The 411 MMA Top 10: Top 10 UFC Fights to Show Non-MMA Fans
Posted by Alex Rella on 08.11.2014
From Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche and Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz II to Shogun Rua vs. Dan Henderson, the first TUF Finale and more, 411's Alex Rella counts down the top fights to get non-MMA fans hooked on the sport!
Ten UFC Fights to Show Non-MMA Fans
Hey there gentle readers, I am Alex Rella and this is the MMA Top Ten. This week we will be looking at ten UFC fights you can show to either new MMA fans or people that don't watch MMA at all to try and get them hooked. I hate when you finally convince your friends to sit down to watch MMA with you and even though you're convinced the show is going to be great, it ends up being trash (I'm looking at you Mir vs Cro Cop UFC 119) and they have no interest in the future. So I have learned my lesson and know that first impressions to new things are very important.
Here are ten fights that I personally think are good to show people that aren't too familiar with the sport. This is not a definitive list by any means and it's just meant to be fun, so feel free to share any ones that you might show in the comment section. I made the list based on a few things. The fights need to be quick and exciting enough to hold someone's interest. Anderson Silva vs Chael Sonnen at UFC 117 was one of the best fights ever, but Sonnen's very heavy wrestling based style for five rounds isn't great for people that don't already appreciate the sport. I also leaned towards picking fights with legends or elite fighters, as it can give new fans a feel for the history of the sport
Carlos Condit vs Dan Hardy UFC 120- An awesome knockout as both guys connect at the same time and Hardy goes down with Condit standing strong.
Anderson Silva vs Vitor Belfort UFC 126- I thought this was the much cooler karate kick and the crowd reaction adds to the fight.
Matt Brown vs Erick Silva UFN 4- The Immortal is just awesome.
Chris Leben vs Yoshihiro Akiyama UFC 116- One of my all time favorite fights as Leben submitted Akiyama with an amazing triangle choke with only moments left in the fight. This one just fell short of the top ten for me.
Roy Nelson vs Cheick Kongo UFC 159- People love seeing the fat guy knockout the jacked guy.
10: BJ Penn vs Sean Sherk UFC 84
This was billed as the biggest fight in the history of the UFC's lightweight division and this was very true at the time. Sherk became lightweight champion when the UFC brought back the title in 2006. Sherk only defended his title once as he was stripped of it after testing positive for a banned steroid. Penn won the title while he was suspended and Sherk would end up being his first title defense. Sherk only attempted to take him down in the first round which was successfully defended by BJ Penn and the rest of the fight was spent standing up. Penn used his reach advantage to out box Sherk for three rounds. At the end of the third round Penn hit Sherk with a punch that sent him falling back to the cage. Penn followed this up with a flying knee that ended it for the Muscle Shark, Penn then got in a few more punches before the round ended. Penn knew it was over and the fight was called before the fourth round could start.
9: Pat Barry vs Cheick Kongo UFC on Versus 4
Yes as shocking as it may sound, Cheick Kongo had one of the most exciting heavyweight fights with Pat Barry back in 2011 on Versus. Barry was a very one dimensional MMA fighter, but he usually had entertaining fights win or lose. Kongo is usually about a top fifteen heavyweight that can have solid fights if he doesn't hump his opponent up against the cage for the whole fight. So back in June 2011, these two were promoted to the main event when Nate Marquardt wasn't cleared to fight and these two really stepped it up. They started out with some leg kicks and jabs to feel each other out and then Barry started to get more aggressive with his striking. Luckily the video was online so you can check it out, but Barry knocked Kongo down twice and nearly finished him off with some stiff shots. Then Kongo had one of the best comebacks ever when his back was up against the cage and he threw an uppercut to knockout out Barry. This won KO of the Night and of 2011. A nice comeback that won't take a couple rounds to develop.
8: Chuck Liddell vs Tito Ortiz UFC 66
Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz had one of the most heated rivalries in MMA and most people could feel that hate without even knowing their back story. Their first fight at UFC 47 ended with Ortiz getting knocked out in the second round. Their second fight at UFC 66 was much better. Liddell was going for his fourth title defense and Ortiz had won five fights in a row to get another chance at the title. Liddell was clearly the better striker, but Ortiz really held his own in this fight. Ortiz got bloodied up and was nearly finished in the first, but he covered up and got back in it. Ortiz took the second round as he avoided most of Liddell's striking and scored a takedown. The third round had some nice striking exchanges with Liddell dropping him and finishing it on the ground for the TKO victory. This was Fight of the Night and Liddell's final title defense. Most people know who Liddell is, so now they can see one of his best fights.
7: Dan Henderson vs Shogun Rua UFC 139
This is the only full five round fight on the list, but of course it is the exception as the battle between two legends turned out to be the best five round fight ever. Henderson exploded on Shogun early on and he was a bloody mess only minutes into the fight. There were multiple times in the first three rounds where Henderson nearly ended it, but Shogun battled back. Shogun took the last two rounds, but he was too exhausted to finish it. Henderson won by unanimous decision 48-47 and was supposed to get a title shot after this. While it may be the best fight ever, it doesn't go any higher on this list as twenty five minutes is a lot of for somebody who may have never seen a fight before.
