Fight Fix: Five Classic Fights

With UFC 176 cancelled due to Jose Aldo’s untimely neck injury, MMA fans might be left wanting for a solid slate of fights...

With that in mind, we’re digging into the UFC Fight Pass archives to highlight five classic and underrated matchups you might want to relive this weekend. For added viewing pleasure, we’ve suggested a beer pairing for each fight. But, you know, do that responsibly.

Next week, we’ll be back to live programming with a preview World Series of Fighting 12, which features a headlining bout between Luis Palomino and undefeated Lewis Gonzalez.

Alexander Gustafsson vs. Cyrille Diabate
UFC 120, October 16, 2010

Gustafsson’s out of his September rematch against light heavyweight champ Jon “Bones” Jones, but that doesn’t mean he should be forgotten. Go back four years to this undercard bout to watch a developing Gustafsson absorb some punishment (a skill he showed off to near perfection the first time around against Jones) and pull of a nice submission victory in Round 2.

Pair This Fight With: Nynäshamns Bedarö Bitter
Reason: One of Sweden’s finest.

Murilo Bustamante vs. Matt Lindland
UFC 37, May 10, 2002

It’s almost cheating to count this fight as just one entry, as you get to watch Matt Lindland tap out twice (allegedly) to then-middleweight champ Murilo Bustamante. After referee “Big” John McCarthy called an end to the fight when Lindland make a brief tapping motion during an armbar attempt early in the fight, he quickly restarted the fight after a protest from Lindland. Not to be deterred, Bustamante would finish the job via guillotine choke in Round 3. The infamous “double tap” fight would be Bustamante’s last in the UFC before splitting for Pride and vacating his belt. He may have been better off hanging around the octagon, as he dropped his first three fights in Pride after running up against “Rampage” Jackson, Dan Henderson, and Kazuhiro Nakamura.

Pair This Fight With: Two Brothers Bitter End Pale Ale
Reason: Two tapouts, two brothers, one bitter end.

Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar II
UFC 62, August 26, 2006

Okay, okay, it’s not Griffin vs. Bonnar I, but this fight got a bad rap after not living up to the unreasonable amount of hype surrounding it. Hype aside, their UFC 62 rematch from their epic clash at the finale of the first season of the Ultimate Fighter was still in the “fight of the year” conversation for ‘06. Going into the third round, both fighters had a shot at victory, and both fought like it, with Griffin eventually taking the fight — and the rivalry — by unanimous decision.

Pair This Fight With: Third Shift Session Lager
Reason: Third Shift’s Session Lager is a great “all day” beer, perfect for long fights.

Chris Leben vs. Kenny Florian
The Ultimate Fighter, Season 1, Episode 10

And speaking of the first season of TUF, let’s not forget two of its other competitors who would go on to solid careers in the UFC. This semi-final bout featuring two members of Team Couture saw vicious striking from both sides, with a doctor instead of the referee issuing the final stoppage after Kenny Florian’s elbow opened a nasty cut above the eye of “The Crippler”. Many fans had KenFlo losing the fight to that point, and either way you scored it, it’s a shame the two never got the chance for a proper rematch.

Pair This Fight With: Fiddler's Elbow (Wychwood Brewery Company Ltd)
Reason: Res ipsa loquitur.

Don Frye vs. Takayama Yoshihiro
Pride 21, June 23, 2002

Proving that we’re not all about technical skill and appreciate gratuitous violence as much as the next guy, we’re imploring you to relive this Pride 21 slugfest between Don “The Predator” Frye and Japanese professional wrestler Takayama Yoshihiro. Check out a supercut of the fight below, featuring some creative sound effects that make for a good, Rock ‘em, Sock ‘em time!

Pair This Fight With: Samuel Adams Rebel IPA
Reason: We couldn’t find a beer that's as American as Don Frye, but this patriotic IPA from Samuel Adams is a tasty consolation.

Photo: Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

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