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Ricardo Arona was born on July 17th, 1978 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After competing for several years in both the PRIDE and RINGS professional fighting organizations, Arona is well-known for both his strength and his apparent inability to end fights. While receiving much criticism for this fact, Arona continues to defeat opponents by decision more often than not.
Arona began his professional fighting career by participating in the Abu Dhabi Combat Club submission wrestling series of contents where he won and continued to hold several titles for many years, the only fighter in that organization to retire with a title and remain undefeated.
From Abu Dhabi Aroni signed a contract with the RINGS fighting organization in Japan. Arona won his first several fights before suffering a loss against eventual heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko. Arona bounced back from the loss well, winning his next three professional fights with RINGS.
After proving his ability over and over again, Arona was finally noticed by the management of the larger PRIDE fighting league and was offered a multi-fight contract. Arona won his first three fights handily, defeating Guy Mezger, Dan Henderson and noted PRIDE fighter Murilo Ninja. Arona’s fourth battle with PRIDE was scheduled against Quinton Jackson. After being knocked out cold due to a massive body slam from Jackson, Arona publically declared that he had been hit in the head with an illegal knee and that the fight should not count against his record. A dispute over this fight kept Arona out of the ring for the following four months. PRIDE still holds the fight to his record.
The four months off seemed to give Arona a fresh wind and he returned to defeat his first three opponents. This impressive run prompted PRIDE management to give Arona a spot in the upcoming Middleweight Grand Prix. Dean Lister, Arona’s first opponent, fell to a unanimous decision and Arona went on the defeat famous Japanese martial artist Kazushi Sakuraba with a TKO by doctor stoppage. Although Arona was able to beat his semi-final opponent Wanderlei Silva by decision, he was easily defeated in the finals by veteran fighter Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua with a first round knockout.
A rematch between Arona and his Grand Prix rival Wanderlei Silva was scheduled for December 31st, 2005. Arona lost a long and grueling match due to a highly-debated split decision. Arona moved on to face Alistair Overeem in September of 2006, brutally forcing him to submit after raining blows on him from the ground.
Despite his impressive performances, Arona still seemed to lack the humility necessary to admit the odd defeat. After losing by knockout to Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou at the PRIDE 34 event, Arona claimed he lost only because he was suffering from dengue fever at the time.
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