The Best Trilogies In Combat Sport History


Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier will fight for the third time this weekend in Las Vegas to decide the greatest Heavyweight in UFC history.

They currently have one win each and the decider will split many opinions when talking about the GOAT of the division.

Two evenly matched fighters often need more than one fight to decisively split opinions and we have seen many great combat sport trilogies over the time.

We have spent quite a while sifting through the archives and have come up with The Best Trilogies In Combat Sports History.

Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier

1st Fight: Frazier by UD

2nd Fight: Ali by UD

3rd Fight: Ali by TKO

There would not be many fight fans that would argue that the epic battles that took place between Ali and Frazier should not make this list.

Two of the best that ever took part in the sweet science went head to head three times including the epic ‘Thriller in Manilla’.

A fight that Ali won and cemented his legacy in the sport forever.

Matt Hughes vs BJ Penn

1st Fight: B J Penn by Submission (Rear Naked Choke)

2nd Fight: Matt Hughes by TKO

3rd Fight: B J Penn by KO

There is more often than not a theme with trilogies.

Two very evenly matched opponents that often require the judge’s decision.

Not in the case of B J Penn and Matt Hughes.

While they were certainly evenly matched, all three fights in this trilogy were ended before the judges were needed.

Sam Stout vs Spencer Fisher

1st Fight: Stout by Decision (split)

2nd Fight: Fisher by Decision (unanimous)

3rd Fight: Stout by Decision (unanimous)

They are not household names in the UFC but these two warriors went to battle in three of the most epic fights of all time.

Sam Stout lost 12 times in his 33 fight career and Spencer nine times from the same amount of fights.

Arturo Gatti vs Mickey Ward

1st Fight: Ward by Decision (Majority)

2nd Fight: Gatti by Decision (unanimous)

3rd Fight: Gatti by Decision (unanimous)

Again, there will not be many that will argue that this trilogy makes the list despite the publicity Mickey Ward was given in the 2010 feature film The Fighter, starring Mark Wahlberg.

The truth is that this was one hell of a three fight series.

The first fight was named the Ring Magazine’s Fight Of The Year and the third received the same honour in 2003.

Watch these highlights and tell me this isn’t some of the most entertaining boxing you have ever seen.

Chuck Liddell vs Randy Couture

1st Fight: Couture by TKO

2nd Fight: Lidell by KO

3rd Fight: Lidell by KO

Chuck Liddell was on a tear through the UFC when he first fought Randy Couture and there were many that thought he was simply unbeatable.

But Randy Couture brought a whole new style of fighting into the sport that spawned a generation of wrestlers into the world of MMA.

Their first fight would decid the UFC Light Heavyweight champion, a title that Couture would strip from Liddell at UFC 43.

Liddell proved his status as a champion of the sport though in their next two fights with decisive KO victories.

Sugar Ray Leonard vs Roberto Duran

1st Fight: Roberto Duran by Decision (Unanimous)

2nd Fight: Sugar Ray by TKO

3rd Fight: Sugar Ray by Decision (Unanimous)

Roberto Duran shocked the world when he handed Sugar Ray Leonard the first loss of what was already an illustrious career in June of 1980.

Duran was 72-1 at the time and was on top of the world after winning the lineal championship but few envisioned his fall from grace and what took place in the second fight with Sugar Ray later that same year.

There are many stories to come out of that second fight including an ESPN film entitled ‘No Mas’ but the fight will go down in history as great redemption story from one of the greatest to lace up the gloves.

The pair would fight again nine years later, with Sugar Ray again proving his skill by winning a unanimous decision.

Marco Antonio Barrera vs Erik Morales

1st Fight: Morales by Decision (Split)

2nd Fight: Barrera by Decision (Unanimous)

3rd Fight: Barrera by Decision (Majority)

Two of Mexico’s finest ever boxing products went head to head in three epic fights, in three different weight classes, over four years.

The first fight was a controversial decision in Morales’s favour that was named the fight of year by Ring Magazine in 2000 and then later that year was given the title of best fight of all time!

The two fights that preceded were just as intense and competitive but just like Sugar Ray, Barrera would adjust his tactics and find himself on the right end of the judge’s decisions.

Fedor Emelianenko vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

1st Fight: Fedor by Decision (Unanimous)

2nd Fight: No Contest (Accidental Headbutt)

3rd Fight: Fedor by Decision (Unanimous)

All three of these fights would take place in the Japanese MMA promotion Pride and all three went down as classics.

There were few people that thought Nog would lose when he faced the little known Fedor (12-1 at the time) when they first met.

Nog had beaten Gary Goodridge, Mark Coleman and Dan Henderson, all by submission, leading into the first fight against Fedor.

Fedor won the first and third contest in this trilogy and would end his career as one of the greatest of all time with a record of 39 wins and 6 losses with 1 NC.

Junior dos Santos vs Cain Velasquez

1st Fight: JDS by KO

2nd Fight: Velasquez by Decision (Unanimous)

3rd Fight: Velasquez by TKO (Slam & Punch)

Another fighter on the Main Card at UFC 252 is Junior dos Santos and he was one part of the all-time great Heavyweight trilogies against Cain Velasquez.

In fact, DC vs Stipe Miocic will be the third time in UFC Heavyweight history where all three bouts are for the title.

Andrei Arlovski v Tim Sylvia and JDS vs Velasquez being the other two.

After being knocked out in the first fight, Cormier’s close friend Velasquez would fight back win win the subsequent two title fights.

The third fight was an absolute brawl and will not be quickly forgotten.

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