Edson Barboza‘s spinning heel-kick knockout of Terry Etim at UFC 142 wasn’t just an instant-classic because of the technique itself — it was also unforgettable because of the devastating effect it had on Etim, who stiffened up and toppled straight to the mat in slow motion like a felled spruce. The “falling tree” knockout is a rare, brutal moment in combat sports that always gets a rise out of fans. Here are nine of our favorite examples from MMA fights, in no particular order.
(“Look kid, I’m gonna find the man who did this to you. And when I do, so help me God, I’m gonna dock him one point for shorts-grabbing.” / Photo of Stout vs. Edwards aftermath via ESPN)
With a little help from the Potato Nation, we spent the last couple days gathering videos of the nastiest, ugliest, most-painful looking knockouts and submissions from this year. Finding 25 of them was the easy part. (Damn, MMA fighters. You seemed especially angry this year. Problems at home?) Putting them in order was a little more challenging.
Obviously, Frank Mir snapping Nogueira’s arm at UFC 140 was the people’s choice for #1. But how do you rank a head-kick knockout against a spinning-backfist knockout, when they both leave their victims zombie’d on the mat with their eyes open and their arms in the air?
So here’s what we’ll do. Instead of arranging these brutal stoppages in some arbitrary order, we’ll arrange them in groups. Use the links below to navigate through the sections, and take a moment to appreciate the human devastation that our great sport has caused in the last 12 months. And all this without a single death! Enjoy…
(Props to HDNetFights for the vid. Fight starts at the 4:20 mark.)
I’m going to come right out and say it; Jim Wallhead may be the pound-for-pound scariest looking dude in mixed martial arts today. Say what you want about Keith Jardine, Tank Abbott, or even Ruben “Nightwolf” Villareal (lolz!), but none of them hold a candle to Wallhead, who looks like the bastard love child of General Vogel and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. All the more terrifying is the fact that Wallhead actually has the skills to back up his grizzled demeanor. Currently 9-1 in his past ten fights, including wins over Frank Trigg, Che Mills, and Ryan Thomas, Wallhead’s career furthers the theory that anyone nicknamed “Judo” is one bad mofo who should not be tested.
Admit it — you like to see fighters get gruesomely hung out to dry once in a while. Our knockout of the day comes to us from a kickboxing show in Trieste, Italy, over the weekend, in which Tadas Jonkus knocks out Giuseppe Patane so thoroughly that Patane sloooowly tumbles out of the ring, head-first. The sight would almost be comical, if not for the fact that his landing surely added even more brain-damage to the concussion he already suffered from that blitz of punches. Arrivederci, my dude.
Meanwhile, halfway around the world in Albuquerque, boxing champion/MMA fighter Holly Holm suffered the first knockout loss of her career, eating it in the seventh round against Anne Sophie Mathis. The good news is, she didn’t fall on her head afterwards. The bad news is, she was basically K.O.’d through the ropes twice, due to a dangerously inept referee. Take a look…
(Brandao vs. Casteel @ Evolution 1, 10/30/10. Fight begins at the 1:58 mark and ends 40 seconds later. The ref is kind of a dick afterwards. Props: landsharkian)
As Johnny Bedford observed on Wednesday, TUF 14 featherweight finalist Diego Brandao is not unbeatable; in fact, he entered the reality show with a journeyman’s record of 13-7. But when he’s on his game, he’s as dangerous a fighter as you’ll ever see. Here’s a video from Brandao’s pre-UFC career, in which he starches Michael Casteel with a counter right hook within the first minute of their fight. It’s that kind of power that could give Dennis Bermudez serious headaches when they meet up at the finale show tomorrow night in Las Vegas. Was Michael Bisping right to predict future UFC stardom for the Madman from Manaus?
(Video courtesy of YouTube/kamppailukanava. The end begins at the 4:47 mark.)
Every now and again, I like to surf the Sherdog mainframes and see if I can make it from one fighter to another simply through their past opponents, like a “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” for MMA, if you will. For example, let’s say I wanted to go from Scott Smith to Mark Hunt. Now, where most of us would scoff, “That’s ridiculous, those two fight in entirely different weight classes!”, consider this.
2. Scott Smith fought Tim Kennedy in Kennedy’s professional debut (Smith won via cut) –>Kennedy submitted Melvin Manhoef in March at Strikeforce-Feijao vs. Henderson –>Manhoef became the only man in MMA to crack the iron jaw of Mark Hunt back at K1 Dynamite!! Power of Couragein 2008. Voila.
