This Week in MMA History: May 27 – June 2 edition

Michael Chiesa

TUF Live winner Michael ChiesaMay 27, 2001

Each week on MMA Fight Corner, host Phil Devine contributes a segment to the show which he has researched and compiled. These are moments in MMA history that we want to pass onto the fans.

May 27, 2001

On May 27, 2001 Pride 14– Clash of the Titans occurred in Yokahama, Japan. That night Kazuyuki Fujita defeated Yoshihiro Takayama who was making his MMA debut defeating him by arm triangle. Igor Vovchanchyn submitted Gilbert Yvel with a RNC in under 2 minutes. Wanderlei Silva needed just 30 seconds to stop Shungo Oyama. Dan Henderson beat Akira Shoji with an onslaught of punches and knees in the 3rd round. Heath Herring suffered his first loss in Pride losing a decision to Vitor Belfort. And finally, Chuck Liddell made is Pride debut knocking out Guy Mezger in the 2nd round.

May 27, 2006

In what many people consider a “passing of the guard” match-up, UFC 60 went down at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on May 27, 2006. That night Matt Hughes became the first man to actually stop Royce Gracie in a fight reigning punches down on him in the 1st round. The fight was a non-title catchweight bout and became the highest grossing Pay-Per-View until Liddell/Ortiz 2. It was Gracie’s first fight back in the UFC since UFC 5 in 1995.

Only one fight went to the judges scorecards that night and it was Diego Sanchez vs John Alessio with Diego taking the unanimous decision victory.

Mike Swick beat Joe Riggs, Brandon Vera defeated Assuerio Silva, and Dean Lister took out Alessio Sakara – all the victorious men won by first round submission.

Melvin Guillard handled Rick Davis, Spencer Fisher defeated Matt Wiman and Gabe Gonzaga  finished Fabiano Scherner –  each of these men won by (T)KO.

Also that night, Jeremy Horn improved to 3-0 against Chael Sonnen when he submitted him in the 2nd round with an inverted armbar. 

May 28, 2011

UFC 130 happened in Vegas at the MGM Grand on May 28, 2011 and it was planned to be UFC 130: Edgar/Maynard 3, but instead we got UFC 130: Rampage vs Hamill.

The original card took a major hit with injuries. Not only did they lose the main event, four other fights got switched around. Heck, Hamill wasn’t even Rampage’s original opponent, it was Thiago Silva. Anyway, Rampage beat Hamill, Frank Mir over Roy Nelson and Rick Story beat Thiago Alves, all by unanimous decision. The other 2 Pay-Per-View fights saw Travis Browne knocking out Stefan Struve and Brian Stann knocking out Jorge Santiago.

Knockout of the Night went to Travis Browne over Struve (superman punch). Fight of the Night went to Brian Stann vs Jorge Santiago which Stann won by KO. And Submission of the Night went to Gleison Tibau who finished Rafaello Oliveira by Rear-Naked Choke.

May 29, 2010

After over a year of bickering through media, two set fights that never came to fruition and a stint as opposing coaches on Season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter, Rashad Evans and Rampage Jackson finally met inside the Octagon at UFC 114. The event took place on May 29, 2010 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

After dominating the first 2 rounds with his takedowns and top control, Rashad survived a late flurry from Rampage to win the decision. Including Rashad Evans, there were a total of five TUF winners on the card. Michael Bisping and Efrain Escudero picked up unanimous decisions over Dan Miller and Dan Lauzon, respectively. However, Diego Sanchez and Amir Sadollah came out on the losing end of the judges scorecards. Sanchez was beaten by John Hathaway and Dong Hyun Kim took the win over Sadollah. 

Fight of the Night went to Lil’ Nog and Jason Brillz with Nogueira winning a controversial decision. Mike Russow took home Knockout of the Night over Todd Duffee. Submission of the Night went to Ryan Jensen for his guillotine choke on Jesse Forbes.

May 30, 1997

On May 30, 1997, UFC 13: The Ultimate Force went down in Augusta, Georgia and the main event was a Superfight between UFC 12 tournament winner Vitor Belfort and the “original” UFC bad boy, David “Tank” Abbott. It also featured a 4-man Heavyweight and a 4-man Light Heavyweight Tournament. Now, UFC 13 will be remembered for many reasons, some very good and some that would eventually cripple, then parent company SEG.

Vitor Belfort demolished Tank Abbott in under a minute in the main event. In a statement after the fight, referee John McCarthy said “When I stopped the fight, all Tank could say was “Wow, that kid rocked my world.” It should also be known that Tank and a few of his entourage started a big bar fight that night after the fight with Vitor’s then coach, Al Stankie and Brazilian fighter Wallid Ismail.

