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The Greatest Fights in MMA History Tournament: And the Winner Is…

Was there ever any doubt?

After four ferocious rounds of voting, we are pleased to announce that Don Frye vs. Yoshihiro Takayama (PRIDE 21, 6/23/02) has earned the title of Greatest Fight in MMA History! Frye vs. Takayama whipped Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua 1 in the tournament finals, taking a full 68% of the vote. Along the way, the classic brawl beat out Fedor Emelianenko vs. Mirko Cro Cop, Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Royce Gracie 1, and Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen 1 — not an easy path through the bracket, but Frye/Takayama made it look easy.

In honor of this momentous occasion, check out the Don Frye vs. Yoshihiro Takayama fight video above and the Don Frye quote-reel below. Thanks to everybody who voted, and if you have any ideas for future bracket features on CagePotato, let us know in the comments section!


The Greatest Fights in MMA History Tournament: Vote Now in the Finals!

It all comes down to this. The semifinal round of our Greatest Fights in MMA History Tournament is in the books, and two finalists have emerged after a pair of close battles…

- Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua 1 defeated Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar 1, with 55.6% of the vote. And so, a recent epic replaces an older one in the pantheon of all-time great MMA fights. Had to happen eventually.

- Don Frye vs. Yoshihiro Takayama defeated Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen 1, with 52.8% of the vote. I’m surprised it was this close. Kudos to Silva vs. Sonnen 1 for making it competitive, and for their scrappy underdog run in this tournament overall.

So which fight deserves to call itself The Greatest Fight in MMA History — Henderson vs. Rua 1 or Frye vs. Takayama? Vote now, and come back on Wednesday when we reveal the winner!


The Greatest Fights in MMA History Tournament: Vote Now in the Semifinals!

The quarterfinal round of our Greatest Fights in MMA History Tournament has come to an end, and the Elite Eight has been carved down to a Final Four. Before you vote in the semifinals, here are the results from Round 2:

- Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar 1 defeated Wanderlei Silva vs. Quinton Jackson 2, with 69.4% of the vote. It’s no surprise to see the tourney’s #1 seed make the semis.

- Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua 1 defeated Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson, with 64.9% of the vote. To quote Simon Cowell, America got it right this time.

- Don Frye vs. Yoshihiro Takayama defeated Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Royce Gracie 1, with 62.2% of the vote. I guess a balls-out one-round hockey-fight is always going to beat a 90-minute war of attrition. Damn kids today and their short attention spans. (But yeah, I voted for Frye/Takayama too.)

- Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen 1 defeated Matt Hughes vs. Frank Trigg 2, with 73.3% of the vote. This has to be the greatest upset in the tournament so far. I always thought of Silva/Sonnen 1 as a dark horse in this bracket, yet it blows out another all-time great in the quarterfinals after sneaking by Diaz/Gomi in the round-of-16? Do you believe in miracles?

Vote now, and be sure to come back on Friday when we reveal the two finalists!


The Greatest Fights in MMA History Tournament: Vote Now in the Quarterfinals!

Thanks to everybody who voted in the opening round of our Greatest Fights in MMA History Tournament! The original field of 16 classic fights has now been chopped down to eight. Before you vote in the quarterfinals, here are the results from Round 1:

- Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar 1 defeated Diego Sanchez vs. Clay Guida, with 78.7% of the vote. This was the biggest blowout of the opening round.
- Wanderlei Silva vs. Quinton Jackson 2 defeated Leonard Garcia vs. Chan Sung Jung 1, with 55.6% of the vote

- Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua 1 defeated Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva vs. Mark Hunt, with 51.9% of the vote
- Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson defeated Michael Chandler vs. Eddie Alvarez 1, with 75.2% of the vote

- Don Frye vs. Yoshihiro Takayama defeated Fedor Emelianenko vs. Mirko Cro Cop, with 53.3% of the vote
- Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Royce Gracie 1 defeated Frank Shamrock vs. Tito Ortiz, with 74.8% of the vote

- Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen 1 defeated Nick Diaz vs. Takanori Gomi, with 50.8% of the vote. This was the closest match of the opening round.
- Matt Hughes vs. Frank Trigg 2 defeated Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Bob Sapp, with 64.4% of the vote

And those are your eight quarter-finalists, ladies and gentlemen. Vote now, and come back on Monday for the results and the beginning of the quarterfinal round!