You may be asking yourself, why such a lengthy explanation for a knockout video involving none of the above people I just mentioned? Well, if I hadn’t noticed that UFC veteran Xavier Foupa-Pokam fought yesterday at the same M1 Global event that saw Fedor notch his first win in over a year, I would have never jumped to Mr. Pokam’s fighter profile to see that he lost via triangle to fellow UFC vet Lucio Linhares back in January. It was there I found that, since being booted from the UFC, Linhares had put together a three fight win streak that was snapped in the above video just a few weeks ago. You can thank my boredom later.
(Ah, 2007. A very fine year for gogoplatas. / Photo via Sherdog)
By Ben Goldstein
Over the last two decades, MMA has evolved so consistently that fighters are still finding new and unexpected ways to destroy their opponents — while causing fans to spit their beers in shock. We decided to take a lil’ spin through MMA history and identify the single most awe-inspiring technique from each year since the sport’s modern inception. We expect you to disagree with us; there’s a comments section just for that purpose. And away we go…
1993:Royce Gracie’s Rear-Naked Choke vs. Ken Shamrock @ UFC 1, 11/12/93
(Fight starts at the 3:54 mark)
You have to remember that in the early ’90s, a well-placed roundhouse kick to the head was considered the pinnacle of martial arts. What Royce Gracie introduced to fight fans in his early UFC run was something much more practical, less flashy, and a little bit scary. Gracie’s submission of Ken Shamrock — and the similar hold he used to stop Gerard Gordeau in the finals — proved that skill beat size, and pajamas beat man-panties.
1994: Dan Severn’s Suplexes vs. Anthony Macias @ UFC 4, 12/16/94
It’s hard to define someone like Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, a man who is perhaps the most multi-faceted, not to mention intriguing figure in MMA. Aside from his incredible list of credentials including time in both the Croatian elite Special Forces Unit and Parliament, the man has amassed a mixed martial arts and kickboxing resume that reads like a Hall of Fame list in either sport.
But come Saturday night at UFC 137, Cro Cop will simply be fighting for the right to continue his career, or maybe just to end it on his own terms. In a way, Filipovic is kind of like the Metallica of the heavyweights, with his 2006 Pride Grand Prix win being his Master of Puppets. And, like Metallica, everything since then has been well…just kind of downhill. The devastating loss to Gabriel Gonzaga was his ReLoad, the bittersweet win over Pat Barry his Death Magnetic, and the back-to-back knockout losses to Frank Mir and Brendan Schuab his Lulu. Except, unlike Lulu, those losses only felt like an hour and a half of pure shit.
Friday night’s Prestige FC 3 event in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, was headlined by portly slugger Eric “Butterbean” Esch (14-10-1) against Sandy Bowman (3-0), a 40-year-old local fighter who Sherdog identifies as a former lightweight who swelled up to 223 pounds for the opportunity. Esch held a 150-pound weight advantage in the cage, but it wouldn’t be of any help that night.
Ten seconds after the bell, Bowman lands a head-kick that topples ‘Bean like a defective Weeble. After some elbows from Bowman from the top, Esch realizes that he ain’t getting up without assistance, and taps due to strikes at 0:54 of round 1.
New Jersey-based journeyman Chris Liguori scored the most devastating knockout of his career last month at Ring of Combat 37, blasting local jobber John Salgado with a sledgehammer straight right in the closing minute of round three. Salgado had come into the fight on a four-fight losing streak — with one of those losses coming against Liguori himself — so the matchup didn’t make a whole lot of sense in the first place. But the fans certainly got their money’s worth at the end. Give it a look.
Out of the 22 fighters competing on this Saturday’s UFC 136: Edgar vs. Maynard III card, only one will be stepping into the Octagon for the first time. That man is Stipe Miocic, an undefeated 29-year-old Croatian-American from Ohio who will be facing Joey Beltran during the prelims. So how does a guy with just six fights, who’s beaten nobody you’ve ever heard of, get an invitation to the big show? By being one of the most decorated blue-chip prospects the UFC heavyweight division has seen since Cain Velasquez. Seriously. Just check out his credentials…
(And he sticks the landing on the celebratory backflip! Props: notohous)
It looks like the end of the line for Jamie Varner. The former WEC lightweight champion fought in the main event of Friday night’s Titan Fighting Championships 20 show in Kansas City, and lost a unanimous decision to a 9-1 Nebraska-based prospect named Dakota Cochrane. Cochrane came into the fight on just three days’ notice, replacing Varner’s original opponent Alonzo Martinez — who was pulled from the fight due to legal troubles — and won all three rounds on all judges’ scorecards.
