Sakuraba vs. Royce Gracie
Pride Grand Prix 2000: Finals
No, this fight wasn’t an all-action back-and-forth toe-to-toe war. Rather, it was a slow-burning candle that seemed to last forever. In actuality, Gracie and Sakuraba fought and grappled for over 90 minutes. Gracie wore his traditional gi but it wound up working against him in his match with the Japanese legend.
Sakuraba almost nailed a kneebar at the end of the first, but Gracie fended it off. Royce had tremendous difficulty trying to take Sakuraba down and when he did, Kazushi’s wrestling and positioning wore Gracie down. Finally, after six grueling 15-minute rounds of clinching, grappling, sporadic submission attacks and Sakuraba’s crippling leg kicks, Royce’s brother Rorion threw in the towel.
While it’s not ever going to be compared with many other vicious brawls ever, the fight is legendary for the complete opposite reason. It remains one of the greatest fight in the entire history of MMA – specifically Pride - but mostly because of how historically significant it was.
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