(Photo via MMAFighting)
By Adam Martin
To me, the most impressive thing about Demetrious Johnson’s performance against John Moraga in the main event of UFC on FOX 8 last weekend was the fact that Johnson won the fight via fifth-round stoppage — only the fourth time in the history of the UFC that a match has ended in the fifth stanza.
The win also got me thinking: What are some of the other latest finishes in UFC history? Luckily, I did the work so you don’t have to. Here’s a list of the top 10 latest stoppages in UFC history since UFC 21, the first event to utilize the now-standard five-round, five-minute format for title fights.
1. UFC on FOX 8: Demetrious Johnson def. John Moraga via submission (armbar), 3:43 of round five
Believe it or not, you were all witnessing history on Saturday when Johnson submitted Moraga, as “Mighty Mouse” now holds the record for the latest stoppage victory in the history of the UFC. That’s an amazing feat considering that the UFC has staged thousands of bouts over the years, and it’s even more amazing when you consider that the flyweights aren’t known for finishing their opponents. The fight was a testament to Johnson’s will and determination to look for the finish for the full 25 minutes, the mark of a true champion.
Next up on the list is my personal favorite, and it’s none other than the main event of UFC 117 when Anderson Silva submitted Chael Sonnen with less than two minutes remaining in the fight, to once again defend his UFC middleweight title.
Heading into round five, Sonnen was well on his way to earning a decision victory over Silva, which would have made him the first man to defeat “The Spider” in the Octagon. But Silva showed that he didn’t want to give up his belt that night as he locked in the hail-mary submission and forced the tap out on Sonnen in a fight that, until this past weekend, was the latest stoppage in the history of the UFC.
With Josh Barnett getting popped for steroids and stripped of his title, the UFC heavyweight championship was up for grabs and the promotion booked former champion Randy Couture to take on Ricco Rodriguez for the vacant strap in the main event of UFC 39: The Warriors Return.
But instead of Couture earning another one of his signature wins over a larger opponent, Rodriguez was the better man that night, as he was able to stop Couture via submission after hitting him with ground and pound so brutal that Couture, a fighter known for his incredible heart, was forced to give up.
The first of two BJ Penn fights to appear on this list was his UFC 107 fight against Diego Sanchez, a fight that Penn won in the fifth round after cuts on Sanchez’ face forced the doctor to wave off the match. Penn beat the living snot out of Sanchez in this fight and the only reason it lasted so long is because Sanchez is tough as nails.
5. UFC 94: Georges St-Pierre def. BJ Penn via TKO (corner stoppage), 5:00 of round four
(Photo via Getty)
One of Georges St-Pierre’s rare stoppage wins took place at UFC 94, where he beat the stuffing out of BJ Penn so badly that the tough-as-nails Hawaiian’s corner threw in the towel at the end of the fourth round. It’s a testament to Penn’s toughness that he wasn’t the one who forced the stop to the fight, but this fight took a lot out of Penn, and the Prodigy has never looked the same as a welterweight since then.
By the way, this was the last stoppage victory recorded by St-Pierre — and it took place all the way back in 2009, meaning the Canadian welterweight champ hasn’t recorded a stoppage win since the last decade.
The oldest fight to appear on this list and the only fight to take place in the 1990s took place at UFC 22 in 1999 when Frank Shamrock and Tito Ortiz delivered one of the greatest fights of all time, a bout that ended late in the fourth round after Shamrock overwhelmed Ortiz with strikes and forced him to tap out.
Shamrock defended the UFC light heavyweight championship for the last time in this fight, as he retired from the sport — temporarily, anyways — and relinquished the title, only to see Ortiz later win the vacant belt and then earn the record for consecutive title defenses at 205 pounds.
In my opinion, this is one of the most important matches in the history of the UFC and if you’ve never seen a tape of this match — it’s not available on DVD so you’ll have to look hard — I implore you to do everything in your power to find one, as this is an amazing fight that deserves to be watched by everyone who calls themselves a fan of MMA.
On the next page: A non-title bout makes the list, more thrills from the lightweight division, and ten fun facts about late finishes in the UFC.