Pride FC was once one of the biggest MMA organizations in the world, remembered fondly by veteran MMA fans. Home to some of the most legendary bouts in MMA history, there is no doubt that Pride FC played an important role in bringing more eyes to mixed martial arts fighting as a form of entertainment. Although Pride FC is sadly no longer with us, the historic battles that took place are most definitely still worth enjoying purely for entertainment or for studying for you studious folk.
In this article, we’re going to look at some of the best BJJ submissions that happened in Pride FC (whether performed by a BJJ practitioner or not). Get your popcorn out, we’re about to jump into the MMA time machine!
1 Kazushi Sakuraba vs Carlos Newton
Known as the ‘Gracie Hunter’, Kazushi Sakuraba is a living legend in the MMA world. Having wins over Royler, Ryan, Renzo and Royce Gracie, he was a problem for just about anyone on the ground in his prime. He showed this to be the case when fighting Carlos Newton at Pride 3 in 1998.
Although Sakuraba commits the cardinal sin of giving up his back to Newton, he doesn’t give him enough time to capitalise on the position and with a well-timed roll soon finds himself locking on one of the most lethal bjj submissions, a knee bar! The chain of events leading to the submission as well as the submission itself makes this fight one of the all-time classics for submissions in Pride FC.
Sneaky Knee bar!
2 Shinya Aoki vs Joachem Hansen
Known for his outlandish behaviour and exceptional martial arts abilities, Shinya Aoki has been a real character in the MMA world with an insane record of 42-9. Although the gogoplata was first executed successfully at Cage Combat Australia in 1997, it wasn’t until Aoki’s bout with Hansen that it became globally recognised.
Aoki did an excellent job of enforcing his game plan from the get go. Hansen was a feared striker when they fought and within the first minute of the first round Aoki had Hansen on the ground. He proceeded to dominate position and land decent ground and pound before going for an arm bar, which was well defended by Hansen however it then lead onto the Gogoplata submission.
One of the rarest BJJ submissions!
3 Minotauro vs Cro Cop I
Mirko Cro Cop (Filipović) was an absolute devastator in Pride FC. An ex special-forces police officer from Croatia that was a human wrecking machine, especially his kicks that sent his victims to another dimension. He was quite possibly one of the most feared men to step in the ring with at the time, many thought Minotauro (Antonio Rodrigo) Nogueira fate would be much the same as his previous opponents.
Initially it did look to be very much of the same, Minotauro was taking an absolute beating on the feet. Cro Cop was throwing his dangerous strikes and even connected with his signature left high kick to the face, knocking Minotauro down with only the bell saving him from a gruesome fate.
Minotauro’s persistence with the takedowns attempts eventually paid off and he made it very clear that while Cro Cop was not to be messed with on the feet, he was not to be underestimated on the ground. His black belt in BJJ served him well, earning him an arm bar victory.
BJJ in all it’s glory!
4 Fedor vs Randelman
Fedor ‘The Last Emperor’ Emelianenko is quite possibly one of the most legendary figures in MMA. His dominance during his prime was unmatched and even to this day he is held in very high esteem by MMA fans around the world. It was at Pride Critical Countdown in 2004 when he found himself up against Kevin Randelman who was an absolute physical specimen, with unreal athletic ability and he showed it in this bout.
The fight didn’t even leave the first round but still provided more than enough drama. Randleman put the pressure on Emelianenko from the get go, getting him down to the ground with relative ease, which was surprising as he was clearly the smaller man. He wasn’t able to keep Emelianenko down for long though, however once The Last Emperor got his feet he was sent flying through the air in what is quite possibly one of the most exceptional suplexes in MMA history. The height Randleman got on the suplex was immense but what was as surprising if not more so was the way that Emelianenko brushed it off! He quickly reversed position and began raining down ground and pound on Randleman before finishing him with one of the most popular bjj submissions, a kimura.
5 Alexander Otsuka vs Mike Bourke
A little known bout for those outside of the Pride FC hardcore fans, this fight was almost destined to disappear into history without any mention. Alexander Otsuka had a pretty poor run in his MMA career and Mike Bourke wasn’t quite cut out for it either. However, their bout at Pride 11: Battle of the Rising Sun is something truly special. Why? Well, it was the first time we got a chance to see a double arm bar in MMA history! The fight never left the first round and saw Bourke tapping with his knees to call it quits.
One of the strangest BJJ submissions!
Pride FC brought us countless hours of exciting entertainment and some of the best submission victories in MMA history. Although it is a shame that Pride FC is no longer with us, organizations such as the UFC, ONE, Bellator and Rizen have done an exceptional job of carrying the flame and some of Pride FC’s fighters are still in these organisations (i.e Alistair Overeem in the UFC Heavyweight division). Submissions play an integral role in what makes watching MMA so exciting, we hope to see many more awesome submissions in the coming years!