This is from the first ever Hero’s event, K-1’s mixed martial arts organization. The card was pretty odd, some of the fights featured were a Machida-Penn fight, Genki Sudo fighting muay thai legend Ramon Dekker, and Bob Sapp fighting Min Soo Kim. But the fight that stands out the most from this event was between two world class lightweight fighters who met for a classic.
Caol Uno was already a revered figure in the lighter weight classes of MMA at this point. He had found success in both Shooto and UFC in their respective lightweight divisions. In Shooto, he defeated the legendary Rumina Sato twice in title bouts for the 154 lbs Shooto crown. In the UFC, he had failed twice in UFC lightweight championship fights, once losing to Jens Pulver and having a draw with BJ Penn. He left the UFC on a sour note, losing to future sexual abuser Hermes Franca via knockout in a big upset at the time. He would have a much debated draw with “The Crusher” Tatsuya Kawajiri before winning two fights in a row and signing on to face Hansen.
Hansen had already held the Shooto 154 lbs title before he had met Uno. He had won the title against Takanori Gomi and lost it to BJJ ace Vitor Ribeiro. He had some other good wins like against JZ Calvan and Rumina Sato. But when he met Uno in March of 2005, it would be the biggest fight of his career at this point.
This fight ended up becoming a classic. Amazing grappling, suplexes, upkicks, judo throws, cartwheel guard pass attempts, Sakuraba-like kimuras, great transitions on the ground. Two evenly matched fighters going back and forth. Don’t want to spoil what happens but the way this fight ends is pretty amazing. Enjoy this classic!