No this isn’t going to be a 3 page homage to Phill Baroni the baddest man to ever grace the “Tri-State Area”with his presence . What it will be is a 4 part series, looking back on some of the greatest moments to ever occur in MMA’s short glorious history. We will list 5 of the top knockouts, submissions, upsets and come from behind victories that have helped make the sport what it is today.
We will began by detailing 5 knockouts that standout in MMA history as awe-inspiring moments of perfection that will forever be burned into our demented psyches. These are the moments we harken back to when we see the parking attendant slipping the $185 ticket underneath or windshield wiper 45 seconds after the meter expired. The fights we trot out to our neophyte friends to showcase the knockout in all its majesty. These 5 knockouts in chronological order are the absolute pinnacle of punishment and represent some of the sports defining moments.
1.Gerard Gordeau vs Teila Tuli: UFC 1 (12/11/93)
The first ever televised UFC fight, announced its presence with authority! A cartoonish matchup between Teila Tuli a 400 pound Hawaiian Sumo Wrestler and Gerard Gordeau a “Dutch” Savateur whose lack of muscles, tan and arm butter confused adolescent Hulkamaniacs world wide . We all watched with unsure expectations of what was about to transpire.
When the bell rang the fighters circled the octagon calculating their attack. Tuli charged Gordeau, attempting to pin him up against the cage. Goredeau side stepped the gigantic Hawaiian and watched as he crashed head first into to the cage and toppled over. Gordeau unleashed a kick to Tuli’s face, knocking his tooth into the front row. After following up with a punishing right hook to Tuli’s ocular cavity the ref stepped in to put an end to the fight.
Even though Tuli maintained his consciousness, and it wasn’t particularly extraordinary, this TKO makes the list because it completely changed our notions about what “real fighting” was. Prior to this bout most peoples image of a fight included poorly timed attacks by ham-handed henchmen or roided out action heroes punching chumps through plate glass windows. This fight left us horrified, mesmerized and completely hooked on “No Holds Bar Cage Fighting”.
2.Igor Vovchanchyn vs Francisco Bueno: Pride FC- Pride 8 (11/21/1999)
We travel Far East to the newly formed Japanese fight promotion Pride Fighting Championships for our next coup de grâce. The two combatants involved in this dust-up are Igor “Ice Cold” Vovchancyn, who as the legend goes hails from a small Ukrainian village that employs a man to ring the town’s church bells to alert the villagers that Vovchancyn has been spotted drunk in the streets. His opponent was a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner Fransisco Bueno who’s 2-0 record hadn’t in any way prepared him for what lay ahead.
The two meet in the middle of the ring and go through a brief feeling out period before exchanging blows. Vovchancyn lands a right hook to Bueno’s jaw knocking him out on his feet. Bueno’s completely unconscious body bounce’s off the ropes and endures two more hard face shots while in the process of face planting to the canvas.
This is my goto KO to show anyone who is new to the sport. Vovchancyn ended up fading into obscurity after multiple losses, but this is how I like to remember Igor, blasting unknown cans into the following week.
3.Quinton”Rampage”Jackson vs Ricardo Arona: Pride FC- Critical Countdown 2004 (6/20/2004)
Five years later, still In Pride FC, Rampage Jackson and Ricardo Arona would meet up in what was widely considered a number one contender fight for Wanderlei Silva’s Middleweight belt.Rampage only one fight removed from a failed attempt at Silva’s title, need to win impressively if he wanted a chance at avenging his 2003 Middleweight tournament final loss to Wand . In his way was a young hungry BJJ ace named Ricardo Arona whose only professional defeat came at the hands of Heavyweight kingpin Fedor Emelianenko. Currently on a Three fight winning streak in Pride, Arona was also looking to make a case for a title fight.
Most of the first ten minute round was relatively uneventful. Rampage scored in early takedown but failed to land much damage from the top. Arona worked for a sweep/sub from the bottom. Around the seventh minute Arona threw up a textbook triangle and locked it in deep. Rampage struggled momentarily before he lifted Arona above his head and slamed him down with brutal force. Arona’s head bounced off the canvas and he was rendered unconscious immediately. Rampage added one solid blow to the motionless Arona and it was over.
