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The Eight Most Impressive Striking Displays in MMA History

You asked for it, and now you got it.  Cage Potato presents the 8 most impressive striking displays we’ve ever witnessed in MMA.  Please note that "impressive" doesn’t necessarily mean the best technical displays or most dominant victories.  Naw son, there’s a range.  Some are brutal, some are smoove, and some are just nice all-around displays.  All are impressive for one reason or another, and our hats go off to the purveyors of beatdowns featured below.  Enjoy…

#8: Takanori Gomi vs. Jens Pulver: Pride Shockwave, 12/31/04

Going into this fight, the conventional wisdom was that Pulver would want to stand and bang and Gomi would look to get things to the mat.  As you see, that ain’t how it happened.  Instead they traded a pleasing mix of low kicks, body shots, and power punches in a contest to see who would fall down first.  Turns out that someone was Pulver, who couldn’t stand up to Gomi’s deceptive power quite as well as he thought.  Really makes you wonder what happened to that Gomi.  He sure was something to watch once upon a time.

#7: Fedor Emelianenko vs. Gary Goodridge: Pride Total Elimination, 8/10/03

Fedor Emelianenko vs Gary Goodridge – Watch more Funny Videos

While several of Fedor’s fights could arguably make this list, his one-minute destruction of “Big Daddy” gets the nod simply because it’s one of the best examples out there of Emelianenko’s nothing-but-power-punches approach to striking.  From the moment he first unleashes his offense, Fedor hardly throws anything that isn’t a cannonball with evil intentions.  Just listen to the sound of the punches hammering Goodridge in the opening seconds and see if it doesn’t remind you of a Gallagher show.  Sure, he’s beaten better opponents in his time, and thrown more devastating one-punch KO’s, but this one really gives you a glimpse of how terrifying it must be to find yourself on the business end of a Fedor assault.

#6: Wanderlei Silva vs. “Rampage” Jackson II: Pride 28, 10/31/04 

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The 10 Most Cursed MMA Events of All Time

If it wasn’t for bad luck, Strikeforce’s upcoming “Carano vs. Cyborg” card wouldn’t have any luck at all. Despite the best intentions, some MMA events are destined to be magnets for injuries, unwelcome surprises, and other bizarre occurrences. But which events have been screwed by fate the hardest? Knock on wood, grab your crotch, and read on…

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#10: UFC 67: All Or Nothing, 2/3/07
UFC 67 event poster

The aptly-titled “All or Nothing” event was the first UFC pay-per-view in nearly a year to lack a title fight by the time it finally took place.  That’s all the more disappointing when you consider that it had two a couple months out from the event, pitting TUF “Comeback” winners Matt Serra and Travis Lutter against the champions in their respective weight classes.

The first title fight went down the drain when Georges St. Pierre injured his knee during training and had to put off the fight with Serra (and we all remember how that went when it finally happened).  Fortunately they still had Anderson Silva vs. Travis Lutter to fall back on…right?  Only Lutter failed to make weight for his title shot, downgrading his “Rocky” storyline to a “Bad News Bears” one.  Instead they just had themselves a normal old three-rounder, with Lutter holding his own in the first round before getting triangled/elbowed to death in the second. What fun.

#9: UFC 98: Evans vs. Machida, 5/23/09
UFC 98 Rashad Evans Lyoto Machida MMA poster

The event that famously launched “the Machida Era” only included Lyoto as a last resort. Originally, the card was to be headlined by the heavyweight title scrap between Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir, until Mir informed the UFC that he was still recovering from knee surgery. The main event was then changed to a light-heavyweight title fight between Rashad Evans and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, but Jackson — who had just gone the distance with Keith Jardine two months earlierbowed out due to lingering hand and jaw injuries. And so, the UFC decided to give a well-deserved light-heavyweight title shot to that weird Brazilian guy with the unibrow.

If you’re Rashad Evans, that would be enough to make this one of the unluckiest fight cards ever. But UFC 98’s string of setbacks extended to the supporting cast as well. Josh Koscheck pulled out of the event due to a broken toe and was replaced by Brock Larson; Koscheck’s scheduled opponent, Chris Wilson, missed the show because of incomplete paperwork. James “Born Under a Bad Sign” Irvin suffered one of his many knee injuries and was replaced by Xavier Foupa-Pokam. Yushin Okami also went down with a dodgy knee and was replaced by Chael Sonnen. And finally, hard-luck-case Houston Alexander broke his hand during training and was replaced by Krzysztof Soszynski. Later, it was discovered that the MGM Grand Garden Arena had been built on an Indian burial ground.

