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The Top 10 Head-Kick Knockouts in UFC History

Matt JuulContributor IIIJanuary 12, 2017

The Top 10 Head-Kick Knockouts in UFC History

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    Vitor Belfort became the first person in UFC history to score back-to-back head-kick knockouts with his first-round decimation of former Strikeforce middleweight champ Luke Rockhold at Saturday night's UFC on FX 8.

    Fighting in his native Brazil, "The Phenom" wowed the home town crowd by landing a vicious wheel kick right on Rockhold's chin in the opening frame, cementing his second straight Knockout of the Night honor in the process.

    The brutal finish once again showed just how devastating a foot to the face can be inside the octagon.

    In honor of the MMA legend's breathtaking performance, let's take a look at the top 10 head-kick KOs in UFC history.

10. UFC Fight Night 8: Rashad Evans vs. Sean Salmon

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    Former light-heavyweight champ Rashad Evans has transformed his striking game since his early days in the UFC.

    While "Suga" has always been feared as a wrestler, he quickly earned respect for his punches and kicks after his back-to-back KOs of Jason Lambert and Sean Salmon.

    Evans brutally ended Salmon's night with a vicious roundhouse kick to the head during their headlining bout at UFC Fight Night 8, which has unfortunately put Salmon on nearly every one of the former champ's highlight reels since.

9. UFC 65: Georges St-Pierre vs. Matt Hughes 2

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    A younger Georges St-Pierre saw his perfect record disappear when the then-welterweight champ Matt Hughes defended his title by catching the Canadian in an armbar at UFC 50.

    Their rematch at UFC 65 had a very different outcome as GSP quickly ended the MMA legend's night with a switch kick to the head.

    The win earned St-Pierre his first UFC title as well as his first Knockout of the Night honors.

8. UFC 17: Pete Williams vs. Mark Coleman

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    Who doesn't like a good old boot to the head?

    Back in the UFC's heyday, Pete Williams landed a powerful roundhouse kick to former heavyweight champ Mark Coleman's face during their war at UFC 17.

    The brutal finish was the first KO loss of Coleman's career.

7. UFC 144: Anthony Pettis vs. Joe Lauzon

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    Former WEC lightweight champ Anthony Pettis has a plethora of highlight reel finishes to his credit.

    While many of you may are likely aware of his insane "Showtime Kick" that he landed against Benson Henderson at WEC 53, his head-kick KO of Joe Lauzon at UFC 144 was equally as brutal.

    The finish, which would earn Pettis his first Knockout of the Night honors, came just 1:21 into the first round.

6. UFC 70: Mirko Cro Cop vs. Gabriel Gonzaga

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    Brazilian heavyweight Gabriel Gonzaga has made a name for himself inside the octagon with his slick submission skills.

    However, "Napao" will always be remembered for his highlight reel head kick KO of Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 70.

    Not only was the finish just absolutely vicious, but Gonzaga really blew people's minds because he was able to pull of Cro Cop's own trademarked move against him.

5. UFC 126: Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort

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    While Belfort stunned fans with his highlight reel head kick finish at Saturday's event, "The Phenom" is no stranger to receiving a fantastic foot to the face either.

    Middleweight king Anderson Silva pulled off one of the most brutal front kicks in MMA history when the ball of his foot hit Belfort's chin at UFC 126.

    The successful title defense earned "The Spider" well-deserved Knockout of the Night honors.

4. UFC 129: Lyoto Machida vs. Randy Couture

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    Just months after Silva's amazing KO of Belfort, former light-heavyweight champ Lyoto Machida was able to one-up his Black House teammate against Randy Couture at UFC 129.

    Known for his signature Shotokan karate style, Machida seemingly channeled his inner Karate Kid when he landed a jumping front kick on Couture's face.

    As Mr. Miyagi once said, "If do right, no can defense."

3. UFC 142: Edson Barboza vs. Terry Etim

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    Brazilian lightweight Edson Barboza unleashed one of the most brutal finishes in UFC history during his decimation of Terry Etim at UFC 142.

    Two minutes into the final frame, Barboza was able to land a picture-perfect spinning wheel kick that instantly put Etim to sleep.

    The amazing finish earned the Brazilian Fight of the Night, Knockout of the Night and Knockout of the Year honors.

2. TUF 17: Uriah Hall vs. Adam Cella

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    How do you top a spinning-wheel-kick KO? With more spinning-wheel-kick KOs of course!

    Season favorite Uriah Hall made a statement during his The Ultimate Fighter 17 bout opposite Adam Cella. With just seconds left in the first round, Hall landed his wheel kick so hard to Cella's jaw that the entire room was silent.

    While the finish earned Hall Knockout of the Season, the fearsome middleweight was unable to take home the TUF crown and lost a split decision to Kelvin Gastelum at the show's finale.

1. UFC on FX 8: Vitor Belfort vs. Luke Rockhold

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    While Barboza's and Hall's wheel-kick KOs were certainly impressive, Belfort's finish of Rockhold at Saturday's event takes the top spot not only because of its ferocity, but also because he was able to land it against a top-tier opponent.

    Even more amazing is that the once punch-heavy Belfort now has two spectacular head-kick finishes on his resume as this one comes right off the heels of his second-round KO of Michael Bisping.

    Who said you can't teach an old T-Rex new tricks?

     

    Be sure to like Matt on Facebook and follow @MattchidaMMA.

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