ONE FINAL, IMPORTANT NOTE: Some of you were under the impression that your votes were being improperly recorded because the right-arrow flashed every time you placed a vote, even when you were voting for the matchup on the left side. We apologize for the confusion; those arrows were meant to direct you to the next matchup, not indicate who you voted for. (I know, it threw me off at first too.) But believe me, all your votes were recorded properly, and Diaz vs. Gomi lost fair and square. Also, yeah, that green VOTE NOW button at the bottom of the bracket does nothing. Sorry about that.


CagePotato’s ‘Greatest Fights in MMA History’ Tournament: Opening Round Voting Starts Now!

(And congrats to Bigfoot Silva vs. Mark Hunt for winning the play-in round by a landslide! Full results from that vote are here, if you’re curious. / Photo via Getty)

CagePotato is pleased to announce our “Greatest Fights in MMA History” tournament, where your votes will decide the #1 greatest MMA fight of all time, once and for all. Voting begins today with the round of 16, featuring a diverse selection of classic bouts from the last 15 years…


Here’s how it works: Select any of the matchups on the main bracket page to begin voting. A registration page will pop up, allowing you to login through Facebook (recommended) or create a new account. Go through each matchup and click on the fight you’d like to see advance to the next round. We’ve included video links and results for every fight on the matchup pages, so you can become re-acquainted before making your decision. Voting for the opening round ends Tuesday night at 11:59 p.m. ET. Visit our How-To page for the full voting schedule, which will run through April 22nd. Any questions or technical issues, please drop ‘em in the comments section on the bracket page.

The Greatest Fights in MMA History nominees are as follows…


On This Day in MMA History: The UFC Holds Its First (and Last) Ever 16-Man Tournament at UFC 2: No Way Out

On This Day in MMA History” pays tribute to some of the more bizarre and infamous moments from MMA’s past. Twenty years ago today (!), on March 11th, 1994, the UFC held the only 16-man, one-night tournament in promotional history at UFC 2. It was…epic to say the least. 

No weight classes, no time limits, no judges, and up to four fights in one night. Yes, the early nineties truly were a time when men were men. That was at least according to the rules of UFC 2: No Way Out, which somehow managed to up the ante from the promotion’s first event the previous November.

Taking place on the evening of March 11th, 1994, UFC 2 pitted previous tournament contestants Patrick Smith, Jason Delucia, and UFC 1 winner Royce Gracie against a gaggle of unknowns in what would become the promotion’s first and last ever sixteen-man, one-night tournament.

As expected, the tournament served as little more than an informercial for the superiority of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu once again. In just over 9 minutes of total fight time, Gracie dominated Minoki Ichihara, Delucia, Remco Pardoel, and Morris to claim his second straight tournament victory. Being that the UFC has long since abandoned the one-night tournament format due to safety concerns, Royce’s four victories at UFC 2 stands as a record that will likely never be broken in the UFC.

But aside from providing us with the biggest tournament in promotional history, we also have UFC 2 to thank for:


Strikeforce to Crown 135-Pound Women’s Champ Next Month; Contender Tournaments to Begin in April

(Takayo Hashi vs. Chisa Yonezawa @ GCM Valkyrie 2, 4/25/09)

After putting on the biggest women’s fight in history last year, Strikeforce is preparing to build women’s MMA even larger. According to a recent press release, Sarah Kaufman and Takayo Hashi will battle for the promotion’s first women’s 135-pound title at a Strikeforce Challengers event scheduled for February 26th at the Civic Auditorium in San Jose; tickets are on sale right now.

