10 years ago today, Fabricio Werdum ended one of the most revered, historic winning runs in mixed martial arts.
On 26 June, 2010, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu ace Werdum took on Fedor Emelianenko as he looked to continue rebuilding his MMA career in Strikeforce after being unceremoniously cut from the UFC roster two years earlier.
Werdum had already strung two wins together in Scott Coker’s promotion, defeating Mike Kyle by submission and getting a decision win against Antonio “Big Foot” Silva, but Emelianenko was seen as a big step up in competition.
Meanwhile, Emelianenko had already fought once in Strikeforce – knocking out Brett Rogers in spectacular style – after Affliction MMA’s abrupt end.
“The Last Emperor” was riding an unbeaten run of 28 fights heading into his contest with Werdum as he looked to show off his skills in front of an American audience.
The HP Pavilion in San Jose, California was teeming with anticipation as the mostly pro-Fedor crowd geared up to see their Russian hero fight on American soil for only the fifth time.
Things got off to a hectic start.
Following the briefest of feeling out processes, both Werdum and Emelianenko quickly exchanged a flurry of punches which saw the Brazilian fall to the floor.
Emelianenko dived onto Werdum to deliver some ground and pound for a quick, decisive win, but the latter instantly grabbed hold of Fedor’s arm to threaten with an armbar submission.
Fedor did well to free his limb and avert the armbar, but he didn’t heed the warning sent from that original submission attempt.
After Emelianenko shucked him off to deliver more frantic ground and pound, Werdum rolled and eventually caught his foe’s head and left arm for a triangle armbar.
Try as you might, you’re going to have serious problems getting out of a triangle from Werdum, a man who has won gold on multiple occasions in the ADCC World Championships, World Jiu Jitsu Championships and Pan American Jiu Jitsu Championships. Fedor included.
Out of options after squirming to try and improve his position as his arm was hyperextended and twisted against its elbow joint further, Emelianenko was forced to tap 69 seconds into the first round.
69 seconds to undo an unbeaten run which lasted over nine years and 28 fights.
Fedor was finally made to look human 10 years ago today.
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Other historic MMA moments (22-28 June)
22 June, 2019 – UFC Fight Night: Moicano vs. The Korean Zombie
Chan Sung Jung, better known as “The Korean Zombie” overcame a devastating last-second defeat to Yair Rodriguez by emphatically dismantling the highly-touted Renato Moicano in just 58 seconds.
That loss led to Moicano to go up a weight class, where he enjoyed his lightweight debut with a submission win over Damir Hadzovic. Meanwhile, TKZ went on to dispatch Frankie Edgar by first-round TKO in Busan, South Korea six months later.
22 June, 2019 – Bellator London/Bellator 223
This bumper night of fights in London saw 19 bouts play out in the SSE Arena.
In the main event, Rafael Lovato Jr. upset the odds to win Bellator middleweight championship gold against Gegard Mousasi with a majority decision going in his favour.
Elsewhere, European MMA fans were happy to see the likes of Melvin Manhoef and Paul Daley pick up wins while on the continent’s soil.
23 June, 2018 – UFC Fight Night: Cowboy vs. Edwards
Birmingham welterweight Leon Edwards staked his claim as a top-level 170-pounder with a comfortable unanimous decision victory over Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in Singapore.
This was Edwards’ sixth victory on the bounce. He’s since extended that string of wins to eight as he patiently awaits either a number one contender fight or a shot at the UFC welterweight championship.
25 June, 2017 – UFC Fight Night: Chiesa vs. Lee
There was no love lost between these two lightweights in the lead up to this contest, but it was Kevin Lee who emerged from the Octagon with the win.
In a back-and-forth opening round, Lee worked his way to synch up a rear-naked choke while he had control of his foe’s back.
Chiesa didn’t tap, but appeared to go limp while under the strain of the submission and referee Mario Yamasaki called an end to the contest. However, the Spokane, Washington native looked totally fine as soon as the fight had ended and argued with Yamasaki that the fight was called off unnecessarily.
Controversial or not, that win earned Lee a chance at fighting for the interim UFC lightweight title. He came up short, though, as Tony Ferguson submitted him with a triangle choke in the third round.
24 June, 2017 – Bellator NYC: Sonnen vs. Silva/Bellator 180
At the time, Bellator NYC/180 was seen as the biggest show ever put on by the UFC’s domestic competitor.
It marked the promotion’s first foray into hosting its event on pay-per-view, while also being the first time Bellator had hit New York City since the sport was legalised by the state in 2016.
The Bellator NYC card was headlined by the grudge match between Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva, of which the former emerged from the cage with the win.
Further down the card, Matt Mitrione stunned the fighting world with a crazy knockout win over MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko.
In total, there were also three Bellator title fights that night, dotted across the Bellator NYC and 180 cards (they were split for marketing reasons but all took place at MSG on the same night).
Ryan Bader got the split decision nod over Phil Davis to win the Bellator light heavyweight championship he still holds today.
