Do you have a favorite fight from the PRIDE era?
For many fans, the promotion, which sold out the Tokyo Dome (50,000+ strong!) during the heyday of Japanese MMA, was the source of some great memories. A rivalry between dueling Brazilian factions: Chute Boxe and Brazilian Top Team, was among the most memorable in MMA history.
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (pictured above) fought Rogerio “Minotoro” Nogueira’s at a June 26, 2005 bout; and it was one of the highlights of that rivalry. That night at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, the two battled in PRIDE’s 200 pound and under tournament.
“Shogun” would advance with a unanimous decision victory, on a night where Nogueira’s teammate Ricardo Arona brutalized the legendary Kazushi Sakuraba. Also that night, Rua’s teammate Wanderlei Silva stopped Kazuhiro Nakamura in unique fashion — knocking the judoka senseless as he tried to take off the jacket of his judo gi.
Rua would go on to win the tournament, with a dominant victory over Arona in the finals.
Those were wild days. And it looks like we may see a glimpse of them again, in a rematch ten years in the making.
Nogueira (along with his brother, Rodrigo) and Rua are coaching opposite each other on the soon-to-be-televised The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil Season 4, and the idea has been presented to have the coaches fight again, at the season finale in May.
“People are talking about that,” Rua told MMAjunkie in a recent interview, conducted in his native Portuguese. “Rodrigo and Rogerio are people that I truly respect, but thus far no information about that fight has reached me or my manager.”
The Nogueira brothers, of course, are replacing Anderson Silva, who was removed from TUF coaching duties after a barrage of failed drug tests. Rodrigo describes the bout as “making sense” and Rogerio agrees.
“My possible fight with ‘Shogun,’ or whatever happens in the finale, we’re still waiting to find out,” says “Minotoro.” “It’s Dana White’s decision to book that fight, and I have high expectations.”