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MMA’s 10 Most Insane Freak Show Fights

Ah, the freak show: Where honest competition meets the insatiable human desire to see something weird, typically in Japan. We thought we’d take a look back and count down the ten craziest, most outlandish freak show fights in MMA history. Some are bizarre enough to be fun. Some are just horrible. At least one is [...]

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The Seven Most Brutal KO Slams in MMA History

#7: Matt Hughes vs. Carlos Newton
UFC 34: 11/2/01

(The Newton slam comes at about the 0:52 mark.  Then there are others.)

We’ve sung the praises of Hughes’ signature slam before, but never was it more effective than when he used it to take the UFC welterweight championship away from Carlos Newton.  Hughes’s first line of defense against Newton’s triangle choke was to pick him up and walk him over to the fence, resting him atop the Octagon while he got a second to think things through.  When that didn’t help he dropped him straight down, sending Newton’s dreads a-flyin’ and knocking him out cold.  Hughes also seemed, shall we say, out of sorts after the slam.  He also seemed like the new UFC welterweight champ.  So there you go.

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The 7 Biggest UFC Busts of All Time

#7: MAC DANZIG (Photo via Paul Thacker.) A five-time King of the Cage lightweight champion with appearances in PRIDE and the WEC, Mac Danzig was one of the most seasoned mixed martial artists to ever appear on The Ultimate Fighter, and few were surprised when he blazed past guys like Ben Saunders, War Machine, and [...]

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Never Surrender: The Eight Greatest Technical Submissions of All Time

It takes a special kind of cojones to stare down permanent injury and say "Eff it, I ain’t tappin’." Inspired by the DVD we’ve been plugging lately, we decided to pay tribute to the technical submission — that thrilling moment when a fighter is caught in a health-threatening submission hold, but is too stupid much of a warrior to concede defeat, so the referee has to do it for him. Because as a wise man once said, "Tapping out is for bitches." Enjoy…

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#8: Daniel Gracie vs. Wes Sims
IFL Championships 2006, 6/3/06

After their first chaotic mess of a bout was ruled a “Technical Draw,” Gracie and Sims met again in the IFL for another technical ending.  Though Sims has always had a hazy understanding of the rules in any given MMA bout, he got taken down too quickly to launch any illegal stomps in this one, and had to settle for giving up his back and then trying to grab on to the ropes (thankfully Stephen Quadros reminds him that he can’t do that) as Gracie stayed on him like a backpack and choked him unconscious.  There’s nothing quite like seeing a 6’10” guy drop to the canvas like somebody just pulled his plug.  Sleep well, buddy.

#7. Frank Shamrock vs. Phil Baroni
Strikeforce/EliteXC: Shamrock vs. Baroni, 6/22/07

(Choke starts at the 8:35 mark.)

Thanks to Shammy’s pioneering work in video trash talk, this fight was epic before it even began. Strikeforce’s first middleweight title fight paired two loud-mouthed badasses who would never admit defeat — but unfortunately, there could be only one champion. After battering the NYBA with punches for almost two full rounds, Shamrock took Baroni’s back, wrapped an arm around his neck, and squeezed. While most men would tap to the hold, Baroni went out like a warrior, throwing punches into Frank’s mug until he lost consciousness. Shamrock celebrated his win by shoving Baroni’s lifeless body then kicking him in the ass, proving that he wasn’t just the better fighter that night, he was also the bigger asshole.

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The 10 Worst Commentary Moments in MMA History

#10: Frank Trigg‘s stunned disbelief
Affliction: Banned, 7/19/08

It’s not that Trigg’s reaction when Fedor started landing bombs on Tim was inappropriate; in fact, this was pretty much how we reacted during the fight. But when you’re being paid actual money to give insightful commentary about a sporting event, the viewers at home deserve a little better than "OH! OH-HO! OH-HO! OH-HO-NO-HO! OH!" Especially when you consider that this is a recurring trend with Trigg — when crazy shit goes down, the eloquence-train flies off the tracks, so to speak.

#9: Mike Goldberg tells us how precise Anderson Silva‘s precision is

The answer: Really. It’s really precise. Man, sometimes Mike is better off keeping his mouth shut until it’s time to ask Joe Rogan whether or not a fighter’s arm is in trouble. By the way, if you can watch that video for all ten minutes, we’ll send you a t-shirt.

