10 Of The Most Astonishing Fights In MMA History

Mixed martial arts has had its share of unusual fights over the years, particularly during its early days when such practices were more common. Major promotions tend to shy away from such things these days, but these memorable matchups are sometimes unavoidable.

This article will explore some of the most astonishing fights in MMA history and the narratives behind them.

Here’s our list of ten of the most astonishing contests in MMA history:


1) Gabi Garcia vs. Yumiko Hotta

This fight was arguably the worst mismatch in mixed martial arts history. Gabrielle Garcia is one of the largest women to ever compete in MMA, while the 49-year-old Hotta was a retired pro-wrestler who was twice her age.

Size wasn’t the only disparity here; that reality was evident once the contest started. The fight wasn’t competitive at any point as Gabi knocked her down and finished her with strikes.


2) Bob Sapp vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

Bob Sapp has been the common denomination in many freaky MMA fights, so you’re probably not shocked to find him on our list. His fight against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira was one of his more exciting matchups since it pit brute strength against high-level Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills.

Sapp used his brute strength to dominate the opening moments, scoring some powerful slams before getting caught in an armbar.


3) Randy Couture vs. James Toney

Many boxers couldn’t hide their disdain for mixed martial arts during its early days, which grew into a boxing vs. MMA rivalry. Both men were former champions in their respective sports, and the event was meant to showcase which style was superior.

Toney never got a chance to showcase much of his boxing as Couture quickly took him down and tapped him out.


4) Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Royce Gracie

The PRIDE Grand Prix 2000 Finals showdown between these two was an astonishing show for multiple reasons. For one, the bout lasted over 90 minutes, leading to conversations about time limits in mixed martial arts.

The fight was also legendary because of the interesting strategy that Sakuraba went with, stuffing many of Royce’s takedowns and forcing him to strike more than he was comfortable with. Gracie’s corner eventually threw in the towel, ending the contest. The win earned Sakuraba the nickname “Gracie killer.”


5) Mark Hunt vs. Yoshihiro Takayama

Mark Hunt has always been willing to bang with anyone, and Takayama was just as willing when the two collided at PRIDE Shockwave. Takaya was a gigantic pro-wrestler without much experience in MMA, but he was more than willing to trade blows with Hunt, leading to a memorable and chaotic slugfest.

It was a bit surprising for some fans to see Takayama so willing to exchange punches with Hunt, who had established himself as one of the top strikers in the sport.


6) Don Frye vs. Yoshihiro Takayama

Takayama and Frye engaged in a hockey-style punch-out brawl while fighting at PRIDE 21. Technique wasn’t much of a factor during this bout, as both men were content to stand there and trade blows.

Both men displayed tremendous heart during the fight, but Takayama eventually succumbed to the blows he received.


7) Rodtang Jitmuangnon vs. Demetrious Johnson

ONE Championship: X was a rare treat for mixed martial arts fans as it featured a special rules fight between ONE Championship’s reigning flyweight champ, Demetrious Johnson, and one of the most decorated Muay Thai fighters on its roster, Rodtang Jitmuangnon.

The first round would be under Muay Thai rules, the second round would follow MMA rules, and the third round would return to Muay Thai rules.

Rodtang started the fight aggressively, showcasing the difference between pure Muay Thai and MMA Muay Thai. Johnson is one of the best strikers in MMA, yet it was evident Rodtang’s striking was ahead of his early on.

Johnson weathered the storm and quickly took the fight to the ground when MMA rules were in play. He took Rodtang’s back shortly after the fight hit the canvas and put him to sleep with a rear-naked choke.


8) Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen

Most people didn’t expect Sonnen to do much against a prime Silva, and many thought he was digging his own grave by making things personal with his trash talk.

Sonnen backed up with talk inside the cage, rocking Silva with an overhand early in the first round and taking him down at will. Sonnen kept up an insane pace for most of the fight, and he was on his way to winning a clear unanimous decision with only two minutes left in the final round before Silva pulled off the biggest upset victory of his career by tapping out Sonnen with a triangle choke. That win went on to become the highlight of Silva’s legendary reign.


9) Kimbo Slice vs. Dada 5000

The hype was at an all-time high heading into the Bellator 149 showdown between these two. Billed as a grudge match between two of Florida’s most popular street-fighting legends, the fight failed to live up to expectations and ended up being a display of poor conditioning and technique.

Both fighters gassed out early during the sloppy affair, and it eventually ended when Dada 5000 collapsed from exhaustion. It remains one of the weirdest fights in MMA history.


10) Rousimar Palhares vs. Jake Shields

Palhares was accused of being a dirty fighter many times during his MMA career, and his WSOF 22 fight against Jake Shields is one of the best examples of why so many people feel this way. Palhares ended the fight by securing a kimura, but he took a while to release the submission after Shields tapped out and the ref tried to pull him off. That led to Shields punching him in the face as he got up.


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