The stage was perfectly set for this heavyweight title fight which headlined Pride: ‘Final Conflict’ in 2005. Fedor Emelianenko was the reigning champion but Mirko Crocop had won seven fights in a row with the promotion to earn his shot at the belt.

A couple of months earlier Crocop had beaten Emelianenko’s teammate Ibragim Magomedov to set up the title fight. Meanwhile the Russian had won six fights out of seven for Pride, with the ‘no contest’ against Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira being the closest thing to a blip on his recent record.

All the elements were in place for a classic heavyweight title match at the Saitama Super Arena on August 28th, 2005. The encounter did not disappoint, and to this day it is regarded by many as being the best fight of the decade.


This is part of our retrospective series looking at some classic shows and fights.