Each December I count down the top 25 fights in UFC history. With each day of December, I will be revealing the newest fight on the list, with the #1 fight being revealed on Christmas morning. With approximately 550-600 new UFC fights each year, the list will look different than the year before. The criteria for ranking these fights are the amount of action, competitiveness, and significance of the fight (main events/title fights tend to get some extra credit).
So let’s get to the list
List so far
* The list was completed before Camacho/Brown, Medeiros / Oliveira, and Alvarez / Gaethje occurred, all would have been considered for the list
- #25 Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs Randy Couture
- #24 Cheick Kongo vs Pat Barry
- #23 Chris Leben vs Yoshihiro Akiyama
- #22 Frank Shamrock vs Tito Ortiz
- #21 Andrei Arlovski vs Travis Browne
- #20 Frankie Edgar vs Gray Maynard 2 & 3
- #19 Georges St. Pierre vs Johny Hendricks
- #18 Chuck Liddell vs Wanderlei Silva
- #17 Diego Sanchez vs Karo Parisyan
- #16 Karo Parisyan vs Nick Diaz
- #15 Johny Hendricks vs Robbie Lawler 1 & 2
#14 Diego Sanchez vs Nick Diaz
November 5th, 2005
Main Event of The Ultimate Fighter Season 2 Finale
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada
Diego Sanchez, the original Ultimate Fighter winner, entered the fight at 23 years old and had a perfect record of 14-0 but this was the first marque fight for Sanchez. Diaz entered the fight even younger at 22 years old. Diaz was ranked in the top 10 and had an 11-3 record and a 4-1 record in the UFC. Diaz talked before the fight that Sanchez did not deserve to be in the main event yet.
The first round started at an insane pace. Sanchez lands a right hand and shoots in immediately for a takedown and gets his back. Diaz rolls under for a leg lock. Sanchez scrambles and ends up on top. Sanchez starts landing punches from on top. Sanchez creates space but Diaz lands a very nice upkick. Diaz attempts an armbar, but Sanchez punches himself out of it. Diaz lands some elbows on the bottom, which Sanchez responds with his own elbows from on top. Sanchez stands up to land better shots but gets hit with another upkick. Sanchez falls back into guard and lands some hard elbows. Diaz responds with punches from the bottom, but Sanchez is getting the better shots from on top. Diaz scrambles and grabs a single leg takedown. Sanchez grabs a Kimura but is slammed to the mat. Diaz opens up some ground and pound, but Sanchez scrambles to get to his feet. Diaz locks on a Kimura but Sanchez rolls out and lands a nice knee to Diaz body. Sanchez lands a nice takedown and Sanchez rolls for a kneebar and then lands punches from the bottom. Sanchez responds with shots from the bottom. Diaz lands another upkick and is hit with more ground and pound. Diaz attempts a triangle choke, but Sanchez punches his way out of it. Diaz attempts another triangle choke, which he switches to an armbar. Sanchez lands some ground and pound. Diaz starts talking trash from the bottom and then lands an upkick. Sanchez finishes the round with more ground and pound. Very close round, but I gave it to Sanchez.
Diaz slips on a high kick attempt to open the round, but gets to his feet before Sanchez can capitalize. Sanchez lands a left hook, but Diaz lands a sharp 1-2 combination. Sanchez lands another double leg takedown and starts some ground and pound. Sanchez picks Diaz up and slams him again. Diaz goes for a triangle choke, but Sanchez punches out of it. Diaz lands punches from the bottom until Sanchez lands a hard elbow from on top that bloodies Diaz. Diaz rolls and goes for an omaplata. Sanchez works out of it and starts landing shots from on top. Diaz lands an upkick, and Sanchez lands more ground and pound. Diaz attempts an armbar and uses it grab a single leg. Sanchez is sprawled out and lands a knee to Diaz and lands in the mount. Diaz immediately rolled a leg lock and uses it to get to the top. Sanchez landed elbows on the bottom, while Diaz responds with his own shots. Sanchez scrambles to his feet, and Diaz attempts a Kimura. They both scramble. Sanchez lands a hard knee as they get up and both lands bombs on each other. Sanchez lands another double leg and gets Diaz back, while Diaz rolls for a kneebar as the round ends. Another close round that I score for Sanchez.
The third round starts with Diaz dropping Sanchez with a left hand. Diaz drops Sanchez again with a right hand. Sanchez misses a double leg takedown. Diaz lands a 1-2 combination that opens a huge cut on Diaz’s eye. Sanchez gets two takedowns blocked. Sanchez lands his own 1-2 combination and gets a double leg takedown. Sanchez opens up some ground and pound. Diaz scrambles up and lands another 1-2 combination. Sanchez lands another double leg takedown and takes Diaz back again. Diaz rolls under and starts a scramble. Sanchez attempts a guillotine choke on the feet, but Diaz takes him down. Diaz lands some huge ground and pound. Sanchez throws up and armbar that looks very deep. Diaz punches his way out of it. Sanchez scrambles to his feet and grabs a leg, while Diaz goes for a Kimura. Sanchez lands on top. Diaz throws up a triangle and then lands shots from the bottom. Sanchez lands some big shots from on top, while Diaz lands some from the bottom. Diaz throws up a Kimura and then switches to an armbar as the fight ends. Very close round that I scored for Diaz.
Results and Notes:
Sanchez wins a unanimous decision.
It was the first huge win for Sanchez. It also was the first huge win of Greg Jackson’s coaching career. Jackson’s success with Sanchez helped lead him to get other fighters, and becoming one of, if not the most successful coach in MMA history.
Diaz is the bad boy from Stockton, that has a cult following. He had mixed results after this fight and is supposed to be returning to the UFC soon.