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Royce Grace versus Kazushi Sakuraba 2

by Stan Leung

A Mixed Martial Arts Fan Dream Come True

Kazushi Sakuraba vs Royce Gracie Kazushi Sakuraba vs Ryan Gracie

There have been 3 three major shifts to bring what mixed martial arts is today. First was the Gracie family inventing the UFC, to showcase which martial arts discipline is the best, second was the legitimatization of the UFC, where rules and regulations were put into place under the Las Vegas Fighting commission. This also includes the tremendous work Dana White and Zuffa have done in marketing to bring the UFC to the mainstream. During the time, Dana White was educating North Americans about the intricacies of mixed martial arts and what MMA really is instead of just being a bloody sport, but across the ocean where fans and MMA was more accepted and understood is the third shift in MMA, and that was the rise of Pride Fighting Championships.

After Royce Gracie and his family basically broke conventional martial art disciplines, everyone in the mixed martial arts world thought Brazilian Jujitsu was unbeatable. That was until Kazushi Sakuraba broke the myth. This is of course from a North American point of view, as most Japanese and Brazilians knew that the Gracie’s could be beat. In 2000 Pride was at its peak with Kazushi Sakuraba becoming known as the Gracie Hunter for his ability to take on a beat the Gracie’s (Royce, Ralph, Renzo, Ryan, Royler). Sakuraba and his exciting style of fighting brought MMA to a whole new level.

His legendary MMA match with Royce Gracie has to be the biggest fight in MMA history. This match was held on May 1, 2000 at the PRIDE Grand Prix 2000 Finals. Sakuraba nearly ended things with a knee-bar towards the end of the first round. Later on, Royce returned the favor with a guillotine choke which Sakuraba lingered in, but eventually escaped from. Gracie's own no time-limit rules began to work against Royce as Sakuraba's wrestling skills and nullified Royce's ability to score a takedown. Every attempt Royce made Sakuraba countered with either punches or leg kicks. After the 90 minute battle of punishing leg kicks, Royce's brother threw in the towel. This match lasted over an hour and a half and was the greatest MMA fight ever.

To me Kazushi Sakuraba is one of the all time greatest mixed martial arts fighters in history. He had the perfect combination of showmanship and skill. He has had so many legendary fights and he has fought a who’s who in martial arts. Most North Americans only know Gracie form the UFC but Kazushi Sakuraba beat five Gracies’ in a row. Kazushi Sakuraba has fought guys twice his size when he is barely a middleweight. His courage to fight larger opponents like Mirko Cro Cop, Kevin Randleman, Ken Shamrock, Quinton Jackson, Igor Vovchanchyn, Marcus Silveira and Anthony Macias has given him Superman status in Japan. If you are new to mixed martial arts go rent some of the early Pride DVD’s and you will see what I am talking about.

Now seven years later, Fighting Entertainment Group and Pro Elite, in conjunction with Showtime Networks, hope to make history with a rematch between the two at Dynamite USA, from the Los Angeles Coliseum on June 2.

Considering the outdoor stadium can hold an excess of 90,000 fans, promoters including Elite Xtreme Combat President Gary Shaw, look to break attendance records for MMA events in the United States and put the growing popularity of the sport to the test. Though both fighters have seen better days, this is a must view fight for all the hardcore MMA fans out there.
Royce is coming off a bad lose to former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes, and Kazushi Sakuraba has been suffering from health problems the last couple of years. Despite this if you know and love MMA you would not miss this fight for the world.

The PPV fights will start at 10 p.m. [EST.] and include former wrestling star Brock Lesnar as he makes his MMA debut against the 7-feet-2 South Korean Hong Man Choi. Also featured on the card is NFL star Johnnie Morton, Ray Sefo, Antonio Silva and J.Z. Calvan.

Also on the card

-Brock Lesnar vs. Hong-Man Choi
-Royce Gracie vs. Kazushi Sakuraba
-Melvin Manhoef vs. Yoon Dong Sik
-Ray Sefo vs. Marvin Eastman
-"Mighty" Mo Siliga vs. Choi Mu Bae
-Johnnie Morton vs. Bernard Ackah


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