Oh PRIDE, how I miss your crazy intros, soccer kicks, and most importantly Grand Prix. Ten years ago to the date, PRIDE FC held the first stage of its biannual Middleweight (205lbs) Grand Prix tournament. Showcasing stars such as Wanderlei Silva, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Japanese legend Kazushi Sakuraba, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort, Alistair Overeem and a young up-and-coming Mauricio “Shogun”Rua it was deemed at the time the greatest collection of MMA talent at the time. Let’s take a look back at the opening round of what turned out to be a legendary tournament.
Nakamura Versus Monster
The opening bout of this event was between decorated wrestler and former UFC heavyweight champion Kevin Randleman going up against Judo black belt Kazuhiro Nakamura.
The first round was a back and forth battle rife with high quality grappling on display, highlighted by Nakamura landing a flush flying knee to Randleman’s face only to be caught in midair and slammed to the mat.
In the second round, Nakamura took control against a fading Randleman, eventually landing a beautiful hip toss. Once on the ground, the judoka advanced position with ease putting Randleman in a crucifix position eating unanswered punches and elbows to the face to the point that commentator Mauro Ranallo thought that he was out.
The final stanza started out as the second had finished, with Nakamura landing a sneaky inside leg trip to his exhausted opponent. Randleman dug deep and found enough energy to sweep out of Nakamura’s mount, but was left with no gas to do much else. The judges saw the fight in Nakamura’s favor, sending him to the next round of the GP.
A Jiu-Jitsu Lover’s Dream
The second fight of the night was between elite Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu players Dean Lister and Brazilian Top Team’s Ricardo Arona.
The opening round was essentially a stand-up affair, with Arona having a significant advantage eventually dropping Lister with a blistering right hand. While on the ground, Arona passed guard while Lister attempted submissions from his back. After a referee stand up, it was more of the same except this time Lister got a takedown and attempted a leg lock. The rest of the round was full of scrambles and more submission attempts from both men.
Round two and three pretty much echoed the first, being a back and forth display of top-notch Jiu-Jitsu with great scrambles and submission attempts from both. Arona was awarded the win for having the better striking and a slight edge in the grappling department.
The King Couldn’t Derail The Train
Igor “The Ukraine Freight Train” Vovchanchyn took on the King of Pancrase Yuki Kondo in the third fight of the night. While Kondo put up a valiant effort with flashes of great grappling, even having Vovchanchyn in a precarious position with a toe hold in the first-round, the discrepancy in strength and striking power in favor of the Ukrainian allowed him to control the vast majority of the fight. Top control, ground and pound, and throwing heavy leather lead the judges giving Vovchanchyn the unanimous nod.
The Demolition Man Demolishes The Phenom
Before there was the 250+lbs “The Reem”, there was the younger, slimmer “Demolition Man” version of Alistair Overeem that took on Vitor Belfort, who was entered into the tournament as a UFC representative. The current UFC veterans went toe to toe, both on the feet and on the ground before Overeem hurt Belfort with a knee which sent him bouncing off the roles then to the ground. After surviving some ground strikes, Vitor managed to scramble to his feet but left his neck exposed to which Overeem seized with a perfect guillotine. “The Demolition Man” fell back into guard eliciting the tap from Belfort with just a minute left in the first.
Henderson Fights Noguiera Again For The First Time…Wait What??
What happens when you pit two great fighters with excellent yet starkly different combinations of grappling and striking? In this case, we got a quick back and forth war between future legends in Dan Henderson and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (not Rodrigo whom Henderson fought twice before). Both men came out throwing heat and they didn’t let up once the fight hit the ground. Henderson attempted to use his top position to land punches, but Nogueira’s constant guard work stifled his opponent. Midway through the round Henderson became noticeably fatigued and once Nogueira got him to the ground again the end was near. “Minotoro” fell into side control and instantly went to work on Henderson’s left arm. Starting off with a kimura, Nogueira stepped over and switched his hips transitioning into a slick arm bar that Henderson could not fight off.
