Finally having completed part 2 of my Fanpost, Don Frye is still absent but does make a cameo. Thank for being patient, hope you enjoy. I need to hire someone to put commas and shit in, god that is taxing.
Takanori Gomi 32-6-0
There is so much to say about Gomi, I don't know where to start. I think his teenage years had a serious influence on him and his development as a fighter. Gomi began his boxing training while in high school in 1994. In 1996 Gomi dropped out of high school for academic reasons, the process would lead to his father disowning him. 1996 saw Gomi start serious training in both freestyle and catch wrestling. He would go on to be a 4 time All Japan Wrestling Champ. On November 27th 1998 the career started for "The Fireball Kid" with a win that would be the first of 14 in a row. During this span Gomi would win the Shooto championship from teammate Rumina Sato on December 16 2001. Gomi would suffer his first career loss to a young and hungry Joachim Hansen. Instead of taking time off or taking a tune up fight, Gomi would fight B.J. Penn two months later in Rumble on the Rock 4. BJ would hand Gomi his second consecutive loss via rear-naked choke in round 3. This fight was widely considered the battle between the number 1 and 2 fighters at 155.
The PRIDE FC era: After back to back losses a change of scenery did Gomi good. Gomi was recruited to fight for PRIDE and he didn't disappoint in his debut on Feb 15th 2004. Gomi would win his first 3 bouts with TKOs including a first round TKO of Ralph Gracie (BJ Penns instructor). In Gomis win against Gracie not only did he get some vindication by beating BJs coach, it also set a PRIDE record for fastest TKO (6 seconds), a record that was never beat. Gomi would go on to beat Charles Bennett and Jens Pulver before his infamous fight with Luiz Azeredo of Chute Boxe. The fight would end with Gomi KOing Azeredo at 3:46 in the 1st but continued with an assualt of punches requiring the PRIDE workers to stop the onslaught. Gomi would reach the finals of the 2005 GP and fight Hayato Sakurai on December 31st for the PRIDE welterweight title. The Fireball kid would end Sakurais night with a TKO in the 1st round. Gomi would lose his next fight to Marcus Aurelio (20-9) only to redeem himself 7 months later with a decision win over Aurelio. Two fights later Gomi would fight Nick Diaz in one of my favorite MMA fights ever. The HL video below is a good one but words do not do the fight justice, I would suggest watching the entire fight. Gomi would be the only welterweight champion in PRIDE history compiling a 13-1-1 record. Gomi has gone 3-3 (1-1 in the UFC) in his last 6 fights.
Gomi Vs Diaz HL (via LBhls)
And the fastest KO in PRIDE history:
Takanori Gomi vs Ralph Gracie (HQ) (via SupermanPunchKO)
Kazushi Sakuraba 26-14-1
The career of Sakuraba needs an entire book to give it the accolades it deserves, I will attempt to do it in a few short paragraphs and not omit anything too significant. His is the original Brock Lesnar, with talent, heart, and the fighting pride that we should expect from all our MMA fighters. Sakuraba started in a pro wrestling league called the UWFi in Japan. The fighters in the UWFi prided themselves on their technical kick boxing and catch wrestling. When the fans and media started to doubt their actual combat abilities the UWFi sent a teammate of Sakurabas to Rickson Gracies and prove the abilities of the wrestlers. The Gracie quickly and soundly defeated Yoji Anjoh and sent him back to Japan.
The foray into MMA for Sakuraba hinged on that very fight. Disgraced and in an attempt to show that they were legitimate fighters, the wrestlers started fighting MMA. Sakurabas first professional fight was a loss to a much larger (this will be a running theme in Sakurabas career) Kimo Leopoldo. About a year later Sakurabas teammates were slated to fight in the UFCs Ultimate Japan Heavyweight tournament. Sakuraba filled in for an injured Hiromitsu Kanehara despite weighing only 183lbs. In his first fight with Marcus Silveira, every ones favorite ref, Big John McCarthy stopped the fight early. After watching a taped replay Big John saw his mistake. The fighters actually fought again the SAME night with Sakuraba coming out victorious with an arm bar in round 1. Kaushi Sakuraba was a UFC tournament HW Champion, stick that in your ear Brock fans.
