Just over three months after making his pro MMA debut, Chuck Liddell was Brazil bound. The Iceman was booked for a special fight for IVC 6: The Challenge. Chuck would be taking on Jose Landi-Jons, also known as "Pele". Chuck was 1-0 coming off a decision win over Noe Hernandez at UFC 17. Pele had a more impressive resume, as he was 13-2. Landi-Jons was riding a six fight win streak that included a huge eight man tournament win. Pele had finished all three of his opponents to win IVC 5 in April of 1998.
Liddell would be the bigger man in this fight. Chuck stands 6'2", and weighed in at 198lbs. Pele stands 5'11", and weighed in at 187lbs. Both men were warmed up and ready for war.
First, I want to say that it was an absolute pleasure to go back in time and watch this fight. I had always known the outcome, but this was the first time I watched the entire fight. The Iceman opened up with a solid right that would have dropped many men. Within the first few minutes I found myself yelling at the screen, and thinking there's no way this goes the distance. Pele had eaten a few signature Liddell over hand rights already. Just over five minutes in Liddell gets dropped with a nasty head kick. I watched that kick three times, and still don't know how Chuck survived. The Iceman would eat a few more kicks throughout this fight, but any time Liddell was in trouble he would go for the take down. Chuck's ability to clinch and take Pele down is what won him the fight.
There was a bit of everything in this 30 minute war. From Pele's nasty head kicks, to Chuck's ability to dominate (and head butt) Pele on the ground. Then there was the moment that Landis-Jons decided the only way to get away from Chuck was to throw himself out of the ring. It really was crazy.
At the end of 30 minutes, both men had taken a beating. Chuck's eye badly swollen, Pele leaking blood from elbows and head butts. This was by no means a technical fight, but it was fun and shocking at times. If you haven't seen this fight you can check it out here. All three judges would score the bout in favour of the Iceman. This bringing his MMA record to 2-0.
The Iceman travels back to the states, and into the octagon for a second time. Chuck will face off against Jeremy Horn at UFC 19.