Sherdog’s Top 10: Largest Crowds in MMA History

No. 1

By Brian Knapp May 24, 2017

1. Pride Shockwave

A record crowd of 91,107 greeted fighters at Tokyo National Stadium on Aug. 28, 2002, and no one in attendance left unsatisfied. Mirko Filipovic collided with Kazushi Sakuraba in the main event, but they had been upstaged by the time they reached the ring. In perhaps the most memorable freak-show pairing in Pride Fighting Championships history, Bob Sapp battled Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. The monstrous Sapp wrecked the beloved Brazilian for more than 10 minutes, as he drove him headfirst into the canvas, slammed him repeatedly and pounded away from top position. Observers seated at ringside grew concerned that Sapp was going to seriously injure or even kill “Minotauro,” and the fight was on the brink of being stopped on more than one occasion. Nevertheless, Nogueira was cut from a different cloth than 99 percent of the world’s population and somehow withstood the assault, waited for Sapp to tire and searched for his opportunity. The resilient Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt snatched an exposed limb late in the middle stanza, scrambled to side control and pulled off a textbook armbar for the tapout 4:03 into Round 2. The fans roared their approval.


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