Brent Primus also scored an upset win that night, earning a TKO (doctor stoppage) victory against lightweight champion Michael Chandler to take the title.
Finally, Douglas Lima sucessfully defended his Bellator welterweight championship with a unanimous decision win against challenger Lorenz Larkin.
27 June, 2015 – UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Romero
Yoel Romero showed off his scary, explosive knockout power and Lyoto Machida was the unfortunate recipient on this night.
The fight’s final salvo came in the third round and came after the Cuban bundled Brazil’s Machida to the ground. Immediately assuming half guard, Romero then landed a series of short-looking elbows which managed to knock Machida unconscious in front of his fans in Florida.
In his post-fight interview, Romero went on his now-infamous “No forget Jesus” rant.
23 June, 2012 – UFC 147: Silva vs. Franklin II
The main event of UFC 147 changed on multiple occasions and, as a result, the UFC ended up offering a full refund to any ticket holders for the first time in its long history.
In the end a rematch between Rich Franklin and Wanderlei Silva headlined the card in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
The result of this catchweight contest ended the same way as their first – Rich Franklin’s hand being raised following a unanimous decision victory and with Fight of the Night honours.
26 June, 2011 – UFC Live: Kongo vs. Barry
Want to know what is the perfect fight to show your uneducated friends how chaotic and brilliant mixed martial arts is? You can’t go wrong with Cheick Kongo vs. Pat Barry.
Kongo was seemingly done not once, but twice as Barry floored him with two looping overhand rights.
The Frenchman somehow managed to regain his senses enough to scramble his way out of danger on the floor to a more precarious position on his feet again on two separate occasions.
Barry went for the kill for the third and final time, only to be met by a stunning right hand from Kongo which instantly rendered the former unconscious.
All of this took place in less than 3 minutes. If you somehow haven’t watched this fight by now, go and fire up Fight Pass.
27 June, 2008 – Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Thomson
Strikeforce’s lightweight division was one of the promotion’s highlights as it fought for attention with the UFC in the late 2000s.
This event was the first time we saw the long-awaited fight between then-Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez and long-time contender Josh Thomson.
Thomson defeated Melendez to win championship gold. He lost his belt in his rematch with Melendez a year later and failed to win it back in their rubber match in 2012.
23 June, 2007 – Nate Diaz becomes the Ultimate Fighter
MMA fans had already become well acquainted with Nick Diaz by the time The Ultimate Fighter season five came out.
Widely regarded as one of the best series of TUF, Nick’s younger brother Nate came out top after defeating Manvel Gamburyan – the fight ending due to the latter’s grotesque, self-inflicted shoulder injury forcing him to submit in round two. It was a strange way to end a memorable season designed to kick off the resurrection of the UFC’s lightweight division.
In the main event, season five coaches B.J. Penn and Jens Pulver fought. Hawaii’s Penn was the victor, submitting Pulver with a rear-naked choke in the second round.
26 June, 2005 – Pride FC: Critical Countdown 2005
Pride Fighting Championship’s Critical Countdown events will always be fun to look back on as they always boasted such amazing talent.
This year’s Critical Countdown card was built around the promotion’s Middleweight Grand Prix quarterfinals.
The 2005 Pride FC Middleweight Grand Prix quarterfinals saw Mauricio “Shogun” Rua defeat “Little Nog” Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Alistair Overeem submit Igor Vovchanchyn, Wanderlei Silva knock out Kazuhiro Nakamura, and Ricardo Arona score a corner stoppage win against Kazushi Sakuraba.
The card also boasted names such as Mirko Cro Cop, “Big Nog” Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Sergei Kharitonov and Pedro Rizzo.
23 June, 2002 – Pride 21: Demolition
On 23 June, 2002, the combat sports world bore witness to one of the craziest fights you’ll ever see.
Headlining the card, the fight between Don Frye and Yoshihiro Takayama caught plenty of attention as the pair took turns to repeatedly punch each other in the face and with little-to-no defence.
Soon, the punishment became too much for the bloodied, battered and bruised Takayama as the referee called the fight off to spare him from any further ground and pound punishment Frye was about to dish out from mount.
Elsewhere on the card, Fedor Emelianenko defeated towering kickboxer Semmy Schilt by unanimous decision, while a youthful Anderson Silva made his Pride FC debut with a TKO win over Alex Stiebling.
22 June, 2002 – UFC 37.5: As Real As It Gets
There are plenty of quirks surrounding this numbered UFC event.
It was a hastily thrown-together event which was specifically held to promote the UFC on Fox Sports Net’s “The Best Damn Sports Show Period” programme. It was named UFC 37.5 as UFC 38: Brawl at the Hall – the promotion’s first foray into the United Kingdom – had already been announced and marketed.
In the main event, Chuck Liddell defeated Vitor Belfort by unanimous decision. Lower in the card, Robbie Lawler’s TKO win over Steve Berger holds the distinction of being the first ever MA fight to be aired on US cable television.
UFC 37.5 also happened to be the first UFC event to feature Joe Rogan as a color commentator.