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Top PRIDE Fights: Kazushi Sakuraba vs Royce Gracie (The 90 Minute Match)

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?????. Uncle Chaps approached me a little while ago and said “Hey pal, I know you either weren’t born or were a toddler for a lot of it, but you ever watch PRIDE?”

This guy? Octagon Bob? The guy who makes his living talking about three movies that came out in 1977, 1980, and 1983? Fuck yeah, Chapsy, I’ve watched me some PRIDE. (Almost) only 19 but my mind is older. So myself and Chaps are going to introduce you guys to some old PRIDE fights, some of our favorites, and hopefully you can see how god damn awesome it was. He has a much more interesting perspective than me because he lived in Japan during the height of it’s popularity, but I think I match his enthusiasm for it. I’m kicking off my side of things with Kazushi Sakuraba vs Royce Gracie, the longest fight in PRIDE history, clocking in at 90 minutes.

How did an MMA fight go 90 minutes, you ask? Well, PRIDE fights generally lasted 20 minutes: first round is 10 minutes, second and third rounds are each 5 minutes. Grand Prix (tournament) events had one 10 minute round, followed by a 5 minute round. This was the quarterfinals of the 2000 Grand Prix, and came just six months after catch-wrestler Kazushi Sakuraba became the first man to defeat a member of the Gracie family (Royler) in MMA. The Gracies were fucking infuriated about this, embarrassed really, and felt their legacy was tarnished, so Royce entered this tournament with the sole intention of meeting Sakuraba in the ring. The Gracie family requested a special set of rules in the case that this happened…no referee stoppages, no time limits, just 15 minute rounds until one man was knocked out or gave up.

The full fight can be found here:

All of the Gracie’s requested rule changed worked against Royce, and after Kazushi tore up Royce’s leg for 90 minutes (he actually almost submitted him with a kneebar in the very first round), Rorion Gracie threw the towel for his brother after the sixth round. That marked Royce’s first ever MMA defeat, and so, “The Gracie Hunter” nickname was born for Sakuraba. He tried to finish the tournament that night, but lost to Igor Vovchanchyn (who also weighed 50 pounds more than him) in his next fight.

Kazushi Sakuraba will enter the UFC Hall Of Fame next month.

For the funnest fact of all…began fighting mixed martial arts to gain attention in legitimizing professional fucking wrestling. A lot of his career was spent hoping to make the fuckin’ graps seem legit. Check back on Wednesday for Chaps’ next Top PRIDE Fight. If you missed his first, the link can be found below.


Chaps – Top Pride Fights: Quinton Jackson vs Ricardo Arona