Photo by Peter Lockley for Sherdog.com.
When Massachusetts first legalized MMA, most fans wondered how quickly the UFC would be able to set up a show in Boston. What usually happens in these situations, though, is a smaller regional promotion will put something together first.
For the Bay State, that show was Moosin: God of Martial Arts, and they had a huge headline fight in mind.
With Massachusetts hosting a large Polish population, they brought aboard the mammoth strongman, Mariusz Pudzianowski. His opponent? Former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia.
On paper, this was as utter a mismatch as possible, and honestly may not have been approved by a better-seasoned commission.
While Sylvia had a 2-4 record over his last six fights (including losses to Emelianenko, Randy Couture, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Ray Mercer), he was still commonly ranked as a top-ten heavyweight. Pudzianowski, meanwhile, was just 2-0 in his MMA career, with minimal training in any form of combat sport.
The results showed just how drastic the difference was between them.
Pudzianoswki shot for a takedown early, and that proved to be how long his gas tank could take him. He was winded in less than two minutes, and after some less-than-expert clinching, Sylvia maintained separation and landed hands with no response, finishing his green opponent with little trouble.
Why these two were matched together is hard to peg.
Granted, name-brand super heavyweights are a rarity (there are four in the world, basically). However, the massive crowd that appeared to cheer on Pudzianowski wasn't there to see high-level MMA (which is actually odd in retrospect, as the card was home to many fighters who went on to be relevant).
Having Pudzianowski open up a can while having Sylvia (if they still wanted him, since, again, this was the Pudzianowski show) face off with a UFC washout made much more sense.