With a perfect record of 10-0 (eight via TKO), the hard-hitting Kaufman is one of the world’s best female fighters, and has been gaining recognition in Strikeforce thanks to the dominant decision victories she scored over Miesha Tate and Shayna Baszler in 2009. Takayo Hashi (12-1; 4 wins by submission, 8 by unanimous decision) has competed primarily in Japan, where she was one of the standouts of the SmackGirl promotion. Hashi most recently choked out Chisa Yonezawa at a GCM Valkyrie event last April, and avenged her only loss to Hitomi Akano in 2007. She’s known primarily as a grappler, while Kaufman is known primarily for beating the crap out of grapplers.


The 10 Greatest One-Night Tournament Performances in MMA History

#10: Kaitlin Young @ HOOKnSHOOT 2007 Women’s Grand Prix (11/24/07)

Defeated: Suzi Smith (KO, 0:22 of R1); Miesha Tate (KO, 0:30 of R1, shown above); Patti Lee (KO, 0:53 of R1)

Though HOOKnSHOOT has been putting on high-caliber women’s MMA bouts since 2001, the organization’s most infamous moment was the eight-woman tournament it held last year, where an unknown Minnesotan named Kaitlin axe-murdered her way through three opponents in less than two minutes of combined fight time. Young would go on to face Gina Carano in the first women’s MMA match to be broadcast on network TV, at EliteXC: Primetime in May of this year. Even if she never wraps her wrists again, Young’s MMA legacy is secured.

#9: Gegard Mousasi @ DREAM Middleweight Grand Prix Final (9/23/08)

Defeated: Melvin Manhoef (sub. due to triangle choke, 1:28 of R1, shown above); Ronaldo Souza (KO, 2:15 of R1)

Unless you caught him in his PRIDE Bushido appearances in 2006, you probably had no idea who Gegard Mousasi was when he entered DREAM’s middleweight tournament earlier this year. But after choking out the highly-regarded Denis Kang in the opening round in April, and beating Dong Sik Yoon to a decision in June, he proved that he had a right to be there. And after the finals in September, he proved that he was one of the most talented middleweights in the world.

The event was almost anti-climactic in the way that it played out. These were not epic battles — this was Gegard Mousasi simply outclassing Melvin Manhoef (who had famously massacred Kazushi Sakuraba in the quarterfinals), then upkicking the daylights out of “Jacare” (who had torn through Zelg Galesic and Jason Miller in the tourney’s previous rounds). When the dust settled, Mousasi had picked up his 10th and 11th straight victories as well as a DREAM championship belt — a perfect ending to a breakout year.

#8: Don Frye @ UFC Ultimate Ultimate 1996 (12/7/96)

Defeated: Gary Goodride (sub. due to fatigue, 11:19); Mark Hall (sub. due to achilles hold, 0:20); Tank Abbott (sub. due to rear-naked choke, 1:23, shown above)

You have to remember — beating Gary Goodridge and Tank Abbott used to mean something. Both men were responsible for some of the most gruesome finishes in the UFC’s early history, from Goodridge’s crucifix/elbow-smashing of Paul Herrera to Tank’s starching/mocking of Jon Matua. The Ultimate Ultimate ’96 was just about the toughest eight-man field that the UFC could throw together in those days — it also included Ken Shamrock, Kimo Leopoldo, and Paul Varelans — and Don Frye notched his second UFC tournament win by cruising through it.

Frye pushed Goodridge past the breaking point in the quarterfinals (back before there were those cushy one-minute breaks between rounds that our spoiled fighters have today). After eleven-and-a-half minutes of back-and-forth brawling, Big Daddy found himself underneath Big Mustache and decided to tap before he suffered permanent damage. Frye’s semi-final match was a breeze — he’d already defeated tournament alternate Mark Hall twice in his career, and the third time was no different — but the Frye/Abbott final was a true superfight. Tank had just finished nelmarking Steve Nelmark in the semis, and his intimidation quotient was at an all-time high. Though the Predator got clocked with some big punches early, he was able to capitalize on a Tank Abbott slip, quickly sinking in a rear-naked choke. Don Frye — the toughest S.O.B. alive — collected his big-ass check and strolled out, never to fight in the UFC again.