5 EXCITING MMA FIGHTS YOU MAY HAVE FORGOTTEN ABOUT
UFC Fight Pass is a subscription-based streaming platform owned by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Since its inception in late 2013, the platform has grown exponentially in size, racking in around 450,000 subscribers worldwide. For $7.99 a month, combat sports fans can access over 20,000 historic fights from 35 different promotions 24-7, which includes the likes of Strikeforce, PRIDE and the WEC.
That is why I sat and sifted through the streaming platform in search of five wicked, action-packed, and for the basis of this article, lesser-known fights you may have forgotten about. Some you may have heard, as they are all-time greats. Some, however, will be new territory; if you want an exhilarating experience, keep scrolling.
CHAN SUNG JUNG VS. DUSTIN POIRIER – UFC ON FUEL TV 3
This 2010 main event pitched top featherweight contender Chan Sung Jung, better known as The Korean Zombie, against future interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier. The matchup was critical for the division, as it would solidify the next clear-cut title contender. As featherweights often do, they delivered.
In the early goings, Jung looked to be getting the better of the exchanges on the feet, mixing up his offence nicely. Multiple submission attempts along with capturing full mount proved that he was in full control, until fatigue set in. As a whole, the contest showcases the pair’s ability to dig deep and trade, absorbing mass amounts of punishment in the process.
The fight deemed to be pivotal in the career of both men, as lessons were learned and a championship opportunity was awarded. As you will know, Poirier made the move to lightweight years later and was able to win UFC gold. The Korean Zombie was unable to dethrone then-champion Jose Aldo with his sole title shot to date, but currently occupies the No. 4 position in the UFC featherweight rankings, and fancies his chances of defeating reigning champ Alexander Volkanovski. Each is equally talented and immensely popular, and are key assets to not only the UFC, but the entirety of MMA today.
SENZO IKEDA VS. YUYA WAKAMATSU – PANCRASE 293
Despite the flyweight division being home to some of the most skillful and accomplished athletes in the sport, it remains criminally underrated by the casual fan to this day. Look no further than Demetrious Johnson’s reign of excellence, or Alexandre Pantoja and Deiveson Figueiredo’s war of attrition – the weight class screams talent.
Flyweight’s flair carries over to Pancrase, a Japanese-based promotion internationally recognized for rivaling the UFC in the early days. Its alumni include legends such as Bas Rutten and Frank Shamrock, who are responsible for building the sport, particularly in the 90s. The organization possesses some of Japan’s brightest prospects and most cunning veterans, with current lightweight champion Takasuke Kume being a testament to this.
At Pancrase 293 in 2018, the sports’ eyes shifted back onto the 125-pound division, where reigning champion and longtime company-man Senzo Ikeda defended his crown against young up and comer Yuya Wakamatsu. The contest was treated as a passing of the torch in the Japanese flyweight division, if Wakamatsu was successful, of course.
Without giving away any spoilers, the pair went to war for over twenty minutes, showcasing the best that Japanese mixed martial arts had to offer. The fight remained on the feet for the majority of its duration, comfortably stealing the limelight that night. Ikeda proved that veterans still pack a punch, while Wakamatsu displayed a sheer will to win as well as a ton of heart.
Currently, both men compete under the ONE Championship banner, battling some of the toughest flyweights the promotion has to offer. Wakamatsu most notably lost to the division’s greatest athlete, Demetrious Johnson, whereas Ikeda had a tough test against Danny Kingad, ultimately coming up short.
MARK HOMINICK VS. YVES JABOUIN – WEC 49
You likely know Mark Hominick for one of two reasons: he challenged Jose Aldo for the UFC featherweight title and was unsuccessful in his attempt, or the fact he was knocked unconscious in seven seconds by the hands of The Korean Zombie. Both are wildly inaccurate representations of his career.
At WEC 49 in 2010, Hominick met fellow striking technician Yves Jabouin in a critical featherweight clash designed for the winner to take one giant leap towards title contention. Both men knew the ramifications the outcome of the fight could have on their respective careers, and this was evident from the outset.
Jabouin, hailing from the Caribbean island of Haiti, showed tremendous volume throughout the contest, attacking each and every inch of his opponent’s body. Hominick remained cool, calm and collected, applying firm pressure while landing numerous precise punches; he is extremely dexterous with his fists and possesses a piston of a right hand.
The second round is where this fight gets flavoursome. It’s the perfect mixture of ‘just bleed’ and technical beauty, which is why it perplexes me that fans have seem to forgotten how great it truly was. Do yourself a favor and rewatch.
THOMAS ALMEIDA VS. BRAD PICKETT – UFC 189
Many believe UFC 189 is responsible for producing the greatest mixed martial arts fight of all time in Robbie Lawler vs Rory MacDonald 2. However, this is not what I have chosen to include in the list today.
On the preliminary portion of the card, renowned brawler Brad Pickett attempted to school the young Thomas Almeida, who entered the matchup with a perfect professional record of 19-0. The Brazilian vexed formidable Muay Thai skills, while Pickett preferred to light up the opposition with his boxing. Both were exhibited.
Pickett, 13 years the elder of his foe, depicted his deft ability to strike early in the first round, dropping Almeida twice. His versatile attacks combined with slickly timed defense proved to be threatening, nevertheless, Almeida was able to turn the fight on its head by dropping Pickett with a right hand. As the opening round drew to a close, blood was leaking from the face of the young, undefeated prospect. It was clear that the pair came to fight, and fight, they did.
What happened in ensuing round, you ask? That’s for you to find out. I urge you to watch, as it may well be the most entertaining fight on this list.
MARCO POLO REYES VS. DONG HYUN MA – UFC 199
On June 4, 2016, Michael Bisping knocked out Luke Rockhold to become the first British UFC champion. It is even sweeter when you throw in the fact he claimed redemption and a first-round finish – not bad for a 37-year-old short-notice replacement.
Opening up the event was a firefight that included Marc Polo Reyes and Dong Hyun Ma, two lightweights with nothing to lose and everything to gain. Despite owning a slight reach advantage, Reyes opted to stand in the pocket and trade, a decision that was matched by his adversary.
When watching the first round you will witness Dong Hyun Ma eat everything his opponent has to give, and ask yourself: how much punishment can one man take? A lot, according to Ma himself.
The relatively unknown lightweights stole ‘Fight of the Night’ honors for their thrilling back-and-forth war, which ended in the third round due to a perfectly placed right hand. If you’ve got 30 minutes to spare, open up your Fight Pass and give it a watch; they threw caution to the wind, and then some.
If you have any suggestions for lesser-known yet fun fights that can be found on Fight Pass, do not hesitate to leave a comment.