I’m not sure if this is the first spinning backfist knockout in MMA; we’ll just call it the Pimp Daddy Godfather. Shonie Carter landed this backfist with nine seconds left in a fight he was about to lose on points, which helped set up a revenge storyline when he and Matt Serra met again five years later on The Ultimate Fighter season 4. Yahir Reyes’s backfist wins on brutality, but Shonie’s gets the nod for importance.
What would the world be like if Sapp literally killed Big Nog with that thing? Would MMA have gone extinct by the end of the year? Would it have been pushed underground? Would Sapp still become a Japanese cultural icon worthy of his own sex toy? I don’t know. This is the kind of crap I think about.
2003: Mirko Cro Cop’s Left Head Kick
vs. Igor Vovchanchyn @ PRIDE Total Elimination 2003, 8/10/03
vs. “Dos Caras Jr.” @ PRIDE Bushido 1, 10/5/03
Bruce Lee said it best: “I fear not the man who has practiced ten thousand kicks once. But I fear the man who has practiced one kick ten thousand times.” And thanks to his patented left head-kick, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic gave his opponents plenty to fear during his stint in PRIDE. The legend of the LHK was officially born in 2003, as Mirko used the technique to knock out two consecutive opponents in brutal fashion. In later years, Cro Cop would finish Aleksander Emelianenko and Wanderlei Silva with the very same kick, and that ridiculous dude in the mask went on to become the current WWE Champion.
Okay, this was a tough one. Keep in mind that 2004 also gave us two of the greatest MMA slams of all time — the Randleplex, and Quinton Jackson‘s powerbomb KO of Ricardo Arona, which both happened at the same event, by the way. But six months later, Ryo Chonan pulled off a Hail Mary submission that A) hasn’t been successfully re-created by any other fighter, and B) still stands as Anderson Silva‘s last loss by stoppage. The aforementioned body-slams became just as mythical in the sport’s history, but if we’re talking about creativity and the sport’s evolution, you gotta give it to Chonan.