Their battle began in the 20th century. Two decades later the last chapter of its trilogy will finally be written down. This Friday, February 19th, the most classic rivalry in mix martial arts history will conclude. “The Most Dangerous Man in the World” Ken Shamrock faces the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master Royce Gracie.
Anybody who practices any martial art or simply enjoys combat sports and especially mix martial arts has heard about Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock. It is kind of hard not to, especially if we consider that their names have been together for more than twenty years. In fact, their rivalry dates back to the very first Ultimate Fighting Championship.
These two fighters met for the first time, on November 12, 1993, at McNichols Arena in Denver, Colorado. It was their second fight of the night. Gracie submitted Shamrock in less than one minute via rear-naked choke. From that moment, everybody wanted to learn jiu-jitsu.
They would meet again on April 7, 1995, at UFC 5. It was the company’s inaugural superfight. The event became legendary after a controversial draw that went on for 36 minutes. Back then; there were no five-minute rounds. Shamrock has always wanted the third fight, and their rivalry has been growing since then.
Is It Too Late?
Despite Shamrock has always looked forward to the rematch, it won’t be until two decades later that they will actually exchange punches once again. According to Shamrock, the only reason it is finally happening is because of his last and poor performance against Kimbo Slice.
Twenty-one years is a long time. Ken Shamrock, who was the first Superfight Champion at UFC 6, will be 52 on the match night. While tournament winner of UFC 1, UFC 2 and UFC 4, Royce Gracie, turned 49 last December. Gracie has not fought in nine years since his controversial victory over Sakuraba on June 2, 2007, where he tested for elevated levels of testosterone. As for Shamrock, he fought for the last time in June 2015, at Bellator 138, against Kimbo Slice. However, Kimbo knocked out Ken in the first round.
Many have questioned the quality and expectations of the fight and believed that somehow this trilogy fight could damage their legacy. Nonetheless, both fighters have announced to be in great shape and ready to settle things once and for all. On the other hand, I can bet that “not a single mix martial art fan in the world would allow himself to miss this fight”. Besides, no matter the result, the name of these two MMA icons will always be together. In “a curious” fact, Shamrock was one of the first two entrants into the UFC’s Hall of Fame, along with none other than Royce Gracie.
Don’t miss it! Bellator 149 main event: Shamrock vs. Gracie 3, will take place at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, on Feb. 19, 2016.