I used to be obsessed with MMA. I’d watch every UFC event; re-watch old Pride fights; keep up with all the news. In recent times I’ve fell out of love a bit with the sport, for many reasons really. Mainly the changing of the tide with a lot of my favourite fighters retiring or fading from relevancy, as well as the overall expansion and oversaturation of the UFC. Regardless I still watch a lot of fights from time to time and here is a list of my top 5 favourites.
5) Silva vs Sonnen
After a huge amount of trash talk from Sonnen leading up to this fight, no one really expected him to back it up. Sonnen had really flew under the radar until he got this title shot and started ripping Anderson on a Muhammed Ali type level. Surprisingly Sonnen did back it up and out-wrestled and basically beat up Anderson for 5 round. We had never seen anyone dominate Anderson the way Sonnen did. Then in the last few minutes Anderson caught Sonnen in a Triangle Choke and tapped him out. Madness.
4) Fedor Emelianenko vs Kazuyuki Fujita
Fedor is arguably the greatest fighter of all time, certainly the best heavyweight. He had a huge win streak in Pride that saw him defeat the likes of Cro Cop, Big Nog and many others. His fight against Fujita, on paper, seemed a miss match but it turned out to be one of the crazies fights of all time. One of the first time we ever saw Fedor rocked really heightened the action. The superman is fallible? I couldn’t believe, but in classic Fedor style he overwhelmed Fujita before eventually choking him out.
3) Anderson Silva vs Forrest Griffin
Looking back this seems like a huge miss match but at the time it didn’t appear it. Anderson had only ever fought once at 205 and Forrest had only recently lost the Light Heavyweight title. What we saw was something closer to the Matrix than MMA, as Anderson bobbed and weaved like he could see Forrest’s punches coming five seconds before he’d thrown them. He also knocked him out with what looked like a jab. Incredible.
2) Benson Henderson vs Anthony Pettis 1
Just an absolutely amazing fight with a number of close calls. At one point Henderson had a rear naked choke locked in that looked like it would seal the fight, only for Pettis to find an escape. Then Pettis caught Henderson in a solid guillotine choke, but Henderson’s rubber limbs let him escape. Finally we have the highlight of the fight and one of the greatest moves in MMA history as Pettis runs across the cage like Spider-Man and lands a flying head kick which knocks Henderson to the ground. Unbelievable.
1) Maurico ‘Shogun’ Rua vs Antonio Rogerio Nogueira 1
The definition of a war, this fight had it all. High level grappling including some very close sub attempts, crazy acrobatics especially from Shogun who flew around the mat trying to land stomps and kicks and excellent striking which saw both fighters dropped at various times. Simply the best fight I’ve ever seen from two guys that absolutely gave everything to win.