stranger to making ridiculous videos and posting them on the internet. He’s made videos of darkly humorous, (or sometimes just dark) pranks where he’s laughing like a hyena at the end of them. Case in point, the video after the break of him punking the very worthy subject of then Pride television broadcast commentator Mauro Ranallo. There’s also my favorite video with “Cro Cop” refereeing an impromptu boxing match between two aging, drunk men at a backyard cookout, that has unfortunately been taken down from youtube and may be lost to future generations.

Just as he insists is the case with his fight career, however, Filipovic isn’t done with goofy internet videos yet, nation. The above video reveals a basketball hoop installed in his home gym. What “Cro Cop” and his teammates do with that situation is nothing short of awesome.

May we present, Croation MMA-Basketball. There’s dribbling, shooting, pink singlet guy, arm bars, knees and lots of choking. And then “Cro Cop” speaking Croatian at the end in a high-pitched voice, perhaps mocking someone.

Enjoy.

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“The Conversation With Elias Cepeda” Podcast Ep. 1: Renzo Gracie Discusses Bouncing at a Brothel, His War With Sakuraba, And the Meaning of Courage

By Elias Cepeda

Hey ‘Taters. I’ve been working on a new MMA podcast called “The Conversation” over the past few months, and we’re finally ready to debut it. The concept is simple — in depth, retrospective conversations with the most fascinating people in the fight world.

The production is basic and it’s something that I’ll be working to improve over time. What I hope shines through are the incredible stories that the remarkable people we speak with share during these honest and intimate conversations.

For this episode I traveled to New York to visit with everyone’s favorite Gracie, Renzo. In fact, it was just about a week or two before his now famous mugger smackdown tweet-a-thon. In my own head, I like to think that Renzo discussing self-defense and street fights during this podcast recording got his old-school juices flowing again. That, of course, is nonsense.

Renzo is always Renzo. He has deeply held convictions and stories that would make the fictional “World’s Most Interesting Man,” look like a mail room clerk in comparison.

And if you thought you’ve heard all the crazy stories Renzo had to tell before, I guarantee you have not before now. Renzo details a very independent childhood that had him fighting drug dealers on beaches to living in an Amazon brothel, experiencing lots of firsts. He goes on to talk about his pioneering family and a bit about his own time in Pride and the UFC.

He also opens up about the direction his careers have gone, possible regrets, and looking towards the future. If you love fight stories, life philosophy, and laughing your ass off, join us after the jump for this informal conversation with Renzo Gracie. Enjoy, and let me know what you think.

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One FC Changes Adopts ‘Full Pride Rules,’ to Allow Soccer Kicks


(The match up that launched a thousand rematches)

Last Friday we (and the rest of the known cyber MMA world) complained about Singapore MMA promotion One FC botching an otherwise solid event in the Philippines with convoluted rules relating to kicks to the heads of downed opponents. Referees somehow had to give fighters “permission” in the moment to throw kicks to the heads of their fallen opponents.

You might remember that Phil Baroni won his fight with a barrage of punches and kicks to the head of his opponent Rodrigo Ribeiro while Andrei Arlovski was penalized for kicking the head of the dropped Tim Sylvia. When the “Mainiac” could not continue, their fight was ruled a no-contest (GIFS of both fight endings here, full fight videos here).

Sunday night, a message was sent out from the OneFCMMA twitter account, hoping to set things right.

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At Least One of Mark Coleman’s Daughters Isn’t Having Nightmares About Fedor Beating Up Her Dad [VIDEO]

None of us who watched it could ever forget when former UFC and Pride champion Mark Coleman embraced his sobbing daughters in the ring after losing to Fedor Emelianenko in 2006 and reassured them that “daddy was alright.” Turns out, neither have his daughters. But, according to one of them, it wasn’t nearly the terrifying experience that we all assumed it to be.

“It was so fun out there…I don’t regret it at all,” Coleman’s daughter said during an interview for an HDNet Fights segment on her dad, which you can check out above.

Coleman was also interviewed, and teared up when talking about the moment and the criticism that he received for it. The idea that he had in some way traumatized his daughters by bringing them to the fight — then introducing them to the man who beat him up — is still hard for Coleman to swallow. “Being a dad was the most important thing to me in the world,” he said.

We can’t really blame Coleman for trying to do what he thought was best, especially since it doesn’t look like he did it flippantly; he was just shouting out to his daughters in the audience with the mic, and PRIDE officials apparently ushered them into the ring to make for “good” TV. At any rate, it’s nice to see that his daughters are rockstar athletes now, rather than rabid anti-MMA activists.

-Elias Cepeda

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Murilo Bustamante Returns to MMA Action in March, Rematches Dave Menne AFC 2


(Busto vs. Anjo at UFC 25, or, before the UFC’s commentating team knew what an arm-triangle choke was.) 

Former UFC Middleweight Champion Murilo Bustamante will be returning to action for the first time since 2010 on March 31st when he headlines Amazon Forest Combat 2. And if that sentiment alone doesn’t give you a fearection, then get this: the man he will meet across the cage is none other than the same one he took the UFC Middleweight title from, Dave Menne.

Not since Abbott/Ferrozzo II have we been so excited.

One of the founding member of Brazilian Top Team and a twenty year MMA veteran, Bustamante’s grappling accolades are extensive to say the least, including four Brazilian National BJJ Championships, a 1999 Mundials World Championship, and several appearances in the ADCC World Submission Wrestling Championships. After defeating Menne back in January of 2002 at UFC 35 by second round TKO, Bustamante would defend the belt once, submitting Matt Lindland with a guillotine in the third round of their UFC 37 title fight. Financial disputes with the UFC, however, would force Bustamante to vacate the title shortly thereafter and sign with PRIDE FC, where he would go 4-5 against the likes of Dan Henderson, Ikuhisa Minowa, and Quinton Jackson. Bustamante will be looking to erase the memory of his last performance, an abysmal second round TKO due to retirement loss to TUF 7 alumnus Jesse Taylor at Impact FC 2 in July of 2010.

Join us after the jump to hear Bustamante’s thoughts on his upcoming rematch with Menne, as well as his pick for a future opponent that will make the PRIDE fan within you channel Lenne Hardt

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