After the fight Varner tweeted, “I gave fighting another shot I need 2 thank u guys 4 ur support! But I just don’t have it anymore. Love u all but ull never c me fight again.” Shortly after, he deleted the message, so who knows. The loss increases (decreases?) Varner’s record to 1-1-4 over the last two years. No matter what the future holds, Varner can be secure in the fact that he was once responsible for the greatest victory dance in the history of MMA.
(It seems that local shows have corned the market on doppelganger MMA as well.)
Quite possibly the most dangerous proving ground in all of mixed martial arts, the local MMA show combines the blood-soaked glory of the big leagues with the fluorescent lighting and seating arrangements of your high school gymnasium or neighborhood watering hole. Often featuring announcers that would make Mauro Ranallo blush and referees that would be laughed off stage by Cecil Peoples, the local show never ceases to be entertaining, as well as a place where some of the sport’s finest talents build their resumes and skill sets. And with all the unknown prospects (not to mention knockouts) we were treated to with last night’s season opener of The Ultimate Fighter 14, I figured I’d surf the web and find eight of the localest, bar-room-brawlingest, shakiest-cameraist knockouts out there for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy.
Floyd Mayweather upped his perfect boxing record to 42-0 last night with a fourth-round knockout of Victor Ortiz, a win that earned him the WBC Welterweight World Title — but it wouldn’t be Money May without a little controversy.
Mayweather controlled the majority of the first three rounds with his trademark speed, outlanding his younger opponent. The fourth frame was a back-and-forth slugfest, opening with a furious assault by Floyd. But Ortiz turned the tables and battered Mayweather against the ropes in the final minute. Unfortunately, the 24-year-old let his emotions get the better of him.
As you can see in the video above, Ortiz blatantly head-butts Mayweather with 14 seconds left in the round. The referee spots the foul and immediately separates the fighters. By way of apology, Ortiz walks over to Mayweather to give him a hug and kiss. That’s strike one.
(Steve Ramirez vs. Darvin Wattree @ Pure Combat IX. This is how you do it, folks.)
To turn somebody’s lights out with one shot is a thing of beauty — but to do it with the very first strike you land? That puts you on a whole ‘nother level of awesomeness. Our favorite first-punch MMA knockouts continue after the jump. Condolences to those brave, unfortunate souls who went through eight-week training camps just to get assed-out in less than 10 seconds.
(First-punch knockout, cheap-shot-style. The YouTube description tells us that these guys are cousins. Now that’s country.)
(Don’t feel bad, Todd — that’s still 18 more seconds than we would have lasted.)
After four years of whipping heavyweights around the world, Alistair Overeem has finally signed with the UFC, and will fight Brock Lesnar on December 30th. (*Pause for happy-dance*) Though Overeem has more submission victories on his MMA record than knockouts (19 compared to 14), the Demolition Man has become infamous for the destructive power of his fists and knees — which he’s also showcased to brutal effect during his parallel career in K-1. So in honor of his new gig as a UFC fighter, we decided to rank our ten favorite Alistair Overeem knockouts of all time. Enjoy, and let us know your personal favorite in the comments section…
#10: Alistair Overeem vs. Lee Tae-Hyun DREAM.4, 6/15/08
Overeem got an easy draw for his DREAM debut — South Korean ssireum wrestler Lee Tae-Hyun, who came into the fight with a 1-1 MMA record. Thirty-six seconds later, Tae-Hyun had a 1-2 record and a fresh concussion.
#9: Alistair Overeem vs. Brett Rogers Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery, 5/15/10
In his first Strikeforce heavyweight title defense in two-and-a-half years, Overeem completely outclassed the Grim, ragdolling him just part the one-minute mark, then smashing Rogers with ground-and-pound until the challenger crumbled.
And here we have Marcus ‘Lelo’ Aurelio scissor-kicking Jose Cornejo’s head in mid-air like he was trying to score the winning goal for Brazil. The stoppage came just 43 seconds into their meeting at Saturday’s Battlefield Fight League event in Vernon, British Columbia, Canada. Fun fact: Lelo is the very same dude who pulled off that insane capoeira kick knockout against Keegan Marshall in 2009. Good lord, get this guy on TUF already.
