From 1997 to 2007, PRIDE FC was the delight of many MMA fans around the world. The organization was one of the UFC’s all-time biggest rivals, if not the biggest rival historically. Eventually, once the Japan-based promotion folded, the UFC would buy them out and absorb their talent-rich roster. A list that included many great names such as Brazilian legend, Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira.
After winning his UFC debut in the Summer of ’07, Minotauro would get a shot at the interim UFC heavyweight title opposite former champion Tim Sylvia. It was a vintage performance from the PRIDE vet as he struggled early on in the fight before catching a guillotine submission in the third round.
While Sylvia was just one of the many future or former titleholders that Nogueira graced the Octagon with during his time, Sylvia wasn’t the first.
Mark “The Hammer” Coleman would be Minotauro’s official first fight with a former UFC champ, but it’s the second that is remembered in an iller light.
At PRIDE: Total Elimination 2003, as part of the quarterfinals of the heavyweight Grand Prix, Minotauro took on Ricco Rodriguez. At the time, Rodriguez was fresh off of his UFC title loss after falling to the aforementioned Sylvia at UFC 41.
Against Minotauro Nogueira, “Ricco Suave” was representing the UFC and looking to rebound. While he didn’t manage to come out with his hand raised, many believed he very well should have.
This is First Fight View with Drake Riggs. The video series where we go back and watch some of MMA’s most controversial decisions … for the very first time! I will be watching the fights in their entirety and providing commentary throughout as I score the rounds as they happen. And although the majority of these bouts will likely be under the old version of the unified rules of MMA, scores under both sets of the new and old will be tallied to maximize perspective. The global ruleset is also thrown in just for a little bit of extra fun.
Check it out in the full video above.