Rivalries are one of the most pivotal aspects of mixed martial arts (MMA) today. While most of the time these rivalries are a little exaggerated in order to market the fight, once in a blue moon we get a true spectacle that can drag on over the span of three action-packed brawls to end with a trilogy fight.
Some of these martial artists just flat-out don’t like one another, while others fight for the pure competitive nature that dwells within their body along with a grinding urge to better the man that they have split contests with.
So without further ado, lets take a look at the top 10 trilogies that have been fought out throughout UFC history.
10. Tito Ortiz vs Ken Shamrock
Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock’s lengthy rivalry lasted over a span of four years, and would result in a rather rare result when it comes to trilogies, as Ortiz took home a clean sweep of victories over Shamrock following their final meeting.
The two men first met in the main event of UFC 40 back in 2002 when Ortiz reigned as heavyweight champion, and would defend his title against Shamrock, who was coming off a split decision loss to Don Frye at Pride 19.
Shamrock almost pulled off the upset as he rocked Ortiz in the first round with a huge right hand; however, Ortiz was able to recover and go on to completely dominate the majority of the bout. Shamrock’s corner would throw in the towel just prior to the beginning of round four, making it 1-0 in favor of Ortiz.
The two men were set to square off once more at UFC 61 in 2006, however the bout ended with a bit of controversy. A little over a minute into the first round Ortiz bludgeoned Shamrock with three or four rapid undefended elbows, leading to referee Herb Dean stopping the bout to make it 2-0 Ortiz.
Shamrock and the 11,167 fans in attendance where unhappy with the decision, and security also had to separate the two men following the decision.
The third bout, however, would end all the same as Ortiz finished Shamrock in the first round with a barrage of unanswered punches that forced referee John McCarthy to call it a night.
Following the bout Ortiz gave Shamrock a couple of one finger salutes, but the two men conversed for a bit in the Octagon, embraced, and ended the night on good terms after raising one another’s hand to the crowd.
Result: 3-0 Ortiz