As far as people getting knocked senseless goes this one is tough to beat. It launched Rampage into superstardom and Arona into a coma. This power bomb knockout will go down in history as the greatest slam of all time.
4.Dan Henderson vs Michael Bisping: UFC 100 (7/11/2009)
UFC 100’s showdown between the “brash brit” Michel”The Count”Bisping and stoic folk-hero like American Dan”Hollywood”Henderson had the build up of a USA vs UK season of The Ultimate Fighter behind it. In a very un-American like performance Team USA lost the show in both weight classes. It felt all wrong, we were not supposed to lose a battle against those freedom hating Limeys, weeks before we celebrated our independence from their bland food loving country. Something had to be done, and luckily we had just the man for the job. Hendo was going into this one representing millions of Americans that have had enough of Downtown Abby and that damn Blur song! We needed Hendo at this moment because who knows, today we’re losing a reality show on Spike TV, tomorrow were paying sky high taxes on our Earl Grey again and there’s not a Damn thing you can do about it!
As the fight begins the crowd is doing their part letting Bisping know he’s in the U.S.A. Henderson plods forward with a right hand locked and loaded. Bisping scampers backwards throwing ineffective jabs and leg kicks. The first round consists of Bisping circling into Henderson’s haymaker of a right and Henderson unleashing it to no avail. Bisping’s cockney corner implores their fighter to stop circling into Hendo’s powerul right hand. As the second round began much of the same occurred, Bisping would throw a three punch combo and circle right narrowly escaping his demise. It was only a matter of time. Then like a glorious grand finale on the fourth of July, Henderson hoped, skipped and uncorked an aptly named “H-Bomb” directly into Bisping’s warm beer loving grill! Bisping fell back defeated like his countrymen so many years before, and then what I can only assume was for giving the world Chumbawamba , Hendo soars through the air like a majestic patriot and smashes Bisping’s lifeless face with a forearm, ensuring victory for the good ole U.S of A.
The ending couldn’t have been written any better. Its epic three month build up was defiantly worth the payoff. A payoff that caused a joy filled riot at the bar I was attending. During the chaos a stranger knocked my full beer directly into my nachos. When the ruckus subsided I sat back down in a euphoric state and ate every last one of my beer nachos and they tasted a lot like freedom.
5.Edson Barboza vs Terry Etim – UFC 142 (011/14/12)
Edson Barboza vs Terry Etim was a middle of the card fight at UFC 142 in Rio De Janeiro. On the feet Etim possessed very high level boxing and had two head kick knockouts to his record and on the mat Etim was a submission expert with twelve of his fifteen wins coming by way of submission. Barboza on the other hand was a Muay Thai fighter through and through. a Muay Thai Child prodigy, Barboza had grown into one of the most feared strikers in the UFC. Barboza had stopped multiple fights with leg kicks, a feat few can claim. Leading in to the bout the consensus was that Etim would need to get it to the ground and not stand and trade if he had a shot against Barboza.
In round one Etim comes out strong immediately landing a takedown that Barboza gets right back up from. for the first two minutes Etim seems to be executing his plan. But about half way into the first round Barboza lands his first leg kick. Etim clearly is taken aback by Barboza’s power. As the round winds down Etim’s output dwindles in apparent fear of Barboza’s kicks. Second round is all Barboza landing hard kick to the legs and body of Etim. The third round looks to be falling into the same pattern of Barboza landing and Etim hesitating, when suddenly Baboza spins and throws a picture perfect wheel kick that lands square on Etim’s jaw. Etim is out cold and Barboza now owns one of the top knockouts in UFC history.
This knockout may not have taken place in a high profile matchup like some of the others on this list, but it was a true thing of beauty. The speed at which Barboza spun, the way his leg straitened out perfectly and the placement of the heel directly on Etim’s jaw, it all accumulated in what I believe to be the greatest knockout in the history of MMA.