#8: Kimbo Slice fails third-grade geography 
K-1′s World Grand Prix 2008 Final, 12/6/08

Kimbo Slice City of Japan
(Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a working video of this moment. Hopefully this Esther Lin/Lolcats mashup will be sufficient.)

Okay, give Kimbo a break. The man was extremely jet-lagged, and he clearly meant "the prefecture of Japan known as Kanagawa, which has Yokohama as its capital, where we are right now." It’s not like he asked co-commentator Michael Schiavello what the fuck up with all the Chinese people in the building. That would have been embarrassing. And speaking of which…

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The 10 Best Signature Moves in MMA

#10: Shinya Aoki‘s Flying Guard Pull/Japanese Backpack (Aoki vs.Moore.) When you fight Aoki you know he wants to get things to the ground, and he knows that you know it.  Takedowns and sweeps can be hard to come by against an opponent looking to defend them and almost nothing else, so Aoki has had to [...]

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The Five Best Referees in MMA

#5: Josh Rosenthal

(Nick Diaz vs. Thomas Denny @ EliteXC: Unfinished Business, 7/26/08)

With his trademark half-smirk during faceoffs and soft-spoken vibe, Josh Rosenthal brings some much-needed positive energy to the mean-muggin’ atmosphere of MMA. And though his stoppage in the first Chael Sonnen/Paulo Filho fight at WEC 31 drew controversy — in the eyes of Sonnen, at least — he’s one of those guys you rarely hear about because he just does his job in a quiet, dependable sort of way. Could 2009 be Rosenthal’s breakout year?

#4: Mario Yamasaki

(Tito Ortiz vs. Chuck Liddell 2 @ UFC 66, 12/30/06)

Mario Yamasaki fell into the referee gig when a UFC trip to Brazil (where Yamasaki was born) highlighted their need for another ref in addition to Big John McCarthy.  Since he was a lifelong martial arts enthusiast and jiu-jitsu expert, Yamasaki was a good fit.  His biggest problem as a ref might be that he looks a little too much like Steve Mazzagatti, and that can be a career-killer.  The difference is that Yamasaki gives fighters a chance to recover, but also knows when to stop a bout (despite maybe one or two notable exceptions, depending on who you ask), as he did when he mercifully ended the second Tito Ortiz-Chuck Liddell fight – a decision he was criticized for by Ortiz, and no one else.

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The Top 10 Greatest MMA Bloodbaths

10. Randy Couture vs. Gabriel Gonzaga
(UFC 74, 8/25/07)


At 44 years of age, Randy Couture was the one who was supposed to look busted up after his heavyweight championship match with 29-year-old Brazilian wrecking ball Gabriel Gonzaga. But in one of the greatest triumphs of his career, Couture broke down the bigger, younger fighter with his wrestling and dirty boxing. About three minutes into the first round, blood began to pour out of Gonzaga’s shattered nose, giving Randy’s back a nice, red coat. The steady flow interrupts the challenger’s breathing and vision, leading to a brutal ground-and-pound finish in the third.

9. Robbie Lawler vs. Scott Smith
(EliteXC: Unfinished Business, 7/26/08)


In the second round of their EliteXC middleweight championship do-over, Scott Smith nailed Robbie Lawler with a series of standing elbows that opened up an ugly gash on the top of Lawler’s head. With blood pouring out of the wound, Lawler turned up the intensity, doing his best to finish Smith before a doctor could stop the fight. About 90 seconds later, he succeeded — but not before a spray of “plasma” fell into commentator Mauro Ranallo’s lap. The video doesn’t really do it justice; you should also check out this photo from the fight, and this photo of the aftermath.

8. Chase Beebe vs. Eddie Wineland
(WEC 26, 3/24/07)

Chase Beebe Eddie Wineland WEC MMA
It may have been the most grisly demolition of a cauliflower ear in MMA history. Midway through a five-round bantamweight title match, challenger Chase Beebe dropped an elbow from the top that burst Eddie Wineland’s overripe right ear, causing it to spray blood several feet across the mat. Wineland, who had already suffered multiple cuts near his eyes from Beebe’s precision striking, soldiered on to the fifth-round bell with what appeared to be a gaping hole in the side of his head. Beebe took home the belt and Wineland hasn’t fought in the WEC since.

After the jump: Things really start to get disgusting.

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