Lets take a look back in MMA history at fighters who put on great shows, the shows that hosted them and moments in MMA which changed the future of the sport. March was a good month.
Wand Vs. Saku
On March 25th 2001 Wanderlei Silva stood across the ring from Kazushi Sakuraba in Saitama, Japan. The stage was Pride 13 and a young ‘Axe Murderer’ was tearing through the Pride rankings. ‘The Gracie Hunter’ was known in Pride for his outstanding submission grappling, adverse striking and great character. The fight marked the first in the trilogy of meetings between these two warriors, all of which Silva emerged from victorious by KO/TKO.
‘Rowdy’ starts her arm collection
Ronda Rousey makes her professional debut in MMA back in March 2011, ‘Rowdy’ wasn’t the household name in MMA that she is today, and at KOTC Turning Point Rousey would look to start her bright future in MMA. Her opponent was Brazilian Edian Gomes and it was clear from the jump who would be the winner in this fight. In fact it only took Rousey 25 seconds to submit Gomes by, you guessed it, an armbar. From KOTC to the UFC women’s championship ‘Rowdy’ has come a long way.
‘The Spider’ chokes Hendo
At UFC 82 back in March of 2008 the UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva stood across the cage from the last Pride FC welterweight champion Dan Henderson. The two were set to face off in a title unification bout and Hendo had something to prove after losing a unification bout for his Pride middleweight belt and Quinton Jackson‘s UFC 205lb. belt the year previous. Unfortunately for Henderson, Silva was on form that night, gaining a dominant position in the second rund and submitting ‘Dangerous Dan by rear naked choke.
The birth of Strikeforce
Strikeforce started way back in March of 2006, I know it seems like a lifetime ago, with its inaugural event Strikeforce: Shamrock Vs. Gracie. The headlining bout was between Frank Shamrock and Cesar Gracie in the middleweight division. The fight didn’t last long, Shamrock delivered a clinical knockout with a series of right hands just 20 seconds in to the fight. Other notable fighters that competed on the card were Nate Diaz, Clay Guida, Josh Thomson, Gilbert Melendez, Brian Ebersole, Matt Horwich, Krzystof Soszynski and Mike Kyle. How times change!
Fedor Beats Nogueira
Another trip back to the days of Pride FC, where guys could knee the head of a grounded opponent without a care in the world. The date is March 16th 2003 and Fedor Emelianenko is squaring off against heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at Pride 25. Nogueira had been kingpin since beating Heath Herring for the promotion’s first heavyweight title back in 2001 at Pride 17. The two men fought for a brutal three round war, with ‘The Last Emperor’ emerging the victor by decision. The loss snapped a three year win streak for ‘Big Nog’ , Fedor would fight on another 7 years before his next loss, totalling 10 years and 28 fights without a loss.