How’s this for a historic first event – Jungle Fights 1: September 13, 2003 featured the likes of Jacare Souza, Evangelista Santos, Fabricio Werdum, Gabriel Gonzaga, other well-known names in the world of MMA and a little fight between undefeated newcomers to the sport Lyoto Machida and Stephan Bonnar. By the time these two eventual household names would meet in the Ariau Amazon Towers Convention Center in Manaus, Brazil, Bonnar would be 3-0 with three submission victories (including a guillotine over Brian Ebersole) and Machida would be 1-0 and fighting in Brazil for the first time.
Much like their fights for years to come, Bonnar would plod forward, trying to get a grip on Machida while eating shots and Machida would use his pee-fueled elusiveness to escape Bonnar. Then, like many Bonnar fights, the Carlson Gracie protoge would get busted open while punching another man in the head with great force. The fight would be called, Bonnar would be aggravated and Machida would be victorious. Both men’s paths took on very different travels after this fight. Bonnar would string three more wins together before entering The Ultimate Fighter. Machida would test the Japanese waters until he too moved to the UFC. The rest they say, is history.
In honor of Bonnar’s trip back to Brazil, we take a Blast To The Past to look at this fascinating fight that the oddsmakers say will probably play out much the same way this Saturday when Bonnar takes on Anderson Silva at UFC 153.