The 4-man Light Heavyweight tournament semi-finals matched Guy Mezger against Olympic Judoka Christophe Leninger, while Enson Inoue faced “Dan Gable protege” Royce Alger. Mezger advanced winning a decision and Enson advanced submitting Alger in under 2 minutes. However, Enson was unable to advance due to fracturing his orbital bone during the fight. Make way for alternate Jacob Christopher Ortiz aka “Tito” Ortiz.

Ortiz was a training partner of Tank Abbott and had fought and won his way to the alternate spot earlier that night destroying Wes Albritton in just 31 seconds. Ortiz would lose in the finals to Mezger that night but not without controversy. Ortiz busted open Mezger’s head with a barrage of knees and when the fight was stopped to check the cut, it was restarted in the standing position. If Tito wasn’t happy with the outcome, I’m almost certain he wasn’t happy that he couldn’t get paid. At the time, Ortiz was still a NCAA wrestler at Cal State Bakersfield.

The Heavyweight tournament featured 4 UFC newcomers: 215lb Kickboxer Dmitri Stepanov was paired up with 290lb hybrid fighter Steven Graham. Graham absolutely demolished the lighter kickboxer, submitting him in under 2 minutes. The other bracket saw pro wrestler Tony Halme (Ludwig Borga to you WWE fans) match up with a 3x All-American wrestler from Oklahoma by the name of Randy Couture. Couture choked out Halme in just under a minute and went on to beat Steven Graham, who by the way was 10 years younger than him, with some nasty ground and pound to win the tournament.

Bruce Buffer became the “official voice of the Octagon” at UFC 13 and it was also the last event that gave the fighters the option of wearing gloves. After that, all fighters were required to wear them. Unfortunately, UFC 13 was also the last event to be carried on all cable TV platforms and is considered by many, to be the event that started what is known as the “Dark Ages”.

May 31, 2008

Elite XC Primetime took place on May 31, 2008 at the Prudential Center in New Jersey and marked the American network debut for the sport of Mixed Martial Arts except for in the area of Greensboro, North Carolina. The CBS affiliate there refused to show the event. Despite that, the ratings averaged 4.85 million viewers and peaked at 6.51 million during the main event: Kimbo Slice vs James Thompson, making it the most watched MMA event in history until of course, UFC on FOX 1.

Kimbo won the fight by 3rd round TKO, Gina Carano won by a doctor stoppage over Kaitlin Young between the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Joey Villasenor stopped Phil Baroni and Brett Rogers knocked out Jon Murphy, both did so in the first round of the fight. The co-main event between Robbie Lawler and Scott Smith for the EliteXC middleweight title unfortunately ended in a no contest, when Smith couldn’t continue because of an eye poke.

June 01, 2008

On June 1, 2008 WEC 34: Faber vs Pulver happened at the Arco Arena in Sacramento, California. Urijah Faber defended his featherweight title that night taking a unanimous decision over Jens “Lil’ Evil” Pulver. Also that night, Miguel Torres defended his bantamweight title against Yoshiro Maeda when the doctor stopped the fight in the 3rd. Mark Munoz made his WEC debut that night knocking out Chuck Grigsby. Danny Castillo also made his WEC debut but lost by armbar to Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in the first round.

Two other guys made their WEC debuts that night. Mike Brown won a unanimous decision  over Jeff Curran earning him a title shot against Faber. And a guy by the name of Jose Aldo, who finished Alexandre Nogueira in the 2nd round, also stepped into the WEC cage for the first time. Brown and Aldo would end up fighting each other for the featherweight title 10 events later at WEC 44.

June 01, 2012

Last year on June 1st the The Ultimate Fighter Live Finale took place here at the Pearl inside the Palms in Vegas. The main event saw Martin Kampmann score a big come from behind knockout over Jake Ellenberger. That night we also saw Michael Chiesa overcome more than anyone we’ve ever seen on the series to become the show’s 15th season winner when he submitted Al Iaquinta.

June 02, 2007

A lot can be said about Dynamite!!! USA, which took place June 2, 2007 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum – whether it be multiple fighters being billed on the card that were known not to be participating at all, or multiple fighters testing positive for banned substances after, or the promoters claiming they shattered North American attendance records, later revealing they sold less then 3700 tickets. With that being said, the event, which was a co promotion between FEG, K1 Hero’s and Elite XC, was highly anticipated by many for two reasons.

The rematch between Royce Gracie and Kazushi Sakuraba and the MMA debut of former WWE champion Brock Lesnar. Lesnar won his debut in impressive fashion dispatching very late replacement fighter, Min Soo Kim in a little over a minute. Royce did win the rematch with Sakuraba by a unanimous decision, but later tested positive for a Nandrolone. At the time, the California State Athletic Commission did not have rules for overturning decisions based on failed drug tests, so the win unfortunately stands on his record.

*It’s Time: My 360 degree view of the UFC” by Bruce Buffer, “No Holds Barred: The Complete History of MMA in America” by Clyde Gentry, “Are You Ready? Let’s Get it On” by “Big” John McCarthy, in addition to various documented internet references were used to compile this segment. 

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