Top 10 Moments From Vale Tudo Japan

In anticipation of the return of Sustain's Vale Tudo Japan in just about two weeks, I decided to re-watch all of the past VTJ events and cut out 10 classic moments for your viewing pleasure. Here they are, in chronological order...

Bud Smith vs. Chris Bass
Vale Tudo Japan 1994

American kickboxer Bud Smith and Dutch karateka Chris Bass squared off in the first ever VTJ bout, and the beginning of that night's tournament matches. (Sustain would do away with the tournament format after a few iterations.) Thanks to an injury suffered by one of the evening's other competitors, the winner of this fight received a bye to the finals... where he was subsequently mauled by Rickson Gracie.

Fun fact: the six tournament bouts at VTJ '94 lasted a combined 11 minutes and 30 seconds.

Rickson Gracie vs. Yoshihisa Yamamoto
Round 3
Vale Tudo Japan 1995

After two slow but evenly-matched rounds which saw a frustrated Gracie hurl Yamamoto over the ring ropes and Yamamoto snare the Brazilian in a standing guillotine, this VTJ '95 quarterfinal ends in quiet but vicious fashion.

Enson Inoue vs. Rene Rooze
Vale Tudo Japan 1995

A fresh-faced Enson - in only his second pro bout - found himself at a six-inch height disadvantage against Dutch kickboxer Rene Rooze. Watch as Inoue uses an unusual (and now illegal) method to try and negate the size difference.

Royler Gracie vs. Noboru Asahi
Vale Tudo Japan 1996

A clash of disciplines! Royler represented Brazil and Gracie Jiu-Jitsu against Japanese Shooto stylist "Kijin" Asahi. This was Royler's second MMA fight; at the time, former featherweight ace Asahi was 17-1-3 and had not lost in over four years.

Video from PedroLMariano2.

Carlos Newton vs. Erik Paulson
Vale Tudo Japan 1997

Vintage material. A match between two legends of the game - one on his way out, and one who'd only just begun. Check the creative tapping method the loser of this match uses to try and submit.

Frank Shamrock vs. Enson Inoue
Round 2
Vale Tudo Japan 1997

In the main event of VTJ '97, Inoue and the junior Shamrock fought to decide who would face Kevin Jackson at UFC's Ultimate Japan the following month. This bout yielded one of the more hilarious Fight Finder entries around: "DQ (Egan Inoue Ran Into the Ring)." For a full explanation of how this one ended, check Joe Hall's Sherdog post on the bout.

Andre Pederneiras vs. Rumina Sato
Vale Tudo Japan 1998

The founder of Nova Uniao (in his first MMA appearance) against the Shooto veteran.

Video from alb3rtism.

Randy Couture vs. Enson Inoue
Vale Tudo Japan 1998

1998's main event and perhaps the most memorable match in VTJ history. 'Nuff said.

(P.S. Watch for Enson's dog in the ring at the end.)

Video from newmexicoone.

Rumina Sato vs. Rafael Cordeiro
Vale Tudo Japan 1999

A year after being brutally knocked out by Dede Pederneiras, the "Moon Wolf" returned to the VTJ ring against another Brazilian: long-time Chute Boxe trainer Rafael Cordeiro.

Hayato "Mach" Sakurai vs. Haroldo Bunn
Round 3
Vale Tudo Japan 1999

Then-Shooto middleweight champion "Mach" faced off against Haroldo Bunn in the main event of the "Japan vs. Brazil"-themed VTJ '99. Bunn controlled the first round, with Sakurai turning it on in the second. Then came the decisive third frame...

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