There have been some incredible trilogy fights in the world of MMA over the year.
The list includes Georges St-Pierre vs. Matt Hughes, Randy Couture vs. Chuck Liddell, Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson, Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Wanderlei Silva and Tito Ortiz vs. Ken Shamrock.
Next Friday night, Shamrock will join the ranks with a second trilogy, taking on Royce Gracie in the main event of Bellator 149.
The third fight, airing live on Spike TV, will take place 23 years after the original from UFC 1.
Twenty-three years later and we are going to see another Ken Shamrock-Royce Gracie contest.
We are likely to witness something in between the two previous meetings, as the first ended in just 57 seconds when Gracie locked up a rear-naked choke in the semifinals of a one-night tournament in Denver.
Two years later at UFC 5, Gracie and Shamrock squared off in front of 6,000 people at the Independence Arena in North Carolina. That event aired on pay-per-view before being released on home video.
The winner was to be crowned the UFC champion, but the two fought to a draw after 36 minutes of action because no judges were present to declare a winner.
Shamrock would go on to win the superfight title later that year with a first round submission of Dan Severn, while that bout was the last for Gracie in the UFC until returning in 2006 with a first round defeat at the hands of Hughes. He fought again in 2007 but has been on the sidelines ever since.
Now, with a combined age of 100 years, we get a third – and hopefully – final installment in the Shamrock-Gracie saga.