“Like A Lamb To The Slaughter”
What happens when you put a Mixed Martial Arts novice into a tournament with the greatest collection of 205lbs talent and his first fight is against Kazushi Sakuraba? You get a 38 second KO (as predicted by the New York Bad Ass Phil Baroni who was guest commentating that night). Sik, came out with confidence walking Sakuraba down, but once he felt the first punch he folded like a lawn chair. Talk about being thrown to the wolves. Sik would go on to have a decent career with an 8-8 record and some decent wins.
The Birth Of A Legend
This was the fight that let the world know that Mauricio “Shogun” Rua was for real. While “Rampage” initiated the fight, “Shogun” quickly took control landing solid knees from the Thai clinch, one of which broke one of Jackson’s ribs (at one point leading him to tell his corner of the fact while being clinched by Rua). From that point, Rua unloaded on his opponent, finishing him with a vicious barrage of knees, uppercuts, and soccer kicks. This was the first step in the run that would eventually give “Shogun” the cornerstone of his legacy.
The main event of Total Elimination was a rematch between Wanderlei Silva and Olympic judo gold medal winner Hidehiko Yoshida. In the first round, Yoshida stood toe to toe with a prime Wanderlei and lived to tell the tale. He would eventually take “The Axe Murderer” down usinga sneaky trip and spent the majority of the final half of the round in top position.
In the next two rounds, Silva took control battering Yoshida with heavy ground and pound, stiff punches, and wicked leg kicks. It was clear that Yoshida had given all he had in the first, but in the waning moments of the fight he showed signs of life threatening Wanderlei with a leg lock and having him in a guillotine choke as the bell sounded. Two of the three judges awarded the defending champion Silva the victory.
*Live Updates* UFC Winnipeg Official Results
The UFC returns to Canada for the final Fight Night card of 2017. In the cold of Winnipeg, Manitoba, the UFC will host eleven of the originally twelve scheduled fights. Unfortunately, Tim Elliot will not fight in the north country. His scheduled opponent, Pietro Menga, a newcomer to the promotions roster, failed to make weight after taking the bout with just over a weeks notice.
An exciting main card will be capped off with a potential contender eliminator bout featuring, Robbie Lawler and Rafael Dos Anjos. The former champions (Lawler at welterweight, Dos Anjos at lightweight) both put together impressive win streaks which dispatched top contenders in their respective divisions. Elsewhere on the main card, Santiago Ponzinibbio takes on the outspoken Mike Perry.
The card begins on UFC Fight Pass at 4:30/1:30 ETPT.
UFC Winnipeg Official Results:
MAIN CARD – FOX – 8PM/5PM ETPT
- #2 Robbie Lawler (28-11) vs. #4 Rafael Dos Anjos (27-9) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Rafael Dos Anjos def. Robbie Lawler via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
- #3 Ricardo Lamas (18-5) vs. Josh Emmett (12-1) – Catchweight bout (148.5 lbs)
- Result: Josh Emmett def. Ricardo Lamas via KO (punch) 4:33 round 1
- #10 Santiago Ponzinibbio (25-3) vs. Mike Perry (11-1) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Santiago Ponzinibbio def. Mike Perry via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- #3 Glover Teixeira (26-6) vs. #7 Misha Cirkunov (13-3) – Light Heavyweight bout
- Result: Glover Teixeira def. Misha Cirkunov via TKO (punches) 2:45 round 1
PRELIMINARY CARD – FS1 – 5PM/2PM ETPT
- #14 Jared Cannonier (10-2) vs #15 Jan Blachowicz (20-7) – Light Heavyweight bout
- Result: Jan Blachowicz def. Jared Cannonier via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Julian Marquez (6-1) vs. Darren Stewart (7-2) – Middleweight bout
- Result: Julian Marquez def. Darren Stewart via submission (standing guillotine) 2:42 round 2
- Chad Laprise (13-2) vs. Galore Bofando (5-2) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Chad Laprise def. Galore Bofando via TKO (punches) 4:10 round 1
- Nordine Taleb (13-4) vs Danny Roberts (14-2) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Nordine Taleb def. Danny Roberts via KO (head kick and punch) :59 round 1
- John Makdessi (14-6) vs Abel Trujillo (15-7) – Lightweight bout
- Result: John Makdessi def. Abel Trujillo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Alessio Di Chirico (10-2) vs Oluwale Bamgbose (6-3) – Middleweight bout
- Result: Alessio Di Chirico def. Oluwale Bamgbose via KO (knee) 2:14 round 2
EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD – UFC FIGHT PASS – 4:30PM/1:30PM ETPT
- Jordan Mein (29-12) vs. Erick Silva (19-8) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Jordan Mein def. Erick Silva via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-26)
Gilbert Burns vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier Added to UFC Orlando
The UFC has now added more bouts to the front end of their 2018 schedule. Gilbert Burns (13-2, 5-2 UFC) will face Olivier Aubin-Mercier (10-2, 6-2 UFC) in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.