The PRIDE era: Sakuraba would head to PRIDE FC and start his career going 9-0-1. Those 9 wins might not seem impressive until you look at his competition closely. Included were wins over Vernon White, Carlos Newton, Vitor Belfort, Guy Mezger and 2 guys named Royler & Royce Gracie. Sakurabas victory over Royler Gracie was the first time in decades a Gracie had been defeated in a professional fight. The bout ended by ref stoppage sending the Gracie camp into a frenzy and the MMA world on its ear. Fearing an early ref stoppage, the Gracies pushed for a special set of rules should Sakuraba and Royce should meet in the GP. The rules, when viewed today, seem insane. There would be no time limit and no referee stoppages, just 15 minute rounds until there was a winner. The fight last an hour and a half, in the first 20 minutes both men had submissions but were unable to finish the other. The fight would end after the 6th round with Rorion Gracie throwing in the towel for Royce. After this grueling battle Sakuraba would fight again on the same night. Somehow Sakuraba managed to climb into the ring with Igor Vovchanchyn (49-10-1), who outweighed him by 50lbs, took down Igor and almost submitted him in the 1st round. Fate would not be on Sakurabas side as the drain of almost 2 hours of fighting took its toll. His corner would throw in the towel marking Sakurabas 2nd loss. Sakuraba would go on to win his next 3 fights including wins against Renzo Gracie (Kimura) and Ryan Gracie (decision) confirming him as the true "Gracie Hunter".
Sakuraba holds victories over Ken Shamrock, Quinton Jackson, Kevin Randleman, Ikuhisa Minow and Masakatso Funaki in addition to the fights I mention earlier. He has fought Wanderlei Silva 3 times, Mirko Filipovic, Ricardo Aorna, Antonio Nogueira, Kiyoshi Tamura, Yoshihiro Akiyama (Sexyama) and almost the entire Gracie family. Not bad for a 180lb professional wrestler.
Kazushi Sakuraba documentary (via lakvi22)
And one of my favorite HL videos:
Superman: A tribute to Kazushi Sakuraba (via herecomestherage)
Fedor Emelianenko 31-2-0-1 NC
Fedor started his career on May 5 2000 with 4 consecutive wins before the famous cut stoppage loss to Tsuyoshi Kosaka. Fedor would then go on an unprecedented 27 fight undefeated streak. On Feb 15 2002 Fedor would win the RINGS HW championship. After winning the belt Fedor would jump immediately to PRIDE FC and his debut would be a decision win against Semmy Schilt. Fedors next match was for PRIDE FC #1 contender. His opponent was a young and heavily favored Heath Herring. The infamous ground and pound was unleashed on Herring who would lose by doctor stoppage after the 1st round. Fedor would fight Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira for the PRIDE HW title on March 16 2003. Big Nog was thought unbeatable at the time, he had a 19-1-1 record and recently avenged his only loss by beating Dan Henderson via armbar. Fedor would go on to win the decision that night, surviving Big Nogs guard and punishing Nog on the feet and ground. Fedor became the 2nd HW champ in PRIDE a history, it was title he would never lose.
While Fedor did have an incredible run, it wasn't without scare or controversy. On Dec 22 2000 Fedor fought Ricardo Arona and the fight went to a decision, many fans thought Fedor had lost but the judges saw it differently. It would be 3 years later before Fedor would find a real scare in the ring. On June 8 2003 Fedor would fight Kazuyuki Fugita. Fugita would land an over hand right that put Fedor in la la land for what seemed an eternity. Fedor managed to grab Fujita end up on the ground and recover. When Fedor regained his feet he dropped Fujita then finished him with a rear naked choke. This would be one of several occasions where Fedors bend but don't break attitude would have him win in the end. Fedor is the most argued about fighter in MMA history, not necessarily by his doing but more so his management. Fedor would fight Matt Lindland (a MW who cut Fedor), Zulu (400lb professional eater) and Hong Man Choi (has 2 career MMA wins, 1 of which is Jose Canseco). Say what you will about his competition, he did beat everyone they put in front of him until June of 2010.
Fedor Emelianenko Legendary Highlights (via kingatrock20081)