10. Diego Sanchez vs. Gilbert Melendez – UFC 166, Oct. 19, 2013
When a fight has the company’s president Dana White literally cheering in the octagon afterwards, you know we saw something special. The two lightweights left everything in the octagon for 15 minutes of purely hellacious, teeth gritting action. In particular the third round, with Melendez trying to hold on to his faculties after a flurry of fists to the head, only to survive and hang on for the decision.
9. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Dan Henderson UFC 139, Nov. 19, 2011
Absolute exhaustion took over in the fourth and fifth rounds for these two light heavyweight legends. Henderson had Rua on the ropes early in round one, only to see Rua come back with a couple of submission attempts of his own and taking the action to Henderson late. Henderson squeaked out a split decision victory. This was one of the best light heavyweight fights of all time and an instant classic.
8. Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva UFC 79, Dec. 29, 2007
UFC 79 closed out 2007 with a battle of light heavyweight legends both coming off back to back losses. The fight of the year for 2007 was a three round slug-fest of two of the baddest men on the planet. Just watching on pay-per-view you could hear the crack of the leather against skin and bone as these two greats met in the middle of the octagon and struck it out Rocky style. Liddell busted up his opponent, leaving him bloody and earning a unanimous decision.
7. Diego Sanchez vs. Clay Guida TUF 9 Finale, June 20, 2009
An absolutely dominant first round for Sanchez, left the ”energizer bunny” Guida bloodied and beaten. Guida of course, would recover and have an excellent, aggressive second round, landing plenty of damage himself. However what makes this fight special, and on this list, was the action packed back and forth third round that saw both fighters proving their mettle. If you love back and forth fists, blood and heart, stop reading this list and go back to this fight. I won’t spoil the winner for you.
6. Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar – TUF 1 Finale, Apr. 9, 2005
This may be the most important fight in MMA history. On national TV, Griffin and Bonnar kicked, punched and ground and pounded to a pulse stopping finish. Credited with putting MMA into the mainstream, these two gave us a show that’s still talked about today. Forrest Griffin won the fight on decision. UFC president Dana White was so impressed by the fight, and Bonnar, that Bonnar was also awarded a UFC contract.