— UFC Canada (@UFC_CA) December 14, 2017
Alongside a few other high-profile fight announcements, is the addition to the UFC Orlando, Florida card. The two lightweights will join Jake Collier and Marcin Prachnio, as the second fight set for the event.
It has been a while since the UFC hosted an event in the state of Florida. Last seen by the Floridians was UFC on Fox: Texeira vs. Evans, on April 16, 2016 in Tampa Bay. The card was a success, despite the cancellation of its planned main event between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Drawing a gate of $1.05 million and 2.13 million viewers.
Gilbert Burns signed with the UFC after accumulating an undefeated record of 8-0. His first loss came in his home country of Brazil, as Rashid Magomedov defeated him via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Henderson 3, in November of 2015.
In his most recent bout, Burns defeated Jason Saggo by KO with five seconds remaining in the second round at UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Branch.
Aubin-Mercier will come into the contest as a winner in his last three bouts. The Canadian fighter trains out of the Tristar gym, alongside legends such as Georges St. Pierre and head coach, Firas Zahabi.
In 2011, Aubin-Mercier was chosen to compete on The Ultimate Fighter: Nations. Competing in the welterweight bracket, he became a finalist by defeating both, Jake Mathews (unanimous decision) and Richard Walsh (rear naked choke). In the finale, Aubin-Mercier lost to Chad Laprise by split decision.
UFC Orlando will take place at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.
Eryk Anders vs. Lyoto Machida Officially Headlines UFC Belem
Eryk Anders vs. Lyoto Machida is officially booked to headline UFC Belem in Brazil.
Following his unanimous decision victory over Markus Perez on last weekends, UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs. Swanson, undefeated middleweight, Eryk Anders, called for the match-up with former UFC light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida. The UFC heard, and obliged.
First reported by The MMA Kings (@mma_kings.)
EXCLUSIVE: My sources tell me that Eryk Anders (@erykanders) has gotten his wish. He'll headline UFC Fight Night: Belem against Lyoto Machida (@lyotomachidafw) in Brazil. Ask and you shall receive. #UFC pic.twitter.com/qX62A9qH6k
— The MMA Kings (Nolan King) (@mma_kings) December 14, 2017
Anders holds a 2-0 undefeated record in the UFC. The Alabama native made his promotional debut against Rafael Nata in July of this year. A bout he took on short notice, replacing Alessio di Chirico whom withdrew from the fight due to a neck injury. Anders defeated Natal by knockout in the first round that night at UFC Long Island.
Prior to his indoctrination to MMA, the undefeated middleweight played for the University of Alabama football team, between 2006-2009.
Machida recently returned to the UFC roster after an 18-month suspension handed down by USADA, stemming from a failed out-of-competition test leading up to his April 2016 contest against Dan Henderson.
In his return to the octagon, Machida faced Derek Brunson in the main-event of the UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Machida, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. “The Dragon” lost the bout via first round KO.
UFC Belem, Brazil is scheduled for February 3rd, 2018, at the Mangueirinho Arena. The card will also feature the flyweight debut for Valentina Shevchenko as she faces Priscila Cachoeira.
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