Many casual mixed martial arts fans are familiar with one brand and one brand only: the UFC.
However, arguably the organization's biggest competitor was that of the now defunct Pride Fighting Championships, which was coincidentally purchased by Zuffa, the subsidiary of the UFC.
The Japanese-based promotion hosted a bevy of memorable fights during its tenure and helped spark the careers of such stars as Quinton Jackson, Kazushi Sakuraba, Mauricio Rua and the legendary Wanderlei Silva, among others.
A cornerstone of Pride was their love of tournaments, which cultivated some of the world's best all under one roof in an effort to determine who is the real No. 1 fighter in their respective weight classes.
Wanderlei Silva (right) facing Kazuyuki Fujita/ Scott Petersen for MMAWeekly.com
In 2006, Pride held their Open Weight Grand Prix, which allowed fighters hailing from all different divisions to determine who would be regarded as a pound-for-pound great.
Though Aleksander Emelianenko and Sergei Kharitonov were ousted from the tournament in their prior outings, both men met in a reserve match at "Pride: Final Conflict Absolute" in September of 2006.
These two heavyweight sluggers were once friends and training partners, though all alliances were pushed aside as they engaged in a memorable battle at the Saitama Super Arena.
Kharitonov briefly secured mount and when the end seemed imminent, Emelianenko was able to retain guard and eventually get back to his feet, where a bevy of punches and knees met Sergei, who succumbed to the first-round TKO defeat.
Jiu-jitsu and submission wrestling at its finest came to a head during the Pride 2000 Open Weight Grand Prix, as the legendary Royce Gracie took on "The Gracie Hunter" Kazushi Sakuraba.
In a special feature which was originally contested in a unique no-time limit bout, the relentless pressure from Sakuraba, coupled with his obvious grappling prowess began to wilt the submission whiz in Royce, who in between Rounds 6 and 7 opted to retire on his stool.
The match lasted 90 minutes, the longest in the organization's history, catapulting both men's legacies in the process.
Pride had a strange of matchmaking certain fighters, namely that of Kazushi Sakuraba, who after losing twice to heavy-hitting Wanderlei Silva, was once again pitted against "The Axe Murderer" at Pride's 2003 middleweight Grand Prix.
Sakuraba seemed content to keep the fight standing early, though it seemed to be just a matter of time as Silva remained vigilant, waiting for his opportune time to pull the trigger.
That shotgun blast came early in the round, as Silva lunged a left-right combination, sending Sakuraba to the canvas whilst recording the knockout win.
During the Pride 2003 middleweight Grand Prix, then-UFC contender Chuck Liddell entered the prestigious tournament, taking on future heavyweight great Alistair Overeem in the opening round.
"The Demolition Man" rocked Liddell early, though "The Iceman" regained his wits and came storming back. Liddell kept Overeem on his heels with his signature looping right hand, sending the 6'5" Overeem staggering back, before finishing him off with punches in bunches, recording the knockout win.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Kevin Randleman took on then-division kingpin Fedor Emelianenko during the Pride heavyweight Grand Prix in 2004.
The wrestling powerhouse in Randleman proved that his strength was unrivaled, as he hoisted the Russian into the air, dropping him in such a way that would make even the burliest of men cringe.
Emelianenko showed that he was not worse for the wear from the telling blow, as he reversed Randleman and cinched up an armbar, eliciting the tapout shortly into the first round.
In the culmination of their rivalry, both Emelianenko and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira met at Pride's Heavyweight Grand Prix final, where their respective titles were to be merged to determine the undisputed heavyweight king.
Emelianenko managed to stave off all submission attempts from the jiu-jitsu ace, landing some of his signature ground-and-pound blows that have made him revered in the MMA world.
"The Last Emperor" asserted his dominance throughout the fight, though Nogueira again showed why he is a well-respected figure in the sport, taking the full brunt of Emelianenko's blows while looking for his opening to seal the victory.
In the end, Emelianenko turned in another dominating performance, earning a second win over the touted "Minotauro."
Unarguably one of the most anticipated lightweight fights of all time, Takanori Gomi and Hayato Sakurai met in the Pride 2005 lightweight Grand Prix finals, where the winner would be dubbed the organization's first 160-pound champion.
Sakurai was kept at a distance from Gomi, who used his long jab and straights to keep "Mach" at a distance. Gomi never found himself in any real danger from Sakurai, who began to look visibly frustrated the longer the fight wore on.
Gomi briefly mounted Sakurai, where he battered the former Shooto champ with ground-and-pound blows. "The Fireball Kid" allowed Sakurai to get back to his feet, though he stood up only momentarily as Gomi connected on a booming right, which sealed the knockout win and the Pride title in the process.
After going to a draw in their first endeavor, Wanderlei Silva and Mirko Cro Cop met once again, this time during the Pride 2006 Open Weight Grand Prix.
Both men were vying for a spot in the finals, though the former K-1 star in Cro Cop was looking to make a statement along the way.
It became apparent early on that Cro Cop was to dictate the pace of the bout, as he bludgeoned the face of the Brazilian early with some hard ground-and-pound blows from within guard, resulting in several lacerations before bringing the action back to its feet.
The Croatian finally connected on his signature left-high kick, wilting Silva to the canvas and recording the decisive knockout. At the time, Cro Cop had become the only man to stop the former middleweight champion under the Pride banner.
Replacing an injured Fedor Emelianenko, Wanderlei Silva entered the Pride Open Weight Grand Prix in July of 2006, taking on wrestling stud Kazuyuki Fujita in the opening round.
A formidable heavyweight contender, Fujita looked like a fish out of water against Silva, who rocked and dropped the Japanese star early with a barrage of strikes.
Once Fujita fell to the canvas, Silva launched kicks and knees galore to his downed opponent, who made a career of taking hard shots, to which his moniker as "Iron Head" would indicate.
Silva proved unrelenting and Fujita failed to recover from the mounting blows, which rightfully earned Silva the knockout victory in the first round, making him the first man to stop Fujita on strikes.
Along their way to the finals of the talent-laden Pride Middleweight Grand Prix, top light heavyweight contenders Mauricio Rua and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, men of rivaling Brazilian camps, finally met inside the ring.
Both men were proven and well-respected strikers, though it was "Minotoro" who set the tone of the bout early, dropping Rua to the canvas with a staggering right hand.
"Shogun" eventually made his way back to his feet, where he too dropped Nogueira in the opening round, though both men survived into the next stanza.
The toe-to-toe rollicking battle continued, with both men having had their moments, though in the end, Rua had done enough to edge Nogueira, taking home the razor-close decision win in what has been regarded as arguably the greatest fight to take place in Pride.