The Evolution of MMA: Igor Vovchanchyn

This excellent career highlight reel of Russian MMA legend Igor "Ice Cold" Vovchanchyn is an excellent pocket history of MMA. From the early No-Holds-Barred…

By: Nate Wilcox | 16 years ago
The Evolution of MMA: Igor Vovchanchyn
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

This excellent career highlight reel of Russian MMA legend Igor “Ice Cold” Vovchanchyn is an excellent pocket history of MMA. From the early No-Holds-Barred matches in Russia where Igor first came to prominence through the PRIDE era where Igor was a mainstay of that now shuttered organization.

Watch for:

  • 1995: The demolition of BJJ star Adilson Lima — Igor gets what would be today ruled a TKO but the ref doesn’t stop the fight so Igor has to throw a series of soccer kicks to the stunned and grounded Brazilian, capped with a karate chop to the neck, before it’s stopped.
  • 1996: Igor chopping down the giant Paul Varelens despite giving away a foot and over 150 pounds.
  • 1997: Beating Mark Coleman-trained wrestler Nick Nutter by headbutts from the bottom. Not a technique you’ll see under the unified rules!
  • 1998: Knocking Gary Goodridge around until the big American did a goofy slip slide around the ring in an early PRIDE.
  • 1999: Pummelling the previously undefeated and seemingly invincible wrestler Mark “Smashing Machine” Kerr around in a match that was ruled a No Contest for reasons I never understood. (This may be from their 2000 rematch that Igor won by decision. Any of you PRIDE nerds know?)
  • 2000: Smacking a bloated Enson Inoue around until he has to be dragged back to his corner.
  • 2001: Scoring a win by heel hook over lanky Dutchman Valentijn Overeem

And much much more. Igor is an overlooked fighter but was one of the most dominant forces of two early eras of fighting: the 1995-1997 NHB era and the 1998-2001 early PRIDE era and remained a respectable journeyman in PRIDE into 2005. It’s too bad he never fought in the UFC or won a major championship but those are the only blemishes on a Hall of Fame career.

Update [2007-10-30 20:53:9 by Kid Nate]:

Reader Billy Gamble sent this note that clarifies what happened to cause the 1st Igor/Kerr match to be ruled a No Contest. thanks Billy!

The first fight with Kerr Igor struck Kerr in the head with a knee as he was on all fours. This was illegal in this PRIDE in particular. The ref called the fight after Kerr didn’t answer the illegal strikes. Then Kerr contested with with the judges and the promoters so it was later changed to no contest.
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About the author
Nate Wilcox
Nate Wilcox

Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

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