Great Fights is a series aimed at newer MMA fans who are looking for recommendations on the sport's finest bouts.
At Cage Rage 15 in 2006, Melvin Manhoef defended his Light Heavyweight belt against 'Cyborg' Evangelista Santos.
In what's widely considered to be one of the most fast-paced fights in the history of the sport, both men put on a show. From the intense staredown in the middle of the cage before the fight started to the very last blow that Manhoef lands on Cyborg, this fight is one of the most underappreciated greats in the catalog of this sport.
In the opening round, Cyborg and Manhoef traded heavy leg kicks before Manhoef delivered a few knees in the clinch that wobbled Cyborg. At every opportunity, Cyborg returned fire. If Manhoef landed a hook, so would Cyborg. And so the two just start winging hooks for the remainder of the round. Manhoef's striking speed has always been terrifying but it had never been more evident and potent than in this fight.
When both men realised that their gas tanks were quickly depleting, Cyborg shot for the takedown and locked in a heel hook. Had there been a few more seconds on the clock, the Brazilian may have captured the belt in that moment.
The second round provided even more excitement. If you like a fighting diet that solely consists of leg kicks, hooks and knees in the clinch, this fight is for your ideal meal.
Just when it seemed like either fighter had nothing left in the tank, Manhoef delivered a hellacious right hook that put Cyborg to the canvas for good.
You can watch the fight on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Z8j4wj0zEk