Diego Sanchez will always be remembered for his knee at UFC Fight Night 6. | Photo: Dave Mandel
They were two young welterweight bucks on the rise, filled with hunger and ambition. When Karo Parisyan and Diego Sanchez met in the UFC Fight Night 6 headliner on Aug. 17, 2006, at the Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa in Las Vegas, they did not disappoint. A crackling 15 minutes of pure mixed martial arts action ensued, as their back-and-forth battle featured wild scrambles, scintillating judo throws and one particular knee strike that will forever live in UFC infamy.
Used as a lead-in to the premier of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 4, UFC Fight Night 6 also marked the promotional debut of Danish import Martin Kampmann and the first appearance by Chris Leben following his ill-fated encounter with Anderson Silva. Both were victorious, as Kampmann submitted Crafton Wallace and Leben knocked out future Sengoku Raiden Championship middleweight titleholder Jorge Santiago.
However, the main event stole the show. Sanchez and Parisyan engaged one another for three rounds in a match that was later rated the eighth-best UFC fight of all-time. Sanchez, “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 1 winner, took a unanimous decision: 29-28, 29-28 and 30-26. Prior to the event, rumors swirled regarding the idea that the Sanchez-Parisyan winner would earn a crack at the UFC welterweight crown. That was not the case, and, to this date, neither man has ever fought for the 170-pound title.
If there was a lasting image from their memorable duel in the desert, it can be found in round three. While jockeying for position in the clinch along the cage, Sanchez found himself in a most advantageous position and fired his right knee upwards into Parisyan’s face. The impact was violent. Cameras caught a small white object fluttering in the light, as what appeared to be a tooth flew out of the Armenian’s mouth in wake of the strike and fell to the canvas. Parisyan later claimed it had been a veneer. Whatever the case, it remains one of the most talked about moments in UFC history, and it happened on this day five years ago.