Few things can get a crowd off their feet like a good knockout, and no knockout ranks higher than a head kick. The power and speed of kick aimed directly at an opponent's head with the intention of finishing the fight has created some of the most dramatic finishes in mma history. And no man has been more famous for finishing fights with head kicks than Mirko Cro Cop. With UFC 119 is right around the corner, and with many fans hoping to see Cro Cop return to his former glory and finish Frank Mir with a left high kick, its time to take a look back at the best head kicks in mma history.
Where/When: UFC 54: Boiling Point, 8/20/2005
At one time, Tim Sylvia was the most feared striker in the UFC heavyweight division, and nowhere was his striking prowess on display more than in his fight against Tra Telligman. With one second to go in the first round, Sylvia landed a Cro Cop-like left high kick that ended the fight, and Telligman career.
Where/When: Ultimate Fight Night 14: Silva Vs. Irvin 7/19/2008
This was Rory Markham's first fight on a UFC card, and it ended in spectacular fashion. After being outboxed for the first minute minute of the fight, Markham unleashed a devastating right high kick leaving Farber unconscious on the floor.
Where/When: UFC 96: Jackson vs. Jardine 3/7/2009
Many expected this fight between two great wrestlers to be mostly a grappling match, with both fighters looking to take the fight to the ground. The result was far from what anyone expected, with Matt Hamil ending the fight with a huge head kick at 3:53 into the first round. The kick left Munoz down for several seconds, and when he finally did get up, he had to leave with a neck brace.
Where/When: PRIDE: Total Elimination, 8/10/2003
Igor Vovchanchyn was an extremely dangerous striker, coming into the fight with a 44-7 mma record, and a 61-2 kickboxing record. His striking skills were no match for Cro Cop, however and he was dispatched with a left high kick 1:29 into the first round.
Where/When: UFC Fight Night 8, 1/25/2007
Coming into this fight many considered Rashad mainly a wrestler, with limited striking ability. Sean Salmon was coming into the fight with a 9-1 record, and Salmon dominated the first round by taking Rashad down twice. Early in the second round, the future light heavyweight champion threw a head kick that connected, and left Salmon unconscious on the canvas for several minutes.
Where/When: PRIDE Shockwave 2003 12/31/2003
Don Frye and Gary Goodridge met on New Years Eve in Japan in 2003. It was the third and last meeting between the two mma veterans, and it proved to be easily the most exciting. Don Frye already held two wins over Goodridge, but 39 seconds into the first round, Goodridge ended the fight in dramatic fashion, with a dangerous high kick that left Frye sleeping on the mat.
Where/When: Pride 10: Return of the Warriors 8/27/2000
Despite his ear bitting, eye gouging, rope grabbing, referee assaulting antics, Gilbery Yvel is still responsible for one of the most brutal knockouts in mma history. It happened at Pride 10, against Canadian striker Gary Goodridge. Less than 30 seconds into the first round, Yvel landed one of the heaviest head kicks ever seen in an mma fight, and left Gary Goodridge unconscious for several minutes.
Where/When:UFC 17: Redemption, 5/15/1998
In what was at the time one of the biggest upsets in UFC history, Pete Williams lasted 12 minutes with Mark Coleman, before knocking him out with a highlight reel head kick. Coleman appeared to be exhausted after about 10 minutes of fighting, and Williams capitalized on his exhaustion, by throwing a head kick that would go down as one of the best head kicks in UFC history.
Where/When: PRIDE: Final Conflict Absolute 9/10/2006
Two of the most dangerous strikers in the history of mma met for the second time, on September 9, 2006 in Japan. Cro Cop was known for his excellent kickboxing, and his fight-ending high kicks. Wanderlei was known as an extremely aggressive striker, who ended most of his fights by knockout. When these two met at Pride: Final Conflict, a knockout was almost guaranteed. That knockout came 5:22 in the first round, when Cro Cop landed a heavy left high kick to Wanderlei's head.
Where/When: UFC 70: Nations Collide 4/21/2007
When Gabriel Gonzaga and Cro Cop met at UFC 70, many people expected the fight to end with a head kick. No one however, expected Cro Cop to be on the receiving end of this kick. At 4:51 of the very first round, Gonzaga upset Cro Cop with the biggest head kick ever seen in the octagon or anywhere else.