Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Wanderlei Silva were two of the biggest names of the former Japanese MMA organization Pride FC. Their rivalry was the perfect matchup between two of the scariest knockout artists the organization had to offer. We review this classic rivalry’s first two chapters in Pride FC.
Pride Middleweight Grand Prix-2003
The Middleweight Grand Prix Tournament Final opened with Rampage shooting for a takedown underneath Wanderlei’s left hook, but Wanderlei managed to slap an arm underneath for the guillotine. Jackson showed amazing resolve, lasting for almost a minute in the choke before getting out of trouble. The following battle(s) in the guard would prove to be one of the best examples of each fighters’ skillset. Wanderlei isolated Rampage’s arm for an armbar, but Rampage was able to readjust for knee strikes. Wanderlei was able to get back to half and full guard, neutralizing Rampage until they were stood up by the referee.
After a left headkick by Wanderlei, Jackson went for another takedown. The story of the rest of the fight was constant clinch fighting and knee strikes. Wanderlei started to work with the Thai Clinch and land knees to the head and body. Jackson went for the single leg takedown, but was not succesful. After a low kick and a head kick, Wanderlei clinched again and landed knee strike after knee strike. Rampage tried to strike standing, but when he started to back up, he was pursued for more knees to the head. Trying for the takedown again, Wanderlei stuffed Rampage’s takedown and gave him a dose of Pride soccer kicks.
Jackson was able to stand again, but Wanderlei slapped on the trusty Thai Clinch again. After a few rights to the head and one last knee, the referee calls it a TKO finish for Wanderlei.
(Note: This video is edited down, you can access the full fight via this external website)
Rampage pressed forward at the opening bell, ducking under Silva’s jab and right hook to clinch as he did in their first fight. Wanderlei and Rampage fought in the clinch heavily, constantly battling for the best position in the corner until Wanderlei took a knee to the cup. After the fight is reset, Wanderlei finally stopped Rampage from ducking under his right.
At 7:00 of Round 1, Wanderlei really landed some strong punching combinations on Rampage before weighing down with the Thai Clinch. Finally at 6:40, Rampage gets the head and arm takedown that he’s fought to earn for the duration of the fight. Reset in the middle of the ring in guard, Rampage started to work with ground and pound. However, the same stalemate scenario took place between Wanderlei’s submission attempts and Rampage’s ground stikes. They’re stood up once again and carded for stalling.
Rampage tried to catch Wanderlei’s kick for a single leg takedown, but Wanderlei was able to counter with his hook. Rampage caught a right to Wanderlei’s body and on the button that put him on the canvas. Rampage got to side control and it looked like this fight was near to being finished, but Wanderlei was still able to slap a leg over for a triangle attempt. When it looked like Wanderlei was in dangerous waters, the fight was stopped by the bell.
As Rampage pressed forward for the clinch, Wanderlei was able to tag him a few times on his way forward. Rampage got another head and arm takedown, but Wanderlei was able to get out from underneath Jackson and fight in his guard for the first time in the fight. Wanderlei slammed the punches down on Rampage until he stood out and started in with the stomps and kicks. Rampage ankle picked Wanderlei and amazingly clinched in the stand up.
After breaking out of the clinch, Wanderlei started wearing down with leg kicks. Again, Rampage ate a few punches to clinch with Wanderlei. Rampage got caught hard by Vanderlei’s jab and right hook with 1:51 left in the second round. Wanderlei followed up with three knee strikes for the KO to close out a historic battle from Pride history.