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In early 2006, at the Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo, Joachim 'Hellboy' Hansen and Luiz Azeredo went to war for seven minutes straight.
With a combined 15 finishes in 23 wins, it came as no surprise that the fight wouldn't see the judges' decision. Azeredo's fight prior to this was an 11-second KO over Naoyuki Kotani while Hansen was known for delivering hellacious knees that had brutally finished Masakazu Imanari and Caol Uno back to back.
From the get-go, the chaos of this matchup was obvious. Azeredo opened the fight with a flying knee attempt and then immediately started to target the lead leg of Hansen. Pouring the pressure on Hansen, Azeredo walked him into a Thai clinch and started to deliver knees to the body. The sequence would end with Azeredo dragging Hansen to the mat with a single leg takedown.
On the mat, Hansen looked the most comfortable despite being on his back. He delivered successive elbows and up-kicks that forced Azeredo to disengage and return to his feet. A few seconds later, it was Azeredo who was on his back courtesy of a left hand and knee combination from Hansen that dropped the Brazilian. He worked his way to an armbar on Hansen which he failed to lock in due to the concussive ground and pound absorbed. Despite being on the mat, the two somehow managed to make a slugfest out of it. While Hansen was striking from top position, Azeredo wasn't too focused on defence by way of turtling up or creating a scramble - he was clubbing Hansen off his back.
Troubled by the strikes Azeredo was dealing off his back, Hansen moved into side control which forced Azeredo to scramble. Amidst the scramble, Hansen jumped on Azeredo's back with a rear-naked choke attempt but was quickly shaken off as Azeredo now found himself in half guard. Safe position? No. Hansen immediately collected Azeredo's arm and began to crank on it only for Azeredo to display crafty defensive grappling with a swift elevator sweep.
Both fighters were forced back to their feet as Azeredo received a yellow card for holding the ropes while stomping Hansen's head. From that moment on, only one fighter would return back to the canvas.
After trading head kicks, left hands, and an abundance of striking combinations, it was Hansen who decided he had had enough of the back-and-forth. In one slick movement, 'Hellboy' pulverized Azeredo with his patented knee. It may have been a head kick attempt that landed early due to Azeredo's movement, and perhaps not an intentional knee like the one that took out Imanari, but it was enough to switch Azeredo's lights out.
It's still one of the most devastating finishes in Pride history and, despite clocking in at just seven minutes (1 round under the Pride ruleset), is also one of the most memorable in the promotion's legendary history.
UFC Fight Pass subscribers can watch the fight here: https://ufcfightpass.com/video/33968/joachim-hansen-vs-luiz-azeredo-pride-bushido-10
The fight is also available on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odmdUB0lp3g