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The legendary Antonio Inoki died at 79 in his hometown of Tokyo, Japan on October 1st. Though Inoki was mostly known for his career as a professional wrestler, he had a significant impact on the sport of mixed martial arts. In 1976, Inoki competed against Muhammad Ali in what many consider the first major MMA fight ever to take place.
At the time, Ali was the Heavyweight Champion of the world and one of the most influential athletes on the planet while Inoki was amongst the top 2 most popular professional wrestlers in Japan. This was years before the public knew that professional wrestling was scripted. Though his wrestling matches were fixed, Inoki was known for having legitimate grappling abilities.
The original plan was to have a scripted fight between Ali and Inoki but when Ali found out that he was supposed to lose, he refused, turning the fixed fight into a real one. The fight had limited rules and saw Inoki on his back for the majority of the 15 rounds, kicking Ali’s legs.
The fight was ruled a draw and wasn’t received well by fans due to the lack of action. Though the fight itself wasn’t great, the spectacle of the mixed-rules fight led to many more which spawned the eventual birth of mixed martial arts.
Former UFC Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier continues to achieve success outside the cage, now formally working with the WWE. Ariel Helwani reported last weekend that Cormier would be the special guest referee to a Fight Pit Match between Seth Rollins and former UFC fighter Matt Riddle. The match takes place tomorrow at WWE’s Extreme Rules.
Discussing pro wrestling might seem strange to you, but there are a lot of ties here to MMA. Remember when Brock Lesnar was supposed to fight Daniel Cormier? There’s a strong chance it might happen now, but just not inside the Octagon.
If Daniel Cormier does well at Extreme Rules, there’s a big chance that we’ll see DC and Brock Lesnar compete in a wrestling match in the WWE. A match like this will be a crossover attraction with a lot of MMA fans tuning into the WWE for the first time, and WWE fans being exposed to MMA for the first time.
Alistair Overeem and Badr Hari are set to complete their trilogy at Glory Collision 4 tomorrow in Arnhem, Netherlands. This will mark Overeem’s first kickboxing fight in over 12 years. When Overeem first competed against Hari in 2008, many considered the fight a joke. Overeem was known as an MMA fighter who had a kickboxing record of 2-2 while Bad Hari was considered one of the best kickboxers in the world.
Like many kickboxing pundits, Hari didn’t take Overeem seriously which ultimately led to his demise. Overeem finished Hari by knockout in the 1st round and shook up the kickboxing world. The two competed in a rematch one year later, with Hari finishing Overeem by TKO tying up the score at 1-1.
Though he lost his rematch to Hari, Overeem went on to achieve success in his kickboxing career, winning the 2010 K1 World Grand Prix by defeating three of the best kickboxers in the world in one night. After winning the K1 Championship, Overeem left kickboxing to focus on his mixed martial arts career.
After 12 years away from the sport, Overeem will return to kickboxing tomorrow to complete his trilogy against Badr Hari. This is a massive fight in the Netherlands.
Jose Aldo says he’s done with MMA but might box in the future.
Kevin Holland vs. Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson is set for the main event of the UFC’s December 3rd event.
Alexandre Pantoja will be the backup fighter for Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno at UFC 283.
Aspen Ladd signs with the PFL.
Jake Paul thinks Anderson Silva boxing match could pull up to 700,000 PPV buys.