6: Ronda Rousey vs Liz Carmouche UFC 157
This fight makes the cut for a few reasons. Ronda Rousey is becoming a crossover star with movies coming out and having posed in a bunch of magazines, so many people have heard of her even if they've never seen her fight. Show it your lady friends cause it was a historic fight and it shows the female fighters can put on fights just as good as the men, if not better. Or you can show it to your guy friends because Rousey is just as hot as she is awesome. Either way it's a great fight to show non fans as Rousey defended her title with a first round armbar.
5: Wanderlei Silva vs Cung Le UFC 139
This is a perfect fight to show new fans. You have Cung Le's highly entertaining and engaging karate style against one of the best and most brutal fighters ever in Wanderlei Silva. Silva was coming off a quick KO loss to Chris Leben at UFC 132, so a lot of people were calling for his retirement and picking Le. Le came out to an early lead with his unorthodox offense. He was landing sidekicks, spinning wheel kicks and backfists. But towards the end of the round Silva started to open up with his own striking. The second round had some great back and forth action. But the forty year old Le hadn't fought in a year and a half and he was starting to get tired as Silva was starting to heat up. Silva bloodied him up with some big punches and then got in some vintage Axe Murderer knees that left Le unconscious.
4: Wanderlei Silva vs Brian Stann
I did Brian Stann's top ten list back around Memorial Day his number one fight comes in at number __ this week. Stann's title hopes at middleweight were pretty much done at this point after just losing to Bisping at UFC 152, so he moved back up to light heavyweight for one night against Wanderlei Silva. Silva was also coming off a loss against Rich Franklin at UFC 147. This was a homecoming of sorts for Silva as this was his first fight in Japan since losing to Dan Henderson at Pride 33 back in February 2007. Almost everybody was picking Stann to knockout the aging legend. From start to finish these two just threw everything they had at each other and it was amazing. They were both covered in Stann's blood, but he took the first round as he knocked Silva down multiple times. Then Silva dropped him with a bomb in the second and finished him off with ground & pound. This was one of the best fights of 2013 and one of the best light heavyweight fights of all time in my opinion.
3: Forrest Griffin vs Stephan Bonnar TUF 1 Finale
I think this fight has come off it's once incredibly high pedestal for most fans as it really isn't viewed as the best fight ever anymore plus it's significance and true impact on the sport has been questioned, but it fits nicely here. Back in 2005, The Ultimate Fighter helped the UFC reach a new level in popularity and this fight was the main reason for it. Stephan Bonnar took on Forrest Griffin in the finals of the light heavyweight bracket and they just beat the puss out of each other for fifteen minutes in an incredibly close fight. Griffin won by unanimous decision, but I've had people still argue in the comment section whenever this fight comes up that Bonnar won or it was a draw. The brawl helped the UFC get new fans back then and it still has it's appeal today.
2: Jim Miller vs Joe Lauzon UFC 155
I dragged my brother to a restaurant to watch UFC 155 with me and this fight made him a fan. I was originally disappointed when Lauzon's original opponent, Gray Maynard had to back out of the fight, but Jim Miller surprised me. Miller came out far more aggressive than usual and busted Lauzon up almost immediately with some sick elbows. The cage was absolutely soaked with his blood as Lauzon had a huge gash in his head. Lauzon was on the defense for most of the fight, but he held in there and was the star of the fight even though he lost. I was screaming at the television when he went for the anklelock in the third round. Miller won by unanimous decision, but the crowd was solidly behind Lauzon as they booed the judges decision.
1: Matt Hughes vs Frank Trigg
This is Dana White's favorite fight and it is quite good as I've watched it countless times. Their first fight was kept professional, but this was one a complete personal grudge match. Hughes brought in his friend from college that wrestled Trigg to help him train for the fight. Hughes revealed in his book that he knew Trigg would give up his back once he got hit in the face a couple times. To add fuel to the fire, Trigg was dating Hughes ex girlfriend at the time and tried to kiss Hughes in the stare down before the fight. Trigg would bring the heat immediately and would inadvertently knee Hughes in the crotch. The ref didn't see it and Trigg took advantage of it bringing down a lot of heavy punches. Hughes was able to maneuver out of it and slam Trigg across the ring. The slam wasn't as nice as the one in the first fight, but it got the job done. Matt would soon get Trigg's backm but this time he took his time with Trigg because he knew it would be his last chance to hurt him. Then came the rear naked choke to end it in one of the greatest fights of all time. This one had real hate between the two fighters, great action, a low blow, and a nice comeback.
So let me know about your personal top ten.
As always, let me know if there are any topics or fighters you would like to see ranked in the future.
Next week will be ten non-UFC fights to show new fans.