MMA: A Celebration of the Fight-Ending Slam
There's nothing quite as crowd pleasing as a well executed slam or throw, it's like a perfect harmony of technique and violence. And when one is executed so well that it actually ends a fight, it's like MMA's version of a walk off home run.
So in honor of Sarah Kaufman's slam KO of Roxanne Modafferi, let's look back at some of the best fight-ending slams in MMA history.
Tito Ortiz vs Evan Tanner (UFC 30)
Before he would go on to taste UFC gold, the late Evan Tanner challenged Tito Otiz for what was then called the UFC middleweight title. Tito's size and strength advantage were too much for Evan that night as he was brutally slammed to the canvas from the double underhook position resulting in a KO.
Wanderlei Silva vs Kazushi Sakuraba II (Pride 17)
The rematch between budding monster Wanderlei Silva and Japanese superstar Kazushi Sakuraba to crown the first Pride middleweight champion was a far more competitive affair than their first match.
That would all change late in the first round, when Silva picked up Sakuraba like a child and in what can only be described as a half body slam, half pile driver spiked Sakuraba shoulder first into the mat. Sakuraba valiantly continued to the end of the round, but when the referee separated the two fighters the Gracie Hunter's collarbone was protruding from his shoulder.
The match was stopped and thus began the Axe Murderer's Pride middleweight title run.
Gerald Harris vs Dave Branch (UFC 116)
On one of the biggest UFC's of 2010, up-and-comer and TUF alumn Gerald Harris put his mark on the card with a fight ending slam on Dave Branch.
With 2:35 gone by in the third round Dave Branch jumps guard on Gerald Harris, Harris then positions his forearm against Branch's jaw and drives him into the canvas knocking him clean out.
On a side note, once Harris recognized Branch was out cold he showed great sportsmanship by not following up with any punches. Kudos to you, Mr. Harris.
Matt Hughes vs Carlos Newton (UFC 34)
At UFC 34 Matt Hughes squared off against Carlos Newton for the UFC welterweight title (Newton had recently won the title from Hughes's coach Pat Miletich at UFC 31).
Early in round two Carlos Newton locks on a deep triangle choke, and Hughes, still a novice to the jiu jitsu game at this point of his career, attempts to power out and lifts Newton up onto the side of the cage. Their the triangle position was maintained in mid air with Newton's back to the fence when all of a sudden Hughes sends Newton crashing down to the canvas knocking him cold.
John McCarthy told a dazed and confused Matt Hughes that he won the match. Whether the slam was intentional or a result of Hughes starting to lose consciousness we'll never know, but the decorated welterweight title run of Matt Hughes began that day.
Quinton Rampage Jackson vs Ricardo Arona (Pride Critical Countdown 2004)
Rampage vs Arona was the MMA slam heard around the world. The stakes were high when these two highly ranked fighters met in June of 2004, as a shot at Wanderlei Silva's middleweight title was on the line.
It was a back and forth affair as Rampage was defending off Arona's submission attempts from the top position when the Brazilian sunk in a triangle choke. How did Rampage defend the triangle? Like he did everything else with sheer brute force. Rampage lifted Arona literally over his head and slammed him into dream land.
Message boards to this day are flooded with videos and gifs of this "real world" pro wrestling move.
Frank Shamrock vs Igor Zinoviev (UFC 16)
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it does it make a sound? Ask Igor Zinoviev. During the dark days when cable companies wouldn't touch the UFC and the sport was as underground as ever, Frank Shamrock was the reigning middleweight champion.
At UFC 16 Frank put his belt on the line against highly-touted former World Extreme Fighting champion Igor Zinoviev. Ironically Shamrock who was not known for his wrestling reached down for a double leg as the Russian born fighter charged in and executed the most devastating slam in UFC history as it not only ended the match, but also the career of Zinoviev.