Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs Heath Herring (2nd
This is a heavyweight tournament match that took place during the legendary Heavyweight Tournament at Pride Critical Countdown 2004 in Saitama, Japan. Attendance for the event was 43,711. That is incredible.
Not too much trash talking before the bout, although Nogueira did say he thought he would knockout Herring. Typical stuff.
The fighters were respectful to each other during the staredown. Nogueira stares at Herring more at the beginning but then looks at the ref. Nothing too intense. Both fighters look in good shape.
1st Round: The first minute of the fight, Herring lands three good lefts, but Nog gets the takedown into side mount. This is one of the most dangerous positions for the man on bottom under Pride rules. Nog tries multiple submission attempts consisting of kimuras and armbars, and even has north south and near crucify positions at one point. Herring shows good defense and rolls at the right time to get out. Nog doesn't throw any knees to the head. He's too nice, its not his style. But he misses some great opportunities to land some shots. Maybe he was afraid of injuring himself.
At 4:30 left in 1st round, Herring gets a reversal and is on top. Nog lands an upkick and attempts yet another submission from the bottom, the triangle choke. Herring gets side mount by 3:30 but doesn't throw any knees. (why?!) Nog gets a reversal at 3:00 left. Good armbar attempt at 2:20. Herring lands some good shots at 2:10.
At around 1 minute left Herring is one his feet and Nog is on the ground. Herring lands at least 3 leg kicks that are leaving a visible mark on Nog's left leg. The ref lets Nog back up and Herring starts throwing higher kicks, one of which lands on Nog's chest. Throughout all of this Nog looks pretty comfortable. Herring gets a takedown right at the bell.
Nogueira won this round because he had way more real submission attempts. Herring was landing some shots, but it didn't look like he was anywhere close to finishing the fight.
2nd round: After a brief exchange Herring goes for a takedown and Nog does a great sprawl. Nog has north south position from the sprawl and immediately goes for the anaconda choke with his left arm. This is a rare and difficult move. Nog rolls to his right, on his back, to sink it in deeper. There is not much Herring can do as far as attacking at this point.
By 4:35 left in the round the anaconda choke is in deep. The key to pulling this choke off is that Herring's left arm is caught in the choke, and you want to roll him over. Nog is using his right arm to both block Herring's arm from getting out and to lock the choke with his other arm.
He is using all his weight to try to roll Herring over.
Once Herring gets rolled over to his back, it's over. 36 seconds into the 2nd round. What a beautiful submission.
That's what you want to do if you attempt this choke. You can break someone's neck doing this, not to mention they'll pass out first from being choked. Herring's head was definitely tweaked at a bad angle before he tapped.
This is a very impressive and rare submission that you can add to your MMA arsenal. It is realistic and simple enough to pull off in a real fight. I'm surprised I don't see guys trying it more in MMA. Use this move responsibly.
Good to see that Herring looks okay immediately after tapping. It's okay that he tapped. He knew that he was caught in a good move. He put in a valiant effort. You still have honor Herring.
This was also the first time I have ever seen the anaconda choke in a fight. Hats off to Nogueira for pulling it off. He really is a submission artist.
I'm happy that both fighters have achieved fame and financial success through MMA. Both of them were groundbreakers for the sport. Most MMA fans have heard of both them. Big Nog went on to the tournament finals to fight Fedor (and lost). Nogueira later joined the UFC and has had an overall successful career. Herring was in many big promotion fights afterwards as well and was considered somewhat of a Gatekeeper fighter.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Heath Herring, thank you for fighting in Pride.
Written August 2012