I've been meaning to start this series for a while, but certain people (I'm looking at you Mike Fagan) have held me back from getting my game on. Well, today's the day. You see, Mr. Fagan is what guys with girlfriends like to call an MMA historian. He has this huge calendar thinger in his house that chronicles everything that has ever happened in MMA, day by day. Instead of just entering the info into some internet database like a regular guy, he has it all on his wall like a serial killer. Occasionally he takes pictures of it and sends them to me (thank god that's all he sending), and I get a glimpse into the past. And today was one of those days.
I'd like to take you back, back through time. We've got two stops. One is important, the other not so much. First up, October 14th, 2004, and a Pride event that approximately three people remember. Then two years later, some UFC event where A Spider Was Born.
Seven years ago to the day, Pride Bushido 5 took place in the Osaka Castle Hall in Osaka, Japan. Every fight had a name you likely remember, but this was pretty much a forgotten card due to the lopsided matchups. Names such as Mauricio Rua, Minowaman, and Igor Vovchanchyn picked up wins. Takanori Gomi defeated Charles "Krazy Horse" Bennett in the main event, but likely the biggest story that came out of the card was superstar Hayato Sakurai losing to a man 30 pounds bigger than him, Crosley Gracie, by submission in the second round. Sakurai went on the next year to make the Pride Lightweight Grand Prix finals, before losing to the aforementioned Gomi via TKO.
Five years ago to the day, UFC 64 took place in Las Vegas. The card featured eight fights, and you might recognize the undercard winners - Kurt Pellegrino, Clay Guida, and Yushin Okami. Guida was making his debut in the UFC, while the other two were in their sophomore fights. On the main card, Spencer Fisher stopped Dan Lauzon in the opening bout. It still amazes me that Lauzon got a bout in the UFC when he was only 13 years old. (Fine, he was 18). Cheick Kongo lost to Carmelo Marrero, which should give you a clue as to why the Frenchman is still not main eventing today. Jon Fitch got a judge to give him a 30-25 decision over Kuniyoshi Hironaka, who is actually a solid fighter despite your yawns. And there just happened to be two title fights on top of the card.
Remember last weekend when Kenny Florian got blown out in a title fight? Yeah, that was happening five years ago too. Florian faced off with Sean Sherk for the re-imagined UFC lightweight title, and well...he lost. Bad. Two 49-46's and a 50-45. He just couldn't stop the takedown, and despite busting Sherk open with one of his vaunted elbows from the bottom in the second, he couldn't get anything else going. The main event did introduce a new face to UFC nobility though, and he's done nothing but impress since - Anderson Silva.
Redman brought Silva to the cage, and a broken nose brought Silva to the title belt. Rich Franklin never stood a chance after he got caught up in the Thai clinch. Muay Thai took the middleweight strap home to Brazil, and no one has been able to wrest it away since. It appears that Chael Sonnen will get the next chance. We'll see about that.
I'm on vacation and just happen to be writing this from a hotel business center in Tallinn, Estonia right now, so the next episode of This Day in MMA might not be tomorrow. But it will be back as soon as I get home, or when Fagan drinks enough to take more pictures of his bedroom wall.