So while we’re waiting on KarmaAteMyCat to deliver some videos from last night’s Bellator 48, let’s talk about the action, shall we? With all of the excitement from last night’s event, it only makes sense to start with Cole Konrad vs. Paul Buentello. Yes, they fought. Yes, Cole Konrad won in unspectacular fashion. Yes, we can now stop talking about this fight.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening was Pat Curran’s dramatic head kick knockout of former Sengoku champion Marlon Sandro. Despite being in trouble early on, Pat Curran kept his composure and unleashed a brutal roundhouse kick. With his victory, Pat Curran becomes the first fighter to win a Bellator tournament in two different weight classes. I’m not sure what I’m looking forward to more: Pat Curran’s inevitable clash with Joe Warren, or the confused look on his banker’s face when he tries to cash that oversized check.
Kimbo Slice‘s pro-boxing debut last night in Oklahoma ended in highlight-reel fashion, as the former bare-knuckle YouTube brawler/MMA fighter turned out James Wade‘s lights with a crushing right uppercut, sending him through the bottom rope just 10 seconds into the match. Check out the video above for two different angles of the finish; as you can see, it took a long time for Wade to regain his senses.
Since Sunday night’s UFC on Versus 5 broadcast will be led off by Duane Ludwig‘s welterweight battle with Amir Sadollah — we’ll be liveblogging the action starting at 9 p.m. ET, by the way — we figured we’d look back at one of Bang’s classic knockouts that you might not have seen before. On January 25th, 2003, Ludwig (8-2) faced off with former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver (14-2-1) in Montreal for UCC’s vacant lightweight title. After vacating his UFC title the previous year, Pulver had won his first two fights outside of the organization and was looking to pick up another scalp and another belt. It didn’t quite work out like that.
About 12 seconds into the fight, Ludwig leveled Pulver with a massive right hand. Pulver managed to struggle to his feet, and Yves Lavigne broke the fighters after a brief clinch. From there it’s all Duane — a body shot, head kick, and a right-straight finisher that dropped Pulver and actually had him rolling out of the ring to avoid more damage. As the commentator puts it, ”Jens Pulver might be ‘Little Evil’, but Duane Ludwig is a shepherd for the devil.” The dramatic victory earned Ludwig a shot in the UFC, where he out-pointed Genki Sudo in his debut at UFC 42.
Six months into his pro career, future UFC star Dan Hardy (2-2 at the time) met up with Aaron Barrow (3-2) at a Cage Warriors FC event in Sheffield, England. The first strike that Hardy throws — a left head kick — finds its mark and drops Barrow on the spot. Hardy machine-guns him from the top and it’s a wrap. And my, what an excited young man.
To be fair, we’ve seen Anthony Pettistry this sort of thing in an actual MMA fight. But to put somebody to sleep with it, even in the context of a semi-friendly sparring session, is pretty damn impressive. The kicker in question is a world-champion Muay Thai fighter named Saenchai Sinbimuaythai (formerly known as Saenchai Sor Kingstar). Check out more of Saenchai in the highlight reel after the jump.
As you’ll see in the above video (starting at the 0:57 mark), Maynard catches Veres with a lead left hook almost immediately, and makes it official with some gnarly shots from the top. Total time expenditure: 9 seconds. Since that night, the UFC lightweight contender has spent two hours and 10 minutes of fight time without a stoppage. But hey, there’s always next time…
Cruising through a bad Wikipedia Hole this morning, I realized that I’d never seen the full video of Wanderlei Silva‘s first victory in the UFC, a knockout of Tony Petarra. This went down at UFC 20 on May 7th, 1999, about seven months after Silva’s steamrolling at the hands of Vitor Belfort, and a year before his unsuccessful light-heavyweight title bout against Tito Ortiz (which would be Wandy’s last Octagon appearance for seven years).
Petarra was a 32-year-old submission fighter from Rancho Cucamonga who was making his UFC debut that night, and was in way over his head. Petarra clinches immediately, looking to take the fight to the mat. Silva stays on his feet and starts firing knees, first to the body, and then right into the rookie’s grill. Wanderlei snatches the full plum at the fight’s 2:45 mark, and the fight is over seconds later.
Later in the video, Mike Goldberg has a sit-down with Ortiz, who gives it up to Silva’s performance and calls out Frank Shamrock. Also, Bruce Buffer looks so young in the fight introduction that he could pass for Shia LaBeouf‘s older brother. Ah, memories!
Falcao (27-3, 1 no-contest) met journeyman Julio Cesar Bilik (10-7) in the main event of a Centurion Mixed Martial Arts show in Itajai, Santa Catarina, Brazil, and went home with the 22nd knockout victory of his career. Watch as Falcao drops Bilik with a stiff jab, then smashes him with strikes from the top until the referee puts a stop to the action.
After the fight, Falcao said…something. I don’t speak Portuguese, so I’m absolutely no help to you in that department. Anybody care to translate?