With no fights being held at the moment and many of us unable to go to leave our homes, we now have a beautiful opportunity to connect with our families, educate our children, learn those new skills we’ve been putting off for years…or…you know, watch old fights and stuff.
This week, Jorge Santiago vs. Kazuo Misaki 2 from August 2010. These two had fought about a year previously, when Santiago had won by a dramatic last minute rear naked choke to win the Sengoku middleweight title. They returned to action again for a rematch for what turned into an unforgettable encounter.
First of all, if you haven’t seen this fight already. Watch it…now.
The beauty of this encounter came in its enormous swings in momentum. For Misaki to have made it out of round three after being decimated by a head kick and barrage of strikes, only for Santiago to be on the receiving end of a huge left hook and follow up in the next round was just extraordinary. It’s rare to see two fighters coming back from seemingly certain defeat on multiple occasions, and this fight was full of the kind of drama that can only emerge over five rounds, when exhaustion strips away everything but heart and determination.
After a red card and with one round to go, Santiago needed a finish in order to retain his title. He immediately dropped his veteran opponent and brutally dominated him on the ground, before Misaki’s corner threw in the towel with thirty seconds remaining. While Frank Trigg (if you watch the HDNet YouTube vid) was clearly appalled by this, Misaki would later explain that he felt the stoppage saved his life.
It’s hard to believe that this fight happened ten years ago. This late 2000s, early 2010s post-pride era of JMMA tends to be a bit overlooked, but for me personally it’s the time I have the fondest memories of. As a spectator, this fight might be the highlight.